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[continued from "the story behind 'pendulum' - part i"]

"to the one years ago still remains in my sight"

here actually is the true beginning to "when the pendulum swings once again". after my husband, it is the hardest case i've ever had to deal with-- and in some ways you could say it was even harder. this was another online friend, and i spent over a week if memory serves correctly, maybe two, talking to him and trying to give him any fragment of hope i could muster up from within myself. i contacted some of his online friends, my online friends, anyone i could find who might give him any little ounce of support. it came at a bad time for me, as i was enduring an emotionally abusive relationship. my abuser was (unsurprisingly) not the least bit supportive of me during this period. i began to explain what was happening, but before i could finish the first sentence she ridiculed me for being concerned about "a complete stranger" who was probably faking it for attention. at this, i completely closed myself off from everyone physically around me, spending virtually all of my energy toward my online friend. when my presence was required away from the computer it took all of my strength to force myself to do anything, including eat or sleep during the rare times that i tried. i faked being happy and "normal"-- a lot-- and it came at a price. i often locked myself in a bathroom to steady my nerves and my breathing, sometimes hearing the screaming and cursing of my abuser toward her husband. for a few days i felt like vomitting, but because i wasn't eating they were only dry heaves. i felt like crying, but my body felt cold and stiff and the tears wouldn't come. the others in that house noticed that i was withdrawing and perceived that i was struggling with something, but i refused to offer up any information about it. at some point my abuser snapped at me a line something to the effect of (and about as polite as), "whatever the hell your problem is, you had better get over it and get on with your goddamn life!"

the emotional upheaval i experienced brought the original image of the pendulum to my mind. i often felt as though my heart, or even my entire body, was clinging to a pendulum, swinging forcefully one direction or another, never allowing me a moment to just be still. i remember promising myself i would write a poem about it after everything settled down, but as i said before, i'd had many false starts and stops.

i had certainly considered the possibility that my friend could have been faking for attention-- but the burden of proof lies on the accuser, and what proof did i have, really? and how do you correctly respond to such an assumption? do you quip, "get over it and get on with your goddamn life"? or do you patiently and gently speak to the person, erring on the side of compassion, praying for a good outcome? experience had already taught me that the second option was preferable. my intuition told me this most likely wasn't fake.

at the end of it all he recanted on the thought of suicide. after i finished talking with him that day, i ran into the bathroom, threw up once, and silently cried for almost an hour. the pendulum had slowed to a stopping point as relief washed over me. i gained an unusual amount of courage to stand up for myself against my abuser, though i didn't officially end my relationship with her until years later.

i still talk to this person as often as i can. i try to give him all the space he needs, but i also don't like to let him off my radar.

"and the one who lost under my eyes"

i didn't find out until it was too late that another friend of mine had killed herself. i never knew why. i had never had any idea she had been suffering from depression. in hindsight, i should have guessed. there were enough signs to judge by.

"i know hope is hard to keep within reach
it slips even my grip these days"

depression isn't something to mess around with. life is hard, and it will push you down without a second thought. there are times when you can easily deal with it, but there can come a time when everything becomes too much, you are overwhelmed, all your energy is spent. striving for optimism becomes a burden. the world turns bleak and dark, and you can't see more than a few inches in front of your face, tricking you into believing there is no hope anywhere at all.

as a naturally (sometimes overly-) optimistic person, depression settles into me rarely. it usually doesn't last long, and it is often brought around after i have spent copious amounts of energy encouraging other people around me suffering depression. it's painful to admit but i am currently in its grip again, the longest and lowest i've ever had to endure in my life-- well over a year now. writing "pendulum" took a lot out of me, and though it has provided a sense of relief, it is still a reminder of the fact that i am in this state.

i consider my poem to be important, at least to me, and i pray that it can bring light and encouragement into someone's life, even when i am not directly able to. as much as i wish i could end this post on a positive note, i feel as though that would be dishonest, and anyway, i've run out of energy. one might rightly ask whether i myself have ever considered suicide, or whether i might be entertaining the thought now. i'm sorry to say my answer isn't very encouraging. no, i have not and am not considering suicide.

i feel like i'm already dead.
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