‘Got the Morbs’

I’m feeling good. Truly.

Despite the fact I almost definitely gained some weight over Christmas while I was home and being spoiled rotten by my chef extraordinaire of a mother, I feel positive and perky. Expected to spend 400 hours on a project this semester? No problem (even though, let’s be real, with my perfectionist yet often chaotic brain, it’s going to be more like 500). I’m excited about finding a work placement. The air simmers with opportunity and I’m booking tickets for every publishing conference and workshop within my budget – a moment of silence for London Book Fair – and my Cineworld Unlimited card is hopefully going to get a run out every now and again amidst the madness.

Although it’s sad to be away from my family again, I’m trying to look on the bright side. After all, here in Edinburgh, there is the bunch of beautiful, talented, supportive ladies I’ve met on my postgrad who I’m excited to be working with and getting to know even better. There are my lovely flatmates, with their hugs and late-night discussions in the kitchen. There’s my best friend two floors down from me. There’s the magic of the internet keeping me connected with the dear friends and loved ones who live so far from me. There’s Edinburgh itself, this gothic, unreal jewel of a city where I’m lucky enough to live.

Looking across Princes Street Gardens toward Edinburgh Castle.

All of this joy, all of this positivity, all of this gratitude, reinforces why my depression frustrates me so. Depression is this horrific, crushing weight squeezing all joy and light and life out me. It saps my strength. It saps my ambition. I become mean and exhausted and hopeless and small. There is no ‘shaking it off’; there is only survival. All I can do is force my head above the roiling waves long enough to grab a breath before I’m under again, choking in the dark. And I hate it; living that way, fighting myself every day for a glimmer of joy.

But my whole life has been lived with this gloom across my shoulders. Recently, it gained a shape and name in my poetry in the form of an obsidian moth, although really My Moth is a manifestation of all my mental health struggles, including my dyspraxia.

The two poems currently in the ‘My Moth’ collection.

Right now, My Moth is tiny, pebble size, perched on my sternum like a brooch. There will be days when it is ten feet tall and I am two inches high and made of glass.

But, for now, I’m feeling good. Truly.

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