Monument Pier (Part 2)

Missed part one? Check it out here!

Cold. A bitter, gruesome cold spread throughout Jakey’s body. He couldn’t feel his fingertips, but he was less concerned about that than where he was. He opened his eyes to find himself laying on his side on a damp and uncomfortable bed. He could just barely see a bedside table next to him, illuminated by a single dim and flickering lamp. The lamp looked to be something from an old movie. His mind jumped straight to pirates. 

Where am I?Jakey thought to himself. The last thing he could remember was jumping into Boston Harbor after that terrible fight with his parents. Was he dead? Was this what the afterlife was? Why did he feel like he was rocking back and forth? Jakey thought he would be sick. 

His eyes slightly adjusted to the darkness and noticed a window behind the table. He could barely make out a light far in the distance. Then the light was gone. It reminded him of a lighthouse, but he couldn’t think straight enough yet to wrap his head around that.

It’s freezing.Jakey thought to himself, sitting up in bed and placing his feet on the ground. Where are my shoes?His feet felt a cool breeze as he noticed he was no longer wearing his shoes and his socks were damp just like the rest of him. It was a terrible feeling, he couldn’t stand it any longer. Without thinking, he took his socks off and felt a sudden relief. 

I’m not dead, but I wish I was. This is awful. Where the hell am I?Jakey attempted to stand, lost his balance, and fell back down onto the bed. Why can’t I stand up? Is the world rocking back and forth? Or am I losing it?He squinted and looked around. At the bottom of the bed was another light and one on the opposite side of the bed, too. He was in a small room with two doors on each side of the bed respectively. Everything was wooden. 

Jakey felt delirious. He couldn’t wrap his head around what was happening until he heard a loud crash, a sound he was all too familiar with after spending years at the pier. He was on a ship. He understood that now. How he got here was unclear, but he was here now. He didn’t feel threatened, as if he was kidnapped. Hell, even if he was some prisoner on a pirate’s ship it’d be better than his old living situation. At least then he’d have something to live for. 

His mind was finally coming to. Jakey had never been on a ship before besides the time he toured his father’s boat many years ago. He knew boats rocked back and forth, but he never knew the feeling until now. Seasickness was something his father always said was for the weakhearted, but he could feel something rising in his stomach. Oh, no, he was going to be sick right now. He couldn’t see well enough to find something to throw up in, but he stood up and searched anyway. As he stood up, much too fast might he add, he uncontrollably bent over and let it all out. 

Groaning, Jakey laid back down on the bed, legs dangling off the edge and hands rubbing his temples. Voices came from behind the door behind him followed by footsteps and the creaking of an old door handle turning. Without sitting up, he watched a light illuminate from the other room. A figure appeared carrying a lamp identical to the ones in his room, but much brighter. 

“Well, I’ll be. You’re awake!” Said a deep voice in an accent he couldn’t quite place.

“You alright, boy?” A second voice said. Two figures now stood at his bedside, upside down from his perspective. 

“Mnm, got sick.” Jakey croaked. 

“Where didja get sick, now, kid?” The second voice said. The two piled in and Jakey sat up.

“Over here, sorry, I couldn’t find a place to go. It happened so suddenly. Never been on a boat.” Jakey mumbled, gesturing to the mess on the floor next to him.

“Well, that’s alright, nothing a mop can’t clean, right?” The first voice said as they inspected Jakey’s mess. 

“What’s your name now? And what were ya doin’ out at sea? We thought you were a dead man. Scared us, didn’t it?” The second voice asked, taking a mop and bucket out of the cabinet at the end of the room and began cleaning.

“Jakey. I don’t know, was trying to end it, honestly.” Jakey admitted sheepishly.

“Well, that’s not the way to go, now is it? How old are ya? 16? That’s a bit too young to be wanting to end it all, wouldn’t you say?” The second voice said.

“I’d do anything to get away from my parents.” Jakey said solemnly. 

“Is that right? They’re abusive? Guess we can’t bring you back ashore then, can we?” The first voice said, nudging Jakey. Jakey chuckled.

“Sorry for rescuing me. I really don’t want to overstay my welcome. You can bring me back to shore, I don’t care where. I’ll get out of your hair.” Jakey mumbled.

“Nonsense. Jakey. We were just talking about how we need a new shipmate, weren’t we, Artie?” The second voice said, peering up at Jakey and Artie as he finished cleaning.

“Aye. We’ve got a crew, but we could use another person.” Artie said, “Tell me, Jakey, what do ya know about the ports ‘round Boston?”

“I know a little.” Jakey lied. He knew Boston Harbor better than he knew himself. He’d spent hours a day as a kid memorizing the paths of ships and tides from his father’s charts. He would draw them on spare pieces of paper from memory in class when he’d get bored. The margins of his math homework were riddled with maps and boat designs. He could tell you where the captain’s quarters were in every boat that belonged to the harbor. 

“Don’t be modest, kid, we want to give you a safe place to live. All we ask is you help us take back what’s ours.” Artie said.

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When it’s warm outside and life is good again (besides the bugs, the bees, and the humidity)

It’s warm now for the first time

in a long time.

I wasn’t sure winter would ever end,

but it did now.

Now it’s warm nights and sunny mornings,

sipping coffee

as the trees bloom all around me.

I’ve never known joy,

at least not like I know it now,

but I know it now.

Down again

It’s not that I have no one who cares,

it’s not that no one would comfort me in a moment of despair,

it’s the overwhelming feeling of not being able to reach out

in fear of being too much or an inconvenience.

I don’t want to burden anyone with my depressive episode;

when I’m sad, no one should have to deal with me than me.

They tell me I’m not a burden, that they really do love me,

but when I’m so deep in a pit of self-loathing depression,

it’s hard to believe anyone could ever care enough.

These fits of depression come out of the blue full force sometimes,

it’s not always easy to catch before I’m lying on the floor at 2 am,

headphones in, lights off, self-deprecating thoughts accumulating rapidly.

I want to believe I’ve gotten better at catching myself before it’s too late.

Some days are harder than others,

but I know I’ll pick myself up again.

I’ll survive this no matter how hard it gets,

I won’t let this sadness swallow me whole.

When the sun shines, I’ll let it

and when the rain comes, I’ll bring an umbrella.

Emma Carter (Part 2) Surviving is an uphill battle

Missed part one? Check it out here!

A week had passed since I saw that Tumblr post. I saw my therapist today. I told her everything that had changed in the last few months. I cried, she listened, then offered advice. I took it. She said to do little things that are productive. I don’t need to get a job, but I can start looking. I don’t need to do the dishes, I can just move them to the sink. I don’t need to hang out with my friends, just text them good morning. If I feel like doing more, I can, but I won’t push myself. It made sense, and I was mad I hadn’t thought of it before. 

I came home and texted my roommate Penny “morning.” Collapsing onto the couch, I sighed. My stomach rumbled, I hadn’t realized it was already noon. I had breakfast earlier, just a bowl of cereal. Food had always been a big stress reliever for me before this big wave of depression, so I opened up my recipe app and began scrolling. I saved a few recipes I thought sounded good and looked for the ingredients. My other roommate stumbled out of his room. I nodded to him, pulling out ingredients from the fridge.

“You’re cooking?” Richie asked, surprised. Normally, I would have been angry he asked. I would have bitterly spat something rude back at him. He would’ve sighed and left me alone.

I wasn’t mad, though. He had good reason to be surprised. I hadn’t cooked in months. The most I had was a peanut butter and pickle sandwich. That was my depression meal.

“I am.” I nodded back to him.

“What are you making?” He asked politely, trying not to anger me.

“Avocado and chicken salad. Where did you guys hide the knives?” I asked, almost laughing at how absurd of a question it was. They hid the knives from me in fear of me hurting myself with them. I understood why, but I hadn’t hurt myself in a year. I was over that. I felt silly to be asking him, and it was even sillier for him to hesitate to answer. I could tell he wanted to just use it himself. “Richie, I haven’t cut in a year.” I assured him.

“I know, Emma, I know. I’m proud of you. I’m just worried because you’ve lied to us before and I don’t want something to happen to you.” Has Richie always been this nice to me? I remember furiously hating him because of how rude he was. Was I seeing him differently now? 

“If you want to do it, you can. I just have to cut the avocado and chicken.”

“What changed, Emma?” Richie asked me.

“What do you mean?”

“You put dishes in the sink last week and actually left the house today, after you hadn’t left your room in almost two weeks. What changed?”

“I don’t know. I guess I realized I should get help. I kept falling into a pit of depression waiting for me to be at my absolute worst when I didn’t need to. I thought it wouldn’t mean as much to come back from a depression wave if I hadn’t destroyed my life beforehand. But I realized I don’t need to be at my worst to get better. It is still progress if I feel better in some way.”

“You don’t think you were at rock bottom?” He asked delicately.

“No, do you? All I was doing was sitting around all day, it’s not like I was actively destroying my life. You guys didn’t kick me out.”

“That’s true, you make good points. We wouldn’t kick you out, anyway, Emma. You’re our friend, no matter how depressed. We love you.” Richie said. I smiled genuinely, feeling valid. 

“You’re a good friend, Richie. So is Penny.” My phone vibrated, it was Penny responding to my text. 

“Hey, sunshine!” Penny’s text read. I was a little bitter about her overly-positive tone. I didn’t respond right away. Anger still stewed in my chest, even if I was beginning to feel better. This was going to be a long process. It terrified me to think how much work I still needed to do to feel better. 

I knew what I needed to do. I had to train my brain not to think so negatively. That could take a while. It was going to be exhausting, I could already tell. I was smarter than my depression, though. I wanted to get better, my depression didn’t. It was just an evil parasite living inside me, feeding me lies about how I feel and how I should react to situations. I was a good person, I wasn’t my depression. I knew that much. 

Emma Carter (Pt. 1)

My room hasn’t been clean in months. My head is a cloudy mess. My body isolated from society. I haven’t left my bed besides to binge eat in two weeks. I don’t remember the last time I showered. My friends gave up on me. I don’t blame them. Maybe I should get out of bed today. Or maybe today will be the day I finally disintegrate into this bed…. 

Mornings are all the same: alternating between sleeping and scrolling through the internet. I was having an exceptionally bad morning, seeing horrible news on my Twitter feed and angry people in the comments on Facebook. I’d seen everything on YouTube last night in one of my binge-watching late nights. Bored was an understatement. 

In the middle of another suicidal thought, I found a post on Tumblr I’d never seen before. It said, “you don’t need to hit rock bottom to get help” and it resonated with me. Maybe I had been subconsciously looking for a sign, maybe I was open to advice at that moment, or maybe that was just what I needed to hear. Either way, it helped me out of bed that day. 

I hadn’t done it in almost six months, but I texted my therapist for a new appointment. I made myself cereal. I had a whole glass of water. I took a screenshot of the post. I sat at my kitchen table, old newspapers and dirty glasses scattered. Making room for my cereal, I stacked a few glasses in a corner. I might move them to the sink after I eat. 

Eating is tough. Nothing really has a taste anymore unless I’m manic. Today, I could actually taste again. Granted, it was chocolate-y sugar cereal, but I was taking it as a win. There was still a weight on my shoulders, but it was lessened. At least for now.

I wanted to take small steps. I didn’t want to overwork myself with self-care. So, I put the dishes in the sink. All of them from the table. Then I took a nap on the couch. It was a depression nap, but at least I was out of my dark room. The sun shone from the window behind me, warming me up under the blanket. I smiled for the first time in a month. It felt good. 

“Maybe I’ll be okay eventually.” I whispered to myself before drifting off to sleep.

Depression VS The Fighter in Me

I’ve never been good at love,

I’ve never been good at anything.

I’ve never wanted to be better,

Until I met you.

I had no reason to stop my self-destructive behavior.

You made me realize I’m worth more.

You made me want to love myself.

You make me want to be better.

Everyone left and I didn’t understand why,

I was suicidal and I didn’t understand why,

I was anxious and I didn’t understand why.

I knew it would get better,

But I didn’t understand why I needed the pain to begin with.

I was so naive 

to think the pain didn’t make the pleasure better.

I was so naive

To think I couldn’t beat depression.

I was so naive

To think I couldn’t find coping skills.

Part of me knew I’d get better,

The fighter in me.

Part of me thought I’d never get better,

The depression in me.

The fighter is stronger,

But the fight isn’t over.

It probably won’t ever be,

But now I’m stronger,

I have better weapons.

I can get through anything you put me through.