When I was at school I had to read a poem “Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy” this poem has stuck with me for an unknown reason. Other than looking at what the poem represents.

Valentine by Carol Ann Duffy

Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion. It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love.
Here. It will blind you with tears like a lover. It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief. I am trying to be truthful.
Not a cute card or a kissogram.
I give you an onion. Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips, possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are.
Take it. Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring, if you like. Lethal. Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife.


The onion symbolising different layers, and with depression there are different layers of recovery and with this poem it relates to the rings of the onion down to a wedding ring, but within mental health it represents the opposite as you start off on the core of the onion. It’s buried under all the different layers and more reminders. The core of is where you hide away the fact you have an illness you pretend that you are ok, but really inside to your core you know you’re not.

One person core is never going to be the same as another as you would never find two of the same onions. As we grow and recover from a situation you have to let each layer grown and develop. Asking for help when is needed and hiding away from risk and exposure of darkness. But also you have to find people you can rely upon and who don’t only make you their own lives a priority but also they make you part of that.

A layer no one expects to see or really recover from is stress sometime you have to throw yourself into the fire and try to fight against the stress that is normality. I have returned back to work now and I am easing my way back into my old role and taking over the responsibilities I had before I took a leave of absence. I removed the stress that work brought into it. I also had to step away from my home, and my life. This was and is just one of the layers to the onion that is reality. I would talk to a small group of people and most of them are the people who read this blog. The slight issue with this is, people aren’t always what they seem. When you are going through an illness and are recovering from it you need people to be reliable and being there. You have to remember those same people have a life as well and they have to be able to carry on with there life but they cant pick and choose when they are going to be there and what kind of reliability they can provide. It has to be constant and sometimes you need them to be there more than your really know.

I have always tried to not rely on anyone and nor have I wanted to be centre of attention. I am never the most popular nor am I the one that stand outs. I always try to just blend in, and be me I don’t like being noticed as it means I am opening myself up to the world, where I can be criticised or discussed. Instead blending in means I see what others don’t see whats around them, but also means I stay within my shell and I hide behind that “brown  paper” that is surrounding me and people around me only notice if I pull away the paper slightly as I can just wrap up under the paper. This comes from years of never being picked first or being forgotten about by people.

The cause of my darkness festered from friends picking others and putting other before me, with the belief there was no harm to anyone or malice. Sadly in reality it was festering away within my heart and head breaking me and breaking my soul to the shell. People would organise a simple plan, to suddenly the plans being ripped from underneath you like the proverbial carpet. Those people do not know how much it takes when your fighting this illness that it takes twice as much strength to get back up. A simple plan can mean the world and means I have something to look forward too. To suddenly not have that hope or the fire’s flames are doused out with water as the plans are no more. Even if it’s rescheduled and rescheduled it takes a lot for someone to get the fight to say its ok and mean it. And for me not to think is it me? Am I not good enough? This can then lead to arguments and it can turn into a huge stressful event and it is difficult to fight through.

I fight through a lot but there is only so much fight anyone can have until it is too much. The layers can suffocate the fight out of anyone.  Each stage of fighting out the layers and trying to just gasp that first breath as if you haven’t been able to breath.

Last week I went back positive and full of energy ready to get back some kind of normality. Then a stress ball appeared and trying to block it out the chaos around me from getting back into working life, and everything that has happening with others. To the being let down again because someone prioritised others again. From this and other conversations I have cut myself off from the world as I feel like I am a let-down to everyone, and going back to square one.

One day I hope to defeat this illness and more than my CORE.

I am ONE.


One comment

  1. Sue · October 23, 2015

    I have never heard or read the poem before, but after reading it explains things quite clearly. Life is full of layers, the good, bad and extreme ugly. Slowly we peel the layers away and expose ourselves to the reality of life. Gradually the layers start to reform and we absorb their meaning and cope, as we are then stronger. As always it takes time, remembering old sad feelings and learning to deal with the new, but we do, it is all part of life. Be strong and learn to enjoy the layers as you are in control of when you shed them

    Liked by 1 person

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