Poetic Journey in Personal Discovery

Posts tagged ‘National Alliance on Mental Illness’

To Be Understood…

bp collages

I seek to be understood, and I seek to understand

Knowing judgments fly and misconceptions dominate without information

If I let you into my world will you let me into yours

Our realities, while different, are threads upon the same tapestry, sounds of the same chord

The notion of a place within one’s mind lacking typical restraint

A locale confined to a personal, unwelcomed realm of confusion, reality-estranged

Where night and day become blurred into one, and pure exhaustion takes over

Physically spent but mentally on fire, even if desired the mind won’t let sleep flow

Spinning thoughts, rational in their lack of true clarity, seeking to tell the world what I think I know

Motivated to impact change and impart the ideas and “wisdom” my mind has shown

Writing furiously to let the escaping thoughts anchor in a home before they are lost forever

Solutions to universal problems, goals and aspirations, remembrances which won’t sever

If only others could hear through my rapid speech, what it is I’m trying to say

I try to turn the noise off… try and stop the buzzing in my head, but it does not go away

All feelings of usual self-consciousness disappear and confidence supersedes

There exists a freedom I normally lack, and don’t we all want to be free?

Senses heightened… aromas are dramatically enhanced; feelings of touch intensify

If I could bottle up hypomania and utilize it at will, I’d know a constant high

But the “happy” episode is short-lived…


If I transition to full mania, it’s no longer fun or exciting; twisted staircases abound

I know not what will be around the corner; I walk with fear, not wanting to be found

The thoughts are no longer prophetic in their intrusive insistence

I’m more out of control now without much strength for resistance

Shadows lurk and come alive in my sight and it’s hard to know what is real

The internal dialogue is now frightening chatter, striking hostile deals

There is no escape while breathing, a message expounded by a cruel reality

Each moment is a fight for life, plagued with the torment of my own heart beat

I want to sleep now; it’s no longer fun to be awake

Yet upon my island of horrors I’m forced to sit with mere dreams of safe escape

I await the conclusion of another unharnessed roller coaster experience

The desire to just get high at this point is insidious

To make it stop, to pause the chaos enslaving me on the inside

Medications adjustments sometimes help, but time seems to be my only ally

I simply must survive…


When I think It’s over, and it actually is sometimes

I often slip into a depression which further seeks my demise

Maybe it’s just the trauma of the hallucinations and lack of substantial sleep

The regretful things I may have said and done when the mania had a full hold of me

But the crash is violent and hard to bare; I’d rather the darkness of maximized mania reign

I can’t get horizontal enough, or sufficiently sustain sleep to make the world go away

The thought of movement is paralyzing, covers provide the illusion of safety

Tears from red and swollen eyes fall relentlessly

Open, shut, awake or asleep… I cannot part company with me

Thoughts of ceasing to exist creep in, as in the product of a full grown manic seed

I hate the sorrow-filled darkness the most…


It’s the extremes I fight to push through, if I can just survive the hostile moments

The storm eventually clears and I again know the sunlight after the torment

I am fortunate to have people who love me offering protection and safety

I know without their strength the monster would devour me

I have never had thoughts of harming others; I plot no dangerous, harmful schemes

I live peaceably among the world, I have hopes and I have dreams

I did not ask for this illness, and wish it were not so

I accept it as part of me, and while sometimes hard, I know I’m not alone

My heart is filled with love, yet I’m stigmatized; others ignore my good

All I seek is to understand, and to be understood

I was diagnosed with Bipolar I (one) back when I was 26, in 2001.  The struggle has been challenging- beginning with years of denial and non-compliance with treatment.  I did not want the label and all the negative beliefs that went with it.  I attempted suicide by overdose back in 2007 during a depressive episode… things were soooo dark- and darn that Coldplay!! LOL.  My substance abuse didn’t help any either.  The experience is not worthy of repeat- but it did lead me out of denial and into acceptance.  Acceptance is one of the greatest gifts in this life, in any circumstance.  I then became med-compliant and have been ever since.  Meds may not be the answer for everyone- but for me it has made a huge difference.

I volunteered for an organization called NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) for five years, until my illness, a move, and some others personal issues hindered my effectiveness.  My whole perspective on mental illness and the people living with the various diagnoses changed.  I met people living “normal” lives. Careers, families, interests, education- didn’t come across any of the “psycho” stereotypical, media enhanced, individuals at all.  Are there a percentage of people with mental illness who go “off” and harm others- of course- add substance abuse in the mix and it’s higher.  However, there are so many people who are not mentally ill that do the same.  We don’t base our understanding on facts and accurate stats- we tend to base them on visibility and fear.  Living with the stigma surrounding mental illness sucks- to be blunt.  What is “normal” anyways?  My first psych class in college, the professor asked everyone to write down on a piece of paper the definition of “normal” and pass them to the front.  He then read each definition… and not ONE was the same!

People will always think what they want, typically based on a lack of information- sometimes through no fault of their own- we get bred a certain way without even knowing it half the time.  I just wish people sought to understand in the same way they seek to be understood.

©E.D. Allee

September 16, 2013

Photos, drawing, collage: by me

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