Some days…

view through a wet window

Some days all it takes is a remark, a single sentence, and I’m back behind the bars of my mood. It’s been a long time since I scraped an existence in the subterranean tunnels of clinical depression, but there are still times when I feel hollowed out and empty. I can’t concentrate on concentration long enough to pin it down – can’t anchor myself to reality. There but not there, my mind floating aimlessly, I’m staring into space because it’s an effort to focus my eyes. A humourless observer behind mirrored glass, I need someone to reach through and pull me back into the room, but no-one knows how I feel and I’m tired of watching my attempts at explanation fail to pierce the rationality of those who’ve never felt like this. They just don’t get it.

Some days it feels like I’m losing the battle. I look around me, wondering if other people have to try this hard just to feel content. I’m not suicidal anymore, but I feel the crushing weight of a future filled with struggle bearing down on me. “One day at a time, take it one day at a time. Don’t look too far ahead” I tell myself, “But it’s natural to imagine the future!” my mind screams back, “…to picture how things might be; it’s how we mentally prepare ourselves for the next stage of life. Why the hell don’t I get the fun of squinting at my future self in grey-haired, worldly-wise, elasticated-waistband comfort and wondering how things will be?”

Some days the low-level hum of unspecific, there-for-no-reason-I-can-fathom anxiety drains my energy; pulling me down so that one neglected chore spirals into a house-full of shirked responsibilities and my intentions to attack it are paralysed by the enormity of the task. Jittery and over-sensitive, I pick at myself like a hang-nail. Why can’t I function on the same level as the rest of the human race? Am I lazy? Did my pot-fuelled youth permanently damage my brain, eating away at the area that governs the ability to focus? Am I making excuses? Do I need to try harder? Some say there’s no such word as “Can’t.” Some say we can control our emotions, so why am I at the mercy of mine?

Some days I despise people and their expectations. I want to be somewhere remote and wild, where things are real and purposeful. I want to walk, and if I come across another person, to know we’re evenly matched and can speak human to human because in this place, the invasive roving eye of societal scrutiny that spies from behind the pupils of every rabid, TV-influenced, media-manipulated, consumer-swayed, brand-identity junkie holds no power. Does this desire to reconnect with what’s permanent and true live inside everyone? Or am I alone in my rejection of this illusion we call “Life”?


*Sigh…* give me some time to recover myself and I’ll be back on the treadmill before you can say “Normal service has resumed” Just don’t expect the floors to be washed…


“Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisurewear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself.

Choose your future.

Choose life.”

John Hodge

Whitby Shores, Whitby, Ontario

By Aisha Ashraf

An autistic Irish immigrant in a cross-cultural marriage, Aisha Ashraf is the archetypal outlander, writing to root herself through place and perspective. Published in The Rumpus, The Maine Review, River Teeth, HuffPost and elsewhere, her work explores the legacy of trauma, the nature of being an outsider and the narrow confines of belonging. She currently lives in Canada.


  1. We can only be ourselves and not what other people want us to be. Life is an illusion as is happiness. To find happiness we need (I believe) to create inner peace. I find my my inner peace with nature or standing by the ocean. It«s not can’t only “I can”
    Be brave


    1. I find my inner peace in the same places 🙂 Jonathan Swift once said, “Happiness is the perpetual possession of being well deceived.” I have to conclude he was right – it’s only when we transcend our troubles that we can be happy, in spite of them.

  2. OH. I wish I could have written about myself like this. Because that IS me – some days. In fact, I had a bout of it over the weekend, just triggered by one conversation with my husband – a couple of sentences really. That is EXACTLY how it is. Once again, you have hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Caroline. I wrote this a while ago when I was having “one of those days.” Thankfully it did only last for a day, not two or three or worse. Afterwards, when I read it back, I felt as thought I was just whining about the same old stuff; “too self-indulgent” I told myself. But when I read it today I decided to leave it to you, the reader to judge. I’m glad it stuck a chord x

      1. Yes, it certainly did strike a chord. As I said, I do have those days also – but am just truly thankful it is not EVERY day as it used to be…or three or four days a week… Take care and thanks again.

  3. I can really relate to your third paragraph (well, except for the pot-filled youth part!). You are such a gifted writer and believe that is one of the many reasons you are “there”!


  4. I’m sorry that you were/are feeling such thoughts regularly. I think John Hodge’s quote reflects how easily it is to just go along in life never really caring, stretching, loving, living. Some people freak out with a mid-life crisis, but I’d prefer a mid-life correction to ensure we’re each making the most of our time here. Baby steps when the going gets hard. And do remember that you have so much (marriage, children, writing) to celebrate when you’re feeling better.

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