The Suicide Monologue

My social media feed, like many of yours, has been filled with posts about recent suicides. Everyone has their conjectures on why these happened and the reasons they couldn’t have been helped.

Those who have been in the abyss of depression and despair could see better reasons, perhaps. Honestly, though, the only ones who could give the keys to why are no longer on this plane of existence.

I’ve been suicidal. I’ve known those who took their lives, not by the obvious means, but the slow ones—the overeating, the drinking, the smoking, the drugging, the anorexia, the overworking. I’m among the chemically imbalanced—where the voices inside our heads tell us to do it, whether out of delusion or old tapes of abuse and neglect. I have known the emotional pain; others also know the physical pain, or both and more. The wearing toll of carrying this pain every day, through lovers and therapists, through the sad eyes of children and friends, knowing that we hurt them and feel we would be better off not existing here anymore. That anguish of loss, making many paintings, writing many stories, singing many songs. And the golden thread of hope, becoming thinner in the black fabric, whispering, “Do you want to live?”

More people are taking the masks off, showing tear-stained and puffed-up faces. The consumer-driven life has left people empty and lonely, now throwing their money to belong somewhere, anywhere, beyond the happy plastic piles of stuff. We are now upset, angry even. What we are the most, though, is vulnerable. We have been starved so we devour more, then be told we’re not enough. If spiritual leaders say we’re enough, why do they take our money? Even the enlightened ones are business people.

We all have to own our shadows, be our own oracles, follow our own wisdom. We’re now being told to follow our intuition, use our imagination. Meditate, do yoga, draw stick figures if you have to. Just express that yawning hole you now have. Find what you really want to do with your remaining existence.

Or just hug somebody. Share some good body chemistry with your loved ones or even strangers. It doesn’t have to lead to anything else.

We’re told, lean in. Maybe we need to reach out for a while instead, but not for the platitudes of sponsored personalities. We need to find our blistered brothers and sisters, with sweat and flesh and stained teeth. Our tribe isn’t so much money a month. It’s the price of a cup of coffee, a pastry and some tissues. Some gas or a bus ticket. A park bench and some old trees, and a hand around the shoulder. Go to a meetup or a support group. Or just announce it on your social media feed—going out, want to join?

Are you game?

Sure, go the hospital, get a therapist, take meds if it helps. But cradle yourself, call a lifeline, and talk, talk, talk out your pain. Bring it out into the sunshine, into the rain. Then go out for a drink of water and realize that we all have our dark places—we are not alone.

A Different Spring

Hello from the land of grass and clay.

Like the flowers reaching for the sun, I’m reaching for some light. Shaking off the last bits of snow and ice, I’m looking forward to fragrant lilacs and brave squirrels finding their caches of last autumn’s harvest.

It seems that upheaval and abrupt change are in this spring’s scope. Things that used to be hostile are now looking for peace. Things that were silenced are now crying out from the ground.

My world is no different. There is school ending and beginning. There is a tent that needs to be checked and cleaned for camping. There are financial decisions; what to buy or not buy is a moving target. The youth are looking for employment. Families move out and move in throughout the neighborhood.

There seems to be a pulse about spring, though sometimes it’s more like tachycardia. Choices are made quickly and there is too much haste, putting the eggs in the basket only to have them fall and crack open. There were appearances of the sun, only to be hidden with heavy clouds and the drips of rain. People cram the mall only to find that the stores are closing and not a lot is taking their places.

More of my acquaintances are starting to feel spring fever. It may mean a simple happiness or it can be full-blown mania, but only their minds will know the difference. For me, it’s a relieved exhale, to walk amongst paths dodging the newlyweds and prom goers and the expecting moms, all wanting to have their pictures taken under the blooms of the trees. Robins are finding bugs and sparrows gather grass for their nests. You can’t move slow these months because Nature’s creatures are knocking themselves over for the chance to carry their DNA into the next generation. Runners move faster and walkers talk louder, all in a hurry to somewhere and nowhere all at once.

Sophie is now looking outside and chattering because there is a bird on the front yard. In a little while I’ll feed her the same food and she’ll look upon it as if was new again. I’ll look outside to see the wind blow last year’s leaves down the street, while the faintest hint of life is extending from the branches of the sugar maple. I haven’t missed it all yet; there are new things coming forth in the next few months.

Happy spring!


Winter in Repose

Once the holiday trimmings are put away and the New Year’s resolutions already broken, there’s an abrupt hush.  We look out of the window and see the Winter Queen’s signature: Ice to skid on, snow to fall through and push away, and succinctly biting cold. It is a quiet song leading up to Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, and eventually Spring.

I verbalize the echoes of the past but also the future. This is a time of slow songs and looking within for the next big adventure. It’s a time of living in the dark, going by what our other senses tell us. It is a time of trusting that what we’re working so hard for will come to pass.

It is a time of hoping, praying, performing rituals, looking for the signs that we are on the right path.

I have been restless as of late. I moved things around, packed and unpacked books and things for hobbies that I’m once again interested in. Unlike the mantra heard this year to declutter, there is stuff that I’m not ready to part with yet, mainly coffee table books of country houses.

I also struggle with obsessions that rob me of sleep. What if’s, escape fantasies, and general uneasiness abound. I focus on my breathing, while part of my brain keeps going, “But what about this? And what if we do this?” I took some anti-anxiety medication and woke up quickly the next morning, surprised and worried to see gray daylight.

The Blue/Full/Eclipsed Moon is still passing. People were supposedly moody, but I didn’t notice anything new. I am releasing, though, and will most likely continue for a while. I still have to reconcile what i like with what I need. It’s not dumping five bags and two boxes at the Goodwill pickup center and being done with it. It’s more a slow, delicate shedding of layers. There are pauses to reflect what is deemed necessary for this journey forward. It’s taking inventory, like all the stores do before tax time. What can I give, and what do I need to keep?

I do know what I need to let go, though. Anger, judgment, and the persistent “requirement” to have attention from those who I think I must please. Once again, gratitude and using what I have are forces I must use.

So, I’ll sit and listen for the tiny whispers that echo rest and thoughtful consideration. I will sit in repose until the sun lingers longer and its heat warms my bones. But now is a time to dream big and plant the seeds that flower in Spring.

Turning Over The Leaves

It’s uncertain what one finds in fall. Sometimes it’s moist loam, a burying insect moving to the less frozen ground. Sometimes it’s blazing trees, with leaves of sulphur and fire. Sometimes the heat only shifts a few degrees. Sometimes it becomes summer again, even hotter than before.

The maple in front of our house is colored and shapeshifting. It’s time to gather the leaves, in regalia, and wonder about the twilight years.

What started as a worthy attempt to become a college graduate has fallen into chaos and depression. In my rollercoaster mind, what seemed a gradual rise turned into a loopy-loop, dropping everything from my seat that wasn’t belted down. Autumn has become a failure of nerves, overwhelmed and poking timidly at the work spread in front of me.

Still, there is light and water, sun and stars. By stepping away and turning this leaf there is fecundity, rich growth. My words may stumble under their own weight, but the roots are pushing forward, finding nutrition in the deepening soil. On the outside there is another wreath and garden flag. Internally, the tree slows down and rests until the sunlight increases again in spring. The pace is slowing, not in step with the demands of current living. The harvest is beginning, gathering words and thoughts like apples. Some may have worms but all have their uses. All return to the soil and are regenerated, life after life.

I wonder about the legacy of our lives. Is it all useless frittering, gaining a piece of paper  or a number on a Web site? But even paper and electronics break down, though not completely for many years. I think it is in the small spaces; listening to a child, baking a fresh apple pie. The little bit of tilling in our lives. Straining to be creative, even if it’s a stick figure on a cocktail napkin, The rewards are reaped and then it’s time to lay fallow, nurturing the next dream or idea. The bounty awaits.

Post 150

I’ve made it this far.

149 posts and some interesting deep dives, shallow paddling, and just getting wet.

My apologies to the Facebook viewers who were poem-bombed while I was adding tags to my older writings. I forgot that I set this up so it would automatically post to Facebook. I don’t know, maybe there was some poems worth reading.

Now as I turn this corner, a reawakening will be occurring. I’m going back to school (kind of, it’s online so far)  to work on a degree in Creative Writing. My first class is poetry, ironically. I’ll be hiding in my home office, trying out more words and will hopefully get a decent grade.

But for now it’s late afternoon, my work on the site is done. One cat is butting her head against my elbow. The other has taken her napping position on the couch. My husband is asleep as well. So other than the occasional meow, all is quiet.

Time to relax and let the imagination wander as it may.


Resilience (or Lack Thereof)

Resilience is the “ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change,” according to the Mariam-Webster Dictionary. Many see it as a bounce back from something bad, like a tennis ball striking the ground and flying forward.


Even tennis balls go flat, though, and lose their bouncy potential.


I know there’s been times in my life where I didn’t get up quickly from the things life punches me with. I’ve struggled with depression for many years. It was hard to not be able to do the “pull yourself up and think positive” routine for a while. It was difficult enough just to get out of bed. So, I was not always resilient. Even when I did push myself forward, there was an anxious blowback that would incapacitate me for hours.


Resilience is only good if the misfortune is aired out. Releasing the pain from its infernal grip, talking to somebody or journaling, and practicing self-care relieves some of the sting.


It also helps to understand the trauma. Be it childhood abuse, stress from work, financial woes, or shellshock from war—these require different types of caring. It’s one thing to commiserate over a lost job; different than losing a beloved person or pet; still another to wash away the vision of killing a child because they were trained to kill you first.


These things take compassion, from others and from oneself. Most people know where their breaking point is. What do you do when you received the short straw? What do you do when the last shovelful of dirt hits the grave? Can you walk away and go on with life? Not easy, isn’t it?


There is no set timeframe for grief. There is no expiration date to suffering. It happens when it happens. Let the pain roll through.  I breathe it in and breathe it out. Then I pick up the pen or open that document. Let it all out. Write until I’m exhausted. Then pick up the phone and call or send a text. Find a pair of listening ears. Someone whose eyes can digest your words, and give a thoughtful response.  Even if I have to pay for it, find them.


Then look around. The birds are in the trees. Another car goes by. The dog barks, the people walk to their destination. Life is still happening. And I’m still a part of it.


I had years of therapy and dozens of medications. I practiced talking and drawing cartoons of my suffering. I am still working on that inner peace thing. Memories emerge and I wince, shaken out of my body. It’s hard to be doing dishes and suddenly I’m back to the abuse. I realize I’m not there now, that I am safe. Focus on the plate, the bowl, the fork. Focus on the warm water and the suds from dish soap. Being in the present. Finish and take the time to process it.

Put it down in words. What is it saying to me? I’m not stupid or dumb. I’m not a loser. Another rosebud of compassion falls on my lap. I did the best I could. It’s not all my fault, or none of it is my fault. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to stand still. Breathing in, breathing out.

I’m becoming resilient. Step by baby step.

Waiting and Watching…

My husband had hernia surgery on Monday. It was a long wait as I was forgotten by the staff and had to call back to the recovery room to see if he was okay.  I spent most of the time eating, watching HGTV, and scouring the Facebook feeds.

He’s been laughing and groaning as the abdominal muscles that were cut make their presence known. He’s been sleeping on his back, not a normal position for him.  Bending and twisting are limited for the moment.

I’ve been doing the driving, cooking, and caretaking. It’s unusual with the roles being reversed. He finds it weird that I have to tell him to sit down and rest for the umpteenth time. He has to lie down and sleep when the pain killer kicks him down.

Mostly it’s me who goes to the hospital or the doctor for something healable or manageable. My moods have been lurching from one side to the other, the pendulum of bipolar swings wider until it settles down to a mere rocking side to side. I can’t afford the depression; my wariness now keeps tabs on various stages and players.

He’s getting better, slowly. It should be about three weeks before the Steri-Strips fall off and the wound heals. I keep my vigilance. Like a solder at the gate I watch and wait.

It’s Done, For Now

My Web site has been renovated. It’s been some head scratching but doable for the most part. I like this theme and will probably stick with it for a while.

I used up some brain cells on parts of it. Things that worked in the demo can’t be done on the live site. That’s how it goes.

I’m glad to have this completed for the time being. I want to move back into poetry and writing, and taking more pictures.

My mood has stayed stable through this. No anxiety attacks or hypomania. I’m grateful for that.

Winter Still Comes…

The snow makes filigree lines, lacing its way around the grass. Spring tried to arrive but was defeated with biting cold and crystalline powder. Still, I managed to capture Spring’s brief charge with the chipmunk featured below.

We went to Cox Arboretum, and the animals were busy. Chipmunks scuttled around the boulders, a squirrel was busy relocating nuts it had stored, and robins flitted upon the ground. For a brief moment in time we paused and relaxed.

Now Winter has returned. I don’t know how the delicate leaves of the rose bushes will fare. I’m pretty sure the squirrel is still busy. The robins hide under the trees, fluffing up their feathers for a bit of warmth. I’m here with my jacket on, contemplating whether to start the fireplace.