Tag Archives: poetry

Hindsight is 20-20: Poem Describing Teen Depression/Anxiety: “The Things I Did Instead”

I’ve had a lot of comments on blog posts from parents with teens suffering depression/anxiety. You parents who realize what is happening are the lucky ones, relatively speaking. So many teens suffer without anyone, including themselves, really knowing it. I was one of those teens.
I still got good grades.
I still held down a good part time job.

The signs can be subtle, and often are dismissed as typical “teen” behaviour. Under/over sleeping, being irritable, under/over eating.

One sign to watch out for is isolation.
Do friends ever call?
Does your teen ever go out with friends, talk about friends?

I was a pretty isolated teen much of the time. I knew something was wrong. I knew I was very sad and felt scared and alone. I didn’t know it was depression/anxiety, but when I look back on poems I wrote, I described it pretty darn well. Here is one example. I hope it gives you a little insight about what teens with depression/anxiety are feeling.

The Things I Did Instead:

I saw a beautiful butterfly
It fluttered all around me
Touched my hand and my heart
Then it circled away into the deep blue sky
Left my eyes, and made them cry
I think it is hard to catch a butterfly
But what do I know?
I didn’t even try

These are the things I did instead
I cried night after night until I could take it no more
Then I fell
I fell very far, and I fell very deep
I fell very fast into a death like sleep
I became numb
Free from the pain
And free from the truth
I was so free that I was trapped
Left all alone, again and again
I lived day after after day feeling nothing
Nobody could see
That my soul had left me
There was nowhere I could go
Nothing I could be
I had let that butterfly go
Stupidly, I had ignored the sound of my own screaming
NO

Whatever became of the butterfly?
It kept on going
Circling farther and farther away
Until it got too high
And slowly started dying
Its wings turned black
It started to fade
It got so sick and so weak
Still it soared through the smokey air
Forgot what it was
Forgot that it cared
It became a part of the night
All of its beauty
All of its magic
All of its innocence
Gone

We’re a pathetic pair
That butterfly and me
One chance not taken
A tiny, terrible mistake
And we will never be
But one thing always remains
One thing time can never take
The love of that moment
So painfully long ago
Endures with strength
It will never shatter
It will never break
That day, that sunny smiling day
Shines again every once in a while
It lives in his eyes
It lives in my smile
When I’m walking through the woods and the butterfly pasee by
I tell him to remember
He tells me not to cry

I see a beautiful butterfly
It flutters far away
Once it touched my hand and my heart
I can see it circling in the deep blue sky
It leaves my eyes and makes them cry
I think it is hard to catch a butterfly
But next time it comes near
I promise I will try

Thanks for reading.
Be Brave, and Talk