The world has gone on long enough
Treating the mentally ill awful and rough.
From mocking our symptoms
To dismissing us as self-proclaimed victims.
We huddle in our corners
Isolated and grieving like mourners.
Cut off from the world
Our damaged souls frayed and furled.
We want to come out
And shout all about
“Look at me! Look at me!
I exist, don’t you see?”
Why do you choose
To turn your back on us like we are an unlit fuse?
“Can’t you see? Can’t you see?
All that you are doing to me?”
Your eyes are glued to the skies
The clouds not parting, muffling our cries.
“How can’t you hear me? How do you not care?”
“No!” You snap back. “I do care–I just cannot bear–“
“Bear what?” We reply. “This is our burden to carry.”
“Maybe,” you mutter, “but it is too often scary.”
“It is scary because you do not understand!
The light that scatters through us, falling like sand!”
“And how am I to know,
If you are strong enough or to fall like snow?”
“Because we are mighty and strong!
We sing our beautiful survivor song!”
“A song you sing? What is this you speak of?”
“Listen well, and you will see our love–
We sing of courage, of strength and light,
We sing long into the prowess of night!
We are human and we feel
That our experiences are very real.
We may cry, we may linger
We may stumble along like a make believe figure.
But we are tough–in body and in mind
And we will stand no longer for you to be unkind.
We demand our powerhouse to be seen.
Our voices linger and they are not keen
On being silenced and hidden for any longer
Maybe this is something you should ponder
We are ill in mind
And while you may be blind,
It does not make us broken,
Rather allows us to be spoken–
That we are not alone
And that we shall be known
As gladiators. As warriors. As fighters.
Some of us may even be writers.
We are strangers no more,
Doctors, artists, professionals galore!
We have degrees,
This we shall decree!
We are just like you,
Similar, but with a different view.”
“I–I see,” you stammer “there is more of you than just one.”
“Why, but of course, my friend. Why ever would there be none?”
“I…still do not completely understand what it is you see
How you can live this life and just be.”
“It is through time
And much patience that we develop our climb
Yet it is worthwhile for us to find our hope,
To believe in a better tomorrow and positively cope.
Our journeys may be chaotic,
But to some of us, we smile and say ‘exotic’.
And with resiliency we manage to live,
With meaning and purpose we choose to give
To those in our community who still struggle
And for those of you who have yet to juggle
What it is like to be sick,
With no choice allowed to pick
What it is that inflicts us,
We ask to be shown patience in kind,
For us to learn and find
What it means to be happy to be alive,
For we may always strive
To live a life worth living,
For you to be forgiving,
And for us to be proud,
That we’ve been allowed,
To bring life to another day
Where eventually we are okay.