The Signs

“How did you not see the signs?”

when she said she couldn’t write
when you began to miss her smile
when she couldn’t bear the daylight
when you hadn’t heard her laugh
when she stopped enjoying reading
when she stopped taking bubble baths

“How did you not see the signs?”

when you saw her wearing the uniform
her hair               unwashed
her cheeks          hollow
her voice             soulless
her clothes          dirty
her nails              unpainted
her skin               ashen
her weight          dropping
her eyes              empty

“How did you not see the signs?”

when she shot up with a stranger in a pub toilet
when she stood in front of a speeding car
when she tried to drown
when she tried to gouge her eyes out
when she was tied down
when she was locked in a padded room
when she flinched at your touch
when she begged you to leave
when she begged you to stay

“How did you not see the signs?”

when she stood in front of you
and cried
and said
“I just want to die.”

“How did you not see the signs?”

when people asked you
how she’s doing
and you’d reply
“She’s good, she’s great, she’s fine!”
when you didn’t even know for sure
if she was still alive

“How did you not see the signs?”

when she stopped eating
when she stopped speaking
when she stopped sleeping

“How did you not see the signs?”

when she stopped living
when she stopped being
when she stopped existing

“How did you not see the signs?”

“Honestly, there were no signs. I had no idea she was so sad. If only she’d said or done something.”


Originally published at Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen here.

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8 thoughts on “The Signs

    • Oh bless you, I have no idea how reblogging works but just knowing you’ve read this post is enough for me :) xx

  1. This is really heartfelt and sad, and yet, when depression clouds us we become masters of cloaking our feelings – often, at our lowest, we can appear the brightest stars. Add to that the fact that many on the ‘outside’ are frightened or have no comprehension of wgat depression is like, and you have a terrifying concoction.
    Excellently written.

    • Indeed you’re right Chris, thank you for commenting. This piece is more about those who don’t (or can’t) mask their depression to the point where their suffering is obvious – they may even explicitly ask for help and still everyone around them plays dumb and acts surprised when the worst happens, feigning ignorance and shock when they could have / should have done something. It’s a complicated game and, sadly, one that too many people lose. Xx

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