Rooted in Anger

Many therapists feel that depression is anger turned inward.  Here’s an example of when I acknowledged my anger after Hurricane Katrina hit Mississippi, for all the good that did me at the time .  It’s called “The Past Remembered”

The Past Remembered


I hate you, Katrina.

You drove me from my home

To live with strangers

You made me jump at every sound

Freeze at every turn.

I hate you, Katrina


I hate you, Katrina

You stole my life away

Everything I had

Is gone with nothing

Left behind to replace it

I hate you, Katrina


I hate you, Katrina

So many others

Who suffered worse

Than me but seem

To be making it all right

But I still hate you, Katrina


You owe me my world

I’ve mentioned before that we were not as impacted by Katrina as many were; we didn’t lose our home or livelihoods as so many people did.  But it did kick off my major depressive episode that led to my psychotic break,  So the feelings of anger at the storm were still there.  Just a note to explain.


More Poetry

I think this particular poem speaks for itself

Soul Chilling

A wet blanket

Covering my shoulders.

Cold water drips down my arms

And seeps into my clothes

Making me wonder if

I’ll ever be warm again.

The wind blows against me

Making me wrap myself tighter

So that even if I wanted

to throw it off, I couldn’t

The ends tangle in my feet

And drip icicles onto my shoes

Sticking them to the ground

In a grotesque game of freeze tag

And you wonder if the sun will ever come out again.


I was paging through my laptop last night and found a file marked “Poems”.  I opened up the file and discovered a group of poems I didn’t even remember writing. They all date from AFTER I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, probably written between 2006 and 2010, when my laptop battery died.  I paged through them and was very surprised at what I had managed to produce.  Again, there was manic poetry, depressed poetry, and poetry from somewhere in the middle. The first installment this morning is titled “Crazy Days”

Crazy Days

Singing Lou Bega’s Mambo no. 5

With a drink in my hand

And not a care on my mind

Surrounded by people

Laughing and having a good time

Margaritaville at its best

The sun rises through the sky

And soon bakes the shore

With noonday heat

That drives everyone inside

To the coolness of the siesta

In shadows and shady trees

But not me.

I continue to sing

As the sun beats down

The hell with the sunscreen

The burn of the sand

Or the glare on my eyes

And I party on

Through the night until

I’ve drunk everyone under

The tables and bongoed

The conga lines for every

Party in the place

Until I limbo my last

Under the lowest stick

I can find .

I feel my spine snap

I  lay on my back

As the sky spins above me.

(I don’t know why I associate drinking and dancing with mania.  Maybe my Southern Baptist upbringing coming out in me.)

Advanced Class

And if this poem isn’t a perfect example of rapid-cycling mixed-state bipolar, I’ll eat my hat:  “Temporary Insanity”

I’m picking up the pieces of

my shattered personality.

The mirror is the image of

a fractured, broken mind.

THe fabric of reality

is ripped to hell and gone. I sit

alone with eyes squeezed shut; I know

I’m simply going crazy.

I don’t know who I am, you see

a crisis of identity.

I’m rhyming, though; how can this be?

I scream out loud, “No more!”

I can’t control the words I say

Much less control my manic life

I think I’ve really lost it now;

I want to find a knife!

Depressive Poetry 201

All teenagers write depressing poems at times.  Lord knows I’ve written my share when I was a kid.  But this particular poem I wrote in graduate school has a particular resonance for me because it was the first time I directly addressed suicidal tendencies in my poetry.  It’s called “Long After the Ball (In Memory of Cinderella)”

Forced to wear the dainty

glass slippers

long after the cracks

began to show.

The splinters dig deeply,

lodged in the small foot;

didn’t she once dance in

the  tiny shoes ten years ago?

After throwing them against the wall

echoing the ancient sound

of the royal coach bells in

counterpoint to her young laughter,

the delicate fingers curled around

the glass, whose broken edges

glittered as she forced them

into the veins of her wrist.

A nation may mourn.

But no longer does she leave

a trail of blood while

walking to the royal bedroom.


Manic Poetry 101

I’ve written about how my manic and depressive episodes showed up early in my life, but I wasn’t attuned enough to such things to notice what was going on.  But I do have poetry and other writings that reflect what was going on in my mind during those times.  I have one poem written in the early 1990’s in particular that is manic in origin if there ever was one.  I’ll give it to you now–it’s titled “Take a Walk”.

I’ll pick you up in the nearest bar

Feed you a mickey in your Jack Daniels

Drag you home and keep you as a pet–

Just hug you and kiss you and

Call you George–

Some days I just feel like

doing something dangerous

Like wear sexy red satin

underneath a tweedy suit

to go out dancing–undo a

button or two–when we’re

up close and personal

Sometimes I just get in the mood

to be a little dangerous

Let’s create awareness in a

very feral way

as I step into

my high-heeled shoes

to waltz you off a cliff

Because I know how you like it

when I do something dangerous.

Like I said.  Manic.  Never done any of those things.  But I’ve thought about them.  And my poetry reflects a lot of my moods even in graduate school when I felt steady as a rock.  Tune  in tomorrow for more!