OctPoWriMo Poetry

World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day. I learned this from the subscription email I received this morning from OctPoWriMo. You can read the post here.



I have a niece who has anxiety attacks. These are debilitating to her when they happen. Her best friend suffers from OCD and Mysophobia (commonly know as germaphobia). My sister was diagnosed with Schizophrenia as a child, although I’m not sure it was correct. She’s not paranoid, per se, but she does have different personalities that take over her life when something comes up that she is just not mentally or emotionally capable of handling. I know people with bipolar disorder and lots more who are ADHD. I suffered from mild depression for two years, and one of my sons suffers from a less severe case of mysophobia, although it used to be more extreme. There are so many different forms of mental illness. Even eating disorders are a type of mental disorder.

Mental illness affects all of us. Chances are high that you know someone who suffers from some disorder. And there’s such a stigma applied to those two words. Mental illness. How many times have you heard someone call another person “mental” because they either didn’t agree or couldn’t grasp an idea or thought or statement someone made? When I was in school, anyone who acted in a dumb way or did or said something someone considered stupid, or even if they just didn’t fit in, were labeled “retarded”, which is something different but I think you understand the correlation I’m trying to make. How many times have you experienced this: you hear someone talking about some disorder and either you or someone else blows it off, says it’s a fad, or (my favorite) they say “it’s all in your head”? (Talk about your face palm moment.) Mental illness really needs to be handled with more compassion because a lot of people struggle with it every single day of their lives. It impacts their jobs, their friendships, their families, and even just basic relationships.

Today’s prompt for OctPoWriMo was to write a poem about mental health or mental illness. There were two suggested poetic forms. I struggled with this one. I wrote two poems, one as an acrostic, but neither say what I want them to say. They didn’t get my meaning across. So I sat and thought about it for a while, and I remembered that just last week I wrote a poem about another feeling that was just as debilitating to me at the time as any disorder. It was a feeling I’d experienced often during my depression. There were days I just couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t escape the weight on my shoulders. So, I have decided to use it instead. Please consider how you can change your thinking about mental illness. Chances are, you have been touched by it, too.



By Jessica Scott


Roiling, gnawing, nauseous feeling in your gut,

A sick dread churning through your bones.616403-Psychologically-1381430287-236-640x480


The fear of something out of your control,

Makes you scared, makes you want to retch.

Your body sweats as your mind spins with thoughts

Of what might come next.


Unknown futures loom in your vision,

And uncertainty throws it’s arms around your shoulders.

What will you do? What can you do?

If only you could get a little help.


With your arms upon your knees,

And your head in your hands,

You sit with despair as it reaches inside your chest,

And grips your heart.


As promised, I also have my Day 2 Challenge poem. 

When We Became Two

By Jessica Scott

There was blood and pain,

The world shattered again

As the knife ripped me in two,

Sharp in hands of blue.

But then you were there,

Two-Fingers-460x300Breathing in and screaming out the air,

As the cord was cut, the severed line,

Your dandelion-soft cheek against mine.

Separate lives, no longer one,

And now the job is done.

I brought you safe through the storm

Kept you safe, kept you warm.

Love was always yours, though time moved on

My heart, my soul, my life, my son.

Jesi Kay
Jesi Kay, poet and aspiring novelist, was born in the Texas panhandle where wide skies, lazy summer days, and rolling thunderstorms sparked her imagination and left lasting memories in her blood. An early reader, poetry and mythology were her passions. So much so that when she was ten years old her step-father gave her his college mythology textbooks to read, which were full of classic poetry and more than enough tales to fill her romantic and inquisitive nature. Jesi loves reading, art, going to the theater, the romanticism of the Victorian era (but not the missing conveniences of indoor plumbing and central air conditioning), running when the heat and humidity cooperate, and cold weather so she can wear her favorite boots and knitwear. Also, she still has those college mythology textbooks, a little worse for wear over time but still intact and telling their stories to her. Jesi is a contributor at The Well Tempered Bards blog and at www.octpowrimo.com.

10 Replies to “World Mental Health Day

  1. Unbelievable! I don’t go ‘down’ very often, but when I do, I am this exact image. My arms on my knees, my head in my hands. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much. At the time I actually didn’t recognize the feeling as panic but the feelings are exactly that. I am grateful to be able to participate and spread a message along as well. 🙂

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