When my toes overstep this cliff edge
And drag my spirit down through my soul,
I begin to make a solemn pledge
That I will one day persevere to lose it all.
“He” hefts his weighty darkness down
Upon my shifting back, heavy shoulders bunched
With muscle, ready to drown
And leave my body pale and bloated, hunched
Over into death. Into this finished
Chasm of truth. This truth that we all answer the
Call of the void. Whether pushed,
Or longingly drawn like a golden lover’s kiss.
Bring the bite and noose to me
Then sweet one, and call my name like a siren
Of silver and lilacs, the simile
Of wealth and glory. But, foolish me, what then?

Then I answer my call to the dark,
Wisps of words half said turn away in his scream
“Come to me, my sparrow-lark
And help repair this rip and mend that seam
With your human spirit,
As flimsy as it is. I need it, my burdensome one,
Your eyes and fire lit
Brightly, illuminated and gorgeous, second to none.”

The voice calls me, as I
Stand with my toes edging off this cliff. Alone,
It calls me. And to the sky
I fall, until I am naught but air, and space and bone.

[Depression] A brief explanation of my History with the Demon

As I’ll be starting a series of my own experienced with battling depression, I though it only sensible to give you my credentials. Why should you listen to me? What do I know?

You don’t need to, and uh… Not much!

However, I do have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and was first diagnosed at 14, 2 years after the self harming and anxiety induced skin diseases began.

I have been struggling with this mental illness officially for 13 years, but really it’s more like 15. I have tried talking therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication mixed with therapy, medication on its own. I am still currently struggling with the mental health system.

Last update: The nurse treating and diagnosing me wrote down some facts very incorrectly for my diagnosis, caused me to break down into tears on the phone because I missed a catch up appointment after not receiving any treatment, and then he discharged me for no reason.

So I am less than eager to entrust my mental state to the NHS since every time I try to go on their path, my mental health dives and my struggle becomes much more difficult.

This is why I’m going down the path of self help, because I have no professional help. I could keep trying, but it has been over a year since my latest struggle, and the last good piece of help I received was CBT. However my therapist said she couldn’t help me unless I decided to medicate, so I medicated for the first time due to pressure.

I’m not suggesting your experience will be the same. I am not suggesting you avoid mental health services, but treat with caution and keep a strong support system around you. Prepare yourself for some difficult times, and make sure you have some comforts you can fall back on in need.

 

[Depression] Method 1: The Exercise Routine

I intend to use this blog for more than just lifestyle + creativity. I also suffer from Depression and intend on making that a vital part of the identity of this page.

Namely, by looking at all of the ways in which I try to battle it, without medical help.

NOTE Every one person needs their own treatment, and I 100% encourage you speak to a medical professional for their opinion. Do not only rely on self help methods. I have only started relying on these recently due to my own decisions and struggles with mental health practitioners. Though I feel better avoiding the NHS mental health system at all costs, this doesn’t mean you will, too. Please take care of yourself in the most sensible way possible, these posts are only to provide insight and advice on top of treatment.

Does exercise cure depression?

Hell no, not on its own. It helps boost lots of hormones through your system (that’s the science part I won’t dare to teach anyone) but on its own, it will never ‘cure’ depression or anxiety. To be completely honest, I don’t feel like there’s much ‘boosting’ going on here.

How did it help?

It offered me goals and a chance to improve myself. With time and patience, it gave me tangible evidence that I could get stronger and see the changes I can implement. It made me feel less helpless, and gave me a good identity boost. “I’m a strong woman” – it helped me say – even if in my mind I don’t believe it, I can flex and see it.

It also offered mindfulness, in the form of weight lifting. I was against myself, mono v mono, pushing my own goals, my own efforts and only comparing myself to, well… To myself. It wasn’t about how I looked compared to anyone else, it was about seeing the slow and gradual change in how much I could lift, and how strong my body felt.

I was no longer in a vessel of sadness or hatred. I was encased in a strong physical form, which felt nice for once. It didn’t conquer my self loathing or negative self image, but depression couldn’t take away the strength I felt. Not fully, even when I was lost in the dark places.

It also gave me focus. Something to think on when my mind needed help steering away from bad places. Planning when I would exercise. Will I try that new move I saw online? What are my weak spots, how can I get better?

How it didn’t help

Well. It didn’t get rid of the grey or miserable feelings, and didn’t increase happy feelings (despite what so many people told me).

I was still me, even though I was stronger, and still depressed. I was still struggling with motivation and getting to the gym in the first place. But when I finally got there, some days I could barely lift a 9kg dumbell, despite knowing I could Deadlift 60kg comfortably for 3 sets.

With depression, or without, your results can be inconsistent, which can lead to a spiral. It’s very important to remember that you will not always be on your A game. You will not always be improving. You will mostly stick to a middle ground, but sometimes you will fail.

Do not be hard on yourself. Go hard on the weights instead.

Exercise did not remove my issues with depression, and sometimes not being able to go and feeling guilty made it worse to the point that I considered giving up.

What did I learn?

I developed a sense of determination that I have never had before. I understood that passion doesn’t always mean having your heart full of bird song and glory, but sometimes it just meant doing something even though you don’t quite feel like it today.

Even though you’ll end up being a bucket of sweat that people are afraid to stand close to.

Yuck.

It helped me remember to go easy on myself, I might not be squatting 100kg now, but in time I will achieve this goal no matter what. So long as I am patient, consistent and keep giving it my all.

The Takeaway aka Tl;Dr

Lastly, I remembered to enjoy myself. I picked weight lifting as my sport for the past couple of years because I really really enjoy it. Maybe a little too much. I’m not great at it by any means, but I love it.

We all know how ‘fun depression’ feels, and though it’s muted I can still feel that same memory of what fun is like. Hell, sometimes I even do feel happy. But I think this is because of the lessons I’ve learnt, and because I’m doing something that works for me. 

So go out and find something to do that you love, that will help you push yourself and find pride in who you are. Find strength outside of your mind, and find fun even in its diminished forms.

 

The Ode – To Him.

I love you, my ode to finely made heavy lines,
Of roughly etched beauty and finite mortality,
My sweet reminder of the eternal torture that
Fleshly wonder brings.

 

I trace around your form until it defines
My mind’s warped rules of probability.
Skewed. Full of worry from our concordat.
Soul and Reason above kings.

 

I’ll take my eye to the full art that is you
And erase all past erring on such
Mundane topics, ugly, vapid and plain
In the wake of your shadow.

 

Topics on paint, wings, light that flew
Through artists’ windows. Much
To do with nothing. But you, pain
and pleasure brightly glow.

 

Let me have it. This short
Stunted knowing.
This lovely, awful needing.
I am yours to extort.

Apparition 2. Amethyst – The eternally Grieving – Wraith

 

She prays upon her alter of crystal hearts, growing her words for her Lord of Love in her chest. Her barbed wire church huddled around her, in one simple box with no roof, staring up at the grey, pale sky. Her knees are folded beneath her white skinned body, her brown eyes empty as her ripped open chest. Out of this field made of old dry wishes, she was the only living creature. No sounds of crickets could be heard in the dirt, and not a feather fluttered from the airspace overhead. The only eerie noise that sounded was the beating of her heart.

Her hand raised weakly to her fence, almost touching the beating heart that hung upon it. It shone red and brilliant, a bright gem in this dull world of bated breath and prickled goose bump skin. There was desperation on her face as she watched it beating erratically. Sadness sounded from each thump. Its rhythm was too fast. It sat amongst its siblings, crystal clear hearts already drained of blood and lashed open with pain. They had been ripped from her mottled chest, and hung upon their tiny spike. The lifecycle was a simple one: They grow, they are plucked and hung. They die.

This one she had spent the longest on, growing it to be strong in her chest, whispering her psalms of love over it in hopes this one might just hold. It was larger, its walls thicker, but the flesh was just a little softer than the others, it still had flaws. And now, she could see those flaws, after all this time, ripping it apart at the seams. She had hoped so much, lovingly growing it within her open chest for Him.

The still air sat heavily upon her shaking shoulders, one hand clasping her mouth as she felt the tears begin to flow. There was no surprise in her gaze, just a deep never ending despair as the heart began to break.

She wanted to clutch it, to grab it, hold it, but her hand only hovered just above its flesh as it beat fervently, painfully, in fits and starts. She could do nought but watch as the organ gave way to its fate, and ruptured open before her eyes.

The blood wrenched out, a guttural scream chocked from her throat, white hands rushing up to cup the splashing red liquid of pain. She pushed it back, tried to cup it in, anything to stem the flow, but all she succeeded in doing was to coat her hands in sticky, hot blood. It was all she could do but panic, crying out and pleading no, all while she watched her love die.

_____

Long hours passed as she stared at the empty heart. It was already beginning to crystallise like the others, into a clear lifeless flesh. Her numb expression was unchanging, her shoulders shook and nose sniffed occasionally while tears streamed readily down her face. Slowly, the wind picked up, and in time all of the wishes around her swept away, leaving behind nothing but dry dirt, weeds, and the stain of blood on her pure, light skin.

Her body slumped, she stared at the sad, limp thing on her barbed wire fence. Soon, she would move it to another perch, leaving space in the middle of her barbed wire fence for the next. But she felt no more prayers on her lips. She had no strength to grow another heart to be plucked like a ripe apple from her chest. Instead she just stared at this thing, this empty, sore, sad thing and let herself become lost in the seering pain of having another part of herself die.