August 1, 2018

A Poem for those who Love Someone with Mental Illness.

Will you Stay?

As I sat amidst the quiet environs of the majestic redwoods, my mind—in direct contrast—was awash with anxious thoughts, mixed with the fear of endings and heartbreak.

And then, everything inside quietened and the ink flowed from the pen.

Life sends challenges our way, but it also gives us the tools to conquer those challenges. Some tribulations are the result of choices we’ve made, while other times, we are just dealt some tough cards.

Mental illness and suicide have been talked about a lot recently, and rightly so. Suicide is the ultimate surrender to our mental strife, but there are many who don’t walk the path to death and live with the daily anguish of the brain’s subtle and not so subtle control over our thoughts and actions.

Having successfully managed my manic-depressive mind for more than nine years, I caved to a minor depressive episode recently, which mercifully didn’t last too long. But I don’t yet know if it has done any permanent damage to my little world of wonderful relationships.

Whatever triggered this episode, I know I need to be held accountable for the situation. Those around me are absolved of their role.

It wasn’t in vain though. They say the mind gives us agony but also the gift of creativity. There is probably scientific data supporting this too, but anecdotal evidence linking mental illness to creativity is ample.

What resulted was the following poem, which comes from the depths of a desperate mind, yet may feel familiar to many of us at some stage in our lives.

Mental illness doesn’t just impact those afflicted, but also their loved ones. In my experience, parents and immediate family usually won’t abandon us. But what about our partners or spouses?

Do they need to go through this trauma with us? Do they want to?

It is a choice only they alone can make.


“Will you stay by me?” {Poem}

We chose to be together; it felt magical yet real.
We knew we’d be our last. We wanted us to be.

You said love is enough, and I said love is just the start.
There have been moments together when I’ve felt love is indeed enough.

I know I’m cynical and weary.
Toughened and maybe jaded by life’s experiences.

Will you stay by me, as I learn to see that love might just be enough?

There are challenges in life, yours and mine alike.
We both battle our demons—my moods being my failing.

My soul pleads for mercy, as my thoughts overtake my sanity.
Life is not as kind as we wish it to be.
Yet it has given me, in you, the gift of love and friendship.

Will you stay by me, as I struggle to embrace life’s benefactions?

There are things beyond my control, and I wish these were different.
My moods are sometimes beyond me—I say this as an acceptance, not an excuse.

I wish I was born different, but this is how it is.
I try hard, I really do. But life humbles me and shows me, from time to time, that I cannot get away.

Will you stay by me, as I navigate this path, often skipping with joy, at times dragging my soul?

I want to create the life we both could see.
Will you stay by me, as I learn to open my heart to life one more time?

It won’t be easy, it never has been.
Will you stay by me and wade through the adventures that trials will present?

It will hurt; it’s not a choice.
Will you stay by me, and let us be the salve that both of us need?

Will you stay by me, as I would by you?


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