Dear Vault, 

I am restless. My subconscious has been manifesting itself in my legs, and I cannot sleep or find peace. I find my enemies in my nightmares. Sharpening their claws and gangs, coming to attack me. My dreams subtly scare me.   
And I am tired. My tiredness has brought violent thoughts into my agitated mind. I want everything to die. I want everyone go, but I don’t want to be alone. 
So I am angry. Pissed off at everything I don’t want to do, but still do  because my body doesn’t want to stop. Aggravated at the noises, the shakes, and at very simple little things.


I am broken. I can’t think straight anymore. My body and mind has been falling apart since forever. I am not myself. I no longer know where myself is. I am gone. I am done. 
I am finished.


Dear Mask,

You’ve leashed yourself onto my face and sucked out the truth from my being. I have become a clown – hiding my pain behind false smiles as I conceal my porcelain heart, thinking that’s the only way to be protected. I am juggling depression and anxiety with the colourful disguise of laughter. My lips lie without words and no one will know until I speak. 

I can’t speak. Tears strangle my throat and hold the words from coming out. When they do, it feels like puking out the toxins of the past I wish I never lived. The fires of my hell burns deep in my stomach and it aches. Even through the good, the hurt eats at my subconscious and give fuel to my fears. 

I am afraid. My mind is a prison I’m not always sure how to free myself from. I know that the thoughts are not true, but I don’t know how to make them go away. Zombies pick at my brain as vampires drain the energy out my body – causing me to feel weak and powerless. 

I will not let you win. I can see your cracks in the mirror. The lines of emotions are peering through, and I am learning to love every piece of my real face. 
–The Broken Clown

Julie Alcin

Dear Antidepressant,

​I will not let them tell me who they think you are. They do not know your face. They don’t know what I go through. When they ask, I will tell them what I hold. What I have is a troll in my chest and a demon in my mind. They cannot be silenced. I’ve tried, and they only get louder.

I’ve told this story a billion times. I am numb to it now. Attempted suicide is a crime I am guilty of. However, I am still innocent. They pushed me to it! That is my reason. Do not tell me that you don’t expect a rose to wither in a world without oxygen. This is why we grow tough skins with thorns, and pretend to be cacti.

My arms have been marked by my own blade. I will proudly show my scars to the world, and if they ask, I’ll boldly say that they did it. I will become the monster they told me I can be. I will frighten them with my words and dance to their screams. I think screams are beautiful music humans make when they run from the truth. I will embody the truth.

My first step is complete. I am a poet and a writer. There is nothing more dangerous than that. I will study myself and my people. I will learn what makes them tick and use it against them. I am a weapon. They will never be able to contain me. 

I am dead, so I do not fear death. I am broken, so I do not fear stones. I am human so I do not fear emotion. I am stronger than titanium. I am powerful, because I know I am the captain of my own ship. My life is my own sea. I will sail it’s monstrous wave and inhale its salty vastness.

I hope they will call me mad, for madness is a sign of greatness. They will call me foolish, and that will cause a smile to scurry across my face. I will take my pain and turn it into strength;  my tears will be my ink and these scars my story. I will show them that there is beauty in not fearing weakness, but embracing it. I will do these things before a second death, and pray that I leave this world with the presence of my love in the universe.
A Pirate or A Kraken

Dear Future Self,

​How do I move on from a lonely hell? Where does one go when a house is not a home? Who do I confide in when no one will listen? I’m starting to feel like I don’t belong anywhere. 

“I’m a burden”  she says as she looks at me with eyes that scream she wished I wasn’t born. “You’re not the only one” my heart whispers to her eyes. I’ve wished this wish a million times and no star, candle, clock or universe ever answered. My prayers go straight into heaven’s junk mail. I break apart and start to contemplate.

Am I too small and unimportant of a being to be recognized? My mind was a cup overflowing with words that drowned me. Why I asked? Why couldn’t a simple wish come true? It was then someone finally saw my letters. “You cannot wish for death” they tell me. “Death is too big of a wish and too cruel of a prayer”  I guess in some way they were right. 

The problem is, I failed to realise I was dead a long time ago. I just didn’t know it. It was when I was silent in my noise, I noticed my heartbeat, touched my pulse, plunged into my warmth and felt…nothing. I was as numb as a corpse. I was a zombie with a broken yet somehow functional brain. I was dead where it hurts the most. I was dead when I first made that wish. 

I now know why they say to be careful what you wish for. Death isn’t as great as it seems. It isn’t a safe net to fall on when life has turned to darkness. It’s never a way out. Unfortunately, I learned this too late. Death is easy to find, but life is hard to earn. Looking back now, I wish I wished for a light to warm me, two arms to hold me and three more wishes to save me. 

As I stay here under my blankets, crying the last tears that made me human into my last source of physical comfort, I reminisce on all the times I smiled a genuine smile. Those will be the last and brightest smiles I will ever see again.

– The child in Death’s darkness

Letters of May in SXM DOET

​Escaping The Vault is teaming up with the Mental Health Foundation for “Letters of May” in SXM DOET. 

Letters of May is an anthology & website dedicated to raising mental health awareness through the arts. Other than raising awareness, the goal of the letters is to inspire those who face mental illnesses to keep fighting, to show/educate others on what mental illnesses truly are – what they look and feel like, and to help put an end to the stigma. These letters can be sent in different forms: writing, art and videos. 

On March 10 & 11, the Mental Health Foundation and I will be having an art workshop for those who would be interested to write/create something for the anthology & website. 

Location to be announced shortly: Friday, March 10 from 2pm to 5pm Saturday, March 11 from 10am to 1pm 

Facebook: Friday, March 10 from 9am to 12am Saturday, March 11 from 3pm to 6PM

Invite your friends and family!

​​Dear Escapees,

​I wonder what you go through. I wonder if you lie awake at night waiting for sleep to come, as it remains a distant lover. I’m curious to find out if your legs tremble and your heart aches like mine do. Do you count the stars? Do you stare at the ceiling? How many thoughts cross your mind in a second? What do you do when the morning greets you too early, and you know you have to say hello eventually? 

Tell me about your day. I want us to share stories of the hell we walk through and the heavens we visit. While the world watches, we will let them know that we are not weak. In fact, we are soldiers who escaped from a vault labelled “Insanity”. Our voices can never be silenced. Our marches will always be strong; even on days when we are made out of glass – easy to shatter, and almost willing to break. Our scars will not write letters of apologies, but novels of the days we dared enough to bleed.

We will let them know we are not attention seekers. There is nothing wrong about wanting love and support. We are not lazy. These monsters have a way of grabbing our chest, holding us down and making it so hard to breathe. It’s not all in our heads. We don’t make these things up. They are as real and frightening as death. There is no getting over it. We cannot just decide to be happy, and wear on a genuine smile. It is time we take off our masks, and our true faces show.

And as we fight, it is important to remember where we stand and who we are. We are not our mental illnesses. We are not the names people call us when they do not understand. We are daughters and sons, sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers. We are humans. Our mental health matters. We matter! 
–The First Escapee

Julie Alcin

Escaping The Vault