Stigmatized (a poem)

Who is that person there behaving erratically?
Why doesn’t he get his act together?
Who is that pathetic man staring at me in the mirror?
Why doesn’t he learn to act normal?
Why can’t they just get a job?
Why are they mooching on the rest of society?
Why can’t they pull themselves up by the bootstraps?
Why can’t they become investment bankers like you?
Why can’t they act out the fantasy lives of social media influencers?
Who is that woman in the psychiatric unit, the one with the scars on her wrist and sad smile and the far-away look in her eyes?
Why can’t she pull herself together?
Who is that man who committed suicide last week, hung himself in the basement and left a note saying how sorry he was?
Didn’t he know the pain he would cause others?
Why can’t they all just toughen up?
Don’t they know this world is divided into winners and losers?
Don’t they know compassion and equality is for whiny liberals?
Don’t they know that the world is mean?
Don’t they know?

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Ghosts Have a Way of Following (a poem)

There’s nothing unique about the way
We fled the ghosts in younger days

You carried the trauma like me
Deep in rusted bones
But we could never escape
You knew as well as I did

Ghosts have a way of following
Ethereal, stubborn spirits
We never outrun our pasts
Though we think we can

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Remember that We’re Strong (a poem)

Each new year is a beginning
Though it feels we’ve already lost
Our hope is usually brimming
But lately we feel distraught

The world has changed for good
There’s no going back to before-times
If we could, we certainly would
This new era is chaos defined

For those with mental illness
It feels like the world has caught up
Now everyone has a sickness
The entire world is stuck

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Depression is a Liar (a poem)

Depression is a liar
It tells me nasty things
These negative thoughts I acquire
And the despair it brings

But my friends always say
This too shall pass
Though it’s wretched today
I faintly see a half-full glass

When I feel disconnected
Not much seems to help
I’m not sure what I expected
Or when it will stop

Music is my healing balm
And so is my writing
They help me stay calm
With the negativity I’m fighting

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Lost and Not Found (a poem)

I. Alienation

I’ve lost track of time too many times
What am I doing here?
No one was there to answer
The streets were so empty
And there I was again, lost

Lost and not found – the story of our lives
Trying to find purpose amid the ruins
Of late-stage American capitalism
And cycles of market collapses

So, I kept wandering
The sky was charcoal but, despite that,
It was so hot the concrete sizzled
Is this what they predicted?

There’s nowhere left to turn
Everyone else has burned
And here I am, lost again

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The Darkness That I Transcend (a poem)

What is this beast that rises from the sludge?
My friend thinks it’s quite amazing
It’s obvious that I have misjudged
The beast’s insatiable cravings

It has swallowed my family whole
In one terrifying gulp
Now it will not let up control
Our insanity is the result

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The Badges that I Earn (a poem)

I once wanted total control, until that day
Everything spun in a mad frenzy, and I lost my grip
On sanity – leaving me locked away
Without a say on anything and everything

Yes, this has happened many times before
And the illusion of control always surges back
I try to ignore that monster in my head
To restore my equilibrium
To reach a place that’s solid, that has a foundation
That doesn’t constantly crack

But maybe that last madness was too much
And it knocked me to the ground for good
Maybe I’ve truly lost touch
With a reality that’s wholesome and good

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