when left alone

squat and keep your head between your knees

remember to breathe

keep breathing

if you forget

you’ll hyperventilate and

brown paper bags aren’t exactly ‘in’ this season

 

where is your phone

who is there to tell you

it’ll be okay

to remind you that

you aren’t thinking rationally

(which is somehow supposed to be comforting)

 

there is a fine line between this and fine but everybody keeps saying it will be

and when you find your confidence wavering remember the walls

the allowable stress

attenuation

 

 

my ribs are bucket handles

quaking

this isn’t happening

five

I’m better than this

four

I want to cut again

three

I can’t handle the

two

weight of the pressure I’m only

one

person

 

the deflection of sobs in the exam room

keep it together

keep it to-

gulping air between breaking and begging

doctor doctor doctor

hear me

this pain is invisible but can you see

how it marks me

fetal position on the deafening

sterile

sheet

 

help me stop the seeping emptiness

this is depression

this is anxiety

this is suicidal urgency

disability

disability

I

have

a

disability

the words foreign and terrifying and

how can I tell anyone

that I can’t work because I’m crazy?

 

the cure is antithetical to being disabled

shamefully hiding the hunt for happy

 

if I could only stop choking

on the cackling

of the foundation crumbling within me

of the hour long showers

sitting down crying because

nobody could hear me

pink and petrified

 

how many times can they ask what’s wrong?

I’ve tried to answer more times than

there could possibly be solutions

but I am left limply living the definition

of disabled mental patient

 

and oh my god the money

oh my god the money

how do you pay for therapy

with sixty percent paychecks

dwindling

mental health is a ticking financial time bomb

how many weeks am I worth

to the company

long term, short term

doctors visit

credit card

therapy

acupuncture

massage

psychiatrist

 

(I was given pills since the age of ten

to regulate the sewage of sadness scourging my soul.

I don’t know who I am off the meds

what if I never get better

what if I can’t ever work again

what if I can’t afford the treatment)

 

I have to take the pills to work at the job to afford the doctor that gives me the

prescription for the pills that I have to take to work at the job to afford the doctor that

gives me the prescription for the pills that I have to take to work at the job to afford the

doctor that gives me the prescription for the pills that I have to take to work at the job

 

so

 

how guilty do I have to feel

for quitting?

 

 

By Kristin Stetler

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