Sabrina Benaim – Explaining My Depression To My Mother: A Conversation


That concludes the sad love story part of the feature. Uh, we’re gonna move forward Ok, so a lot of people always say “Write the poem you’re afraid to write.” That’s like the first thing somebody tells you. “Write the poem you’re afraid to write.” And sometime the poem you’re afraid to write is the only poem you actually should write. It’s the most important one. So this is that for me. Thank you guys, for listening. Explaining My Depression To My Mother: A Conversation. Mom, My depression is a shapeshifter, One day, it is as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear, the next, it’s the bear, Those days, I play dead until the bear leaves me alone, I call the bad days the dark days, Mom says “try lighting candles”, but when I see a candle, I see the flesh of a church, The flicker of life, sparks of a memory, younger than noon, I am standing beside her open casket. It is the moment I realise every person I ever come to know will someday die, Besides, mom, I’m not afraid of the dark. Perhaps that’s part of the problem. Mom says “I thought the problem was that you can’t get out of bed.” I can’t. Anxiety holds me a hostage inside of my house, inside of my head. Mom says “where did anxiety come from?”, Anxiety is the cousin, visiting from out of town, depression felt obligated to bring to the party. Mom, I am the party. Only I am a party I don’t want to be at. Mom says “Why don’t you try going to actual parties? See your friends?” Sure, I make plans. I make plans but I don’t wanna go. I make plans because I know I should want to go. I know at some point I would’ve wanted to go. It’s just not that much fun having fun when you don’t wanna have fun, mom. Each night, Insomnia sweeps me up into his arms, Dips me in the kitchen by the small glow of stove light. You see, Insomnia has this romantic way of making the moon feel like perfect company. So I go for walks, mom. But my stuttering kneecaps clank like silver spoons held in strong arms, with loose wrists, They ring in my ears like clumsy church bells, Reminding me that I am sleep walking on an ocean of happiness I cannot baptise myself in. Mom says “Happy is a decision.” But my happy is a high feaver that will break. My happy is as hollow as a pin-pricked egg. Mom says I am so good at making something out of nothing, And then flat out asks me if I am afraid of dying. No. I am afraid of living. Mom I am lonely. I think I learned it when Dad left. How to turn the anger into lonely, the lonely into busy. So when I tell you “I’ve been super busy lately.” I mean I’ve been falling asleep on the couch watching Sports Center, To avoid confronting the empty side of my bed. But my depression always drags me back to my bed. Until my bones are the forgotten fossils of a skeleton-sunken city. My mouth a boneyard of teeth broken from biting down on themselves. The hollow auditorium of my chest Swoons with echos of a heart beat. But I am a careless tourist here. I will never truly know everywhere I have been. Mom still doesn’t understand. Mom, can’t you see? Neither can I.

29 comments

  1. This poem is crazy amazing. However, if you haven't watched the original I suggest you do so. Emotion runs high in the best way possible there (:

  2. I nearly cried and could relate so much to this…it just so damn amazing.

    I would love to show this to my mom. I don't know if then she would finally understand.
    But my mom does not speak english so , again , there will be no happy end. 😡

  3. If you guys haven't watched the first time she did this, I recommend it. She's so emotional and you can truly see her pain.

    I love your poems! ❤️

  4. this just makes my life even more sad because well i…..i just can't explain this and it just describes my life and the fact that she said that my happiness is a pin pricked egg just describes my life and the fact that i don't even have a dad too……………………………………..i just can't handle some things i have ran away from these things i run away no telling anyone belong even a little happy it goes away in like 1 minute because my mind makes it feel like i don't belong here

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