Veronica's Garden

I originally started this blog to promote my novel, Post Rock Limestone Caryatids. Now I write essays and poetry about everything, including the Flint Hills, healing, parenting, etc. WARNING: emotional content, sometimes intense. Read at own risk of feeling.

Tag: depression

NaPoWriMo Day 11: Detritus of Days

When April still feels like February.
When shorter nights only mean less rest,
and the still-needed layers of winter clothes
are a hateful shroud. When your children
desperately need encouragement
and you can’t find it in yourself to lie.
You’re living in the shadow of a hill,
where the sun breaks late, glares, and
passes too soon. When the detritus of days
closes around you, try to remember
that sunlight slanting over dust on
clutter has its own beauty. It’s not enough,
but it might get you through another day.

floor

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Unspoken

When the taxes hadn’t been paid
—or filed, and the accountant called
from Topeka to ask why, I didn’t tell her
about the long months after the baby
when death was my greatest longing
and deepest fear. I didn’t tell her that
when you run a motel, it’s never a question
of whether there is a leak, or a clog, but
of which room. Rooms. I didn’t tell her
how I’d come to dread the ring of the phone,
how I jumped at the sound of the
doorbell. What’s wrong now? I didn’t
tell her about the words —trapped, helpless,
powerless—
that had come to be like
fat lazy friends who crowded me
on the couch with the baby. Or that
my marriage had changed in ways that
I didn’t understand, that I couldn’t trust
my perceptions, that her understanding
of causality probably wasn’t relevant to
the question she was asking.
I’d met that slender woman before,
in person, seen how she looked at me, with her
coif and pantsuit and briefcase that
matched her shoes. I in cutoffs with
a toddler on my hip and a failing
business and a debt I could not pay.
I didn’t tell her that I’d had a good education
from a respectable liberal arts college,
could’ve done anything, and I chose this.
This was what I chose.
I told her that my husband had a job
elsewhere now and that there was more
work than could be done in the hours
available, which answer did not satisfy.

She had a girly first name but her
last name rhymed with penis,
and I did not mention that, either.

Room 8, looking east

I often dream of motel rooms.

To My Demented Friends

Sunrise Over Pond

a few seconds later

To the man who filled his basement to the ceiling
with boxes of meaningless things, because
“There’s money down there,” and
to the woman who said there had
formerly been a hill behind the house,
“. . . but it’s gone now . . .”—
I too live with unfathomable sense of loss,
a pool too deep to swim to the black depths.
Struggling to get to the bottom of things
(“Bring the darkness to light,” she said,
“not the other way around”) and desperate
to rise to the air. I’m not afraid
of the darkness down there, but I am afraid
of drowning.

Life Wins

My sister Melora Creager is doing a project about suicide and overdose, and she asked for input from friends who have been affected by these tragedies. I sent her the post I wrote last fall, Black and Blue, and You, which was a letter to a person I knew who committed suicide many years ago.

In the letter I mentioned that I needed to prep the garden for winter, and this week, as I re-read it, the garlic I planted at that time is just coming up. The ground is bare, and if you didn’t look closely, you might think it dead. We’ve had an unusually cold winter, with plenty of snow, but to the winter garden, snow is just melting water. Look closer, and you can see the deep green shoots poking their way out of the dirt.

I’ve suffered from depression all my life, and in my forties I am just beginning to manage it effectively. I’ve escaped the clutches of fear, anxiety, anger, and despair, some days by riding them out; some days by naked willpower. I’ve learned that peace, joy, and gratitude reside within me. They are always here, but I have to choose to tap into them, no matter how seductive the darkness can be.

When the days are getting shorter, and everything appears to be dying, it can be tempting to give in to the darkness, to curl up and wither with the countless fallen leaves. Planting in fall is an act of faith that the earth will continue to spin. Nothing can stop the cycle of the seasons. Even when all I can manage is to hold on and ride it out, winter eventually dissipates and life wins.

Garlic sprouting

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