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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Image via contributor

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Anxiety

Woman wearing dark makeup

The Depressed Side of Me Most People Don't See

I guess you could call it acting without the recognition and awards. I did want to be an actress at one point as a child, so slipping between roles comes natural at this point. Behind the happy and exciting pictures on my social media lies the girl strangers don’t see. In public I appear to [...]
A woman waring a hijab on her phone.

Taking Baby Steps Through a Morning With Anxiety

Drip. Drop. Splash. Drip. Drop. Splash. Drip. Drip. Splash. Splash. To some people, the sound of water dripping from a pipe is nothing. But for me, it can be the most pleasant music ever, or the most excruciating noise ever. 4:50 a.m. I wiped the foggy mirror till I saw the reflection of myself. The [...]
woman putting up her hair

When I Doubt If My Own Anxiety Is Real (Even Though I Know It Is)

One of the toughest things about an anxiety disorder is that most of it takes place in my own head. Sure, there are physical symptoms, sometimes tons of them, but the thing causing the physical symptoms is a battle raging inside my mind. The tricky thing about this is it’s hard to win a battle you [...]
19 'Red Flags' That Might Mean It's Time to Get Help for Your Anxiety

19 'Red Flags' That Might Mean It's Time to Get Help for Your Anxiety

Acknowledging you need help for anxiety can be really difficult. Sometimes it’s a specific moment in time, marked by the realization: I need help. Other times, it may be the culmination of living with exhausting anxiety symptoms for an extended period of time. Whatever the situation may be, it’s important to know the “red flags” [...]