A Poem for World Mental Health Day

by Steph Sanders

A day where voices are raised against the monsters in our minds

Where public war is waged in solidarity against the binds

Speak up and speak out, it’s important for some

But for others those words are like being handed a gun

Awareness is key, I cannot argue you there

Destroying stigma and talking about it is rare

Please remember that while the intention is good

For some talking may not be as simple as it should

Anxiety is a slave master with shackles for hands

The chains attached rattle an endless list of demands

Constantly on edge to fend off an attack

Too many questions can become a setback

Noise and movement can sometimes all be too much

Just leaving the house can feel like a crush

An impending doom and a layer of sweat

You don’t even know why but you’ve started to fret

This anxious existence inside of the brain

For some speaking out will help ease the strain

Others will panic and not be able to answer

Anxiety is a clever and confusing romancer

Depression arrives in its robes of black silk

Ethereal and deadly, with a drowsy lilt

It grips at your ankles and drags you down

With icy claws and without a sound

Hopeless and numb, isolated and alone

Depression hangs on like a dog with a bone

It’s easier to just say that you’re feeling okay

Then to stand up and say things aren’t going your way

A yearning for help often grips at the soul

But taking that step can seem an unattainable goal

The voice in your mind says it’s just a quick phase

While a voice of reason fights to get through the haze

It feels hopeless and scary to be ruled by your mind

And it’s hard to see a future when you feel so far behind

I’ve been there, I know

Some days I’m still there, it’s slow

The journey is long and it’s different for all

But you are not alone, even when you feel small

You’re allowed to feel all of the things said before

And I’ll wager you’ve felt all of those and more

It’s a process that takes time and also takes healing

The journey might be painful and it may leave you reeling

But your place on this earth is important and key

Even if you don’t believe it, you matter to me.


Mental Health is something I am very passionate about. I struggle with both depression and anxiety, and struggled in silence for a number of months before going to seek help. It was hard. It was terrifying. And I put it off multiple times. But talking to someone has been such a worthwhile experience.

It reassured me that I wasn't crazy. Everything I felt and struggled with had a point of origin, or was a result of something else going on in my life. I'm still battling through both anxiety and depression. Some days I can't leave the house. Some days being around people is too much. There's not a magic switch. But speaking up about it, talking to someone about it, and being honest about it (if I'm having. shit day, that is a-ok) is the first step towards healing.

Tomorrow is Mental Health Awareness day for 2019.

While these dedicated days are incredibly important for education and awareness, they can also be triggering for some people. Please understand that when you are in a place of anxiety or depression, often times you have no idea how to put what you are feeling into words. If you ask someone if they are okay and they can't answer you, don't be offended and don't push them. They may not be in a position to talk yet. They may not know how. I've been there - it's immensely frustrating, isolating and restricting. Sometimes a hug can heal more than words ever could.

I also firmly believe the conversation should not be limited to one day each year. So I encourage you, check in with the people around you. Check in with yourself. And don't just limit it to the 10th of October every year.

S. x


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