If Depression conducted traffic
The way it controls most other things
People wouldn’t judge my driving nearly as much
You see, it’s not me. It’s Depression.
But I can’t use that as a valid excuse-
Honestly Officer, I didn’t do anything,
Depression was behind the wheel all along.
Depression is a teenage cry for attention,
Not a diagnosis that garners sympathy casseroles
Even though I didn’t eat last weekend
Cause I couldn’t get out of bed for the life of me.
If Depression managed medication
With all the strict precision with which
It regulates chocolate cravings maybe
My body wouldn’t revolt so violently, so frequently
And then maybe I’d be good for something
Without constantly fearing my eyes deceived me.
But the way it is, my depression only drives me
And I just think it would be so much easier
If we were all on the same page, because then
Every slam on the brake would make sense
Green light or no- stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop.
You’ll never make it. Stop. You’ve gone too far. Stop.
Where are you going? Stop. Do you even know?
Why are you like this? Stop. Go. Go.
No wonder everybody hates you- go faster.
You didn’t come this far to give up now- go faster.
Depression is erratic, unpredictable, and strange.
It’s foreign, it’s wild, a lion running across the plain.
Depression is the romantic version of death
The broken version of love, the sad version of hate,
The angry version of acceptance.
Depression is a heap of stepping stones on your chest
To remind you of all the places you cannot go. Stop.
When you see horses running through fields in movies
Equipped with saddle, bridle, and reigns yet missing
A rider- that’s the Wild West of Depression
Where the world awaits a crash sight to gawk at.
That’s me- tragedy worth head shakes not hand shakes.
Crash and burn. Failure is cheap. Stop, stop, stop.
A convertible can’t drive itself- Go. Crash again.
It wasn’t me, it was Depression.
Head throbbing, eyes burning, heart issuing empty threats-
I swear, this time I mean it, today is the day I quit-
Soul singing like a blackbird using the windowsill as a perch,
Delicate from head to toe, freezing you under its gaze.
Some days, I’m a dove- I promise I can chirp and sing
Right there with the best of them if you just open my box.
Some days, I’m an eagle- all courage and gusto, noble
Enough to take your breath away, free as the blowing breeze,
But don’t you see, I’m endangered and I’m missing part of me?
Some days I’m a humble sparrow in the back garden,
Quiet as a small town Church on a Friday night until
I cruise right into the screen door- Go. Stop. It wasn’t me,
Depression put my brain on cruise control last winter- well,
I wasn’t ready to come out of hibernation, so forgive me,
If you break into the house to find my table cluttered, shelves dusty.
Honestly, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen company here.
Candles would’ve been lit, music would’ve been playing
If only I knew when to expect the sunlight to swing by.
But can you blame me for throwing a bar or two on the windows
When all the smiles who break and enter disappear into the woodwork
The second I’m finished with the grand tour? It’s hard to be honest,
I’m doing it anyway. I don’t mind. Go- no really, go ahead,
I’ll be right here if you ever think of me, decide business like friendship
Deserves to be left finished, not stuffed in the back of the linen closet
Like a soap everybody wants to forget about instead of using.
When God put me to sleep and removed my rib to make you,
I don’t know where he got the resentment, so I’ll say return to sender.
Resentment isn’t the imaginary friend to wrap a blanket around you
On the days when it gets you locked out of the house in a blizzard.
But, I was good to it anyway, because how could I be anything but?
If Depression didn’t pack so much luggage, I may have let it stay
Until death did us part. I know I think too much about death,
But I can’t help it when curiosity slithers down my throat,
Plants a garden in my stomach, and irrigates its own community.
There is no weapon in my arsenal for when that awful little need
Dances behind my eyes like this ghost town threw a ball-
Maybe I get overwhelmed too easily, but Anxiety and Depression
Are enemies who share a tapestry’s worth of common threads.
They are a series of slaps to the face, not a cadre of fingers
Laced tightly through mine. Stop stop stop. No one asked
For reassurance. No one asked me if they could help, did they?
Depression is good at telling friends I don’t need shelter,
Depression is an expert at posting 824 pictures of the sunrise
When all I see is torrential downpour, more persistent than me.
Depression reminds me to turn on the lights. Anxiety asks,
“So what are you going to do now that your lights don’t work?”
If it was only Depression conducting the city traffic,
Life would be ever so much more pleasant, more liveable.
But no- I’m swirling and hunched over at the same time
Because my teeth won’t stop chattering even though
So many people stop to ask, “Why don’t you ever talk to people?”
Stop, stop, stop. No- I have to go. Why don’t I understand this yet?
Depression likes to drive in circles, counting the miles.
Depression forgets about stop signs just like due dates.
Depression wonders where to go next, somewhere we won’t be found-
Stop. Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the road. Now Go.
Thank you so much for reading this poem. I hope you got something worthwhile from it. If you liked it, check out my last published poem:
Here is a poem I wrote in response to re-reading The Hate U Give after the murders of George Flloyd and Breonna Taylor…