1 / Melancholy does not smother, it coats.
Like those strange London summers
when the cars were covered in a thin layer of volcanic ash
carried down from an eruption in Iceland
or when the lenses of our sunglasses caught a light dusting of red sand
swept up from the storm in the Sahara,
melancholy merely powders your skin, it doesn’t permeate it.
(Having said that, it is not always easy to wash it all off).
2 / To me, melancholy equates to honesty.
I am right to feel this way — have you looked at the world today?
‘Happy’ just seems silly — how could you possibly be?
Melancholy is peaceful, quiet, contemplative
lighter than depression, it’s a pure and pale sadness
a comfortable cloak that you can remove
that doesn’t totally destroy your mood
not requiring drugs
not in the abject
is easier to accept
after a little time
and in retrospect,
it almost always makes sense.
2.5 / Making Sense Of Melancholy
Theory One: There is an identifiable cause of your feeling of sadness. There may be an obvious reason (e.g You have just watched the horrors on the 10 o’clock news), or the reason may be more general, usually related to feelings of missing, wanting, grieving, loneliness, or remembering. Whatever the cause, whether overt or abstract, if you think about it logically you can most likely pinpoint the source of your sadness. [Top tip: Nostalgia often evokes melancholy. Beware your memories!]
Theory Two: When someone in the world dies alone, with no one to mourn them or miss them, the sadness that should be felt about their death gets randomly assigned to any human being on earth that has the capacity for feeling. Unfortunately, that random human is you. This may be an explanation for lypophrenia (a vague feeling of sadness seemingly without a cause). Try to embrace your sadness and learn from it — melancholy may not be pleasant but it is both healthy and necessary and, perhaps most importantly, temporary.
3 / The flowers are dull
but you can see them.
The traffic is loud
but you can hear it.
The coffee is bitter
but you can taste it.
She’ll leave when she wants /
she’ll leave when you’re ready.
4 / Melancholy is meant to be fleeting
but for some souls the sadness isn’t temporary.
Be grateful for your return to normalcy
(whatever that may mean)
and when you recognise somebody/anybody
wearing that cloak of melancholy
be gentle, be patient, be kind,
and show a little empathy.
HLR is a 20-something writer of creative non-fiction, mainly short prose and poetry. She writes about challenging subjects (such as mental illness, addiction, suicide and grief) with brutal honesty and British droll. Her gritty confessional style is one that could only be acquired through years of psychological anguish and too much time in the pub. HLR was born and raised in north London, and is yet to escape. Recent publications can be found here. Read more at www.treacleheart.com