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The Dark Beast

Updated on November 3, 2011

A lonely tear
"I'm sorry, momma,"
the teenager whispers
before the dark beast
hands her a bottle of pills.

A choking despair
"I'm sorry, momma,"
the distraught man mutters
before the dark beast
shoots his wife and himself.

A gasp for air
"I'm sorry, momma,"
the young child cries
before the dark beast
drowns her in the bath.

A loss of self
"I'm sorry, momma,"
the young businessman says
before the dark beast
pushes him off the ledge.

The dark beast lurks
in neuron shadows and sparks
with lies to steal lives...
An enemy no one can flee.

I wrote this poem about depression after reading the story of a woman who drowned her children while suffering from the condition. As someone who has lived with depression, I understand how depression alters a person's thinking. In a severe depression, life can be viewed as a curse. It's a difficult subject, but depression can cause feelings of homicide towards loved ones in a warped attempt to save the loved ones from having to face the cruelty of life.

The most heartbreaking element of the story was that the child's last words while his mother was trying to drown him were, "I'm sorry." Reading the story made me angry at the illness of depression and that no one protected those children.

Clinical depression is a biological illness that has destroyed so many lives. People's misconceptions about depression can make things even more difficult on those who suffer from the condition. No one would tell someone with diabetes to "snap out of it" and expect them to stop having diabetes, but people do it to those who are clinically depressed all the time.

Like many illnesses, depression is hereditary. I have a family history of depression. My great grandmother was known to sit alone in a dark room for days at a time. As horrible as a family history of depression is, I'm lucky to have family members who understand the condition. With their help, I've been able to protect my children and myself from becoming casualties of depression.

I made up my mind years ago never to take my own life. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by the depression and suicidal thoughts, I go to the hospital. I encourage others to make a commitment to themselves to do the same and not to fall for the lies that the dark beast of depression tells.

The lies are very convincing while someone is in a depressed episode. The dark beast will say things like:

"The pain never stops."

"I don't deserve to live."

"Life isn't worth dealing with the pain."

"I don't matter."

"Everyone just hurts me."

The key to my fight with depression has been to remind myself that these are the lies of the beast. Depression distorts the thinking and makes everything look hopeless. For those who suffer from depression, get angry at the illness and get help to fight it. The depression makes it difficult to accept that there are better times ahead. That's why it's important to rely others and even hospitals when necessary to help fight the depression's lies that are so easy to believe when depressed.

If you or someone you know is in danger of committing suicide, please call 911, the local crisis intervention agency, or a national suicide prevention hotline such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

(The photo is an acrylic painting I made.)


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    • profile image

      Some guy 5 years ago

      I agree that mental illness, and the effects it brings, are not the fault of the mentally ill - they are victims as much as the people they hurt. But there is a line between understanding and enabling. Nobody should blame another for the way they feel, but when someone stops trying to help themself, you can't allow that person to slip into the darkness. And when the disease begins to have a tangible effect on people in the ill person's life, it may be time to cut losses and preserve those people over someone who can't fight it even enough to keep others out of it. I feel no sympathy for someone who kills their own child, because illness or not, depression can be fought. Feelings are blameless, but actions aren't. As someone who's been severely depressed, I can say that while force of will will not cure you, and will not always enable you to do what's best for yourself, it can absolutely keep you from suicide or harming others. It's far easier to NOT do something that's wrong than to DO something that's right.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 6 years ago

      Hi Sheila.

      Not a nice illness have with the mind telling you that everything and everyone is against you.

      You've done a good job bringing this to the fore.

      Take care Sheila.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • Sheila Wilson profile image

      Sheila Wilson 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thank you for your comments.

      Disturbia, I hope you see now that the symptoms of depression can be just as difficult to manage as the symptoms that your mother had. She couldn't just turn off the voices any more than a severely depressed person can turn off the suicidal thoughts. They are there. You can't just stop them, but you can learn to cope with them. Consider buying your daughter a journal for me. Writing poetry and making different types of art has helped me tremendously.

    • Disturbia profile image

      Disturbia 6 years ago

      I’m ashamed to admit there are times when I’m one of those people who has little patience for those who suffer from depression. It’s not like I'm unfamiliar with the challenges of mental illness, so I become very annoyed with myself for my impatience.

      I come by it honestly. My mother was alcoholic and based on what I now know, probably suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder, and schizophrenia. But she was stubborn, headstrong, and had a strong belief that we are all responsible for our own behavior. Our home was always neat as a pin, she was immaculate in her appearance, she worked three jobs and never missed a day, all the while battling the demons inside her head. I mean no disrespect to your grandmother, but she would never have been able to sit around in a dark room for days at our house. Mom would have barged into her room, smacked her upside the head, dragged her kicking and screaming out of the bedroom, and put her to work doing chores. To mom, depression was what rich people called feeling sorry for themselves, and since we were not rich, we couldn’t afford to be depressed.

      I loved my mother, but she also terrified me. I saw first-hand the dark side of her illness, the violent mood swings, the times when she would argue all night long with the voices only she could hear, and times when she would get that look of complete desolation and misery on her face. Now my youngest daughter seems to have inherited more from her grandmother than just her looks and I try my best, on those dark, dark days when it’s a struggle for her just to get out of bed, to not be like my own mother, but to be instead understanding and nonjudgmental.

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      DooMer 6 years ago

      you mademe cry. Very powerful. This Ia message that needs a voice. Thank you for writing it

    • Don Crowson profile image

      Don Crowson 6 years ago

      Good work, Shiela. Your poem says it all about depression. And your explanation adds a lot to the meaning of what your poem says. Depression certainly engulfs one into a lonely prison. I think you have captured the essence ofr that feeling.