Unaware

With vacant eyes
I stare at you
an empty glance
is nothing new.
I’ve been this way
for far too long
and still they say
there’s nothing wrong.
I’m not okay,
my body, weak,
this anaesthetic
that I seek.
To make me numb.
This vacant stare.
While everyone,
is unaware.

~ Andrew
Today is Mental Health Awareness day, I’ve not been keeping up with every major day that I intended to (I wasn’t able to come up with anything for National Poetry Day for example) but Mental Health is a sensitive issue which I feel quite strongly about so I wanted to produce something to raise even a little bit of awareness
If you wish to know more I have provided a link to the Mental Health Foundation website (UK): HERE
To donate £3 to the above cause text THRIVE to 70300 (UK only, Terms HERE)
If you or someone you know is suffering please direct them to a helpline or to anyone who may be able to help. Here are a few links to get you started
Samaritans – Email: jo@samaritans.org
7CupsOfTea: 7cups
There are many more resources available around the world and I really do hope anyone who is suffering does not feel like they cannot speak to anyone about it.

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Another Name, Another Number

Another name,
another number,
in a world so rife with sickness
Yet we still don’t understand it
and we don’t know how to fix this.

Just a figure, ever growing
as the world can’t see the issue
calls them cowardly and weak
pass their family some tissues.

“We all have bad days”
“Get over it”
“It’s all inside your head”

It’s not normal to hate living
and to wish that you were dead.

How dare you claim you’ve been there
claim that you’re the better man
this is not a competition
you should help them if you can.

Every year the same old story
someone’s life cut short, dead end,
This is suicide, depression,
not some phase or current trend.

~ Andrew
The recent suicide of Chester Bennington has been on my mind the past few days and whilst I was not a huge Linkin Park fan some of their songs really stuck with me. Over 6000 people in the UK alone committed suicide in the latest statistics for 2015 (6188 to be exact, a further 451 in the Republic of Ireland), that’s almost 20 per day yet we still don’t seem to have enough help available for those suffering

That being said there is help available and I urge anyone reading this that feels they may need help to reach out to one of these numbers
National Suicide Hotline:
UK: 116 123 (Samaritans) – or email jo@samaritans.org
USA: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – (National Suicide Prevention Helpline)
Rest of the World: Hotlines

Mental Burden (Spoken Word)

Society has this stigma
That tells us to be quiet
We are confined to our own minds
and inside them we will riot

We will tear down the walls
till we fall to our knees,
and hope that somebody
will answer our pleas.

If we speak they call us liars,
if we act they seem surprised,
if we think and think and think again
our mind is paralysed.

We are locked inside a nightmare
with a monster called Despair.
No hope of finding peace of mind
Or somebody who cares.

Or someone who will listen,
like the pillow hears our cries.
Like the bed carries our burden
as our minds destabilise.

We are not what we believe
but we need a helping hand
we just need a friend to comfort
and a friend to understand.

We can tell them with our words
if they would only stop to hear
if society stopped silencing
perhaps we would not fear

speaking out when we are broken
giving voices to the weak
as we find the strength to be the ones
to fight for what we seek.

This may be our mental burden
but we must know we’re not alone
there are those who wish to help us
those who’ve fought it and have grown

We come face to face with demons,
all those who undermine us
but together we’re united,
we will not let them define us

~ Andrew
I’m going to be doing some more Spoken Word pieces over the next few months hopefully (time permitting). This one in particular I hold very close to my heart. Today is time to change day 2017. It’s about overcoming the stigma against Mental Illness.
I could go on for hours about this topic but I feel the less I say the better. If you’re reading this and you’re struggling there are many helpful sources which I will list a few of below

Website: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Suicide Hotlines: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines 

Samaritans in particular has a special place in my heart for helping me a few years ago:
116 123 is the number to call from all UK mobiles/landlines or email: jo@samaritans.org

Mental Burden

Society has this stigma
That tells us to be quiet
We are confined to our own minds
and inside them we will riot

We will tear down the walls
till we fall to our knees,
and hope that somebody
will answer our pleas.

If we speak they call us liars,
if we act they seem surprised,
if we think and think and think again
our mind is paralysed.

We are locked inside a nightmare
with a monster called Despair.
No hope of finding peace of mind
Or somebody who cares.

Or someone who will listen,
like the pillow hears our cries.
Like the bed carries our burden
as our minds destabilize.

We are not what we believe
but we need a helping hand
we just need a friend to comfort
and a friend to understand.

We can tell them with our words
if they would only stop to hear
if society stopped silencing
perhaps we would not fear

speaking out when we are broken
giving voices to the weak
as we find the strength to be the ones
to fight for what we seek.

This may be our mental burden
but we must know we’re not alone
there are those who wish to help us
those who’ve fought it and have grown

We come face to face with demons,
all those who undermine us
but together we’re united,
we will not let them define us.

~ Andrew
I was inspired to write this after reading the awful responses to an online personality opening up about his struggle with depression. People told him he was seeking attention and it hurt to think that this is the treatment that anyone gets when they speak up about something like this.

The Wounds You Never Saw

I came home,
with bruises I hid like lies
rather than say,
surprise,
here’s one they made earlier.

I smile,
because at least at home,
I’m a little less intimate with walls.
A little less familiar with brickwork
from an inch away.

And in the medicine cupboard,
there are no plasters
to stitch up my fractured confidence,
no pain killers to kill the pain
of facing society
and feigning bliss.

This is the wound
you never saw.

This is the tear soaked table
head in hands
unable to smile.

This is the concrete kissing
grazed arms and ego
Battered boy you watched fall.

This is the one missed call.

The dial tone beeping,
late nights sleeping alone
the echoing voices
the words that were thrown

the bullets that bullies,
could fire at will,
the gaps in affection
that hatred would fill

This is the wound
that never surfaced.

Because thick skin
and a grin
is enough to sell a lie.

Because even when you try
to scream
your voice is muffled
by sorrow’s stream

and choking tears
sung lullabies,
as pillows heard
the muffled cries.

This is the scar
that I’m still wearing
and to this day
the world is staring

~ Andrew
I felt inspired to write this to reflect on the bullying that I experienced because no matter how much stronger I become there is still a mark on my past that follows me day by day.

Go It Alone

I swear,
you will not go it alone,
if you are broken,
pick up the phone,
and let’s talk.

If you’re trapped,
let’s walk,
and admire the view.
If you’re scared,
we can cuddle,
and forget what we knew.

You are not alone,
and you should never have to be,
trapped inside the dark,
compounded misery,

I pledge to stand beside you,
let’s overcome the stress,
you’re more than something,
less than nothing,
and not that kind of mess.

You’re just troubled in the worst way,
you’re just plagued by thoughts unseen,
but I’m here beside you,
all the way,
we’ll fight it as a team.

~ Andrew

Broken Hearts and Body Parts

You cannot see a broken heart,
you cannot see a beaten brain,
you cannot see a mental breakdown,
but you damn well feel the pain.

Just because you cannot see it,
doesn’t mean it isn’t there,
and I believe in freedom,
a life where all is fair.

But like a heart that’s broken,
society can’t see,
that I’m the same as everyone,
you’re all the same as me.

Deep down we’ve all been lonely,
inside we’ve felt regret,
so how can you ignore them?
How could you forget?

The pain is always present,
it’s a fractured state of mind,
But we can help repair it,
we’re generous and kind.

All broken hearts and body parts,
deserve the same attention,
it’s not about the suffering,
more so the pain prevention.

~ Andrew

People suffer from severe mental disorders and no one bats an eyelid but if you break your arm you’ve got a cast to prove it and everyone gives you sympathy. This isn’t going to change that but I hope if you’ve read this you’ll look out for the people who are suffering.
I’m going to leave this for you: A Message to the Depressed
It’s an amazing take on how we should be helping those who aren’t mentally healthy. It’s not something I’ve written but I cannot begin to describe how much watching this video changed me.