How Poetry Helped This Teenager Deal With Feelings of Depression
And my one regret about it
I pulled down an old storage box to look for a childhood book I had written when I came across a photo album stuffed full of poetry.
The poems were written between the years of 1981–1985 when I was between 13 to 17 years old.
I read through every one of them and found there is definitely a theme: depression.
Many speak of suicide and taking leave of this world
The clock ticked slowly
and so did her breath.
She tightened the rope
and with little strength left
she knocked the chair over.
It was all over.
Not but a few minutes later
a scream was heard
and two people were lost.
Lost in the tries of suicide,
the succeeding ones.
I thank God that I had this ability to “talk” about my thoughts without actually acting on them.
It’s not raining outside
The thunder is not booming
The lightning doesn’t streak the sky
The storm in me is relentless.
I await a calm day.
Yes, I await a calm day.
Although I struggled with depression since childhood, I didn’t recognize it as that. I felt rather like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as I excelled in school and appeared to be “happy” most of the time. But inside there was a storm raging.
As the black menacing clouds fill the sky
my blood gurgles deep.
The wind blows feverishly
as do my eyes shift.
The lightning that sends electricity against the sky
starts my heart to beat.
The boom of thunder
drowns out my own screams.
The rain pouring down
erases the tears from my face.
The fury of the storm
reflects itself in me.
Not even my own parents knew what I was truly feeling.
I self-medicated by experimenting with drugs. In high school, my drug of choice was LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as acid, is a hallucinogenic drug. Effects typically include altered thoughts, feelings, and awareness of one’s surroundings.) Although I liked the altered feelings, it left me worse for wear the next day and created a vicious cycle.
Light casts shadow
reflecting in the window.
Silence except for the rhythm of the wind
beating at the cracks in the house.
Quiet is surrounding,
The only sense of reality
is a radio in the background.
The world is asleep
but the moon shines brightly.
The rays beating through the blue clouds.
The fire is giving off its heat
and a cigarette burns.
He sits silently
the wall is beckoning him with the watercolour picture
of a world unknown
far away and mysterious
he enters it.
In a fog he walks down the muddy street
peering behind a corner he sees an old lady.
He turns around and notices children
gaily skipping rope.
Men riding horses
their only real friend.
But is it real?
It’s only a dream
and he awakens
to a burnt out cigarette
He gets up and retires to his bed
where his dreams are meant to be.
In university, I gave up the drugs for a more acceptable form of self-medication; alcohol. I made it through those years by binge drinking and suffering blackouts. Again, a vicious circle.
Through the years, I continued to write poetry but not as frequently and instead turned more to journalling. It helped me to sort out my feelings and recognize that I truly had a problem.
In my 40s I finally reached out to my family doctor about my depression. He provided me with a prescription. My mood swings settled and my crying bouts dried. I no longer felt like I had a split personality. I thank God for modern medicine.
I am also thankful for the outlet that poetry provided for me in my younger years. My only regret is that I didn’t share these with someone who could’ve steered me towards seeking the help I needed sooner.