Autoethnography can offer multiple therapeutic benefits. Not only does it allow those with mental illnesses to express themselves, which contributes to a better understanding of self, but it offers a method of healing. Duchin and Wiseman state, “Individuals’ ability to describe traumatic events in their lives is connected to the processing of trauma and healing” (280). As these poems illustrate, my ability to be creatively vulnerable with my mental illness as well as the experiences which contributed to it will serve as a method of self-healing.
2020 was a trying year for a lot of people, and for me, in a multitude of clusterfucks kinda way. I lost a beloved pet, moved across the country, separated from my spouse of 11 years, started my graduate degree, had to make a difficult decision to re-home my other pets, and had a miscarriage. Don’t forget the abusive relationships… Yeah—I wish I could. Sometimes in life, we do stupid shit—like that time I got out of one abusive relationship just to get into another. Although, to be fair, I didn’t even realize it was abuse because it resembled the environment where I was raised. It’s funny how that works—how you can’t see something for what it is until you’re away from it.
I’ve written poems here and there before, but something about all of these events happening really drew me to put words to paper again—or in this case, text to phone screen. When I was writing, I went back from time to time and reviewed the previous poems, but it never occurred to me just how dysfunctional I was until I “retired” them, completed some grueling therapy work, and later read them from start to finish. Being in an abusive situation is difficult, and although it was painful to endure and it’s still painful today, I am thankful I escaped. I still struggle some days—but the struggle I have independently is much preferred to being around someone who is purposely trying to destroy you.
We all have trauma and the only way we can stop projecting our trauma onto other people is to heal. We heal by sharing our stories—vulnerability is powerful.
It’s complicated, right? I am complicated. You are complicated. This, we, us, them—is complicated. There are some complications. I hope if I say it enough, it all becomes meaningless.
Your heart is a muscle—it keeps you alive, but as it beats, you’re dying. That’s what it’s like. Like having your heart in a glass box where no one can touch it. But I feel it beat in me…
It’s a sweet misery. It kills me a little bit more every day, but it keeps me wanting to wake up the next. I’ll dream of all the things that could be, only to open my eyes to the empty space in my bed. But, somehow, you’re still here with me…
How do you wait when you don’t even know what you’re waiting for—or if it will ever come? But I know I can’t walk away, because I want to hear you call my name. Please, will you please just call my name?
I’ve always wanted ECT because it helps with forgetting, but your brain can actually work in this way—on its own. Einstein said time is relative and now it all makes sense; my brain took out the garbage, so what was many calendar years is now just a small sliver in my mind.
How do you stay when it kills you? Because you don’t want to lose it. How can you leave it behind? You can’t. And all the frustrated crying in the world can’t change a damn thing, but you let it out anyway.
So I’ll live each day in a dichotomy; I guess sometimes there’s pain in pleasure. And I’ll keep dreaming of scenarios in my head that may never happen, but I’m hopeful. Or am I just stupid? I guess being in love is like that…
Feels like being ripped apart from the inside
Right in the solar plexus
Who do you talk to when the person you would normally talk to doesn’t want to talk?
You talk to yourself
And what do you say?
You try to make sense of it even when nothing makes sense
You could lose your shit but what does that do?
It can’t change anything. It certainly won’t make it better
So you just keep holding on
What do you hold onto?
Yourself. Don’t lose yourself
This phlegm in my throat chokes me up and I can’t speak for days
Truth is there’s so much I want to say but you’re not always there like I need you to be
I try to think of all the good times but the bad is bad bad