March 23, 2015

The Perfect Excuse to Take a Mental Health Day.


In our society, mental health is not prioritized as a “legitimate” reason for taking days off. 

Often sick days necessitate a physical illness, and even a doctor’s note proving that we are contagious. 

But the most pain I’ve ever felt is where I feel empty and broken. Yet there is no part of the body I could point to or show a doctor, no medical prescription or tangible symptoms. Yet, I feel flooded with an illness that overtakes my entirety. These are the days I stay home.

Our society perceives people who take mental health days as lazy, but embracing and embodying defeat can be so inspiring and healing. On these days, my soul rips open and I understand my own fears better than I had before. Indeed, from the depths of the darkness comes beauty and light. 

Below is a poem I wrote when I took one of my many mental health days:

It is my mental health day
As they bang at the door asking for a ride
I have nowhere to go today
But I have leftover tears to cry
I cannot wipe the saline water from the flowers
Until tomorrow
Today I have no duties or responsibilities
They return to the window asking for advice
I have nothing to say
Because I have nothing to do today
But feel for the times I forgot
And love for the times I blocked
Today I will begin to release the weights
And embrace the emptiness
They come back asking who they are
Yet I cannot answer because I have no one to be today
I have layers of filing cabinets to sort through
In the depths of my mind
And that is enough
Today is a time for surrender
As I observe what we have become
They return again, asking me to make the decisions
But I have no reply
I want nothing today
Nothing more than silence to speak her truth
And temptation to rewrite her story
Today I am no leader or builder or creator
I am crumbling open
Only to break open
They will understand in time
I do not know right from wrong today
Only that I feel great strength as I raise my body out of my soul
It is my mental health day
Tomorrow I will return my ambitions to my ego
But today I lay in bed
With an aching in my head
Reminding me that we might already be dead
So we should go ahead and play



Raising Awareness About Mental Health—One New Word at a Time.


Author: Cheyane Reisner

Editor: Travis May

Image: Time.com

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