Mental Health

Poem by 17- and 31-Year-Old Caroline

(I wrote the original parts of this piece in October or November of 1996, after my first psychotic episode.)

She was all alone,

She felt a deep, painful loneliness when she was young,

Doing well in school came easy to her.

By the time it happened she was a mediocre student.

They took her to a doctor

They took her to a psychiatrist

And made her stick out among peers.

She was unique.

Some thought she was weird

That part is still true but she no longer cares

No one had anything to do with her.

After most psychotic episodes, no one had anything to do with her.  People don’t know what to say and it’s scary and it’s just easier.  Besides, that’s what therapists are for.  Some friends plain out disappeared forever, on purpose.  Most folks don’t realize or really care that she needs normalcy and distraction and friends because people she’s met in mental hospitals are CRAZY. 

Two of them died,

Two of the people who seemed to care the most died,

The first at the end of one era

Her grandmother died toward the end of her innocence

When she was too young to realize

What life does to people;

The second at the beginning of another era

Her pastor died– his counsel and influence came at a time when she just needed it  (I still miss you, Jerry.)

When she was no longer alone.

When she wishes she hadn’t taken life nearly so seriously.

Then she was accepted.

She was happy and they cared.

For a while she thought she might be alone again,

Because they never really talked to each other.  He was horrible with communication.

But she wouldn’t be alone again; not then, anyway.

Thank God she found her alone time later.

She didn’t know that she was happily confused;

They took her away

Called her crazy,

Which is a bad word.  Crazy is really a bad word.  Reality is subjective to sick people.

But they made her act like she was sane

And she learned that it just is what it is and no one did this to her.

So she stuck out again,

And sometimes they cared and sometimes they did not care.

And she learned that the only opinion that really mattered is her own.

All that matters to her now is that she has learned to love herself.

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