insomnia poems

Mom, my depression is a shape shifter.
One day it is as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear,
The next, it’s the bear.
On those days I play dead until the bear leaves me alone.
I call the bad days: “the Dark Days.”
Mom says, “Try lighting candles.”
When I see a candle, I see the flesh of a church, the flicker of a flame,
Sparks of a memory younger than noon.
I am standing beside her open casket.
It is the moment I learn every person I ever come to know will someday die.
Besides Mom, I’m not afraid of the dark.
Perhaps, that’s part of the problem.
Mom says, “I thought the problem was that you can’t get out of bed.”
I can’t.
Anxiety holds me a hostage inside of my house, inside of my head.
Mom says, “Where did anxiety come from?”
Anxiety is the cousin visiting from out-of-town depression felt obligated to bring to the party.
Mom, I am the party.
Only I am a party I don’t want to be at.
Mom says, “Why don’t you try going to actual parties, see your friends?”
Sure, I make plans. I make plans but I don’t want to go.
I make plans because I know I should want to go. I know sometimes I would have wanted to go.
It’s just not that fun having fun when you don’t want to have fun, Mom.
You see, Mom, each night insomnia sweeps me up in his arms dips me in the kitchen in the small glow of the stove-light.
Insomnia has this romantic way of making the moon feel like perfect company.
Mom says, “Try counting sheep.”
But my mind can only count reasons to stay awake;
So I go for walks; but my stuttering kneecaps clank like silver spoons held in strong arms with loose wrists.
They ring in my ears like clumsy church bells reminding me I am sleepwalking on an ocean of happiness I cannot baptize myself in.
Mom says, “Happy is a decision.”
But my happy is as hollow as a pin pricked egg.
My happy is a high fever that will break.
Mom says I am so good at making something out of nothing and then flat-out asks me if I am afraid of dying.
I am afraid of living.
Mom, I am lonely.
I think I learned that when Dad left how to turn the anger into lonely —
The lonely into busy;
So when I tell you, “I’ve been super busy lately,” I mean I’ve been falling asleep watching Sports Center on the couch
To avoid confronting the empty side of my bed.
But my depression always drags me back to my bed
Until my bones are the forgotten fossils of a skeleton sunken city,
My mouth a bone yard of teeth broken from biting down on themselves.
The hollow auditorium of my chest swoons with echoes of a heartbeat,
But I am a careless tourist here.
I will never truly know everywhere I have been.
Mom still doesn’t understand.
Mom! Can’t you see that neither can I?
—  “Explaining My Depression to My Mother: A Conversation” by Sabrina Benaim

I want all of you, every version.

I want the you that dances around in only socks on the kitchen floor until you almost slip. I want the you that dances in the rain despite the people yelling at you that you’ll catch a cold. I want the you that bakes way too many cookies at one time just so you can eat extras. I want the you that sings and belts out the high notes when no one else is home. I want the you that messes with your hair until you realize you’re doing it. I want the you that only wants to be hugged and kissed and held. I want the you that hates to admit there’s a love for cheesy movies somewhere in that Netflix watchlist. I want the you that stays up late thinking of things you’d only bring up in really deep 2am conversations. I want the you that laughs uncontrollably until you’re literally on the floor even if it was just over some stupid video. I want the you that points out every dog on the street because of that overwhelming sense of pure excitement. I want the you that has to snap out of a daydream in the middle of the day. I want the you that does crazy poses for the camera even though you know you’ll just laugh later and tell me to delete them. I want the you that you are at your best. But I’ll certainly love the you that you are at your worst. Because I want all of you.

Who were you before the world made you feel like you had to be anybody but yourself? Who were you before any of… this.

— scrapnotes | same but different

She’s the type of girl I’d wake up at 6am for just because there is a 3 hour time difference between us. She’s also the girl I stay up till 2am writing poetry about. She’s the type of girl that doesn’t make me lose sleep because I’m wondering if our relationship is going to make it- quite the opposite actually. I lose sleep because I never have to wonder about the “what if’s”. I want her as much as she wants me and that’s always going to be a good enough reason for me.
—  You’re worth it, you’re always going to be.

“I’m exhausted.

I just want to put my childhood

To bed and let it sleep.

My younger me is still wake inside me;

She is so tired -

Of all the neglect;

All this abuse is draining.

She just wants to sleep

But there is no bed to sleep in.

Fear is a bed hog


Depression steals all the blankets.

Present me is tired

Of pretending everything is ok

When it’s fucking not.

It’s not ok.

I am not ok.


I’m tired of smiling at you.

I’m tired of pretending you were there for me

When you weren’t.


I’m tired of making excuses

For your controlling demeanor.


I’m tired of walking on eggshells when your around.

Mama I’m done acting

I can’t keep laughing

At funny memories

I don’t have.

I’m ready for some sleep

But the heart crushing anxiety

It is a heavy snorer.

It’s so damn loud in my head.


Your voice

It likes to echo


Bounce off the walls of my bedroom.

Daddy please let me rest.

Daddy let me go,

I’m so weary

Walking on broken bones is exhausting

Daddy I’m so weary,

I need a place to rest

But as you said, there is no home for me here.

I’m so exhausted

The panic

The fear

The anger -

It’s exhausting.

This mask of a happy girl is heavy

And I can’t keeping wearing it.

The child inside me,

She is weeping from delirium.

She is begging to be tucked in.

And dammit do I want to let her

But the way the past hangs off me like heavy chains

And the way the past pushes at me

It just won’t let me let her go,

Not without giving her a real home

Not until she is safe.

It’s not safe yet my dear

Keep one eye open,

It’s not the dark you need to fear

It’s the monsters that crawl in the day you need to watch.”

-Some bedtime stories are not to be told.

Your first love is going to make you believe in soulmates. Then, they’re going to make you stop believing in soulmates for a while. But hopefully someone else will come along after them and show you again that soulmates are worth believing in.


Not every night is like tonight.
Some nights are easier.
Make it through this one.
Tomorrow might be easier
And if not
Soon enough
One will come along in which you will sleep.
—  me (wearethepoems)