Currents surged and tossed her,
Sharp prongs tore at her flesh in passing.
She was overwhelmed.
The surge of humanity,
The tide of evil,
The depths of depression.
Disorientated she could not find the light,
The way to the sky she remembered as a child.
She sank beneath the weight of her wounds.
As muscle relaxed,
A force of nature revived.
Her being floated slowly upward
Towards its natural element
Light and air burst upon her
Filthy water streamed from her face
Eyes encompassed by light rejoiced.
She saw an extended hand and grasped it
Yielding all to the strength of its creator.
A thread in the darkness, silken, reflective,
Glowing in the stillness and silence of the night that had engulfed his world.
He reached out. It did not quail.
Spider silk strong, it responded to his touch as he wrapped his hand around it.
Tensile strength lifted him, souring from the darkness to a world of light and song.
He looked into eyes pure and true. Love reflected,
The tiny thread that rescued him sprang from those eyes.
He took her hand, delicate, frail, yet strong as the web she had wove round his heart.
“Don’t ever leave me,” he whispered.
(From June 2014)
(Flash fiction on a theme of “shadow”)
My friend the shadow dwells with me. Like a comfortable blanket he shrouds my existence sucking the colour from the shades I glimpse beyond our window. Colours that blaze and glow in the life of others fizzle and die upon my bleak casement, shadow cloaks them.
It wasn’t always so. There was a time I lived amidst the colours, radiant and free, but now I live with shadow, he pales the hues that would hurt my eyes.
Alone with shadow I rest, afraid to raise the blinds upon the outer world, to look upon others in their bright resplendent hues. My clothes are soiled and torn with the wounds of life. That’s why I chose to live here with shadow, he comforts me.
There is a knock on my door. I tremble as it opens. Why it is not locked? I shade my…
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It seems the words “depression” and “stress” flood social media nowadays, they even emerge to wave their ugly heads in conversations with close friends and family sometimes.
Odd that as a child and young adult (I’m thinking 50’s – 60’s here for all you “spring chickens”) I seldom heard these words and when I did not with the same connotation. It could be due to the increasing pressures of today’s increasingly fast paced world (though I do think surviving a world war either in active service or bombed out London would have produced high levels of stress for the adults around me – not to mention rationing and housing shortages!)
Part of it was doubtless they didn’t have the “labels” back then and had to pretty much deal with their own problems. When my dad returned from Burma (one of the only 3 in his battalion to survive) having seen his friends killed before his eyes in guerrilla style jungle warfare he was experiencing what would now be termed post-traumatic stress. My mum just had to love and support him out of it (God bless her she won that battle).
I am hugely thankful that such help exists now for those in need and wholeheartedly support their free access to it. My concern is that too often nowadays it’s easier to “pop a pill” than to find ways to deal with the stresses and set backs of life. That might seem the “easy way” but unless the real problems are tackled things are inclined to get worse. Sometimes it takes a change of job, ending a bad relationship, going on the attack to save a marriage or a change of location etc. It’s hard to make such tough decisions in the midst of emotional turmoil though.
I’ve lived what could be termed a “very adventurous life” with sometimes huge elements of responsibility (not to mention severe earthquakes and hurricanes). I’m not by nature that strong stable type one usually pictures for such a role. Old friends tend to describe me as “strong” but actually I’m more like the lion in the “Wizard of Oz” a scaredy cat who is brave only when it comes down to the line and they have to be, because there’s no one else.
All this to say, over the years I’ve developed some ways of dealing with stress, discouragement (which leads to depression), anger and overwrought emotions which may help others too. They are all rather “old fashioned” but maybe that’s how folks dealt with these things before the days mental health became widely established. Perhaps they may help someone else unwind under stress and avoid having to end up with a severe problem. Rather than make one super long post I’ll dedicate my next few to this topic..
“It’s no use having light if you don’t open the curtains. Look it’s a beautiful day outside!”
Sometimes her sister’s sunny disposition would get Amber down. She looked on rebelliously as Sarah drew back the drapes and light flooded into the dingy bedsit. “It was easy for her,” she muttered inwardly, she had it all, a good solid relationship, cute kids, a great job… She’d be happy too if she had what Sarah had, but then it had always been that way since they were kids, Sarah always seemed to get the breaks.
“Look, why don’t we go out for a coffee? I know this great place by the river. Come on, you can’t stay boxed up in here forever.”
Amber didn’t answer, reluctant to stir herself. Sarah sat down beside her placing an arm around her shoulders.
“I know it’s hard Amber but life goes on. It’s not like Jeff was such a catch anyway, my little sister can do better than that guy! Right?” She made a silly face bringing a momentary grin to Amber’s morbid countenance. Grasping the opportunity Sarah dragged her to her feet casting an eye over her rag tag exterior…
The cafe was bustling with activity. Amber was glad she’d changed, put some make up on… Sara chatted gaily, coffee cup waving wildly as she talked. Then she dropped the bomb shell.
“Look Amber, I didn’t just come to cheer you up. There’s something I need to tell you. I know now’s not a good time, but you’ll find out soon enough. Our Emmie has leukaemia. We’ve known a while now, but …” Sarah’s cheery face teared up for a moment. Amber reached out across the table taking her hand.
“Sarah, you should have told me. Here I’ve been wallowing in self-pity and you have an eight year old with leukaemia. I always thought your life was so great, so perfect!”
“My life?” Sarah laughed grimly. “Having to forsake my college dreams when I got pregnant with Emmie? Making things work with James?”
“But James is an angel!”
“He is now.” Sarah smiled ruefully.
A light was dawning in Amber’s head. Life had handed Sarah some pretty dud cards too, but her secret was in how she dealt with them. Sarah’s curtains were always open.
Squeezing her hand Amber whispered, “We’ll get through this together sis. I’m here any time you need OK?”
Sarah smiled through her tears, as she always had done, and Amber made a vow to keep her curtains open. No matter what the weather she was determined not to miss out on those sunny days.