i crack a knuckle and flex my neck in hopes, a synapse may snap a vision of wisdom about something mundane, that i can sing atop a mountain down to a people in pain
i feel a melody without words to sing not that verbiage would mean anything of value or worth to those that hurt, ones that life has drug through dirt
i open a chorus, the wind sings back a brazen, vigorous, purposeful attack rocks roll under feet, i’m encircled by my own song; drowned-out in defeat
my knees scuffed i can’t get up i’m slipping down this mountain hands gripping broken nails digging for a single stable root gulps and guttural grunts i try to get up but panic’s . afoot . . (breathe) . . mine own whirlwind of syllables threatens my footing of who I am of who I could be this unending struggle with deficiency; may I once sing free?
i think i’ve tapped into my insecurities (again). I have pretty severe stage fright and social anxiety. This usually leads to long internal bouts with MDD, which may come as a surprise to some, but it’s all too true. I’ve sung countless times on stage, hearing my warbling voice try to maintain authority in the speakers; and fail. I’ve looked down to physically see my legs shaking through my pants, so I would sit down on an amp, but the nervous energy just moves elsewhere. I’ve played the wrong-est notes, at the wrong-est times, out of sheer panic, throughout many years on a church stage. Yet, the hundreds of times I’ve been on stage, it never goes away. The more I focus on it, the worse it gets. However, if I don’t pay attention, it also gets out of hand. And, not just ‘the stage’, either. I get over-stimulated when there are many moving parts (read: the general public), my mind starts to race and I can’t keep up with everything around me. I don’t need to keep up with things, but someone please tell my mind that. There are more than a dozen times that I’ve blacked-out from my brain running away without my permission – panic attacks. Most of the time, I am unaware that it’s happening, until I’m waking up to “WTF? and where am I? how many people saw? …I want to go home.”
Doc and I have been working on it for quite a few years, now. Meds are great, but at 43 years old, habits are hard, more so are mindsets. I support the Big 3: Exercise, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & meds (if necessary). I know medication gets a bad wrap, but as a person who’s tried many substances, don’t knock it until you’ve fully tried it (good fixes usually aren’t quick). There’s no reason to get beat up (mentally) while fighting something you can’t win. It’s unfortunate, but no one will see the badges of your fight with your depression. People just won’t see it, especially if you’re strong. Set that fight down and lean on someone else for help. As it’s Mental Awareness Month (I’m a little late), I figure I’ll just put this out there. Of course, my issues are not your issues and we are all in a different place. But, if you feel alone, your brain’s lying to you. You are wrong.
I’ve watched my son, now 15, deal with the same thing; numerous panic attacks to the point of blacking out. Now that we know what’s happening, it can be somewhat managed. I’m only getting personal to tell somebody that not all things are environmental or circumstantial. If it is, change it. But apparently, sometimes, we are just biology gone awry, and we are vessels containing that mental wackiness. It’s not your fault. I thought I could fight it on my own, fix my own problem; I tried until my mid-30s. It was a waste of time to be arrogant.
Final Thought: This is not a sob story or looking for pity; please don’t do that. So many times poetry comes from a context-less place, that the reader must figure some interpretation out on their own. I’ve read my share of poetry and am always amused (mostly, enlightened) to hear the author’s version of their writ, so here’s mine.
My name is Trinity Bourque (aka Church Rowe). I’ve been part of a few bands in the past currently in The Wanderer’s Drift. I am a 43-year-old, father of two, husband to one, from South Central, Louisiana (deep cajun country). I’m attempting to build a farm that produces organic vegetables; while holding down a part-time remodeling job. I’ve played/written music since I was about 12 years old. Since then my expressions have overflowed onto paper and computer keyboards. I enjoy playing music, listening to music, poetry, writing, typing, reading, camping (mostly primitive backpacking), and more recently, gardening and farming.
Welcome to your new heel
It is open for you to explore
Sit here in shouts
Stand there in silence
Dodging bullets from an invisible force
Or will it to be an illness
Eating away the grit on my bones
I struggle when I pray
Can I defeat a demon?
When its teasing me
to submit me to its prison
I feel the blink is the only time
I can ride away
Don’t let the ground take me to its mudholes
To struggle to pull,
To push me to the surface
Don’t let me get stuck as non-existent
General Anxiety #2
Anxiety in the general form
provides worries and,
also don’t cares.
You are a rebel as well
as the child hiding from stares
not only tear up when sensitive,
but also feel the ripping within your skin.
Nerves that are erratic
and spin dancing into your pores…
trying not to drown
in your moments of incompetence.
You can be treated like a numb brain
depleted of all thought…
sometimes your words and grammar,
or dialect are not as artistic as how you feel.
“Look at me…
I’m the goof child of a scarecrow and a
you may feel like you are an ego
in the clear egg shell
Screaming for help to break me through.
Or how it has always been.
Until the next thought brings you
to that of an evergreen field
cast blindly in beauty by the sunset…
erecting safe shadows onto the roads.
Even gravel is smooth
when your mind is reshaped
from danger back to acceptance.
There were eleven lights in the ceiling and five trains went past the window. You told me to be silent. Not one word or your violence would speak a thousand. It turns out you wrote a novel all over my skin was a map of the places you had been uninvited. Watercolour bruises I could not dilute with bleach. I cried to the police reliving that moment once again. The examination was filled with swabs and humiliation as a male doctor went near my wounds. I feared men for a long time after, I would even flinch at my brother’s touch. I’d often see red and lash out, like a bull I would charge at whoever told me “I would be okay.” I can’t even look in the mirror without seeing shame! I scrub my skin until it bleeds and please don’t patronise me with so-called kindness! I’m damaged, disgusting, drowning in pain, I can’t bear to wake up and feel this again, I – realised I still have breath in my lungs. When I shut my eyes, I feel at peace. I’ve learnt that quiet thoughts speak volumes. That love doesn’t shout, it whispers. That hands are to hold and not to make fists with. That for a moment I was hollow, a woman who would wallow in self-pity until I remembered who I am – A lioness with courage. So, to ‘he who must not be named’ watch me as I push out my chest and fear the roar that comes from its depths.
Faye Alexandra Rose is a UK based writer studying English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Worcester. Her work has been published in several online magazines such as; Mookychick, The Drabble and the online project Poetry & Covid. She is also a Poetry Editor for small leaf press – a magazine dedicated to giving a voice to undiscovered writers. She can be found on Twitter: @FayeAlexandraR1, or via her website: fayealexandrarose.wordpress.com.