Behind every smile there is a quiet madness
A sad story you’ll rarely hear
A melancholy note written in haste
One last attempt
Before that abrupt end
Which everyone says was so unexpected
And yet so inevitable
I hold with the maxim, “If you haven’t been to sleep, it’s not a new day.” This sort of tongue-in-cheek mantra is semi-necessary for someone who has insomnia as much as I do. It’s right up there with “Pain is weakness leaving the body”, for both being complete bullshit and yet oddly effective.
Our brains believe what we tell them. Especially with even a thin veneer of conviction. It’s why depression brain is so effective. I know it’s lying. I know that what it says is at the least an inaccurate representation. But the more it says it, the more my brain internalizes the false message. And to break those chains, it takes positive words. Words that you can believe which are, at the very least, neutral.
I substituted every time that my brain tried to insist that I would be better off dead, with I am loved. It worked though it took a long time and those thoughts aren’t gone but their power is greatly diminished.
That is my coping skill. I talk to my brain. To my body. And I try to flip the script.
Will it work for others? I don’t know. But knowing that there are different methods, knowing that there are different paths, has to help.
And, if nothing else, even if at some point in the future I fail in my battles, maybe if it helps someone else…it’ll have been worth it.
But that’s just me. What I feel. We all must determine our own path and finding it, walk it.
I woke up yesterday with a profound sense of calm. I felt at peace. It took me a minute to realize what it was. I had no feelings of depression and no feelings of anxiety. I felt profoundly normal. Steady.
And I could not help but think, if this is what those without anxiety or depression feel like, then it is no wonder that their responses are so wrong. That they cannot conceptualize what it feels like. Because their variation from that baseline into sadness or into worry are a different reality.
It would take a open mind and a huge amount of empathy to see my normal. To see my real. And I don’t expect that from them.
It would be like asking someone who could not see the color green to accept that I can, when their society says that I can’t. When a community consensus of what is is reached, it becomes entrenched and rooting out that becomes harder and harder.
So I understand why they would not understand what I feel. Not understand me. But it does make me feel sad. Because now I know how they feel. And I think, their understanding is far from reach.
But worse, I don’t want that normal for myself. It did feel wonderful. But only in opposition to what I normally feel. Without the counterpoint, I think it would feel empty. And I’ve had quite enough empty,
Thank you very much.
I used to get 4 hours of sleep and I was fine
Well, not fine
In that I could keep going through the motions
But during that time I was deeply depressed
Everything was nothing and even sleep was no refuge
As I pulled away from that constant state
I found my habits to be the same
And that 4 hours of sleep would set me spinning
I’d be fine until I became tired
And then I’d second guess
And everything was off
Nothing was fine
Everything felt like it never would be
My work schedule changed a few years ago
Forcing me to change my habits
I was always good
At least in the beginning of such a change
And my sleep habits shifted
I was getting 8 hours of sleep
And those emotional spinnouts occurred less and less
And then 8 became 6
And they started to happen again
Then 6 became 4 and it was again my new normal
Same as the old normal
And while its obvious now
I came to realize that I needed that sleep
And the corporate culture I was in prized my inability to sleep
To be able to function on 4 hours seemed like a miracle
And I still find it useful
Because sleep isn’t the only thing that kept me depressed
Stress will eat away at me
And I will punish myself
Until its too late
And I’ll not sleep
Because not sleeping is within my control
And I need that feeling of being capable
To really function
But for me
It’s not really optional
I can tell the difference in my emotional state
Now that I see it
How can I keep hurting myself this way
Though, I know I’ll still push
It’s in my nature to push
But now I see
And I will sleep when it gets too much
Because sleep is again a refuge
And dreams are a whole life lived
And I’m so tired
Of not living
Doomscrolling is the death of creativity.
It sucks me in. And with my tastes there are a ton of poets saying poet things. And rather than inspired, I feel like I’m not going to be able to write. Because they wrote it better. Their personal journeys. Their blood on the page.
My lukewarm days. My pedantic pedal boat. Moving slowly into the certain uncertain.
I’ve bled and cried. Burned and created. But here I am, a product of doomscrolling and too many days stuck without the people who make life good.
I gave up caffeine. More to do it than for any health benefit. Haven’t seen one 3 months in, to be frank.
My cats receive my attention. For both I am either never enough or always too much. And if that isn’t the echo of all my relationships, I don’t know what is.
My problems are small. Even if they are insurmountable. I have shelter, food, and safety.
What I find I have less and less of, is hope.
I used to believe in the undelible goodness of humanity. That when push came to shove, humanity would choose the brighter path. I can’t believe that anymore.
The trump years proved the overall despicable traits which simmer beneath the surface. And the now times have so far proved that this isn’t going to change.
I know that when things advance, there is a backlash. But this backlash is like a flywheel. By the time it stops, our wounds will be so grievous we will either fall or fury. And everything I’ve seen points to fall.
I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. But I know this world. And I don’t have the means to switch tracks.
No spoons, no funds. Just the endless parade of days. Wishing it were otherwise.
I can feel myself slipping into depression. There’s this deep uncomprehensible sadness that looms just out of view. I’ve just eaten my favorite dish, watching a show I like. I am restless and want to do something. But nothing sounds good…no,that’s not right. There are things that I know, if I started, I would enjoy. But I can’t work up the will to do anything.
So I lay in bed. Isolated from anyone who might check on me. And I hope that sleep will find me, before the crippling self doubt. Before my brain starts whispering lies. I write this in the brief calm before the storm. Because on some level I’m trying to reach out. Even though I won’t send it to anyone. At least not immediately. Maybe I don’t want help. Maybe this is what I deserve. Maybe I’m too late. Maybe I always will be
Rise as leviathan
Woken from fever
A blade bared and hungry
Quiets into painful lethargy
Though distance is constant
Roads least traveled feel less
Was once sorry
Torn between decisions
Lament for what may have
Sings a sirens song
And what may be
Drips from lips stained red
Malaise overlays bones
Tears just beyond beginning
Heart aches in ways mostly unnoticed
Pains drift to the background
Just trying to survive
Hard to be open
When being so would mean
Keeping the social contract
Soft petals turned razor sharp
Soft sadness at wounds too small to ever heal
Scarred by healing
Marks littering my body
Closed and hiding in daylight
A thing of thorns and pain
I grow full by starlight
Cloaked in the night
Scars hidden and covered
By the frozen expanse
Blooms shiver in the this never-ending
While I awake anew
We share a world but we’re not in the same one
Mine has dangers sharp as blades
Lies as comfortable as clouds
Truths as broken as glass
Plant yourself close
I will grow
And protect you shelter you
the broken rose of the winter night
A field of unknown stars
An ocean of pain and beauty
Beneath a frozen moon
Where do I live but in dreams?
For I am sleep itself
Dragged down each day
Stress breaks finger hold on reality
What takes time to break away, destroyed by word
Instead white noise dreams
What else is there