A Little Girl’s Path to Destruction

This poem is incredibly personal to me. It explains why I am the person I am today. Writing this was emotionally draining, and posting it is stressful, still.

That in consideration, I hope you can find some enjoyment in the reading.

 

A little girl, barely four years old,
So confident and funny,
Loves snakes and lizards,
Could talk about them endlessly.
She hears people talking,
They say that she’s weird,
Obsessive, Unnerving.
She kept her interests to herself.

A little girl, in her first year at school,
Struggled to pronounce the letter ‘Y’.
Her parents joked and teased,
“You yuv your yetters, dont’ you?”.
She wasn’t sure why,
Not at the time,
But she became cautious of her words.
She learned to be self-conscious.

A little girl, about nine years old,
Would mix up letters
When practising reading –
Like all children do.
Her mistakes were mocked,
A joke amongst family,
And she learned not to ask for help.

A little girl, in Year Seven,
Bullied, for being so shy, most likely.
She loved sweets and chocolates,
But hated her ‘friends’,
If she could call them that.
She was unpopular,
Noticeably,
The bottom of the heap.

A little girl, aged thirteen,
Told not to eat “so much rubbish”,
She needed to watch her weight,
She won’t be thin forever.
A boy in her English class
Calls her one of the ‘fat girls’,
And from that time onwards,
She learned to hate her body.

She stutters and stammers
Towards her first love,
A tall, sweet boy, of quiet disposition.
Her mind, aged sixteen,
Late to her first kiss,
Thinks it’s forever.

And it isn’t.

He breaks her heart for the very first time,
So she coats herself in makeup
And does things to her hair.
“It’s just a phase”, the adults all cry,
But this phase is what keeps her going.

She starts to lose weight.
She doesn’t notice at first.

Boys take advantage,
They throw her around,
Her body and her mind,
But she feels invigorated again.
She feels wanted again.
Even in her darkest hour,
When she’s scared and defenceless,
Crushed by his weight,
She laments her past, because
“At least someone wants me”.

His rejection starts talk,
And rumours circulate,
But this little girl, aged seventeen,
She rises above them.
With a close group of friends at her side,
Her past mistakes are a couple of jokes,
And she’s relieved she’s still wanted.
She downloads an app to track her weight.

A little girl, aged eighteen,
She’s happy and with a boy she loves,
But she’s so self-conscious,
Although she tries to internalise it.
His sister, his friends, his flatmates,
They’re all so beautiful,
Wealthy and confident,
And she feels inferior,
Lumpy, repulsive,
Taking up too much space.

Three meals,
Two meals,
One meal,
Snacks and coffees in-between.
Several cigarettes and a bottle of wine.
It counts as a diet,
It must count as a diet…
but where are the changes?

No one notices the difference.

A little girl, aged nineteen,
She starts university,
Full of hope and confident.
But another’s scheme to steal him from her,
Her only happiness,
It tears her apart,
But no one believes her.

She gets ill,
Her mind betrays her,
She drops out,
And he admits she was right,
But he was trying to help her.
He promises that things will get better.
He’ll help her find a therapist.

A little girl, aged twenty, now,
She’s still without help,
Two bad therapists later.
She dances now,
She loved her old job,
She hates her new uni
And her hips protrude,
Her ribs are prominent,
And she can’t drink as much as she used to.

Rings slide off her fingers,
Yet still, no one notices.

She battles with panic,
Insecurity,
Dysmorphia,
On a bi-weekly basis,
And that’s a good week.

She swallows sertraline
And keeps up the illusion
That she’s relaxed, that she’s fun,
And is confident in herself.
They don’t see scratches from a breakdown gone by,
Or the meals skipped
In thanks to congratulatory hunger.

She doesn’t tell anyone,
She never will.
She maintains that she’s fine,
She always ate earlier,
And the wine is just a bit stronger
Than she’s used to.

A little girl, nearing twenty-one,
Her thighs now touch,
She takes booze by the bottle,
She eats full-size meals again.
She hates it, but what can she do?
Attempt,
Attempt,
There’s no one who gets it,
So, as a last resort,
She writes poems about it.

Dedicated to George, the online friend who gave me a reason to start creating again, and Frankie, because you’re still here and still fighting.

I am mentally ill.

When people think of mental illness, they think of one of two things: the straightjacket-clad, stereotypical ‘mental patient’ you see depicted in tasteless halloween costumes, or the black haired, teenage girl, crying to the Smiths with eyeliner running tragically down her face, as she writes poetry about her broken heart. Most significantly, one never thinks of their best friend, or their dad, or the bartender at their local. People distance their depictions of mental illness from their friends and family, and even themselves, because it’s something that only happens to ‘other people’.Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 21.03.25

I take daily medication for my mental illness. It helps me to disguise the fact that I’m irrationally panicked by pretty much everything, and that a jealous twinge can send me spiralling into self-hatred.

If you met me, you wouldn’t necessarily think I suffered from a mental illness. You might see someone who’s a bit shy, dresses weirdly and needs coaxing to engage. That image of the cute, quiet person, who just needs a kind word, that romanticised depiction of mental illness. People like it when mentally ill peers present that way – discrete, quiet, blending into the background. They want to help us, they feel sorry for us.

All that changes as soon as we actually display our symptoms. My quietness can be annoying, my moods can be erratic, and I can start having a panic attack in the middle of Tesco because two people knocked into me. Then, no one’s sympathetic – they’re exasperated, they want to know why you didn’t do something you said you would – and the answer is because I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed. I missed a fair few lectures because of this reason. Everyone says they’re sympathetic of mental illness, until they meet a mentally ill person.

Furthermore, what’s the deal with so much hatred towards medication, anyway? My mother was horrified when I told her I’d started taking antidepressants, and was hoping I could kick them off over the summer. Obviously, I don’t want to be on them forever, but they’re helping me. We should remember that they’re a good thing, that they’re designed to help us function like everyone else. And, yeah, they do alter my brain function, just like my contraceptive pills alter my uterus’ functions, how my granny’s inhaler affects her respiratory system’s functions. It’s medication, that’s what it’s supposed to do. It affects my brain’s functions because my brain isn’t functioning correctly. I’m not enhanced, I’m being brought up to speed.

I’m arranging therapy, currently, and I do hope to come off antidepressants before next year, but I am always going to have a mental illness. Even if you can’t see it, it’s still there.

(One of my next posts is going to detail my experiences of sertraline, or zoloft, from when I started taking them until the current day.)