Tag Archive: Depression

November Poem-a-Day: Day 12

Prompt: This week, cold has been sweeping across parts of North America. While the effects of the cold can be seen (whether it’s snow, frost, or puffs of breath), the cold itself is something that cannot be seen–only felt. Cue today’s prompt.

For today’s prompt, write a poem for and/or about something that cannot be seen. I mentioned cold, but there are so many more possibilities, including love, gravity, the future, thoughts, and sound waves. Our lives are filled with things we know exist but which we can’t see.


The ties that bind a family
Or are they really chains?
Invisible but solid still
We’re all born wearing reins

Rebellious marionettes are we
Cursing luck and striking cords
We revolt from our connections
Erasing faith with bitter words

We imagine that we’ve broken free
But our souls still bear the mark
We dance alone with our eternities
And dream of family in the dark

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 10

Prompt: For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) Trouble,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and write the poem. Possible titles include: “Big Trouble,” “Double Trouble,” and “That Guy Is Trouble.” I hope you don’t have too much trouble getting started.

Drowning trouble

There are times when times are tough
When trouble crashes the gates
When you progress from feeling fine
To sinking into the direst of straits

This is when the tables get turned
So you’ll need to burst a bubble
Sit back, relax, and prepare to chill
It’s time to drown your trouble

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 3

Again from Writer’s Digest: For today’s prompt, write a blanket poem. In my part of the country, we’ve had a recent cold spell and folks have been cuddling up under their blankets. In other places, they’ve even had to deal with a blanket of snow. Some people–regardless of the weather–have their security blankets, which may or may not be actual blankets. And some folks make blanket statements. There may be other ways to cover a blanket poem and if you know it, then go for it.

(I wrote two.)

Wet Blanket

Because the same thing that can put out a fire
Can massacre even the best of times

Because eventually you stop getting invited
When you keep saying no oh no no no

Because at some point in your very short life
You simply need to realize that life is very short

It’s time to dry yourself off, fold yourself together
And get back to doing what a good blanket does

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

Security Blanket

My hands sit empty, folded, trying not to wring
Aware, all too aware, of being watched
“You haven’t brought your coffee cup today”
Kind eyes sweep my face for significant tells
“Would you like a cup of water?”

You see, sometimes I try to go it alone
To get by without my force field, my mood shield
But the cup sets my boundaries and keeps me safe
And even though I’m learning to speak on my own
Today I take the water, and find my voice in the cup

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 1

Prompt for day 1  (from Writer’s Digest): For today’s prompt, write a game over poem. Our family spent a couple months putting together a haunted house in our garage for Halloween, and now that the holiday passed, I’ve got a bit of that game over feeling. People who play video games know about game over. And people who play other games, whether baseball, Monopoly, or poker. There’s a moment in every game at which it is game over–except maybe Minecraft, which may be why it’s so popular for so many.

This subject deserves more time from me, it was years I spent, lost in depression and living in Norrath and other online worlds. But since I’m on a deadline, this will have to do for now.

Game Over

I was a gamer once
Named Lepia or Jinks
A mother here, a healer there
A caretaker in hiding
Tucked so safely into pixels
Trying hard to save myself

I didn’t mean to turn away
From my children and my home
It was a dark and lonely tower
And there was no prince on the way
There was only me, numb but remembering
What it was to be myself

Online was full of open space
Air and adventure and dragons
And friends wreathed in archetypes
Together, heroes on a quest
I was learning what it was to trust
And I was growing legs

And then one day I noticed
That I’d remembered how to stand
Remembered my real name
And, full of purpose, full of worth
I turned to face the daylight
And logged off one final time

~Liesl Dineen 2014

no man’s land

My head is on fire
A pyre full of pain
Because my small brain
Can’t contain the aches
From mistakes I keep making
I am shaking, fingers pressing
And caressing
At the edges of a bruise I didn’t choose
I’ve been used and used up
An empty cup and still you reach
Beseeching but rehearsed
Oh you’re all about your thirst
But I’m all dried up like sand
I am no man’s land
So take your sad quaking
And your taking, and goodbye
Now please fly
So that I can leave the desert
And find myself a sea
Just for me, just for me
Just for me

~Liesl Dineen 2014

Last Call

I poured my heart out everywhere
And now I’m an empty cup

Wondering what magic elixir
I should fill myself with next.

Or wondering, yes, I’m wondering
If maybe it is time, already,

To leave myself there dripping
Upside-down on the counter,

To walk away like closing time,
Hail a cab and call it a night.

~Liesl Dineen 2014

My spark of madness – on grief, depression, and insensitive jerks

This one has swears. I’m sorry, but if you’ve ever seen Robin Williams’ stand-up comedy, you’ll know he would forgive me.


I tried to explain things to my husband, who came home early Monday evening to find me sobbing at my computer. How could I be so fucking upset over someone I never met, someone I’ve only seen live just once? But I couldn’t explain, and I’ll try but I don’t know if I ever can.

Anyway, yes, for me, it’s personal on so many levels. I was so shocked, and then so not really shocked, just sadder than sad. I spent time on Facebook making sure it wasn’t some stupid hoax, praying it was. There were so many people all sharing my shock and grief, and yet, I felt, they couldn’t possibly feel like I do. Yes, duh, I know, but sometimes I feel it anyway, even when I “know” I’m wrong.

Then, predictably I suppose, the bullshit started. There were all these people saying “just goes to show you, you never know what’s going on inside someone…” And yeah, that’s a damn good point, and you should never assume crap about anyone. And “but he was so funny…” and “but he had so much, what did he have to be sad about?”

And I wanted to shout, okay, I probably did shout, that if you looked, you would have seen that Robin Williams was exactly what he seemed. Funny, dark, genius, kind… He showed us more of himself than most “famous” people ever dare. I’m not saying every character he played was deep, but if you’ve never seen The Fisher King, for instance, you really, really should. It’s not Mrs. Doubtfire, I promise (and come on, don’t hate on that one either, it managed to be fun and make a point or two). I never did see that one movie where he played a killer in a photo booth, One Hour Photo. Just the previews scared me. I didn’t want to see that much dark in my hero, even though I knew it was in there.

And then, back on Facebook, the people started to say how he left us too soon, when he had so much more to give. And I thought and thought about that. This “performer” did give, didn’t he? He gave and gave some more. He struggled through addiction, depression, and kept giving and giving. Maybe, I thought, and I’m still thinking… maybe he didn’t have any more to give? Maybe we’re assholes for thinking that he owed us anything in the first place, and we should be really damn grateful he chose to share so much with millions of people he never met. Maybe he was tired and spent from giving his all, and there are just no words of wisdom or memes to make sense of that.

And back to Facebook. Ah, of course. We got to the people who felt the need to point out how “selfish” suicide is, what a terrible parent someone must be to “do that to their kids” and so on. Some even invoked the wrath of God. Well, there are tons of eloquent articles floating around that will explain to you about depression and suicide way better than I can. They will explain how much bullshit those lines of thinking are, only nicely. But I know the people who should read them probably won’t.

So all I can say really, at this point, to those people sitting in judgment is fuck you. I won’t wish the pain of depression on you, because Jesus Christ, why would I do that? Because I KNOW what it’s like, and that’s enough for me to never wish it on anyone. So just, fuck you. I’m working so hard on coping with these things in my own life, you have no idea, and you never will, and you will be the first people to quote some blithe shit about walking a mile in your shoes when your time finally comes. Well, don’t walk a mile in my shoes, or in Robin Williams’ shoes. Just shut up about it. Move on, there’s nothing for people like you to see here. I’m sure there’s something good on the TV.

And then all I can do is tell you about me. I’ve been on the cliff’s edge in my own mind, and I’ve seen myself driving off. And I wanted that. Yes, I thought about all the people who would be mad, hurt, ruined for life, and yet that isn’t what kept me in my head and not in my car headed for the mountains. Truth is, I don’t know what did that. And I also know that whatever it was might not be there for me next time. I live with that.

Look, living your life is a full-time job. We’re all just doing the best we can, even when we’re sucking at it. Even when we’re on the couch and can’t get off. I do know that if I had driven off that cliff, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if people “sympathized” with me, if they judged me to be selfish, or if they thought that this one single act could negate a lifetime of trying for goodness, caring, and loving my family and friends.

So, I’m heartbroken about Robin Williams, who has honestly been my hero since I first saw him on Happy Days. I finally got to see him live and up-close last year when he was doing “An Evening of Sit Down with Robin Williams & David Steinberg” in Durham. I spent money we didn’t have on the best seats I could get. A lot of money. It was my birthday gift to myself, the gift of a lifetime I said, and still say. And it was wonderful.

So thank you to Robin Williams for a million laughs and tears and the light we could see in your eyes and so much more. And I’m so sorry you knew this hell.

I’ll close with my own Facebook post from that night. It will always be true.
Since I was a child, when people asked me who, living or dead, I would choose to have lunch with, my answer has always been the same. Robin Williams. That is still my answer.

Shit, sorry, I forgot to say this: get help. Ask for HELP. Beg for help, give others help, notice notice NOTICE!! People all around you are hurting. You may be hurting. Get help. You don’t have to be alone, and you don’t have to pretend all the time. I got help, and I’m still getting help. I take medicine when I need it (which is for almost two years now this time), and I talk to a professional. Often. Please please please, don’t ever be afraid to get help. And if you’re on the cliff… try to stay in your head. <3

*** In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ***

July 21


Monday comes early and eager
Cloaked in heavy clouds and rain
Watching us in mocking tones
As we slog our way to waiting offices
With half-closed eyes and heavy sighs
Noticing one another in the abstract
Like flowers through cracked cement
Nodding in the universal understanding
That we are all in this together alone
And longing to sleep through it all
But Monday never lets you be
Grabbing you before you even open your eyes
Shaking you briskly into unpaid bills and to-do lists
And as ill-fitting as it is, you realize sadly
You don’t have anything else to wear
And that coffee isn’t going to make itself

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

July 7


Depression is where anger goes to be alone
It curses and broods, and slams the door
And turns to face you with a glare
Stone-faced and rigid, with deadbolt engaged

And in you are locked, hostage and dupe
While it boldly unfurls its pirate’s curtains
And black smoke billows, filling the room
Driving the light from the corners like rats

Helplessly, you endure the blind rage
And your dulling senses adjust to the dark
Until you settle down there in the dust
And begin to call this place home

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

Day Twenty-nine


no prompt

The onion

Peel me like an onion and please notice as you go
that each layer becomes more and more
smelly, strong, dense, resistant, bold
but truthfully I am so very afraid
that when you keep peeling
you will find nothing
nothing at all
at my very
that all you
will have for your
effort is a smelly kitchen
and tears in your eyes dripping
onto the cutting board where all that
I ever was is lying in a pile of skin and flesh
reminding you that not every recipe can succeed
no matter how good your intentions were at the start.

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

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