Do You Understand: A Poem About Living With Mental Illness


I wake up to the sound of my alarm ringing in my head…
Already my heartbeat is racing in fear and that is how I know I’m not dead.
This is the fourth alarm two hours away from when I should be out of my bed.
But today that won’t happen, there’s too much I dread.

I know it’s time to get up, it’s time to put on my people clothes
I live a lie, I am not what you see, this is not what I chose
Slowly I withered away, my ambitious drive stopped and I just froze.
I don’t understand what’s happening to me but I guess this is how it just goes.

The longer I leave it the worse that it gets,
The worse it gets the more power I give it, like it’s collecting my debts

“Leave me alone!”

I don’t know who this is aimed at anymore, I’m turning to stone…
Is this yelled at a friend down the phone?
Am I talking to myself or is this left completely unknown?

Help!
I want to be free, I can’t remember what is it to be simply just… me.
Do I need to be jumping with glee?
Do I need to be down on one knee?
Just for you to see my weakening plea…

I had everything, I still do… but this, this thing it keeps pulling me away
I’m trying… but I don’t know when you will get the clue!
I’m scared, I’m scared that you’re one you’re going to have to pay!
It’s scratching at my scalp and pulling me apart!
I’m getting up and trying to find some motivation to have a restart.
But every try ends in a fall…
It’s getting too hard to keep standing tall

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via michalpalka


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Depression

young blonde woman sitting by window crying

To the Emergency Room Nurse Who Questioned My Depression

“I’m only going to write in your chart that you have anxiety, not depression.” “That’s a bad label for a 23-year-old to have.” “It will run your life if you don’t get off those meds.” “What could you possibly be depressed about?” To the male nurse at Phoenixville Hospital who said these things with a laugh to [...]
Blurred background of unrecognizable persons rushing through the arch on the touristic street.

The Most Important Thing I’d Tell Someone Who Just Got Out of a Depressive Episode

This is the part of depression that isn’t normally talked about — the part that comes after the depressive episodes. The part where, after months or years, that lingering dark cloud has gone and you’re left on your own for the first time in a long time. It can be incredibly confusing, and if you’re [...]

What I Learned About Being in Love While Struggling With a Mental Illness

Before I laid eyes on my forever, there was a time when I had to face the demons inside my head alone. There were days when I would spend all my time either sleeping or crying or staring at a wall. The days when I would get so close to ending it all as I [...]
Medicine doctor hand working with modern digital tablet computer interface as medical network concept

What I Learned From the Doctor Who Dismissed My Mental Health Struggles

I remember sitting in the waiting room, my legs shaking, chest tingling. I was terrified, because this was no ordinary doctor’s visit for me. This was my first ever attempt to get help after years battling suicidal thoughts and self-harm. I was sat there for a good while panicking, worrying about what to say, how [...]