Anxiety & Panic Disorders · Depression

Window Shopping

By Nicole Kiss

I’m supposed to choose something
Anything, just not nothing
But I prefer the window-shopping
I get too overwhelmed by the options
It isn’t just tradeoffs or give and take
There is so much more at stake
Pick what you want, but it might break
Then pay in time and tears for your fate

Imagine it’s a bomb that I’m meant to defuse
And I have to decide between the reds and the blues
I don’t want to be put to the test and lose
Just because I was pressed to choose
Now, I don’t care what end I meet
But I know that it affects more than me
If it explodes, we’re smithereens
I can’t carry that responsibility

I mean, I could get in my car and drive it fast
But I know that somewhere I’m bound to crash
From my hand on the wheel to my foot on the gas
I know the weight that each part has
And it sits on my chest, this gnawing dread
Knowing my choices could kill you dead
I don’t care about even a hair on my head
I just couldn’t stand to be the reason you bled

Preparing my whole life to finally live my life
Like a surgeon thoroughly trained for her first slice
But I’m choking on the smell and gagging at the sight
When it’s face to face, it’s fight or flight
And I realize that running is for the weak
But maybe it’s strong to know when to retreat
You do less harm to those you never meet
And you do more good as the only casualty

Yea, I prefer window-shopping
I get too overwhelmed by the options
It isn’t just about investments and profits
It is about whom we affect with our losses

 

 

Nicole Kiss is an explorer of art forms. With a BA in Music and Psychology from Greenville College, she utilizes music, poetry, and drawing to express her struggles with depression, anxiety, and lupus. She hopes to someday pursue a degree in counseling to help others and pass on the creative coping she’s picked up along the way.

 

If you or a loved one are feeling suicidal, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 in the United States.

Anxiety & Panic Disorders · Depression · Post-Traumatic Stress

Natural Disaster

By Nicole Kiss

Tornado
Forming its rotation
In the wasteland
Of my mind
Vacating all that’s mine
Taking all my shrines
To past and future
All that’s left is present time
Wind is shaking
All I know is vascillating
Between the pros and cons of sin
Am I in contradiction
With the things that
I have listened to and know
Cold seeps in cracks of the window
Pain is watching the destruction
And then wishing it was you in vain

Insane, deranged, infected brain
Crazed by any other name
Would still mean I’m the one to blame
For getting in the basket of that old ill-fated
Crane your neck to see my pair of shoes
I’ll perish soon
My parachute is broken
It’s still closed and
So here’s hoping
That the ground will open up its
Mouth of dirt and fungus
Fill it’s lungs,
Stick out its tongue
And I’m the snowflake
I am lowgrade
Feverish
Not sick enough
To leave yet
But still sick enough
To heave and
Not see heaven yet
But I am buried
By the burden of this debt

It’s internal, see?
Cannot see externally
Apparently, eternally
I’m cursed to be
High-functioning
One can never tell
That toil
Takes a toll
I till the soil
Of my soul
And still find oil
But it does not mix well
With the living water
That allows the seed to grow
Impedes the flow
of Grace
I need to throw
Away the tar
Restart
And go back to that place
So far
Retrace the scars
And find out where the tissue
Blocked my heart

This fibrillation is frustrating
Muscle twitching
Cardiac infarc-tion
Margin-alized
In my own mind
Cause I am my own
Borderline
Despised and divided
By my own beholding eye
I cannot stand the constant
Lance of my own sword
Passed on to me from all the words
And circumstances of my birth
And hopes and dreams are only worth
Their weight if second chances
Are a thing
But I’m not sure what I believe
Cause what I see and what I
Hope for
Are two conflicting no-tions
Tectonic plates that shift on and
Off and on without my op-tion
Back and forth and back like an o-cean

Wave goodbye
To good and right
Cause lack of dark
Is lots of
Light is luminescent
But it answers all the questions
You had no intention of ever
Ask-ing
Task-ing you with a version of the truth
Pass-ing it on to you
Like a baton
In a race you never chose to run
It’s more like being chased, a gun
Is placed upon the temple of your

Face the music now
There’s no choosing in this town
Take the yoke and pull the plow
They’ll whip the sweat right off your brow
Showing weakness or
Losing pretense
Or using your own common sense
Is grounds for treason
No reaction or the beatings
Will never cease for
No apparent reason
The cost of your existence
Is each second that you breath in and
Out of from under your control
I need to be outside the rule
Of your green thumb nat-ion
Greed Trumps moral pat-ience
Hate from in and out and up and down
And all direc-tions

So I will shun the world
I’d rather give in to the force
Of the mental swarm of bees
That I set forth
My storm was formed
Through conflicting cold and warm
Thoughts
Hard-knocks
To the skull’s strategic soft spots
Laughter takes a wrong turn
Rug burns
Vision blurs
Fists serve as lessons learned
The sting reminds you not to cause a stir
But now that the punisher
Is safely six feet under
Will you stay so under-
Stand-ing
Like it’s God’s plan-ning
For you to keep with-standing
Like those statues with no hands or feet?

Defeat, retreat, or take a seat
There is no option in between
But know a moving target is more likely to be seen
But less ea-sy
To take down
Tornadoes that touchdown
Parade around
They barely touch the ground
They do not stay in place
You see it in the distance
But you cannot get away
The nature of a storm,
Even death and fear and war
Is a cycle that is sure
Placating nomenclature
Is the only offered cure

Hurricanes get human names
So they won’t intimidate us
Or hint to us of fate
How we’re lacking in our faith
Or how we’d rather be sedate
Then feel the pain
That reminds us we’re alive
And helps us stay that way
Now, tell me who’s insane
The ones who feign their strength
Or those admitting they’re afraid

 

 

Nicole Kiss is an explorer of art forms. With a BA in Music and Psychology from Greenville College, she utilizes music, poetry, and drawing to express her struggles with depression, anxiety, and lupus. She hopes to someday pursue a degree in counseling to help others and pass on the creative coping she’s picked up along the way.

 

This poem is intended to be a spoken word/performance piece; at some point in the near future, hopefully we’ll be able to collaborate again with Nicole and post a recording of her performing!

For more information about PTSD, check out NIMH’s rundown.

Bipolar Disorder · Depression

Visions, Incisions, and Head on Collisions

By Patrick Ian Bennett

I go from counting cars to crashing cars.
I‘m from here. I’m from Mars.
Yes! I see the stars…
-But do the scars on her wrist, Pre-exist?
I Insist you make a list.
Tisk**
Wish for something else to happen.
As for my brain, How do I map it?
How do I connect the dots?
Because I’ve got a lot.
To crop the picture just pick a mixture
of chemicals, unlevel and full of unbalanced equations.
No persuasion, can change my mind.
Why don’t i just pick my own time.

 

Patrick Ian Bennett is someone I (Maggie) have been close friends with since elementary school, and because he hasn’t sent me a short bio even though I asked him for one three times, I am going to write what I want to about him. If he doesn’t send me a bio by the time this is scheduled to go up at 5:00 pm, then I’m posting this and not taking it back down. He is an extremely talented musician, a singer-songwriter at heart, and he once borrowed my guitar for three years. He worked at Dutch Wonderland and probably doesn’t want to be reminded of it. He once asked if he could borrow five dollars from me, disappeared for half an hour, and came back with two vintage typewriters, which are still in my garage in PA. Patrick is the reason I became interested in learning more about mental illness and advocacy, way back in middle school. We’ve had an at-times very tense relationship over the years, but he’s someone that is like a brother to me and that I will always love, no matter what stupid, dumbass shit he gets into or how pissed off it makes me. I had an awkward crush on him in tenth grade that I am not (read: very) ashamed of, for like a month and a half. He likes black labs and is good at board games.

 

As many as 56% of people being treated for bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at least once in their lives, with as many as 20% of individuals with BPD dying from suicide; it’s estimated that individuals with BPD are thirty times more likely to attempt suicide than people without mental illness. If you or a loved one are feeling suicidal, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 in the United States.

Anxiety & Panic Disorders · Depression

Falling Off Bridges

By Maggie Felisberto

I think too much about falling
off bridges into heavy traffic
I think too much about being hit full-
speed by an 18-wheeler tractor-trailer to be considered healthy

to be considered sane or normal

I hate myself sometimes, because of my inability
to do simple things like
read the books I’m supposed to be reading
writing the papers I’m supposed to be writing

depressed since December
severely impacting my life. I hate that
when I’m not depressed,
my anxiety over the depressive episodes is so high that I’m
equally nonfunctional.

I’ve picked up nervous ticks and habits…
scratching the back of my hand,
pulling at my hair,
tugging at my clothes.

beyond anything, there is no one
no one to check my fraying edges,
to pour wax on the loose threads of my soul.
I crave physical touch and intimacy,
crave the deep, quenching connection that comes from
two parched minds finding oasis in each other.
I crave, and crave, and crave, and am
never satisfied.

If I were to jump off a bridge, I would jump
into water.
Not heavy traffic…
I don’t know why,
but I guess I feel fated to end in front of a speeding car.

 

This is a found-poem, with all lines taken and adapted from Maggie Felisberto’s private journal, from three different issues dated from February through April 2017.

If you or a loved one are feeling suicidal, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 in the United States.