Afraid

 

I don’t know why I am sharing this

For so long that cat has held my tongue

And I refused to reach for it 

But by speaking I know I’m cutting his nine lives down a bit 

 

 

Regardless I must set my fears aside and speak 

I fear if I don’t I’ll lose myself in all of my worries 

I am in an ocean of thoughts and from it I have to find the boat or I’ll drown

 

I am afraid 

 

Those who know me may find reason to doubt this 

But fear has been the fuel of my mental train 

One wrong move and the whole thing will crash 

I have been a precarious tightrope walker 

And below me is a lions gaping maw 

My every thought controlled by what I can’t control and derailed by what I didn’t expect

 

Long ago a teacher gave a prompt 

“How to make the world a better place”

the whole class blew this off 

They wrote generic stories about peace and pollution

But I had to take a step back

What would make MY world a better place was my first thought 

 

Selfish right?

 

When I was six I would have said

Give all the boys a dot dot cootie shot 

So I don’t have to worry

 

When I was ten I would have thought 

Make me a better singer 

So I can be on the Disney channel 

 

But when I was fourteen a much different idea came

The world would be better if I weren’t in it 

I wanted to let myself drown in my thoughts 

My every action tilted me closer to the lion

 

I don’t know what made me think this

But depression doesn’t care about your slot in life 

He and His cousin anxiety would beat me down 

Until bruises on my self esteem appeared

And scars on my skin ceased to fade

they would laugh and say

“Better to have this lesson now, you aren’t special”

 

Now I never turned in that story I shied away and wrote something about world peace 

I let myself float away from the boat

My balance became off 

 

Because I was too afraid 

I never choose to end my life 

Not scared of death

Not scared of the endless nothing of endless something 

I have made my peace with that 

I was afraid of the pain 

 

I chose a different way to take out my pain

The scar is still a shadow on my body 

It tells me to not do it again

it taunts me when I’m alone 

The laughter of a pain I thought I could control 

But because I never bled it wasn’t self harm 

 

I never told anyone because I don’t like to disappoint 

Should anyone know 

All that flashed in my mind was a tidal wave of pills and a cacophony of “are you okay”

A faceless stranger who expected me to confide in them the ocean which threatened me

Therapists can’t help 

They can’t make my fear go away 

 

I later heard the phrase “it gets better”

And I clung to it 

My fear of pain faded like the rain

Before you knew it, it was gone 

My fear morphed into loss

Loss was a being that always crept closer 

Ready for me to give up 

So that one day it could sink its teeth in the neck of hope  

I feared a lost chance for it to be better 

Because time heals all wounds 

And I was afraid My clock would stop working

So everyday I made sure to wind it up with promises of “it'll be a good day” 

Some days worked better than others 

 

 

 

I was never suicidal but death was the only thing that never scared me 

he always stood in my periphery edging ever closer 

I never shooed him away but he never dined with fear and anxiety 

He was just the guest who rsvp'd and never showed up 

And you can’t tell me that’s somehow not worse

 

So I forced myself through day after monotonous day 

Hoping that maybe something would change 

That I would wake up feeling more normal 

Like somehow what I felt wasn’t normal 

I bought green dye in the form of fake smiles and forced laughter hoping to make my ocean a little less gray 

Thinking maybe it’d become real

But if you can’t make your own joy 

Store bought is fine 

 

Now?

Now my biggest fear is letting all that consume me again 

I am better 

 Not perfect but getting there

the lion has backed off and I’ve stopped inviting death over 

But I still lose my footing some days and others I write death a note telling him I miss his presence 

 

Still 

I am afraid of saying anything should they not believe me

I’m not happy but I’m not sad

I am a freak of mental states 

Trapped in the gray area of you're not “normal” but you’re not weird enough to need help 

I see the boat but still haven’t gone to it 

I’ve tapped the lion on the nose with my toes and laughed at his hunger 

And it’s the best loneliest feeling in the world  

 

I know what it’s like to be alone 

My first friend came three months into middle school and then decided I was too gray for her yellow palette 

I have been in a room full of people and no one to talk to but my mind telling me how useless I am at talking 

I was the tree that fell but no one chose to hear

My branches are still broken and my stump is scarred 

But no one listened to my cries

 

I am still afraid 

Of people's thoughts 

And I am afraid 

Of their voices 

I am afraid 

Of what my actions may cause 

 

Yes I am afraid 

 But I can no longer tolerate my fear controlling me 

I can no longer let it be who I am

So I’m sharing this so that one day I will no longer 

Be afraid.

 

 

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