Depression is a difficult topic but one I feel affects all of us, either personally or indirectly. My daughter attends a high school where the suicide rate is high. Already this year, a senior took his life due to crippling depression. It’s something I’ve struggled with, although never life threatening, it has cut me to my core. Caroline Kaufman’s Light Filters In is a collection of poems that tackles depression, self-harm, suicide, recovery, sexual assault, abusive relationships and violence. What makes the collection remarkable is that she wrote almost all of the poems before graduating from high school.
About Light Filters In
Light Filters In is a collection Caroline wrote under the pseudonym of @poeticpoison and posted on Instagram while she was in high school. It was a secret way to vent her struggle and it gained a following. Unfortunately for Caroline, when she was sixteen her Facebook profile linked to her Instagram and revealed her identity. I can’t even imagine how hard that would be to have a deep dark diary being passed around the school. My heart wrenches for Caroline and her parents. In an effort to turn that pain into something positive, Caroline is releasing this collection to help those struggling with the same issues.
The collection is raw. The collection is real heart-felt pain of a hurting teenager. Reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, you feel her anguish. But unlike Sylvia, Caroline offers hope. A promise that life can get better. That life can heal.
Watch Caroline Kaufman Describe Light Filters In:
Why I loved Light Filters In:
It’s honest. It doesn’t sugar coat the reality we live in. Instead it confronts the reality our children are growing up in. Because she was anonymous while writing most of these poems, she didn’t hold back and it bleeds through her words.
don’t mistake the freefall
I did that once.
I never saw the pavement coming.
It’s troubling. It addresses the issues facing our children and our world. At times, the poems were disturbing but they demand a conversation. They pull topics, often brushed under the rug or behind a door, to the surface.
in my dreams
I feel his hands on me.
when I wake up,
I check for new bruises
shaped like his fingertips.
whenever I walk by him
I instinctively drag down my sleeves,
pull my hoodie tighter.
the body he stained
is always on display.
I scrub my skin
a little too hard
in the shower,
trying to get him off me,
trying to shed any cell on my body
he might have touched.
sometimes I scratch.
sometimes I peel.
sometimes I bleed.
It offers hope of healing. Therapy and recovery is messy. It is hard but it is worth it.
I am still unlearning.
sometimes I still stop myself
before putting on a short-sleeved shirt.
and sometimes I run my fingers along my arm,
expecting to feel scabs.
but there aren’t scabs anymore.
is so much more important
I would recommend Light Filters In to anyone dealing with or knows someone dealing with depression, but I would have them read to the end. Some of the middle is quite dark and I wouldn’t want anyone to stop on a low point. Caroline found healing and has finished her freshman year at Harvard. You can buy Light Filters In on Amazon tomorrow, 5/22.
You can follow Caroline on Instagram @poeticpoison.