There is this white wall, above which the sky creates itself-
Infinite, green, utterly untouchable.
Angels swim in it, and the stars, in indifference also.
They are my medium.
The sun dissolves on this wall, bleeding its lights.
People describe me as energetic and fun and easy to talk to and laugh with.
My students are surprised when I tell them I am in my mid-30’s; they expected mid-20’s.
Sometimes, on casual Fridays, my ponytail/hoodie combo paired with my grin and the pep in my step get me mistaken for a student.
I love fiercely.
Most people don’t notice the wall that closes in on me.
On the days when that smile fades as I climb into my car. As I wish for an early bedtime. As I dread going home to more people.
On days when I want the world to go away because I just can’t care about your problems anymore. I can’t care about your mundane, whiny facebook updates or your cheery coffee-induced tweets.
I don’t care about feeding the family or doing the dishes.
I don’t care about grading or lesson planning.
I just want to sleep the world away.
The wall moves quickly.
I suffer from Depression.
A grey wall now, clawed and bloody.
Is there no way out of the mind?
Steps at my back spiral into a well.
There are no trees or birds in this world,
There is only sourness.
I post a million happy pictures of me and my sons and my husband.
There is so much love in this family it is overflowing.
Hugs and kisses and flowers and snuggles and drawings of “macaroni and cheese machines”.
But there are also those thoughts that zap in out of nowhere.
My son hit by a rouge car, his body crushed and broken.
My baby floating lifeless in the tub.
Like in the movies, there is a flash, the image, a flash, and back to reality.
But sometimes, there is a flash, the image, and then…it doesn’t stop. The scenario plays out. I can’t turn it off as horrified as I am. I am feeling the horribleness of the reality that is not real.
I do not want this.
I do not want to see this.
I have had intrusive thoughts.**
I want to get over, around, under, away from this wall that is closing in.
I have suffered from Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, and OCD.
This red wall winces continually:
A red fist, opening and closing,
Two grey, papery bags-
This is what i am made of, this, and a terror
Of being wheeled off under crosses and rain of pietas.
I am confident and laid back.
People ask me how I keep it all together. All the schedules and the achievements. How do we do it all?
We have gotten degrees while working and having children.
We have great times and throw wonderful parties.
We love each other forever and always.
But there is also the terror that it will crumble.
There is a wall of fear that closes in.
There is the fear that something will happen to take my joy away from me. That it’s all “too good to be true.”
That is a cliché for a reason, after all.
Other shoe dropping and all.
Where are those shoes? Are they heavy? Do they look like terminal illness? Death? Divorce? Destruction?
A crushing wall.
I suffer from Anxiety.
On a black wall, unidentifiable birds
Swivel their heads and cry.
There is no talk of immorality among these!
Cold blanks approach us:
They move in a hurry.*
The walls closed in before I even noticed.
They always do.
Thankfully, I am surrounded by people who keep an eye on my walls.
Because when the walls move, they move quickly. And if no one is watching, they will crush me.
I’ve been squeezed, but those walls have yet to finish me off.
And I am confident that they never will.
*From the poem “Apprehensions” by Sylvia Plath
**I have never acted on these intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts do not always mean feeling like you want to harm your loved ones, but in my case it was the playing out the scenarios if they did get hurt.