This month is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and yesterday was Mental Health Awareness Day. In honor of them, I pulled out this poem from the deep, archives of my notebooks. I wrote it as a teenager and wanted to share it today because one of the things we often put off is talking with our children about the things to truly matter in today’s world. Admitting that we too have struggled at some time is really hard. But sharing the truth with our kids about what we felt helps them understand they aren’t alone in this world and we really do know how they are feeling. We were kids once too.
I was about 14 or 15 when I wrote this and was living in a girl’s home. It was truly a time of being alone while surrounded by many. It was a really dark time in my life, so I want to give you a trigger warning, especially if your currently dealing with mental health struggles such as suicidal thoughts and ideations. I don’t answer anything but I ask a lot of questions. In the end, I am glad I used writing as the main outlet for expressing my emotions and that I kept pressing forward and am here today to share this, 30 years later.
What do you do?
How do you deal with life when all that you know has blown up in your face? When all of your dreams become nightmares, and all of your nightmares are your reality? When death seems to be the only escape, though you feel as if you died years ago? What do you do when everything you know is no longer? When the breath inside you feels like it is not filled with life? What do you do?
How do you deal when all that you have loved no longer loves you? When all that you have lived for no longer seems to exist? When all that you have died for seems to be questionable, at the very least? What do you do?
How do you deal when all that you have believed in is no longer believable? When all that you have given up seems to be the only thing that you want? When all that you have seems to be all that you don’t? What do you do?
How do you deal when all that you feel, all that you love, all that you desire, seems so far out of reach, that you will never be able to touch it? When all that you want is nowhere near your glance? When all that you once could have had is no longer an option? What do you do?
Do you go die? Do you find life? Do you cry? Do you laugh? Do you ignore everything and run away to a place inside your mind? A place where all of this no longer matters? Do you look for a hobby to take up for free time? Do you find someone to confide in? What do you do?
Do you smoke? Do you do drugs? Do you drink? Do you find solace in the men and women within your reach? Do you find solace in whatever activity is closest to your abilities? Do you dance? Do you sing? Do you wander into a place you have never been and pretend you own it? What do you do?
Do you pretend you are someone else and go to a new place? Do you become something you aren’t in hopes that you will become it? Do you sneak away in the midnight hour, running and running until you can no longer? Do you walk slowly into the darkness hoping that something will come by and put you into that black abyss that you have so fervently prayed for? What do you do?
Do you find solace in that faith that you have believed in? Do you pray that maybe somehow it is real? Do you cry out to that God who has left you behind? Or to the devil who has taken your soul? Or to that power that has guided you through and then left you for dead? What do you do?
What do you do?