Lillian Russell, class of 2023
Life Behind, Death Ahead
poetry

I am someone no one can help you from.
Well, I’m something.
I make you sad.
I give you doubts.
I make everything around you seem like it’s crushing so that you can live in fear of life and rejoice in death.
I make every negative comment ring in your head like annoying pests, wedding bells, anything that is loud up close or far away.
You cannot escape me.
Not even your precious pills can save you now.
Like most of my friends, I will always be there, hiding out of sight to where you think I’m gone but when that hope starts to spark up, I wipe it clean and make you miserable once more.
You could never escape me.
I’m more powerful than what your friends say.
“It’s okay . . . keep your head up . . . we’re here for you.”
Nothing your friends, family, or other loved ones say will scare me off. I was born with you. Now, I must die with you. Depression.

***

I am a force no one can control.
You don’t choose me, I choose you.
No matter what you say, do, or how much you beg for me to go away, I will always be there.
Even if you take your meds, I’ll always be your shadow. Out of reach, out of touch.
But I will still haunt you.
Those meds will wear off and you will see me again.
I may not have been the first at this party, but depression invited me in.
So I came.
I’ve invited Insomnia too. Hope you don’t mind.
Even though you do.
They will come.
But for now, let me be the party person that you can’t be.
I will sing for rejoice when you’re anywhere but home.
Something bad is going to happen to you.
Every whisper you hear is mocking. Mocking directly towards you.
They’re all talking about you, thinking about you, laughing about you.
They’re all laughing at you.
You can’t escape me. You never could.
Anxiety.

***

You can’t sleep?
Oh, well that’s too bad.
I’m doing that on purpose.
Seriously? Are you dumb?
I don’t want you sleeping.
No matter how many sheep jump over that imaginary fence, I’ll always make you think of reasons to stay awake.
Sleep is now an old friend.
I must thank Anxiety and Depression though.
If it weren’t for them, I’d never be here.
I’d never be the one keeping you up at night.
You’re stupid books would be.
I want you to fear the night and me with it.
I want you to suffer.
Get no sleep, do bad in life.
That’s my motto.
Now, I won’t say “goodnight” because I know you won’t have one. You’re funny. Insomnia.

***

Look!
Isn’t it beautiful?
The land I’ve created for you.
So that reality will only be your imagination?
Why do you leave me?
To go back to where you came from?
I am your home now. You deserve me.
I am your guardian angel.
I will protect you from the real, evil world.
The world that wants to gobble you up and spit you out like crap.
But, I am your getaway.
Your vacation.
You’re safe with me.
You were always safe with me
Stay.
Stay and be with me.
Don’t go back.
I know you will.
Maladaptive Daydreaming.

***

Happy.
Sad.
Enraged.
Then Happy.
I am the witch of all emotions
One emotion, two emotions, three emotions, four.
Like the others, I’m incurable.
Sure, you may have stupid meds but I’m in the shadow of mixed mental illnesses.
I can show people the worst of you when you don’t want me to.
They won’t like you.
They’ll accept you.
They’ll deny you.
Go, go my child, and cry in a corner.
Or you can throw chairs around, I have no care in the world.
I am like a cold season you cannot escape.
You never could.
The flowers bloom in one area.
Fire in the next. Bipolar.