Mental Health Awareness Month: Poetry as a reflection on an individual’s experience

This article is part of a series for Mental Health Awareness Month

Depression and anxiety are two very prevalent mental illnesses. Often, people doesn’t understand the daily struggle of people who suffer from these illnesses, and it’s difficult for people with depression or anxiety to explain what they’re going through.

As someone who suffers from both, I know the struggles. Since I try to be a happy, bubbly person, this may be surprising. Like many people, I try to put on a mask so as not to be judged or seem weak. I also know the importance of talking about mental illness, in an effort to raise awareness and create understanding.

It’s important for everyone to have outlets for anxiety, grief and other stresses in life, and it’s especially important for those of us with depression and anxiety. Some people use painting, drawing, physical activity, going for drives, photography, or other hobbies as an outlet. While I enjoy many of those activities, I’ve also found that writing things down is very beneficial. Rather than bottling things up, writing helps me to gain perspective and relax.

Here are some poems I wrote, which reflect on the experience of depression and anxiety. The poems are not meant to be disheartening or overly-dramatic. They are mean to be a reflection on, and a window into, an individual’s experience.

Fading Colors

The colorful world around me slowly turns black and white

The vivid color once so bright and full of light

Is now shrouded in darkness and despair

My spirit is slowly losing the youthful hopefulness.

Happiness used to be genuine

Now smiles and laughter are forced

It’s like being locked in a room with no way out

Unless the walls crumble to the ground.

The Brain, A Restless Place

Some nights her mind won’t shut itself off

It continues to work and process information

She can’t sleep, the activity keeps her awake all night

When the exhaustion starts to set in, she loses her mind

People think she’s insane because she laughs at nothing

When in reality, it is because she’s drained from no sleep.

Her brain continues to go over things that happened long ago

Replaying what she should have said or what shouldn’t have been said

She thinks about her actions and if they were the right decision

Sometimes they aren’t but it’s too late now to go back and change it

She wishes she could fall asleep with ease, people telling her to take melatonin

But it doesn’t help, she still lies there hoping that any minute she will fall asleep.

She becomes irritated at herself because all she wants to do is sleep

And if she does fall asleep, she never knows if she’s going to be up at 2 AM or 3 AM

Then the whole process starts all over again with her not getting any sleep

The exhaustion involves agitation because it leads to headaches

And she never knows if they are going to last a day or two or even a week.

Losing Ourselves

Everyone always tells her that she needs a happier muse

She tries to find one but is never able to find its use

Negativity is like a magnet she feels its attraction to her personality

She used to be a happy person but then life happened and she got older

And got the life sucked right out of her

Causing her to lose her positive outlook on life.

She continued to fall into the depths of despair

She tried to catch herself but is unsuccessful

She never stops, she keeps spiraling on a downward trend

She wishes that she could stop and find her way back

To see the light in the world again

She has no fire to light her way, she’s stuck.

Losing herself is the hardest part

She doesn’t know who she is anymore

Is she even a person or just an idea?

Does she even really have a truss

Or is she supposed to take on the world alone

Will she ever find herself again and have assurance?

We continue on the path of life

Never really finding who we are

Or why we were put here in the first place

We may never find the answers we are looking for

And may never find ourselves either

We lose our positivity and our happiness in the process.