Guardian Article!

I was recently interviewed by the Guardian - http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/may/08/students-dont-understand-depression .

So, I know I haven't kept up with writing or Vlogging but I had a TONNE of deadlines for essays this week. So sorry, I'll get back on it soon!

I'll share a little story as a massive "screw you" to certain people though (NOT an angry rant, I promise, you'll see):

So I didn't go home over Easter because I was absolutely determined to get my final deadline in on time, no extensions, like a "normal" student. It took lively a lonely life for four weeks but I got my 12-13,000 words done! (Sorry to people who regularly do stuff like this - I know it's not that bad at all, it was just a massive personal achievement to me :) ).

Unfortunately, on the day I had a massive panic attack when a printer started playing up in the library half an hour before the hard copy deadline. I'd already submitted all of my work electronically, but this sent me in to such a panic and frenzy that that my (wonderful, beautiful, amazing) special friend had to come and save me. I was basically hyperventilating, tearing up and not thinking straight. I also got extremely claustrophobic so I had to run out of the library.

Anyway, massive kick in the goolies - the hard copy ended up being late. :(

Now, the human thing to do when a student with mental health issues has a panic attack and fails to meet the hardcopy deadline but has already submitted their work electronically (so it could not have been altered), is just to waive the late penalty, right? NOPE. Make of all that what you will. If anyone wants to set off stink bombs in the English department in protest I WOULD NOT BE AGAINST IT :P .

Anyway, one of the things I was handing in was a portfolio of poetry. I'll probably never do this ever again, but I wrote a sestina about my depression that I thought "what the hell, I'll share". So enjoy. And yes, I know I'm not a poet. I have no ambitions to be. It was just a module. Be gentle lol.

- John

Escapology
Four walls, so unforgiving, approach in the dead of night. Their huge weight
terrifying, so much more than I can hope to resist. So I lie
to my mind. I tell myself that I can take these walls in a fight, that with a great
strength (somehow hitherto unknown to myself) I will take out two
wrecking balls and swing great instruments, cause demolition. Whether
I, Christ-like, produce from fictions radical truths, remains to be seen.

Can years of imagined preparation pay off? Do scenes from movies, scenes
on T.V, help me in a moment of crisis? Perhaps I will let them go first, wait
to strike like Ali in a prize fight – so proficient the dodger, that whether
he chose this opportunity was a source of terror. Later opponents, you lie
on your backs, feeling the punch pain of defeat, loss, humiliation, shame too –
disgraced knowledge of so many withheld, un-landed blows, the great

gaping doors of un-traversed opportunity. Perhaps I too can be the great
Ali? Four walls, in the dead of night closing in upon me, hoping unseen
to find me disadvantaged, whimpering, vacant – a shell crying out to
anyone and everything for salvation. Their mass outnumbers me, their weight
outweighs me, outweighs my feeble protestations. Their potent lies
laugh in superiority – how can walls laugh? Surely I can weather

this aggression? I will escape; I will not be meek, idle, servile; whether
I or they crumble brick by brick, with dignity I firmly plant my feet! Great
soldiers may die in hopeless battles, but with the honour of bravery. Never lie
beneath a heavy boot, never let darkness fall, never let the scene
forget that you are a player. Defy the Earth that ravenously awaits
the life-robbed decaying form – so preposterous now that simply to

receive it is an act of charity. Each brick in chorus: too weak, pathetic, too
alone to fight back; too late to fight back; you will not fight back; you wether,
you loser, you catastrophic carbon waste. The universe does not wait
on you, has no desire to be fair to you nor with patient ear endures your grating
diatribe. Life is not for living by you, it is not a dream for brittle queens,
such faggots, such maggots, like you. You have no worth; you deserve to die.

Reject each brick, reject this night, reject the alley and reject the lies –
so expertly conjured, callously created, fake yet too real to
truly exist. If you peer patiently and scrutinize the cement, it seems
that the walls were never there. Bricks, once so foreboding, now wither,
vanish, become unknown. Nothing in dark alleys (nothing at all) is too great
to fall. Nothing is eternal. All will pass. Some things take longer. Just wait.

That which in the dead of night seemed so unforgiving, so powerful, can die,
Can disintegrate under it’s own weight. Where there is dark, there is light too.
Stand proud. Nothing escapes weathering, no matter how great.

Comments

  1. I recently discovered this blog and having just read this poem I wanted to tell you it blows my mind-it captures so perfectly an experience I can really relate to. It's terrifying but amazing, you are an incredible poet. You are so, so brave to be writing this blog and to have revealed your identity. I think the world really needs this.

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