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Today It Is Raining: A Poem on Mental Illness

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

Today is bad
I know because it’s raining
It’s not inherently bad in itself
I love the rain usually
But that’s when the house gets dark
It’s so dark, it’s like the blinds aren’t even open
And the dark house makes me depressed
So why am I just sitting here with the lights out
It’s not like I can’t scare off the darkness
But that’s the thing
The darkness is always there
It just hides in the shadows now
Under the cabinets, the fridge
I can see it hiding
And when I turn the lights off, it will come back
Because it doesn’t like hiding
I don’t think anything does

I feel bad for the garbage men
Out there in the rain
Again, I love the rain
I would love to be out in the rain
Maybe not collecting trash
But running around barefoot like I used to
When I could be strange without realizing the judgment
Sometimes I don’t care about the judgment
But today, I would
Today, being strange is a reason I hate myself

A cardboard box is disintegrating outside the window
Why did the men not put it back on the curb
Where it belongs
They left it in the street where the water runs in ugly rivers
Carving through the pavement
The cardboard doesn’t stand a chance, really
It’s too fragile
It tears too easily
Only I don’t want to be thinking of harming myself
Not today, and not ever

But a bad thing happened the other night
The panic attack wasn’t really the problem
Sure, it had been a whole month and a half since my last one
I had gotten better at regulating myself
I was proud of myself, dare I say it
But I heard yelling from downstairs
Just like I did all through my childhood
It wasn’t abusive
But it did something to my head
Something I can’t seem to undo by myself
So I stood in the bathroom, covering my mouth
And breathing like air stopped just before my lips
And I could not take any in
I really had no reason for the panic attack
I was not in trouble
I hated getting in trouble
Of course I was not in trouble
But it happened, and it was OK
Because I know that’s who I am

But the bad part came after
After the tears that started again every time I had a conscious thought
After the exhaustion waxed and waned
And after I could smile again like I was OK
I could still feel the anger festering in my mind
It wasn’t at anyone else really
I had learned to really think about my emotions
During my times without the panic attacks
I was really good at it
I guess I still am now
And that’s what became the problem
Because I knew I was angry at myself
I knew I shouldn’t have been, but I couldn’t help it
I hated myself, even though I knew it was not my fault

And yesterday I hated myself, too

And today I hate myself.

I’m angry I couldn’t have been better for myself
That I need someone else to make me OK
Don’t get me wrong
I love a lot of the things my mind brings
My creativity
My passion for life and the things I do in it
My love for others that is both uplifting and debilitating at the same time
It’s really wonderful
But I hate myself for letting the bad parts come back
And rule over my mind
I know hating myself only makes it worse
But it’s a spiral, isn’t it
Once you start, you can’t always stop
I forget how I got myself on the right track the last time
This is the longest stretch of time I had gone without a panic attack, by the way
Since it all got really bad in the fall
It had been getting bad for years
But now it’s really bad
It doesn’t have to be
I know that
But I don’t know how to start over again
Was it this hard the first time

Today I hate myself
Tomorrow, I hope I don’t
It all depends, really

But the rain has just stopped, probably only for a minute
And the garbage men just turned off of my street
I think the two happened simultaneously
They had picked up the cardboard box
Don’t worry
Maybe this afternoon, it will be sunny
I think I would like that

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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