When I’m low, down, depressed…

By: ailsaandlisa

Nov 25 2011

Category: free verse, patchwork poem, poem


I admit that it is happening.

I get in amongst nature:
walk on a windy beach
or up a hill, preferably with a dog.

I watch Sense and Sensibility.

I make things with my hands:
the greater the trouble, the bigger the project.

I burn up hills
unnecessarily fast
on a bicycle.

I pour a glass of wine
and listen to Radio 4.

I run over the Hollins
on a winter morning.

If I’m rich
I go to John Lewis land,
if I’m poor
I spend the day digging.

I avoid alcohol.

I ride my bike through the backroads
of Gawsworth and North Rode.
Then things look in colour.

I cook pasta with home made tomato sauce
then dance round the house
singing ‘Valerie’
with Amy Winehouse
with the whiff of garlic and basil in the air.

I cuddle my children.

I read poems by Norman MacCaig,
which reminds me
that there is genius and generosity in the world.

I step away, and breathe, and enjoy
my own personal space
without being pawed by tiny hands.

I have a fag,
though I’m not sure that counts.

I surround myself with uplifting colours
like the bluest blue.

I use a technique called EFT
to help me focus
on the here and now.

I drink tea with my girlfriends
in front of a real fire.

I have a bloody good cry.

I go to bed with lots of toast and marmalade
with Lindt chocolate for afters
and a pot of tea,
and a comfort book like The Shipping News
or Harry Potter.
If my husband is at home I shout at him first.

I write something down
that might one day become a poem.

I remind myself
that I’ve got the courage
to do something about it.


12 comments on “When I’m low, down, depressed…”

  1. I asked friends (including facebook friends) for contributions for a ‘patchwork poem’ about strategies for tackling low mood/depression, to be read at the Macclesfield Speakeasy (open-mic night). Lots of wonderful people replied and I hope I included something from everyone… I read the finished poem on 24 November 2011 and got some lovely feedback from it. Well done and thank you to everyone who contributed!

  2. ….I read a poem by Ailsa Holland….

  3. Like Max Boyce at the rugby, I was there. The theme may have been “Depression”, but the experience was uplifting: so many solutions to winter blues, all drawn together in one place and one piece. Off to tackle “Dogdays” for the next Snow Goose theme.

  4. Such a wonderful poem, Ailsa – I was really torn up about missing Speakeasy this week but it was great to be able to enjoy your contribution regardless. You’ve expertly woven together solemnity and levity to make something both honest and very uplifting!

  5. Great poem Ailsa – funny how all these comments form individuals weave together to make such a coherent whole

    I go to sit in my garden

  6. Might add – ‘visit this site ‘- it is very lovely – wonderful integration of image and word

  7. I like this poem, so thank you. These are also things that I do when I am feeling low and there is definitely room for positive thinking. Having said that, depression and mental illness are very serious problems and I would hate anyone to read this and see it as a condemnation of those who struggle with an illness that is so severe that it cannot be dispelled through a walk on a windy beach or toast and marmalade.

    • Thanks for your comment, Suem. The title is vague and broad for a reason – I asked for contributions for strategies for low mood right through to depression and I know that some contributors have suffered from severe depression, as have I (Ailsa). So, of course, the last thing intended was a condemnation of anybody, and I would hope that that was clear from the poem.
      But I was asked for an uplifting poem and so this was the focus, rather than the moments many of us have had when nothing really worked! I guess the hope is that the poem itself becomes a reminder that there are often positive things that we can do.

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