Depression is not very pretty. Nor is it very kind. It has many faces, and it comes and goes as it pleases. It can affect almost anyone. If you are someone who has struggled with depression, you know it never goes away completely but hides, waiting for the right moment to reappear. It isn’t something to be lightly dismissed in yourself or in others who suffer from it. Who hasn’t seen the devastating effect it can have on a vulnerable person? I’ve struggled with it, and I’ve certainly known many others who were also affected by it.
Watching someone you love battle depression is never easy. It isn’t easily “fixed,” even in this age of modern medicine. Therapy and medicines are there, and for some people they help so much, but for others, less so. Compassion, patience, unconditional love and presence are the lifelines we can offer…to someone else and to ourselves.
To listen to me read this poem, please click on the link below. It will take a minute to begin.
Taking on your pain was something I tried to do, like slipping on your jacket, pushing an arm in and then another, pulling it tight around myself, hoping that by feeling what you do, it would diminish your pain.
No matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t a fit. Your depression fell around me in loose folds, the sadness sagging around my heart. Besides, it would leave you cold, open to the fickle winds that blew your way.
My very first tanka sequence was published in RIBBONS: Journal of the American Tanka Society, Winter 2016: Volume 12, Number 1. My thanks to editor, David Rice, for suggesting to me that these three tanka would work best in a sequence.