Uncharted Waters

I tried to escape the pain,
and nothing worked.
So now, I will go into the pain.

As I stand at the edge of this ocean,
I cannot see the opposite shore.
But I must trust that someday I will,
if I’m brave enough to start swimming.

(May 2022)

When I Go Deep

When I go deep into my guilt, I find innocence.
When I go deep into my sorrow, I find joy.
When I go deep into my anger, I find forgiveness.
When I go deep into my self-hatred, I find self-love.
When I go deep into my grief, I find rebirth.
When I go deep into my hurt, I find healing.
When I go deep into my loneliness, I find connection.
When I go deep into my weakness, I find strength.
When I go deep into my fear, I find courage.
When I go deep into my bewilderment, I find clarity.

When I say deep, I mean DEEP.
The path to heaven often takes a person straight through hell,
offering no shortcuts.

But every suffering is the raw material for its opposite.

Don’t be afraid of your darkness.
Sit with it quietly.
Listen to it intently.
Someday,
it will lead you to your light.

Blood Into Gold

When I was a young teenager,
I was suicidal.
Now,
I work on a crisis hotline
helping others who are suicidal.
I wish I could go back in time
and show my younger self
what she would become.
“Look,” I’d say.
“I know how hard it is for you right now.
I know you feel lost, broken, and alone,
and that everything seems hopeless.
But you will make something
of this pain.
It won’t be for nothing.
Look how you’ll spin
the blood
into gold.”

Part of the Family

I finally see the mean inner voices for what they are:
part of the family.
I’m never going to eradicate them.
Fear,
self-doubt,
self-criticism,
and depression
will always be in the car
in the road trip of my life–
a month from now,
a year from now,
ten years from now.
And that’s okay.
They can be here–
as long as they know their place.
They sit in the back.
They sit shotgun.
They are not the driver.
I repeat:
They are not the driver.

*Credit where credit is due: this poem is a paraphrase of a part of Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert.*

Sometimes We Can Find Meaning, Even When We Can’t Find Happiness

“What’s the point of life
if you aren’t going to be happy doing it?”
is a lovely,
and often useful,
sentiment.

But for those of us with depression,
happiness isn’t always within reach.

My depression is so long-lasting
(I fear it may be lifelong),
that it has prompted me to ask myself,
“Is an unhappy life still worth living?”
“Is there a purpose to life beyond happiness?”

This morning,
a more effective question
for pushing myself to live intentionally
popped into my head:
“What’s the point of unhappiness
if you aren’t going to live
while doing it?”

(P.S. For my readers with depression: I know that sometimes, in deep bouts, “living” is completely out of the question. Sometimes, all you can aim for is surviving. That is okay too. <3)