“Today I would like to present to you all a poem from a spoken word artist born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan. The following poem sheds light on their experience with mental illness after having received a diagnosis and starting dialectic behavioral therapy – a form of cognitive behavioral therapy. This poem is a great representation of how difficult life can be for those combating mental illness.”
By: Cat Abenstein
(The following is inspired after achieving a diagnosis and starting Dialectic Behavioural Therapy.)
How can you hide from your thoughts?
The kind that probe and dig and break and demand and maim…
Thoughts like a leaky faucet,
drip, drip, drip,
Some small and quick and mostly painless.
Gone before they’re even registered.
Others are big fat globs of water droplets that splash
down into the sink,
sending water flying up and around in
runway lines of water.
“Remember your self soothing techniques we worked on.”
My therapist’s voice pops in my head.
She’s soft spoken,
and trained so well.
She nods and validates and leaves space for my words and doesn’t judge my actions,
but empathizes with how they make me feel.
She says things like,
“That must be hard.”
“Do you think these rules you create are fair to you?”
“You described your anger as feeling hot and tight. What else can make you feel hot and tight. Arousal? Exactly. Arousals not bad, is it?”
Arousal isn’t bad.
Turning my all too familiar rage into a watered down versions of itself,
is helpful when I realize my body reacts in just a few ways to so many different emotions.
My body feels the same when it’s angry
as it does when I’m horny,
as it does when I’m stressed,
as it does when I’m excited…
And knowledge is power.
Knowing is half the battle.
But now these answers:
Major depressive disorder
Borderline personality disorder
Leave me with so many questions.
Bargaining types of questions.
“Please. Not again. Why again?”
“Make it stop. Will anything make this stop?”
A splitting calm of dried tears tie these words to a bitter acceptance:
It won’t stop.
“It’s never going to end. I can literally never see a life without this pain. Even though I have more good days than bad, the bad far outweigh the good. This will keep happening. All the progress I’ve made will crumble under the weight of my expectation. I will constantly flip back and forth between enthusiasm for life and crawling on my living room floor, watering the floor boards with my pathetic tears. Begging like a stray for love scraps.”
Stop those thoughts.
Stop those thoughts. Stop those thoughts.
Stop those thoughts.
At what point do your suicidal and self harming thoughts become too much?
After the first thought? The first cut?
Even though you’re (pretty) sure you actually wouldn’t…
I used to hide from my thoughts
…uppers that pulled me out of delusion into drug induced fantasies of superiority
If not that,
Red line driving
Now I embrace these thoughts.
Give faces to the impulses,
Call out the delusions…
But it doesn’t necessarily make it easier
every time I find myself back here.
I forget how hard the trip is.
How confusing this carousel ride is.
I hate how my seat stayed warm.
I hate my old shadow friends and how eager they are to pick up where we left off, regardless if I can name them now, or not.
Take me out
Get me off
Get me out
And take me away.