depression defined… (poem)

When I was asked what depression really feels like it sparked this piece.  I think a lot of people misunderstand depression because they think it is just being sad and can’t figure out why you can’t just “shake it off.”  It’s more than that, and here I explore this through poetry.  Feedback and discussion is encouraged.   [edit] This poem is also featured at For Harriet.


depression defined

so much more…


depression defined 

by Alise Leslie


when sadness is no longer an emotion

when it becomes a residence

an empty abode, with no windows

filled with the smoke of anxiety

and the ashes of what used to be comfort are spread about

with no mythical birds in sight

no Lazarus resurgence of normal

my mind’s eye projects onto empty walls playing back “could-have-beens” in high definition

mistakes are played by giants

hitting every cue.

moving pictures of stagnation.

establishing shots of a ghost town

backdrops of statues constructed from stolen moments and irony.

those moments where heaviness is your only evidence of existence

where the only thing to grab onto are slippery slopes of your magnanimous mind

with delusions the opposite of that grandeur shit


pardon my French but “je ne suis pas heureux”

and no one you care about understands that it means “I. am. not. happy.”

where a rainbow at the end of your storm seems too far fetched

because how dare i imagine that it will end…

no pots of gold

nothing to pay off this debt of guilt

compounding disinterest in positivity

because curling into a ball is easier than smiles and platitudes

easier than stepping outside.

easier than changing.

sadness is what happens when you are too tired to rage against the machine.

and you realize the machine is you.

and you don’t believe that the grand mechanic in the sky can fix it.

you’ve been running on fumes so long that anything else feels preposterous

when half tanks feel like luxury

when half empty is a goal

you’re living a half life,

and having a life is not a figure of speech, but a  daily struggle

sadness is a volume of unfinished poems in dead languages….  

where you chant  “e pluribus unum” in unison with your problems

molehills conspiring with mountains

sparks conspiring with lightning bolts

May showers conspiring with Katrinas.

feelings never conspiring with common sense.

words that used to mean something in some long forgotten time

get lost in the ether of hardship.

stanzas are scattered in the white noise of forgetfulness

you are praying that your verses can, for once, cause a commotion

that emotion, for once, can lose to logic.

so that happy can join your vernacular and occasionally finish the metaphor of a good day.

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  • BethLanai

    I just discovered your blog. this left me speechless. it speaks so much to my life.

    • Thanks so much my goal with this blog was to have those, “oh it isn’t just me” moments so people don’t feel alone or ashamed. Thank you for checking me out, hope you stick around.

  • Whittney

    Tears immediately left my eyes after reading the first few sentences of this, which I originally found on For Harriet. I first experienced depression last year after a sudden break up and thought it was just because of that. But I’ve recently been feeling low and couldn’t seem to link it to any major event. It wasnt until I read your poem–about an hour ago–that I realized that I suffer from depression. Thank you so much for sharing. Your words will forever serve as the beginning of my journey with this experience. Love, peace, and blessings <3

    • I am glad you got something out of my words. That means the world to me, yup, the whole world. I hope you are able to find peace and healing. You are loved.

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