Trying to describe your illness and explain how it affects you can be extremely difficult I find, especially when it comes to mental illness. I can find it difficult to express how aspects of my bipolar disorder affect me and I find that sometimes, for some reason, it’s easier for me to express myself through poetry.
Expressing your feelings
I don’t claim to be a great poet or to know how to write poems even, it’s just one form of expression that I find helps me to get things off my chest. Expressing your thoughts and feelings around your mental illness, even if it’s just for yourself by writing something down, can help you stop bottling things up. For me at least, I find that if I try to keep things inside, it feels as though I am carrying a burden around with me and I feel heavy with it, until I am able to talk about with someone or write it down just for myself if I don’t feel like having a full-blown conversation.
The following poem I wrote a while ago now but it is still relevant to me today, unfortunately quite often. I wrote it during one of my worst depressive episodes when I was struggling a great deal. I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed writing it, but it felt good to get some of how I was feeling out on paper.
Closer (A Poem)
Closer it comes, I see it advancing,
Laughing to itself quietly, Practically prancing.
Towards me it skips, Joyful and mocking,
It’s ugly intent, Painfully shocking.
I watch it move faster, Now smiling with glee,
I don’t turn around, There’s nowhere to flee.
It savours the moment, As it puts its arms around me,
Engulfs me completely, Only it I can see.
What is this monster, I hear you ask,
With such evil presence, And a soul so black.
‘I am!’ It bellows, Then a pause for effect,
‘Depression!’ It screams, ‘And I, you cannot deflect!’
The next poem I wrote a little while ago after receiving my diagnosis. I wanted to try and express how I felt about the disorder itself somehow.
Bipolar (A Poem)
I can make you full of life,
Exhilarated, passionate and elated.
I can make your thoughts run fast,
Make them electric and creative.
I can make you think you’re god,
Think you know all of the answers.
I can make you feel amazing,
Feel beautiful, gorgeous, unbeatable.
I will make you so spontaneous,
Take countless risks you cannot fathom.
I will make you irritated and annoyed,
Angry with those whose pace is slower.
Then I will bring you crashing down,
Bring you plunging to the floor.
I will make your thoughts crumble,
Make them foggy and confused.
I can make you think you’re in hell,
Think you will never smile again.
I can make you feel so low,
Feel self-hatred and resentment.
I can make you crawl on the floor,
Feeling like your life is gone.
I can make you suffer so,
Then I might raise you up again.
Finding something that works for you
Anything that can help you to get your feelings out, whether it’s just for yourself or to express them to others, can be a very positive thing. This could be a creative expression such as poetry, writing or art, something more physical like exercise or dance, really anything that works for you. We’re all so individual and it’s important that we find something that works with our unique lives, personalities and experiences.
Did this resonate with any of you? How do you express your feelings? I’d love to start hearing more from you all if you feel comfortable sharing and getting involved in the conversation.