Reborn by Tacy Gibbons Fire rages red, orange, blue— the hottest it can burn. Flames lick at my flesh, devour my body, my mind, my soul, leaving behind nothing but ashes. The phoenix rose from nothing more, arrayed in colors, vibrant. I, too, rise up from the ashes, spread my wings and leave behind all that is charred, then fly away with feathers anew. Reborn.
The last few weeks have been kind of rough. My depression has come back, as it always does once the weather gets cold and starts turning to winter. The thing to remember about depression and all mental illness is that there isn’t always a reason. Sometimes there is no former trauma, there are no triggers, it just happens. I’ve been trying to look for the good and see hope, though. I wrote a couple of poems about it. They may seem a little forced, but sometimes that’s what we’ve got to do. We have to force ourselves to look for hope in the midst of darkness and despair.
October Moon by Tacy Gibbons October moon spreads its light softly over fallen leaves and fallen tears. Just enough for some small hope, a little healing. Understanding. Change, metamorphosis can be painful. Dying leaves crumble beneath heavy footsteps. Yet even in the dead of night the jeweled moon shines. Trees on the mountain, blazing red, orange, yellow, will fall, replaced by new, vibrant greens in spring. Growth. Renewal. Ever stretching toward the sky.
In November by Tacy Gibbons Tunnel vision is easy when the sun rises late and sets too early behind craggily-toothed mountains. SADness feels like it will last forever in the long, cold, dark winter. I find some small comfort in black-capped chickadees perched on frosty trees, continuing to sing with breath curling out before them— a twirling, lilting song of hope in the freezing November morn.
Depression by Tacy Gibbons there isn’t always a rhyme or reason time or season anything recent depression attacks dark tendrils creeping cause such weeping leave me pleading for relief seeking reprieve from the storm crying I mourn so tired and worn just take this plate away bring back the light warmth so bright away from depression’s sight give me a reason
I’m working on normal blog stuff, but for now, here’s another poem.
Time Flies by Tacy Gibbons Two kestrels dance beneath a gray-clouded sky, swooping, swerving and swirling around one another. A display of timeless beauty, over in seconds as one bird flies away. They say the days are long, but the years are short. Yet most days go by in a blur of have-tos, need-tos and must-get-dones. The years fly by in the blink of an eye. A snap of the fingers, and I am old and no longer dancing like a pair of kestrels.
Cycle By Tacy Gibbons up, down all around left, right where’s the light spin, spin twist and turn try your best not to burn start to climb fall back down slip and slide you might drown pouring rain cut the vein here we go all over again
A friend recently posed a question on social media about writing and if it has helped heal or ever hurt you. I immediately thought about how healing writing poetry was for me in high school. It truly was a form of therapy. Being diagnosed with depression was scary. Living with depression was even more scary, as well as confusing and lonely. Writing poetry helped me make more sense of what I was going through. Being able to express how I felt and what I was living through brought comfort.
Writing, especially poetry, was based a lot on inspiration. I know some people who can sit down and just write a poem. I could only do it if inspiration came to me. One day the inspiration stopped. So I stopped writing for a long time, and it was incredibly painful. Years later, the inspiration started coming back to me, and in the last few years I have written a lot of poetry. Once again it has been therapeutic to me.
I’ve shared a lot of my poems here, but they never get many views and rarely any kind of response. Maybe people don’t like poetry. Maybe it’s because this isn’t a poetry-specific blog. I don’t know. What I do know is the sense of contentment and healing that has come with being able to express myself through poetry again. It may not be good or anything worthy of praise, but I write and share it for myself and anyone else who may have felt the same healing power through writing—or reading—poetry.
By Tacy Gibbons
Hiding out in the bathroom.
Shame, blame, not a game.
Don’t know how to face
the race of time
and the mountains that stand in the way.
Just wish I could disappear.
Don’t want to see
who’s looking back at me in the mirror.
Mom, c’mon, wife, life.
Can’t shake my own expectations.
Get up, get out.
Run all about.
The bathroom will be waiting another day.
Here are a couple more poems because that’s what I’ve been inspired to write lately.
Open Book By Tacy Gibbons I am an open book. When you see me sitting there will you read from the beginning, only to stop halfway through out of boredom? Will you simply start where the page is open without bothering to read what came before? Will you flip through a few pages here, a few pages there, then toss it aside, uninterested, uncaring? Will you close it up, look at the cover and decide it’s not worth your time? Or will you read each page, beginning to end, sometimes stopping to ponder . . . wonder . . . reflect . . . ? Will you push past the difficult parts and appreciate the story being told? I am an open book, waiting for someone to read all my pages.
Anxiety By Tacy Gibbons Sometimes you sit next me, constantly nudging me, reminding me you’re there. When I get up to go you follow at my heels like a new puppy afraid of getting left behind. Sometimes I keep you at bay, glance you in the distance, staring me down. I avert my eyes and focus on the light, the here-and-now. I’m happy without you. But lately you’ve invaded my space, my life, my body. You wriggle beneath my skin, turn my stomach and tighten your hands around my throat. You leave me immobile, paralyzed, attached to rigid chains and a weight that never lightens. Prisoner, I am, that can’t break free.
Lately I’ve been wondering if I should even keep doing my blog. I have over 250 followers, but my posts usually only get a few views, maybe up to fifteen if I’m lucky. Of course I didn’t start this blog thinking I would get millions of followers and thousands of views. I don’t do it with the hopes of becoming famous or anything like that. But it’s still hard to see the point when so few people look at it or seem to care about it.
This got me wondering why I feel the need to blog and why it feels so hard or hurtful to think of ending it. One reason I started this blog was in the hopes that it might make a difference in even one person’s life. Once, a random person commented on one of my posts that what I had written had made a difference. So I guess I did that, and I do feel grateful for it.
Another reason I started it lies in the subtitle of this blog. “Opening a Discussion on Mental Illness.” I really hoped that more people would comment, that this really could be a place to have an open discussion about mental health and mental illness topics and awareness. I also hoped that there would be others who would want to share their stories or perspectives. There have been very few, and often, my husband is the only one who comments. So again, this makes me wonder if I’m really making any kind of difference at all or not.
But I also realized that one reason I keep posting, even though I know I might get let down, is because it is a creative outlet for me. Writing has been a part of who I am since I was ten years old. I shared my writing in English and Creative Writing classes. I had people who actually asked to read my poetry and my stories. Since college I have been in writing groups where I got feedback, interest and encouragement. But it has been years since I have had any of that. Other than a little poetry here and there, this blog is the only creative writing I have done in a very long time. I think about working on my stories again. I think about it all the time, but always talk myself out of it. What’s the point? I’m no good anyway. No one wants to read my writing. Nothing will come of it. So I keep blogging because writing is still a part of me. It is in my blood, something I feel in my soul. I need to keep sharing my writing whether I get a lot of view or not, whether I get any comments or not, whether I’m really opening a discussion or not. It makes a difference in my life. I fear that if I completely stop writing I will lose a huge part of myself and never feel whole again. So I will keep writing and sharing. Because sometimes we need to do things for ourselves.
Sometimes it’s discouraging and difficult to want to continue with something when it seems like no one cares. But song birds have taught me a lesson I put into a poem.
Songbird By Tacy Gibbons House finches land at my feeder, then fly into a nearby tree and sing. Rain or shine they sing. Sometimes they duck and hide when swirls of snow hit or take flight when starlings and red-winged blackbirds invade, but they always return. And they sing I, too, will sing my song. I may duck and hide when storms rage or take flight when blackness surrounds, but I will return. And I will song my song.
Sometimes life is hard. In those hard moments writing, especially poetry, helps me. It has always been therapy for me as well as a creative outlet. Words are my soul. Words make up so much of who I am. Even though the things I may have felt in moments, days or weeks of depression, despair, frustration, hopelessness, etc. fade the words still mean something to me. And maybe they will mean something to someone else as well. That is one of the reasons I love poetry so much. It can touch someone through time and distance in so many different ways. Here are a couple of poems that may not be how I feel now, but are how I felt at some point and may be how someone else has felt or is feeling.
Honeysuckle Poison by Tacy Gibbons Scent of honeysuckle. Nostalgia hits. I can see the fence where its white flowers grew. Smells of heaven and childhood. Picking blossoms and sucking the sweet nectar down. Memories now poisoned with the knowledge of your lies, the truth of what you really were polluting the sweetness like poison. Reaching through time and memories, choking on the bitter reality, the past now tainted by your toxicity. Yet, I rise up through the fallen petals, let the poison fade. The wave of nostalgia washes over and retreats. And I am left only with the sweet scent of honeysuckle.
A Day In the Life by Tacy Gibbons I am the captured tiger, beaten into submission, thrown into a cage. My master holds the only key. Head hanging, shoulders hunched, sad eyes look longingly for the dream I used to live. Master asks me to lift my head, swish my tail and purr. He needs life to feel normal again. I sit in patience, surrounded by bars, lift my head, swish my tail and purr, hoping to please, hoping for companionship. Master walks by, smiles and pats my head . . . then wanders off, leaving me to my cage and defeat. I am the captured tiger, beaten into submission, thrown into a cage. My master holds the only key. And I wonder— if he ever lets me out, will I want to go? Or will the caged life be all I remember? All I want to know? Or maybe—will I run? Run to freedom and never look back.