Evolving Emotions: Sadness- Poetry



Most days I sit and think

about how I don’t want to be here

nor there

or anywhere.


Neither heaven

nor hell,



a place beyond,

somewhere I can’t get back from,

a plane betwixt time and space,

a void of blank white walls,

a pit of darkness found



My lungs cave in

like they’ll shrivel and fall

caught by my ribs



Ambivalence arrives

as tired tears



Heavy limbs

weighed down

at the realization


that nowhere is impossible.

Inside me is nothing

and I cannot go there


so I must stay

until my days have passed

sitting and thinking

of a place neither here

nor there

or anywhere.

Evolving Emotions: Sadness- Short Story

Content Warning: Suicide, self-harm, depression, strong language


Last Night

“Why won’t you just talk to me?”

“I am talking to you.”

“No, Bram, you’re not. You’re pushing me away again,” Elexa said, snatching a cup from the cupboard and slamming it on the countertop. 

“Well, what do you want me to say? That I’m sorry for calling? Because I am.” The two lock eyes.

After a moment, Elexa slumps her shoulders, the aggression in her arms falling away. “No, I just-.”

“Look, I knew this wasn’t going to work.”


“What? It’s what we were both thinking, right? I never should’ve called you. It was stupid of me. I don’t know why I thought that I could-.”

“Bram, I’m glad you called me,” she says, reaching for his arm. He swiftly pulls away. She continues with stress building behind her eyes, “I care about you.”

Rubbing his face roughly, Bram says, “See? That’s the problem. I don’t need you or anyone else to pick up after my shit,” he declares with an exasperated smile and wide eyes.

Heat grazes Elexa’s cheeks at the comment. “That’s really cruel and you know it.” Her stance stiffens as she observes him.

“Elexa, don’t cry over this, okay?” he says, practically laughing. 

“Bram… if you hadn’t called me-.”

“I know,” Bram says, his smile fading slightly, “But maybe it would’ve been for the best.”

“For the best?” Now she was the one with the smile, perked up by the absurdity falling from his mouth. “Not having you on this Earth is for the best? Are you hearing yourself right now?”

“Can you stop making such a big deal over this?” Bram asks, aggressively waving his hands in the air.

Elexa presses her palms into the edge of the countertop, displacing all of the weight she feels onto the granite. “Bram, it is a big deal.” She stares at him as if she could show him what she sees. Her heart sinks, knowing it won’t. “I think you should see someone.”

“Elexa, I don’t fucking need someone, alright?” His firm tone dissipates into a cracking jumble. He looks to the floor, tilting his head as far from her gaze as his neck would permit.

“You could’ve died last night, and you don’t want to see someone about it?” Lifting her hands to her head, she rests them there, elbows outstretched, awaiting a reply. 

Bram opens his mouth, then stops short. “No,” Bram finally mumbles. “I don’t.” His speech is monotone, utterly void of appropriate emotion.

“So what are you going to do then, huh?” Elexa asks, taking her hands from her head to the nape of her neck. 

“I don’t know,” Bram whispers. He wipes across his face and looks back to the tiled floor.

Tears begin to well up in Elexa’s eyes, swirling around in her vision. She chokes them down, causing her throat to dry up. “You don’t know?” Her throat clenches harder, holding back everything he means to her. 

After a few steadying breaths and an unsatisfactory swallow, she says, “We both know you aren’t okay. Especially after last night, but even before that. To see you struggle night after night is fucking torture. And I see through it every time you’ve tried to hide it.” She pauses. “Either you get help or I have to leave.”

“I want you to leave,” he says bitterly. “I’m done. Just go.”

“You know you can cut the ‘high and mighty’ bullshit. You are a coward. You’re scared that I will judge you. That the world will judge you. You’re scared to be known. You’re scared that now that I’ve seen you like you were on that bathroom floor that you’ve ruined the disguise that kept me around. I know who you are and I’m still here. I still love you.”

Bram falls silent. With glossy eyes and a clenched jaw, he resumes his previous position, memorizing the cracks and patches of dust on the flooring. 

“I’ve said what I need to say.” Elexa backs up from the countertop and crosses her arms. “But just promise me-.”

“That it won’t come to that again?” Bram interjects, lifting his head up to face her. “That everything will be okay? You know I can’t promise that.” His voice is tinted with that dullness again. 

“Then stay,” Elexa says in a whisper. 

“I can’t. I shouldn’t have gotten this close to you in the first place.”


“Goodbye Elexa,” Bram says, exiting the kitchen, twisting the doorknob, and, with a simple click, separating them for the final time.


Please reach out if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or experiencing suicidal thoughts. You are not alone.


988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

CAPS After Hours Urgent Support: 734-764-8312

UM Psychiatric Emergency Services: 734.996.4747

UM Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness: 734.936.3333

Department of Public Safety and Security: 734.763.1131

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255)

The Trevor Lifeline: 1.866.488.7386

Crisis Text Line:  741741

Evolving Emotions: Sadness-Poetry

Eyes of Stained Glass


Baggy sweatpants cling to feeble legs

stale and stiff

needed to be washed days ago.


She didn’t wash them. Like her shoes,

her shoes that were stained,

ruined from a soiled world.


And her hair. Curled

but not elegantly. More like unkempt, uncared for,

a nest on her head. Displayed, but not proudly.


Cowering behind her mask,

her appearance in ruins,

but with no name attached.

A person in crisis, no doubt. But who is she?


Beneath coiled knots are worried eyes,

eyes scared to death over lies

told. Doing ‘fine’ but less alive

the more she lingers.


A mass throbbing in her head,

welling in eyes of stained glass


A sickening black

exhalations into evening air,

with a feeling of lack

and indifference.


A dull exterior,

squirming insides inferior

She was something

made into nothing.

Evolving Emotions: Sadness

Things get heavy and sometimes feel inescapable, like you’re drowning in a sea of thoughts or worries. Know that the sky will clear but for now, let the clouds rain.










Life is difficult most of the time. We’re all on our respective journeys, battling it out against ourselves and our circumstances. Be kind to yourself in your current state of mind.










Pain doesn’t abide by schedules or deadlines. If things need processing, they need processing. There is nothing wrong with taking the time you need to heal, whether physically or emotionally. It will all be better in its own time and on your terms.

Look Towards The Light

It’s about that time of the year, or, perhaps, way past that moment when Fall darkness sets in. I get home from class and work in the dark, I study and write in the dark, I socialize in the dark, and during the day (which is usually dark because Michigan) I’m kept inside tiny rooms within more rooms within more rooms. Life in winter is kafkaesque. Work seems to pile up around me and I’m overwhelmed. But there is something else going on entirely under my skin.

I used to romanticize the winter melancholia that would set in every year. I would feel terrible and love it. Wear moody clothing, quote Kierkegaard and Sartre about existential dread, and drink pots and pots of coffee so I could be not only be sad but also be ecstatically sad, performatively sad. My grades always seemed to suffer only a bit near the end of Fall semesters, which I attributed to the end of term finish line haze of terror; I usually ended up not exactly in fights but friendships always had more tension; and I would leave most social events angry. And then I’d be alone. And then angrier. I would look at my work and realize that I had no motivation to muster and that motivation seemed to exist only outside, in the leaves freshly fallen, decaying.

Last weekend, in particular, I felt I had to internalize “I had fun” so that when people asked me “How was your weekend?” I wouldn’t reply “real shitty.” People respond poorly to negative things, or I find that people build on the negativity, and I didn’t need more bad reactions. Little things got in the way, moments that were unexpected set me off into a chain of dizzying apathy, I began to really sink into the sadness and “thrive” there (aka more of me convincing that I’m fine). And then after watching Scandal on Saturday (which is a whole other thing that needs to be unpacked) I realized that I was NOT okay.

Now I had been to CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) before. After two semi-failed attempts at having therapy sessions, “Why do you feel this way?” “Well Heidegger in Being and Time  says this . . . and then Nietzsche really compliments this by . . . and the existential void, no? THE VOID.” In the end all of my problems seemed to come up philosophy (which is partially beautiful I have to say). But another factor that cropped up was the time of the year. Fall-into-Winter and Winter were dreadful to live through and then Spring and Summer were pretty much fantastic.

Adventuring to CAPS for different reasons also helped me be aware of the Wellness Zone, which, I have to say, is currently saving my happiness.

SUN SQUARES. These (roughly) two feet by two feet fluorescent-but-not faux sunlight containers that flood your body and eyes with an impenetrable light seem a bit terrifying. The Wellness Zone, in general, has soft mood lighting that is pretty much stomped out by this (amazing) light box. I feel like I’m a flower, or some weird vegetation, or some creature of the future.


I have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) before this moment, but I was not only angered at the passive aggressiveness of the name, “oh you’re sad, aw it’s the season *pinches cheek and shines a flashlight on you*.” And I have an aversion to a lot of mental health diagnoses that is due to, in part, the medical-industrial complex, corporatization and pathologization of health, etc. So, while I may not technically be diagnosed with anything, these sun boxes are extinguishing my autumntime/wintertime/no-sunlight-time overwhelming, life crippling, perpetual state of mourning.

But I wouldn’t be a humanities senior if I didn’t stare into, or just slightly off of, these boxes without imagining them framed in a museum, or put in hallways, or dorms, or classrooms. All of health I have problems with, especially mental health, because most services or areas of help are tucked away (3rd floor union, Wellness Zone in the back) out of reach/sight and they aren’t often advertised (well or enough). What if we could hang these modern art pieces, because to me that’s partially what they are, all around campus during the winter and flood everyone (albeit this is problematic) with artificial sunlight. A bit much, no? maybe not?

What does it mean for a square of designed stuff to cause happiness? Or destroy sadness? I mean, I partially don’t believe it still– but it works. So what’s to say? “Well this artwork affects me so much that I just have an overwhelming sense of OK.” If I were an artist, this would be my art.

When talking with friends, however, when they ask me how I’m doing this week, I’ve replied, “THESE SUNLIGHT BOXES OF JOY.” It gets people thinking and many have reached out for more information. When I feel this way its a problem, but when all of my friends act this way and try to unpack their feelings, its overwhelming, problematic, and we need the sun to come back.
This experience for me has been life-changing. Every morning I go to CAPS on the third floor of the union, next to where I work (Spectrum Center), and read or write (like now) in front of a light box. Everyday I leave a bit giggly (sunlight always makes me WAY happy) to live my life.

It’s important to talk about success. It’s important to share success.

And my success is feeling amazing.