Mental Illness in Four Verses

Stand inside a 12 inch circle
using just one leg
while wearing 4 inch heels
and juggling with raw eggs
and you’ve got severe vertigo
and you just wanna fall
but if you don’t at least try,
you’re gonna lose it all.
Never mind that your insurance
just decided not to pay
for prescriptions that you need
to function through the day
and you cannot call your doctor
cuz she'll charge to make a change
and you haven't got the money now
so pray you can maintain.
If you make it, all those normies
wonder why the others can’t.
If you crumble, they’ll all sneer
and say that you’re faking it.
If you cry, you are weak;
gotta get yourself together.
If you rage, you are rude af
and need to do much better.
Now keep your legs together,
arms tight against your sides.
Fix your lipstick, will ya?
Smile big so pain will hide.
Show the world a mask
that tells them nothing could be wrong.
It’s how everybody does it,
pretending to be strong.

30 thoughts on “Mental Illness in Four Verses

  1. I am sorry to read of your struggles. I can relate to the mental illness part but I am lucky enough to be able to afford healthcare. I want the US to have universal healthcare.

      1. I haven’t hit that point. I came close when my depression was destroying my sleep pattern. I was getting dangerous to myself due to sleep deprivation.

      2. And see that’s what bothers me. We can know things are getting bad, but unless the doc has an opening, ya gotta keep sliding until you are dangerous. Then they’re gonna force you in a hospital.

      3. The therapy 0lace asked if I wanted hospitalization, I said no. I wanted to try talk therapy first. I ended up having to add an SSRI to it.

      4. Hospitalization can be a very traumatic experience. I understand the necessity if someone intends harm to another or to themselves, but in the US the streets are filled with homeless people who are neither and yet would likely accept care were it not so adversarial.

      1. I’m so sorry, friend – FWIW I think you’re wonderful 


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  2. Beautifully said, and the first two verses are very accurate. The other two were for me as well, but I decided I was done with that. I don’t announce what’s wrong, I just shoot back “you’ve never had a bad day?” If they say something stupid like “not like that!” I will have no problem immediately listing off at least three times they were way worse than I currently am, and I was supposed to just be ok with it and not remember it because it doesn’t currently bolster their argument. Well, wrong day and wrong time, buddy. You’re going down – or you’re backing down – you can choose. No one will make me feel bad that circumstances outside of my control, such as insurance deciding “well, you don’t really need us to help you pay for those medications because they aren’t necessary for us to get paid more.” Instead, if I just stop taking my meds because I don’t like them and medically supervised requires listening to someone else, and the side effects of cold-turkey are bad, THEN it’s my fault and I should feel some type of way for being horrible. I try to behave, but if I can’t I don’t fret, it is what it is, and I have to fight harder to get it not to be the norm and get my meds back. I’ve also never met anyone worth knowing that sneers when another falls. The good folks are the ones that will help you up, the people that are poison for yoou are the ones that sneer, and well… they can sneer, but life will beat them with a 2×4. Same with those that think it’s fake. They aren’t worth the air they breathe. The people who deal with mental illness and insurance companies messing with their mental health are some of the strongest people I know. Anyone who has a chronic illness and cries is not weak, they are human. And I’ll fix my lipstick (think Molly Ringwald Breakfast Club style) whether you like how I do it or not, and I don’t have to smile – you can’t control my face. You want a big smile, go smile yourself. I’ll stand here on my one leg, arms pinned at my sides with my perfect lipstick, and you can sit on your thumb and rotate. Deal? Bye, Felicia. And by not telling anyone what is wrong, you’re hiding in the shadows when you should be demanding your insurance return to helping you and everyone like you that are hiding in the shadows, sans medication and descending into pain and mental chaos. But that’s me. I’m not a sit quietly and behave sort. I’m more of one of those “I’ll behave to my own standards, not yours. But if you wanna get in the mud, let’s go. You’ll get dirty and find out what mud tastes like if you wanna try this with me. I don’t fear the mud – my brain throws me in it often enough. So get ready to rumble or go back to leaving me alone – either way… I am not going to let you make me feel bad about who I am.” I admit, even this slips and I try to hide again, but I remind myself, hiding only makes it worse for me.

    Sorry this got kind of long. You inspired me to mentally say “no more,” so I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. And stay strong, which you are and always have been!

      1. I bet you’re wrong about that. You’re in a spot, a pickle, a jam. You are not alone, it is likely your employer doesn’t dislike you as you think (even if you have a horrible boss), and it’s not quite as bad as you think. Not that you’re wrong, just that there’s a strong likelihood of catastrophizing even the simple. I have a friend that wrote up her resignation letter and took the blame for wonton destruction, all because she dropped the stapler and the staples popped out. Seriously, she dropped a stapler, it popped open, the staples popped out in the usual long staple… stick (?) and they didn’t even separate. In her head, her employer would fire her for destruction of the stapler, attempted assault against a coworker because a coworker was in the same room as her and probably reported her for attempted murder anyway as the coworker hated her, and the staples probably destroyed the floor and the floor probably destroyed the staples, and the stapler would never work again, and it was all her fault.

        Reality: she dropped the stapler. Coworker was busy cleaning up the coffee she just spilled all over herself and didn’t even notice that the stapler fell, nothing was broken, and the carpet, despite ALL odds, managed to survive.

        She was in no danger of being losing her job. Except maybe if the resignation letter was submitted and taken seriously and they honestly thought she resigned.

        OK! Stop twisting my arm! It’s me! I did this. I was on the verge of self-flagellation and weeping at my inability to control my gross motor skills to the point of destroying an entire building. I was akin to a bull in a china shop, I couldn’t be trusted, I was the worst employee, and everyone hated me.

        So I get it. I promise you, I get it.

        The Bigger Reality: if I got fired for dropping a stapler, even if I DID break everything (which I didn’t), I didn’t need to work with those fools anyway. You’ve got this, you just need to realize that everyone has times where they are far from their best, and in this, you are not special. You just need to breathe, pick up the stupid stapler, mentally curse the stupid thing out for falling, mentally curse gravity for existing, and go back to work. One foot, then the next. Everyone puts their pants on one leg at a time (or they face-plant). Just relax. You’ve got this, and you’ve got all of us.

  3. So sorry. No one should have to struggle with insurance and idiot doctors and a healthcare system that’s rigged in favor of insurance companies. Particularly those with mental health issues. Hope there’s some relief to be found soon.

  4. Your health system is horrible – and they are destroying ours to make it in the image of yours.

    I often wonder about other people’s masks when I’m out and about.

  5. The sing songy nature of the poetry coupled with the cats makes it look like the cats know something humans do not, and they are watching with amusement. The wisdom of other creatures is great, they are spiritual guardians.

  6. Withdrawals while still trying to do normal things, like work, is another kind of hell. I got off my meds because of covid and I couldn’t see my doctor. I feel your pain and I hope you’re doing ok.

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