Yesterday, I participated in the Gina’s Team monthly road trip to Mingus Mountain Academy in Prescott, a safe haven for troubled girls. The girls know me by now. I’m the depressed poet who sings. I didn’t do much speaking yesterday, but apparently, it was enough, as I admitted to over a hundred girls that I almost didn’t make the trip because my depression had me slugging through the mud of early morning life.
Before I left, a small, spindly girl with pink hair came up and handed me a note. She said, “I want you to have this.” In her note, she told me of her own struggles with depression, anxiety, cutting, and worse. On the back was a poem.
Into the Darkness
I reach out into the darkness, grabbing, opening and closing my hand. I can feel it brush against my fingertips. It’s cold, so cold. I reach forward impossibly closer and clamp my right hand around it. My back rests against the cold and damp floor. I stare up with my tear-stained face. My eyes hurt, they ache, and they leave me with a migraine.
I slowly pull my arm closer to my body. I rest my hand against my opposite arm. The cold metal makes me shiver. My heart pounds and my breath stops short in my throat as I drag my hand across my left wrist. I paint my arm in dark red. Eventually, my hand falls into a routine of back and forth movement.
My eyes start feeling heavy, my head starts to spin, my stomach clenches, my chest aches, and my arm tingles. I start to take shorter breaths, gasping almost. I close my eyes and suddenly feel a sort of relief.
The pain in my chest stops. I don’t feel like I’m spinning in circles anymore. The urge to throw up is gone, and now my whole body is slowly starting to become numb. I can feel myself letting of of everything, once again reaching out into the darkness.
This is a young girl who understands cutting, how physical pain is so much better than emotional. She told me yesterday that I was such a help to her, but I need to tell her when I go back to Mingus in February: “Little girl, you help me.”
Those of us who suffer from depression often feel closed off, alone in the world, like no one could possibly understand. This little girl understands. She is not alone; I am not alone. There is hope and love and, if we’re lucky, joy.
When Gina’s Team travels to Prescott, we might think we’re helping those girls, and we are, by letting them know that things can get better: that life doesn’t end at eighteen. But I hope they understand they also help me. The little girls are the heroes, and I am the damsel in distress. Together, we commiserate, cry, and share poems; together, we heal and bring light to the darkness.
I’ll always remember the little girl with the pink hair. I hope she remembers me, too.
Photo credit: Samantha Nina / Flickr