I’m starting to wonder what happened to me on March 3rd, 2005. This time last week, I published Into the Darkness, a poem I interpreted with strength as it seemed to describe overcoming a surrounding darkness. For the first time ever, I have turned the page to find a poem written on the same day. In fact, it seems this poem is a sort of answer to the one published last week.
As last week, this poem was written when I was a 14-year-old freshman in high school. I have a suspicion I read the previous poem after I wrote it and was impacted enough that my response needed to be in poem form.
I Carry My Burden
I’m all right now
Life is a torment
Yet I figured out a way
I can save myself
No one can comfort me
And no one need to know my pain
I don’t need someone
To carry my burden
Life is hard enough
Without worrying about others
Believe me, I’m all right
Though nothing will ever be the same
There are so many options here, and I have no idea which is true. Did I read the previous poem immediately after writing it only to feel it was too dark? Did I worry someone would find my notebook and wish to reassure them I wasn’t super depressed? Or, did something really happen? Perhaps I walked away from the notebook, experienced an event, read a book or played a game that spoke to me.
Knowing what I know now, this sudden change of tone scares me a bit. I don’t remember seriously considering suicide outside of middle school, but this is the sort of dialog I’d expect to hear from someone who did. They say if you know someone who is particularly somber and depressed who suddenly becomes happy, to be worried. When this change happens suddenly, it can be a sign they have decided to take their life. I clearly am still experiencing pain, it’s just a pain I feel guilty speaking of. I end the poem by saying nothing will be the same. What was 14-year-old TK thinking? In a month, she’d be 15, which means she’d only have to suffer for three more years before she escaped. After nine years of dealing with these dark feelings, what was three more?
Yet, I actually have no idea if that’s what I was feeling. I’ve worked very hard to black out everything between the ages of 5 and 17 from memory. These words bring back very little. For whatever reason, I want to say I just felt the first was too depressing and felt the need to be more cheerful.
Whatever my motivation, I don’t believe myself. I was sort of strong as a teenager. I was strong enough to convince myself I was all I needed. How else would I have survived? I treated the idea that no one was there to save me as a fact. That meant I was the only one who could help me. I accept I had to believe that to survive the next day, but I don’t honestly believe I could overcome anything all on my own.
Do you feel this poem marks a good or bad movement in my emotional health? Did you know the signs of suicide when you were 14? Do you think it’s possible for someone with depression to ever overcome their demons all on their own?