Dickinsian and how

Here's a lovely poem that I had never heard before today:

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My mind was going numb –

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race,
Wrecked, solitary, here –

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –
 

…It's by Emily Dickinson.  I want to share it, though I'm not in a good place for sharing at the moment, because of the last two stanzas:  They are, if you've ever been curious to know, a nearly perfect description of what the cycle of depression and anxiety is like.  In the beginning of the poem, we see the deathly slow experience of depression that most people think of — "the sads", I've called them — but then, in that penultimate one, you see the author looking up and realizing that they're suddenly in outer space, completely alone and disconnected from everything.  This confused nothingness then lurches, and you fall back into the world, but you keep ripping through scenes like tissue-paper, and every time you see the ground of the next one rushing up, you flinch and gasp like you've just fallen asleep and started dreaming about falling off a cliff.  That's the anxiety.  And for me, as for many people, Depression the disease, the experience of it, is much more accurately seen as a rolling cycle of depression-and-anxiety, of despair cut with veins of sharp fear.  Eventually you will hit a world that you actually land in, and look around, dazed, and perhaps get to enjoy the sensation of being in the world in a normal way for a little while…and then the booted mourners march back in.

And I'm pretty positive I just said more than I like to, as a rule; but eh, I'll take it down later if I need to.  This surprisingly gentle, quiet poem that still pulls no punches and gets it just right seemed mandatory to share.  :)

About puredoxyk

Word addict, kungfu/taiji nut, and life-partner to polyphasic sleep. Rabid fan of as many hobbies as the world will let me pry into its piddly fourth dimension (it helps to have knocked out the wall).
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One Response to Dickinsian and how

  1. timathan says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope you can outmaneuver depression and anxiety.

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