Black Eyed Dog

I know I’m sad when I write poetry, and I know I’m depressed when I can’t even bear the thought of picking up a pen. When I am staring at myself in the mirror for long periods of time to try and force the tears to stop – well that’s a different thing all together, and something I can’t explain.

I have just spent half an hour staring into the mirror that was leaning against the wall in my old bedroom. Its wasn’t quite a full-length mirror, but the angle between the wall and the floor allowed it to reflect my whole sad, sorry figure and the bed I was sitting on. After alternating between the foetal position and squeezing myself into a ball on the floor, I had eventually moved myself to sit on the edge of the bed. I had only come upstairs to get my pyjamas on.

The new but uncomfortably springy mattress forced me to sit further back than I wanted, and I couldn’t help but feel this was the best decision I had been forced to make, as it would eliminate the risk of me just dropping off the edge and hitting the floor when the springs realised they were too cheap and I was too heavy.  I crossed one leg over the other, with my left arm squeezed between them both and my hand drooped down over the edge of my right thigh. I used my right hand to move the hair and tears from my face. Despite my right hand’s best window wiper impression, the tears still dripped on the wooden floor between the battered Converse I had still not taken off, even though I had no intention of leaving the house ever again.

I continued to stare, and after a while I realised it was impossible to look myself in the eyes. Now this is probably impossible to do anyway if you think about it – just basic physics; but it felt like there was more to it than that. My reflection was embarrassed that I had got us into this state again. This time without realising it, I had damaged myself so much that the physical manifestation of my pain was more severe than myself or my reflection had ever seen previously. No wonder I couldn’t even begin considering those black hole eyes.

I hoped that if I stared at myself for long enough I may be able to scare myself into surrender and just go to bed. It didn’t matter that it was only 7 o’clock, I was exhausted and the moon-shaped bruise like shadows under my eyes were getting darker, whilst my tear stained face was getting redder and more swollen. I’ve never been able to cry discreetly. Even when I cry in silence, my face always gives the game away. I’ve cried so hard before that I have burst blood vessels in my cheeks. On this occasion I was too busy trying to make eye contact with myself to even worry about blood vessels. I was growing concerned with my inability to breath and the palpitations that were getting more prominent the longer my reflection refused look back at me.

There is no way to write about these feeling without falling into cliche or simile pothole; ‘the anxiety caused through my bones’, ‘my heart was broken’ and so on. It’s pointless to even try and avoid these because it’s the only way you can try and get people to understand; and no one can truly empathise with you because no one has been in your shoes. Especially when those shoes slip on the tears that have fallen without you noticing and you go on your arse.

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