Psyche is powered by Vocal creators. You support Hannah Javens by reading, sharing and tipping stories... more

Psyche is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.

How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.

How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.

To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.

Show less

Sorrow

A Look at Mental Illness

Image drawn by Hannah Javens

Have you ever felt sorrow? The kind that takes its time sitting on your chest, not clawing, not sharp, just there. It reaches out sometimes and grabs at the things you hold dear, and to you, it’s just heavy and overbearing but ultimately fine, but to others it’s dangerous. And they tell you so and you listen for a little bit but the sorrow reaches out again and now it has claws, now it’s sharp and it hurts people and it takes pieces of people. And it holds those pieces, has a ring of people’s flesh around its neck, and it gets heavier and heavier because of it.

And people leave. Because sorrow to you is cumbersome, but it doesn't really hurt you, you don't think it does, but it hurts others and people don't want to deal with things that hurt them.

So you’re alone; alone with sorrow.

And the sorrow changes. It’s still heavy, but not so sharp. It’s like a wool blanket, and it pulls itself over your eyes. And you can't see anything, can't see if someone is trying to pull it away, because it’s all there is now. You can't think, can't feel, can’t consider that there was anything else before.

And the sorrow continues to become something else. It’s slowly sinking into your skin, becoming your skin, becoming you but it’s not you. You are separate and you begin to refer to yourself as something else, and the sorrow is another. And the sorrow takes over parts of you that you used to know. Your personality, your interests. You can feel there’s a part of your brain that’s not you, and it continues to change. 

Sorrow takes over and sorrow becomes ugly. It argues and snarls and you back away and you realise why others found it hurtful. It has teeth and gnashes them together until all it can spit out at you is grit and bones, brandishes threats like a sword made of thorns, desperate and growing larger and larger with every passing day. It drowns you, dragging you down until your lungs fill with something that it doesn’t accept as air, something toxic and painful and turning your organs to fire as it oxidizes. It spreads through your body as an infection, a parasitic source of sickness that thrives as you fall further under its power, helpless and unable to move out from underneath where it’s building a cage around you with its claws. It’s smart, smarter than you ever thought you could be, because it isn’t you, it’s something else, something cunning and brilliant and blinding, tearing away at your feeble attempts to fight back, to protect yourself, conquering that which has already surrendered. It slashes at your head and your shoulders and your chest and takes your hand so you’ll do the same. Is that my hand that’s digging into my skin until bruises form, is that my creaky leg that’s bringing us upstairs, is that my stomach that feels like I need to dig a knife into it to relieve the pressure and the pain?

Nothing is yours anymore, nothing feels real, and the sorrow comes comforting, giving excuses and grounding you in a place that’s darker than the one you just came out of, but at least it has a ground. It reminds you of all the things it’s done for you, so many comforting, heavy things you never thought were bad before, until you woke up in the empty bathtub, fully clothed and cold on the ceramic tile, filling the bath with salt water rolling down your cheeks. You try to tear it off, tear off the blanket keeping you warm in a volcano, but it’s sewn itself to your skin, to your lips, winding around your fingers with loose thread that has become tight, a scratchy fabric that gets sharper as it unravels, unveiling threads tipped with needles that you don’t want in you, but that it stabs into your heart all the same. The sorrow is sharp and you’re aware, finally aware of everything everyone had been trying to tell you, but it’s too late and you’re screaming and it’s screaming and you’re screaming different things but it doesn't change the fact that your head is filled with screaming and—

Did I lock the door?