Winter 2003

By Catt Kingsgrave-Ernstein

So what do you say when your world turns grey?
When all that you cared about wanders away
From the sound of your voice, from the reach of your hand
And to save your own soul, you cannot understand
Why it all fell apart, when you first lost control
When the cracks in your heart spread across to your soul
And your mind, and your hands, and the soles of your feet.
What do you do when the loss seems complete?

And no one, it seems, understands that your sorrow
Is more than just petulance, laziness, greed
They smile and they shrug when you fear for tomorrow
It isn't their fault you don't have what you need
They suppose you will find your way out of the darkness
And call, if you climb within reach of their hand,
And a part of you knows you can't label them heartless
They care, but that doesn't mean they understand.

So you cope, you cope, you learn to hope
You try to fly with a twist of rope
And a wad of gum, and a wing and a prayer
Cause you know if you fall, no net will be there
You don't get the comfort of indecision
Despair is a luxury you can't afford
So you take a deep breath and you act with precision
To come out ahead, when the tallies are scored

And you never forget that the dark overcame you,
When you and eternity stood eye to eye,
But the shadows blinked first, and the daylight reclaimed you
And promised you strength with a glimpse of the sky
And a breath of the air, and the rain on your face
And a knowledge that never so dark was the place
That your grief led you in, and despair bid you stay,
But the fact of your living can't unbar the way.


Depression is a horrible, soul- and happiness-sucking monster the like of which far too many of us wrestle on a frequent basis. JK Rowling gave the feeling a dreadful face in her Harry Potter books, and named them Dementors. Anyone who has read the books will immediately get the analogy. For me, though, happy thoughts and 'expecto patronum' don't cut the gloom. I never had protectors when I was young enough to need them, and I can't actually put any faith in a bright spirit leaping forth and save me. All the saving that's gone on in my life has been at my own hand, at at my own peril.

So I face the Dementors with agility and guile, and outright cussed defiance instead. I twist and I turn through my self-created no-man's land, crawling under the razor wire, and tiptoeing around the landmines until I'm clear. As long as my heart is beating, I can imagine each spike of blood as a waggling finger of defiance to the looming heart-suckers. The trick, for me, is to keep breathing, and to remember that you've survived them before. And that you did it alone. And that must just PISS them off!