Monday, 7 November 2016

The Best Was Yet To Come, Sylvia

I know why you did it, Sylvia,
When the world becomes too painful to bear,
And seeking help means you'll be returned to the chair,
And it's all turned black & white and lost its flavour,
And each new mouthful is one less to savour,
Suddenly your mind has wondered back into the lair,
The clothes hurt so you don't dress, but remain bare.

I know exactly why you did it!
The passing seasons are out there but don't register in here,
And each new day - such work - you're overcome with fear,
And your hands do nought but are prone to fidget,
And you're invisible so no-one or thing can relieve it.
Suddenly you see the sickness has stolen months, nay years,
It's only when you make the plan, you can allay the tears.

I know also what you were feeling at the end,
That past innocence and future happiness have both gone underground,
And that the awful, wooden hollowness is all that can be found,
And there's no hidden bank of trust of hope from which you can lend,
And night's are long and days are empty with no trusted friend,
Suddenly you only feel relief when you are still and there's no sound,
The world mocks those with this as weak and feelings aren't allowed.

I know only too well how you felt,
You decided to get it down and so wrote the Bell Jar,
And overwhelmed with womanly duties it didn't get you very far,
And eagle talons ripping open your chest everyday as you knelt,
And convinced yourself with wrong thoughts the evil hand that you'd been dealt,
Suddenly, they love your name but you're gone by then, by far.
You only know relief from suffering when you're away from the tar jar.

I know it's all too much too late,
To tell you that I'm feeling better and maybe you would have too,
And marriage to a philanderer can send your mind askew,
And who cares that I see your and my interwoven fate,
And how we wished he'd be struck down and delivered to hell's gate,
Suddenly I saw that it's okay to try a different pair of shoes,
Let him go - good riddance, I say - your children could not lose!

I know you don't want to hear about,
My years of therapy and immense love affair with nature,
And how I sing with that old razzle dazzle now that I'm mature,
And that I made new friends and to the world I often did rowdily shout,
"... and thanks for putting up with me and not letting me check out!"
Suddenly I can flit about - the whole world is there to tour,
And those dark thoughts - those wrong thoughts - are no longer a lure.

I know I want to spread my joy:
It's the Creatives; we all have dark nights of the soul,
And I say, "look up, ask for help - don't fall into the hole,"
And take it out into the world with my words and life buoy,
And life - it's so precious - don't discard it like an old toy,
Suddenly you see, tomorrow is a new day without a toll,
We get to clutch what is left of life but only if our story is told.

Image courtesy of +Helena Quander


N.B. If you suspect someone you know of feeling this way, please call them to make sure they are okay. They probably can't ring you for a million different reasons. Don't worry, grief, anxiety and depression are not contagious - you won't catch it from them! Also, these things are not caused by a disease of the will, or too much self pity or negative thinking. It's quite the reverse: a person may feel sorry for themselves and have negative thoughts because of how they are feeling and they will have no idea why.

Are you worried about how to handle the situation and what to say to a person if they are feeling suicidal? Without patronising or judging them let them know that you understand how they are feeling and that you are invested in your relationship with them and will help them to get help and to get better. Please just listen, don't turn the conversation back around to how you are feeling and especially DO NOT dismiss what they are saying as invalid. Any suicide ideation has to be taken seriously even if they have not thought of an exact plan yet. And don't forget that a big hug and kiss can work wonders too but only if they are receptive to it. Stick with them 24/7, organise others to help you by explaining the situation and begin to disengage only once you know they are getting better but keep checking in to be sure.

Let's remove the stigma attached to emotional and mental states that we all experience at some point over the course of our lives, surely. If you are feeling this way, yourself, please reach out. I know it sounds trite but things do always (with perhaps the exception of extreme serious mental illness) get better but you need support from a Professional and your loved ones. If there is an urgent situation please ring Lifeline or the equivalent in your country as the staff are trained to handle emergencies. 

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