In a Bell Jar at Sea

Living with Major Depressive Disorder – in Prose Poetry

I slept many years now. Down the drain before I could stop it. You know those drives where you forget how you got there. This all happened so fast yet at such slow pace. The mirror shows the same eyes and same nose. Same plain face I’ve always known. But the inside floats at sea in a bell jar with Esther and Edna. So much weight on the woman and housewife. So many tides each day like the roles I played. I am something to everyone but that face in the mirror. I want to scream “I am, I am, I am” I want to be a bird free from the cage. Feelings hurt too much and I know how to shut them off. It’s easy, like a switch. It’s really exhausting keeping them turned on now. But I have too, or I’ll be lost at sea.

I am only barely awake. Fresh eyes that have been in a decade long slumber. Knowledge of what I should have known all along. Too cold and numb to know the difference. I was in a bell jar lost at sea, putting everyone else before me. I was Esther lost in madness, Enda reborn only to feel sorrow. I am just the exact description of the sad woman and mother. I am more than the lack of tears, I am more than shrugged shoulders – but I’m not really sure what now. I will conjure a paddle and find my way out.

Hello, meet me fresh again. I return to shore but keep the sea in my pocket and the bell jar as a hat. Emotions, even good ones, could easily scare me back. I’m a terrible swimmer, sink like Edna’s pursuit of something she never could overcome. And the world expects sanity, shock the Esther out of me.

I am the same age Plath was when she took her life. Battling the same shit I am. She wrote line after line about it. Chopin suffered too and wrote to overcome it. So do I continue to write to kill myself or to save myself? Not sure the right fictional character could be made or enough poetic statements said that could ever forgive the small girl I was that created the sad woman I am.

This is my bell jar, this is my sea. I am. I am. I am madness. This is me. I find birds have somehow escaped the wrath of Earth and Sea. They live somewhere magically in-between. The sea is in my pocket, the bell jar a hat. But through this awakening I have discovered something itching on my back. Need to love the small girl that made the sad woman I am… sometimes. I am sad only sometimes. It hurts a lot but I’d rather feel sadness than nothing at all. And that realization pulls me out of the sea, stops the self hate from electrocuting me, and I see now…. the small girl, the sad woman, has sprouted from her back a set of awakening wings.


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Published by elizabethridge

A poet and author from Iowa. Just trying to make feelings into words and make it mean something. Or nothing. You read and decide

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