My Panic Attack

I know something’s wrong
as my brain disconnects
and these thoughts in my head
become pain in my chest
and I lose track of life
as I fall into hell
and the boy to my right
says I think he’s not well.

I’m escorted, I think,
taken out of the class
and sat on my own
waiting for it to pass

They blame dehydration
but won’t call it by name
a panic attack
and my mind is to blame.

~ Andrew
Edit: Changed the title (My First Panic Attack) after remembering another time when I believe I had a panic attack a few months beforehand although I’m not 100% certain on it, just changing the title to make sure it’s definitely accurate.
For TimeToTalk day 2018 I want to open up about my mental health. I don’t think I’ve explicitly said I suffer from anything specific although the themes of my poetry should give some indication.
If I’m completely honest I don’t know what state my mental health is in. I’ve seen Doctors, been to counselling and all I seem to be doing is collecting labels. GAD, Depression, Panic Attacks. Even then I don’t feel qualified to call these things by name. I hid the fact I was receiving counselling from my parents because I was ashamed.
I am a huge supporter of the movement to increase awareness of mental health and to break down the stigma against it, as always I’ve provided a set of useful links for anyone who may be struggling:

Suicide Hotlines:
UK: 116 123 (Samaritans) – or email jo@samaritans.org
USA: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – (National Suicide Prevention Helpline)
Rest of the World: Hotlines

Time to Talk:
Support Someone
Tips For Talking

Advertisements

A Note

Content Warning: Suicide

I didn’t have the guts to write it,
I was scared I’d get it wrong.
So I typed it in a file,
tried my hardest to be strong.

When you reach the point of writing,
you’re convinced that hope is lost,
and the cold you feel inside you,
turns from chills to bitter frost

Take a minute to examine
all the people you address
all the hurt you feel inside you
all the feelings you confess.

You see my note was an apology,
it’s all my heart could say.
Sorry Mum I wasn’t perfect.
Sorry World I couldn’t stay.

Part way through I started crying,
couldn’t bring myself to write,
but there was no revelation
nor evolution overnight.

Just a feeling in my gut,
when I’d forgotten how to feel.
So I stepped away, from all my thoughts,
to look for something real.

~ Andrew

As always, with posts on this topic I’m leaving some important links and contact details below, if you or someone you know is struggling please use them.

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

 

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.

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.