Poem - This Is My Mask, I Call It Depression

Poem - This Is My Mask, I Call It Depression

Photography and Mask Design Copyright of Laura McKellar 2015 (C)

"I will love the light because it shows me the way, yet I will love the darkness because it shows me the stars."

Og Mandino

I wrote this poem a while ago, more specifically in July 2015. It's a powerful one, read with caution as it may trigger various emotions and feel free to share with someone who you know, who may need to hear these words. Or, better yet, pick up the phone and call them. Or, better still, take them out.

There is power in your presence. 

It can change a life.

Use it.

Meanwhile, here's the poem.

This is My Mask, I Call it Depression

This is my mask,
I call it depression
I scroll through my phone
And call some friends
But nobody answers,
Maybe they're snoring?
Just once, I wish they would call
And ask, "Hey, are you OK?"
But no one ever asks
Because I've deceived them
With the smile they see on my face.
But this is my mask,
I call it depression
Sometimes I want to drive
Into a wall with uttermost precision
But you don't know that
Because you won't ask
And now that I'll tell you
You'll think, "I never knew that's how you felt."
I keep saying: "It's OK, everyone is busy."
We have our lives to live
Our time to spare doesn't come easy
So when we do, we'd much rather leisure and play
Who checks up on their friends nowadays?
Who makes phone calls, just to say hi?
Who sends a text, just to wish them a good day or time?
I guess I'm the only crazy one who calls
Who still leaves messages "just because"
Who wants to organise 'play dates' with old friends
And who invests her time,
Sometimes in people who don't really care back
Who then hangs up and goes home alone
Who doesn't always have someone on call
If she needs a good sounding board.
That's why she wears this mask called depression
And smiles amidst tears of oppression
And finds the heart to forgive those who have hurt her
And writes words on her phone so that her thoughts do not murder her
But the darkness she hides, in the light of day.
She won't let you see the shadows on her face.
This is the mask she wears.
Let's call it, 'depression',
People know that's she's strong so leave her on her mission
Little do they know that some nights like tonight
All she wants to do is jump and fly high:
Fly to the heavens, where she truly belongs
Fly to her God, her Universe, her home.
But she doesn't take the plunge
No, she doesn't jump
Instead she uses this mask to empower the young.
She wears it at night, when no one can see
The water, it falls from her eyes, always silently
And in the morning, like a solid Spartan she trudges on
Into the world, with gusto and passion
She doesn't let her wondering mind fail
And she breathes deeply to listen to her heart
Guiding her towards her Holy Grail.
See, this mask called depression
Once it used to feel so outrageous
But now she's embraced it and taken it in
It feels like a superhero kinda dream
But if you ever see tears on her face
Or receive a sad call or text
Could you do me a favour please?
Pick up the phone and dial for pizza with extra cheese?
And just sit right beside her,
See, that's all that she really needs.
Just to know someone loves her
In a world of misery and greed
And let her fall asleep
Into a slumber so deep
That no sledgehammer or bulldozer
Could wake her dancing feet.

Just sit there beside her,
Don't talk, do not move
Just give her some company
And that will do.
And she'll thank you profusely
Because thanks is her way
And in the morning
She'll let you go do your duties.
Then she'll look back at that mask called depression
And put it on with pride and perfection
She'll know that some days can be tough
But that's why God said the way is narrow and hard
And since she knows her purpose on earth
She won't jump or drive her car into a wall 
Instead she'll listen, with all of her sight
And be a pillar or strength and delight.
And if you see this girl,
Who wears that mask called depression
Give her a hug and tell her not to lose faith in her mission
Because there is still lots to be done
And well, it looks like she was one of the chosen ones.

By Anna Krjatian

P.S. Also remember, if you are feeling sad, depressed or lonely, there are organisations like LifeLine, Beyond Blue, R U OK? and HeadSpace who offer professional services to help you. And if you can't reach them, pick up the phone and dial a friend. You might not be playing Who Wants To Become a Millionaire, but your life is one worth saving, living and listening to. 

Anna Krjatian is the founder and director of The Butterfly and the author of Unmasking Depression. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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1 comment

Love the picture at the start of the post and I love the simplicity of this poem.
Sometimes all you need is a friend even if you feel like you’re burdening them with your problems or just not worth the time or effort. It’s important and also really great to know that no one is alone in the world and all it takes is answering no to ‘R U Ok?’ for people to pay attention.
I hope people read this poem and read the book and take from it that they’re not alone in whatever they’re going through.
A million dollars is nothing. A life is priceless.


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