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.
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,
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.