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I Am So Much Better Than I Am Right Now

by Abigail Parlier


1. Confession

I’ve never done this before and I’m not sure why I’m

doing it now, but I guess it’s because I can hide behind

The ink on this page and act as if I never wrote a word.

2. Anxiety Is The New Black

You have sat with me on a low, stone, wall in the middle

of a winter night, whispering in my ear about short skirts

and spilled drinks, asking why I’m not with the ones that

are parading by. Sometimes you take a vacation and

I don’t see you for a while. Other times, you cinch up my

muscles and nestle into a ball, deep under my shoulder

blade, making it hard to breathe. You are the twist in my

story but I’ve yet to figure out if it’s the story that’s

twisted or if it’s just me.

3. A Letter To My Depression

You have sat with me in bathroom stalls while I try to

steady myself before an orbital levee breaks and floods

my eyes. You are my company when human interaction

becomes impossible and exhausting and I can do

nothing but put my face in my palms and hope that the

air in my lungs will somehow suffocate you instead.

You have pressed against my ribcage so hard and for so

long that in those rare moments when I don’t feel your

weight, I am so light I could float away.

You are what nightmares draw inspiration from, the

monster that comes from under the bed to grab my

ankles when I step down.

4. Things I Value

Patience,

Sympathy,

The ability to forgive

To let go

To breathe easy

5. Things I Don’t Have

Patience

Sympathy

The ability to forgive

To let go

To breathe easy

6. Campus Health

I don’t know when I realized that I’m probably not

supposed to feel this way.

I don’t know when I realized that it’s not really ‘normal’.

What I do know is that I saw my demon’s reflection in the

eyes of the people who were supposed to be helping

me, in their confused expressions that asked me if I

didn’t want to kill myself, then why was I here?

I know that they listened as I tried to sum up my

problems in a matter of sentences, when in actuality, I

could write a novel.

Maybe those demons were the hands that wrote my first

prescription.

Out of pity? Out of a sense of duty done?

But in one instance, everything changed.

I was medicated.

7. Journey

That was the first step of many.

8. Lexapro

I am sad and I am tired.

I am so sad and so tired that my eyelids feel as if they’re

made of concrete and that I am not strong enough to

hold them open.

9. Sadness Is Like A Pool

Fully dressed, I unwillingly jumped in a long time ago

and since then, everything is cold and heavy and

uncomfortable. But I am warming up. My lips aren’t

always blue and my teeth don’t always chatter. Some

days I am able to peel off a layer of clothing and make

my way into shallower water.

I am learning to swim.

10. Mom

We are in the car on the way home from spring semester

and I have finally told you what’s going on. You aren’t

mad, just worried that I hadn’t informed you before now.

You say you could’ve helped, but I tell you that I didn’t

want to concern you more. The next day, you tell me you

read somewhere that spinach and kale are good for

depression.

At that, you break my heart as you always have (but in a

good way).

I am grateful for your love.

11. Dad

You and I both knew that something had been wrong for

quite awhile and I continued to sense your growing

panic on the phone, when you’d ask if I was okay and if I

was getting enough sleep. At one point you tell me that

you understand how loud my thoughts can get,

especially with a mind like mine.

At that, you break my heart as you always have (but in a

good way).

I am grateful for your love.

12. Cole

I am officially home and unpacking from my first year of

college. I am splayed in the floor with my possessions

around me, trying to put things back where they once

went. You come in and start to inform me of the things

that have been going on in your life. Our conversation

comes to a stop and you hug me, almost as if you can

read my thoughts. You have always been able to tell.

Wrapping your arms around me, you say to me that it’s

going to be okay, even though I haven’t told you that

anything’s wrong.

At that, you break my heart as you always have (but in a

good way).

I am grateful for your love.

13. Summer

I find myself sitting in my counselor’s office.

Again.

I find myself telling her my problems.

Again.

14. Update

I am still sad and I am still tired.

15. Zoloft

I have learned that medication is not one-size-fits-all.

I’m a little more awake though I sleep so much in an

attempt to get rid of this perpetual exhaustion I’ve come

to accumulate. I carry this sleepiness inside me; I wear it

like a crown. Who knew anyone could be this rundown.

16. Dosage

50

100

150

Up and up and up.

17. “You Will Find That It Is Necessary To Let Things Go,

Simply Because They Are Heavy.”

I dug myself into a rut for many years on end. I had

made myself a chain of sorrows that grew and grew and

grew until I could no longer bear their weight.

My thoughts were so rotten and putrid and poisonous

that they could’ve been used for kindling; there was so

much pressure in my skull I’m surprised it didn’t harden

into a diamond.

I was a ball of fire.

I was in flames that no one could see and I walked on

increasingly thin ice, melting what was frozen with each

step I took.

It was only until the heat became unbearable and I fell

through broken ice that things began to shift.

18. This Shit Isn’t Poetic

I can turn it into a metaphor and spin it a thousand ways,

making it seem noble and beautiful and inspiring, when

in reality I was trying to crawl out of my skin, gasping for

fresh air. There were so many mornings I woke up with

leaden feet and a sense of panic, so many mornings I

wanted to sob for indiscernible reasons.

I was my own enemy.

And sometimes I still am.

At the same time,

I am also my own weapon.

I have the strength of giants.

I pulled myself out of the grave I had laid down in and

kicked off the dirt I had once used as a blanket.

I cast off the irons I had been shackled in,

And while their rattling still haunts me,

I no longer feel their weight.

I will be okay.

I am okay.

19. Things I Value

Patience,

Sympathy,

The ability to forgive

To let go

To breathe easy

 

20. Things I Have

Patience,

Sympathy,

The ability to forgive

To let go

To breathe easy

 

Published inPoetryNon FictionChapel Hill

One Comment

  1. Kent Irwin Kent Irwin

    This piece is a lot of things. Haunting, beautiful, devastating, earnest. My favorite segments were 2 and 3, for their intimate, almost romantic personifications. Then 10 and 11, for so eloquently painting a portrait of a relationship with a parent, all the love, all the pain that comes along with it. And finally, the title, which felt awkward at the beginning of the piece, but was illuminated brilliantly by the end. Great work.

    -Arthur Howls
    http://www.howlsroad.com

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