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“Explaining My Mental Illness”: A Poem

I crouch within a whirlwind

Of tangled tumbling black-and-yellow moods

That hiss and shout and shriek.

I blink within a dust cloud that pollutes my vision.

I open my mouth to explain

But a chorus of bats fly out.


There are cobwebs in the parts of my heart

That have to stay locked

Because no one is safe enough

To enter these danger zones;

Memories outlined in crime scene tape,

Chalk outlines of innocent trespasses.


I close my eyes and take a deep breath.

I cough and choke as dust fills my nose, mouth, and throat..

I can’t speak.

The whirlwind won’t stop.

The spinning won’t stop.


I am not the problem.

I am not the whirlwind.

I am a small earnest person

Who is trapped.

“Explaining My Mental Illness”: A Poem

Anna Lente

I am currently getting my master's in clinical mental health counseling. I have bipolar disorder, a dissociative disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. I am a writer, poet, and artist. I like to write online about my experience of mental illness in order to raise awareness and break stigma.

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APA Reference
Lente, A. (2018). “Explaining My Mental Illness”: A Poem. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from


Last updated: 25 May 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 May 2018
Published on All rights reserved.