I wrote this poem last year, but I performed it for the first time last night at a (zoom) spoken word open mic. Initially, I never thought that I would share it with anyone. I have since then, but every time it’s a nerve-wracking experience.
Poetry is possibly one of the most vulnerable forms of writing for me, and this poem is no exception. I only really began dealing with my mental health issues near the very end of 2019, and thankfully there has been a lot of progress since then. It’s something I will likely be working on my whole life. I wrote this in one of those moments when everything needed to explode. I wrote it in one go and didn’t edit. It just flowed out because it was my catharsis. I couldn’t scream and I couldn’t cry, and I couldn’t stop, but I could write (don’t ask me why.)
Everything is so close to the surface right now, Behind my eyes, Clinging to the back of my throat Rising through my chest until it gets too high and I have to push it down Again Every little thing sets me off Sensory overload punching me in the gut as every sound and sensation gets Too Much I have to think about every inhalation Or risk hyperventilation And I would deal with these feelings and thoughts, Except I’m wearing mascara And I don’t want to re-do it I’m also not through my list yet It keeps growing, swallowing up my time until I blink and its midnight. That can’t be right All I want is to crawl into bed and cry But my bedding is in the dryer And I know that if I hide now, If I cry now If my eyes overflow now I won’t be myself again until the day after tomorrow Because tomorrow will be spent trying to recover from today And I feel as though I shouldn’t have to recover, Covering myself in blankets and staying in bed all day There’s no way that’s healthy And there’s no catharsis from screaming inside my own head I know I should just go to bed But I have too much To Do And the nightmares I had last night are still circling in the back of my mind Never-mind that I’m done I’m exhausted, but I can’t be done yet I don’t even remember the last time I watched the sunset Everything is too much, too close, too loud, too bright, I thought it was supposed to get dark at night Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to handle everything at once Maybe I should sleep Maybe I should cry Maybe I should eat something, I don’t remember why I’m doing everything by myself I’m faking every interaction because if I fracture now I’ll fall apart And I’m not letting myself ask for support My throat is constricting but I make myself speak “No problem!” “No worries!” I am far up this creek by now My mood swings up and down I wish I could just lie down Instead I’m keeping myself together by threads, Pulling my hair out to tie off loose ends Stitching with scratches and running on fumes, My skin is revolting and itching and bruised, Now might be the time to eat everything in sight, I’ll hate myself later, by the time that it’s light out, but baggy clothes Are the only filter I need And I’ve already decided which crutches I’ll leave in the dark Too much Everything is Too Much Everything aches, And I am shaking from frustration and Freezing in a perfectly warm house I want to wash my face and break Down already, Hug myself before I drown in Too Much Crush everything until everything inside me is dust I want release I want peace I want silence and warmth I want to cuddle with someone until I fall asleep And don’t dream Screaming into my pillow isn’t enough, It’s be tough and fake it Make it ok Lie to myself; You’ll get done today Everything is so close to the surface right now, Behind my eyes, Clinging to the back of my throat Rising through my chest until it gets too high and I have to push it down Again By: Jules Sherwood
TL;DR: Finally sharing this poem I wrote a year ago and talking a bit about my journey with mental health.