Shadow Poetry

Blood & Salt

I have days
Where I wish
I wasn’t


My fingertips
Burning
With all this
Broken belief


Broken mirrors
Full of dreams
I naively
Dreamt


There are all
These rules
Where I just
Don’t belong


My soul
Is a song
No one wants
To sing


Hope is
A betrayer
A siren song
Sweet lullaby
Sweeping in
To caress


Only,
I don’t see
Until it’s too late
The charcoal claws
Coming for
My soft underbelly


Carving out the warmth
Leaving me hollow
In bed sheets
Wet with blood and salt
Tears I didn’t know
I had left


No porcelain grave
To weep for
My loss


I am barred
From slumber
Repreive


I am begging
For magic
On my knees
Before the abyss


When I’m honest
Alone with
The helpless child
And monster
In me
I wish
I wish I wasn’t


by Daphne Shadows

Stream of Consciousness

Right Now Hurts

I was going to do a different post today, but dang. Today hurts.

Life is hard.

Give yourself more credit.

And when you mess up, because you WILL mess up, don’t hurt yourself more by hating on yourself.


I struggle with food, a lot.

I have a digestive disease that leaves me with only brown rice, grapes, strawberries, cauliflower, zucchini, avocado, chicken broth, and eggs to eat. Everything else will not digest properly and I end up in so much pain that I can’t function.

What’s the one thing trainers and nutritionists both agree with? Don’t go on an insanely restrictive diet, you won’t be able to sustain (stick to) it.

Well, they’re absolutely right.

So I break and eat things I shouldn’t.

And guess what happens then? Regardless of calories, I gain weight because my body can’t digest the food properly.

It’s been 7 years of this and I’m breaking. And it’s not the physical pain that get’s me.


I’ve gained 20 pounds and it hurts. Emotionally. I’ve dealt with a lot of abuse and chronic health issues and inability to do what I desire because of both, since a child. But this? Weight gain? I’d have to say it’s in the top 3 most painful things I’ve ever experienced.

Only, this pain attacks my identity, my sense of self, my self worth. Constantly. I don’t know how people handle it.

I’ve been in so much pain because of restless leg syndrome that I’ve honestly considered finding ways to knock myself unconscious. I’ve hallucinated because of lack of sleep due to this syndrome. It’s insane. I feel crazy. Picture the crazy Hollywood person in a white padded cell, pulling out their hair and slamming their head into the wall. That’s how RLS makes me feel.

If I had the choice to get rid of ONE thing? I’d choose the extra weight. I’d keep the migraines, I’d keep the nausea, I’d keep the bipolar depression which I can’t be medicated for, I’d keep the inability to run (the only time I used to feel free), the lack of sleep, the chest pain, I’d keep all my other health issues.

If I could get rid of the weight.


So, today or tonight, whenever you read this, if you’re struggling, I’d like you to know that you are strong. Even when you feel the absolute weakest. You can get through whatever you’re facing.

Tomorrow is a new day. Everyone makes mistakes. It doesn’t make us bad, evil, less than good enough, or gross. It makes us human.

And one thing humans have in common as a species? We adapt, we figure a way out, we survive, we overcome.

Stream of Consciousness

pinky promise?

promise me this

if you get lost

you’ll keep looking for a path, a light, an opening

don’t give up

don’t give in to the cold and the darkness so eagerly reaching its hands out to you, fingers outstretched, wanting you to curl up in a ball at the base of a gulf so wide and deep you’ll never find which way is up to crawl out

keep going

one breath at a time

one choice at a time

one footstep into the unknown you’re facing at a time

knowing

knowing you can handle whatever comes next

and no matter how much it hurts, stretches you, scars you – you are stronger

 

promise me

promise me

you will never give up

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Stream of Consciousness

I Have a Better Question

Do you ever feel like a marionette?

The daily to-do’s and responsibilities as your strings?

Only they’re made of steel. Filling up your eyesight and jerking you from here to there. Yet leaving you oddly hollow, skin tight, eyes forcing themselves to stay open through what begins to feel like a meaningless shuffle for a cardboard crowd.

That’s how I feel today.

Tired.

Pointless.

Where’s the joy for life? The promise of something better?

Some days I feel like no matter how hard I try to climb my way out of this revolving door – I’m still here.

Still fighting.

For more.

Something better.

 

What to do?

I mean, we have so many options.

We could always give up, give in. Let depression bury us in a myriad of distractions, mind-numbing things we do because it’s what we always do and we’re just so tired and change is hard.

We could let anger turn into bitter resentments. Become a nasty human who only spreads misery, always has a reason to martyr themselves or explain why they’re not responsible or how it’s someone else’s fault.

We could go the illegal route. Hurt or exploit others for money.

We could slap on a fake smile and pretend everything is just dandy while inside we slip further and further into oblivion. Lying to ourselves.

Or we could keep fighting.

Hoping.

Trying.

Looking for the positivity.

Doing what we can.

Enjoying the little things.

The little successes.

Keep finding a reason.

 

You see, I think we search too much for the meaning of life.

We’re here. I think that’s all the proof or validation that we need.

I think the point is to live our own life as best we can, treating ourselves with dignity and love, and then trying to help others.

I think our purposes can change as we do. But if we’re not really living life, then we’re not living up to our potential.

 

Enjoying life is easier said than done.

I’m still depressed, sitting on the couch, wondering why I bother to write, since I haven’t finished a novel I like yet and haven’t been published yet and simply lack for direction in my life.

But it’s a low day for me. I recognize that. Yesterday was a great day. And the day before that. I’m going to exercise in less than an hour from now and I know that always elevates my mood. I still feel like I’m running on a hamster wheel, though.

The reason I’m telling you this is, I think we can feel so stuck, so miserable, and fight for so long – that it feels like nothing will ever change. That we’ll never fight our way to the top of our own struggles.

But we will.

We already have.

What was so hard to you three years ago that felt like it would never end? Something you’ve conquered?

We’re stronger than we think.

We’re allowed to feel tired and depressed and sick of always having to fight for what seems to come easily to others.

We just can’t let that keep us from living and enjoying our own lives in whatever healthy ways we can.

 

Everything is easier said than done.

There are days where we question the point of our existence. But I have a better question.

What’s the point of giving up?

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Stream of Consciousness

Love Letter

Whatever you feel you cannot overcome, you can.

Whatever you feel you can’t survive, you will.

Whatever you feel makes you weak, can make you strong.

Whatever you fear makes you unlovable, makes you human and relatable.

Whatever challenge in your life feels like it will never end, it will.

Whatever or whoever has left you feeling empty and hopeless and broken and incapable of picking yourself back up so that you can keep going… it doesn’t matter what or who it is, they cannot win. Because you are so much more than who you were yesterday, then what you feel in this moment. You are so much more than your fears for tomorrow and the anxieties that you wake up to.

It does matter how afraid you are. How filled with worry you are. How much pressure you feel. It does matter that you feel terrified to fail, to let someone down, to let yourself down. It does matter that you feel alone or empty or broken.

Everything you feel matters.

But what you feel is what you feel. Your emotions are not your identity.

Do you notice yourself thinking, “I am angry”? That’s not accurate. You are who you are. You feel anger. That anger does not define you.

So when you feel broken. You are not broken. You are simply resting and recovering and grieving and preparing. You are growing stronger, gaining new experience, learning what does not work, building an extra layer of skin.

Every time you feel like you cannot keep going, you can.

I am not saying it will be easy. I am not saying there are any magic words that will take all the pain away and make you feel strong and in control and “all together”.

What I’m saying is, stay true to yourself. If you feel exhausted, you have the right to feel exhausted. Allow yourself to feel that. But it doesn’t define who you are. It’s simply defines what you’re in the process of overcoming.

Do you ever take a look at what you’ve already overcome? At the situations and relationships and challenges in life that you thought were impossible or would never end? You’re here now. You overcame them. They ended.

You can do this.

You can fight for the life, the job, the relationships, the identity you want.

But you have to believe you deserve it. I’m here to tell you that you do. You deserve all the beauty this world has to offer you.

But you also deserve all the suffering it has to offer to you. Because there’s no way for us to get strong if there is no pain involved. There is no growth if some part of us does not grow old and stagnant and die.

There is no rebirth if part of us doesn’t die first.

The pain will end. You will continue to get stronger. You can find a way to navigate this life and still enjoy it.

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Stream of Consciousness

4 Things I Know to be True

 

Take a vacation in depression. Don’t move in and live there.

 

Life doesn’t have a one size fits all path.

 

Adulting comes with instructions that don’t work.

 

Parenting is like putting together a puzzle with one piece missing.

 

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Stream of Consciousness

How to Talk to Your Mentally Ill Friend

 

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

 

A person who is missing a limb can pray to God for help all day and night long. I’m pretty certain God (insert your Higher Power here, if not God) isn’t going to grow their limb back. We aren’t lizards. Not how it works.

Mental illness challenges are much the same. Not saying they’re the same as having your arms blown off, but you get me.

 

I get told to pray to God and He will take away my sadness.

One – depression and sadness are NOT the same thing.

Two – God gives us challenges on purpose. So we can figure out how to live with them in the way He wants us to. As well as help others who suffer from the same challenges. These things help us grow, challenge ourselves, rise to the occasion. Pretending like being bipolar is something I can just pray away is an insult to God and to myself. He has trusted me to handle this.

Perhaps it will go away. That happens.

Or perhaps it will be more like getting a knee injury. Occasionally, that knee will act up and I’ll have to deal with it.

There is no one way that mental health challenges work. Different person, different life experiences with mental illness.

But none of us can simply get up, decide to no longer have mental illness issues, and *poof* be healthy. Doesn’t work that way.

A cancer patient doesn’t get the diagnosis, decide to stop having it, and *poof* no more cancer. Uh-uh. They have to fight it. Give it everything they’ve got.

Sometimes the disease kills them.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it goes into remission and comes back, only to go into remission once again.

 

If you aren’t sure how to approach or talk to someone with mental health challenges, consider how you’d talk to a friend who has fibromyalgia or is in the process of going blind.

Mental illness isn’t a choice.

 

 

Yes, making good choices can alleviate it or even get rid of it. But that’s a process. And is true of all illnesses. Get diabetes or cancer, you’re going to have to change what you’re doing, eating, etc. Get panic disorder and you’re going to have to do the same.

We can all make good choices.

That includes aiming for understanding, empathy, kindness, compassion. Instead of telling someone with devastating depression or a mood disorder or any host of other mental illnesses, to simply “knock it off”, “get over it”, “choose to be happy,” “pray and trust God to take it away”, etc.

Perhaps your Higher Power will take it away. Just as He might take away cancer. But that’s not going to happen without the person trying, working for it, making changes, and suffering through a lot of pain that they didn’t choose to have.

 

We can be happy and depressed at the same time. Because happiness is the opposite of sadness. Not depression. Depression is an illness.

You wouldn’t tell someone to just knock it off and quit sneezing when they have a cold, would you?

 

SO IF YOU’RE UNCERTAIN whether or not to say something to someone who struggles with mental health issues (anxiety, depression, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, mood disorders, etc.) a pretty good guideline is:

If you wouldn’t say it to someone with cancer…

If you wouldn’t say it to an amputee…

Don’t say it to someone with mental health challenges.

Stream of Consciousness

Worst Fear and Worst Enemy

 

“What’s your worst fear?” He asked.

“Myself.”

 

fight — don’t give in

 

I answered immediately.

I realized this later.

Didn’t skip a beat.

Didn’t have to think about it.

It wasn’t forced, it was honest.

 

I am my own worst enemy.

I knew this already, in the back of my mind. My subconscious always knew.

And, in the front of my mind, where I’m aware, now that I think about it…

I agree.

 

I tie myself in knots over emotion.

I don’t know what I feel, I don’t know how to get to what I feel when I do know what I feel, and I don’t know what to do with what I feel.

 

I read an article yesterday.

An Important Question to Ask if You Feel Suicidal

It’s a great article. Even if you’re not suicidal, even if you don’t even have depression — its a great eye opener. The stigma of depression, suicide, and anxiety is made up of untruths, half-truths, and ignorance. This gal goes all in, committing to be honest to her readers.

I’d like to do the same.

Lying has never served me.

I’ve always had the urge to be honest. Vulnerable. Ironically, vulnerability isn’t my thing. I war with myself, in case you haven’t noticed.

Anywho.

 

and just so ya know, fighting sometimes simply means surviving the day healthily

 

Depression isn’t my fault. It wasn’t my choice. I didn’t ask for depression, didn’t sign up, didn’t decide, ‘oh yeah, sure, no problem, I’ll work with this’.

Depression isn’t who I am.

It’s only part of who I am. Also — however I deal with depression, with all my struggles, that’s also who I am.

 

The gal in the above article put into words my exact thoughts.

If there was a lever I could pull, one where no one would get hurt, and I would die in a painless, instant way — some days, I would pull this lever.

Not today.

Today I’m doing pretty good.

Okay, that’s a lie.  But I’m not ready to pull that lever.

And pulling that lever — that’s not me. That’s the parasite living inside me, drugging me with this disgusting, confusing, and numbing paralytic.

Sure, I learn through dark and painful stories, but I’m stubborn and I always try, sometimes even to my determent. I’m optimistic and goofy as well as dark.

I fight depression. Giving into struggles isn’t my thing. Stubborn, and all that.

 

So I suppose I’m my worst fear because I don’t know how to define myself, how to reach myself, how to be all of myself.

But hey – at least I’m aware.

Awareness, Acceptance, Action

That’s a good start.

 

What’s your greatest fear? Worst enemy?