Peter Green portrait

Written by Peter Green

I progressed (or regressed) from being a teacher, senior leader, trainer, consultant, HMI before retiring in 2018, but still active in social and educational voluntary work. I write verses and educational articles pushing the boulder of EDI up the hill in the hope of a fair and just society.

Mental Health Week was the week from the 9th to 13th May. Loneliness was the theme. After reading various accounts about others’ experiences, I felt great empathy and I now take the courage to share my own experience. I found writing this verse cathartic.

 

The expressions of depression 

in its many guises and forms 

– loneliness, unease – unhinge all norms,

do strange things, weird things.

Even little things

bring big mood swings, 

loss of humour and mirth 

make living a dearth.

Words of simple intent, 

I hear with malcontent, 

I keep wondering why 

everything seems so awry, 

every small job or task 

just becomes a big ask. 

Little niggles of my life 

become the focus for strife:

“The bin’s in the wrong place”, 

spoken with poker face 

“it’s not on its tile” 

said always with a smile, 

is now critically carping 

followed by more harping 

about the doormat, 

not smoothed and flat 

and not enough care 

to make sure it’s square 

to the front door 

“where there’s fluff on the floor,

finger marks on the light switch” –  

treated like snot or snitch –  

by the critical tone 

of the moan and groan.

In the slough of despond 

everything’s wrong, 

nothing’s quite right, 

life’s just a long fight 

to get through each day 

keeping the pain at bay

when you’re in that trough 

little things are enough 

to push you to the edge 

of your mental health ledge.

The feigned forced smile 

is carefully hidden by guile.

It’s hard to show grace

when in a dark space

you ignore your friends,

when the Black dog descends, 

sitting on your shoulder 

a heaving heavy boulder.

There’s a grimace of face 

for any word/s out of place, 

even acts, gentle and kind 

trouble a hurting mind. 

My thoughts are only of me, 

I’m the only one I can see, 

in a silo dark and deep, 

an endless troubled sleep.

Awareness of time slows, 

mis-respect for others’ grows. 

Self-pity and ‘the blues’ 

trigger, blow your short fuse.

Appearance, wealth don’t matter 

when the mind is in tatters.

How long can I endure, 

where’s help, what’s the cure?

All I want is mental health, 

some physical stealth

to walk with a little pride 

free from caustic asides 

about ‘having the hump’ 

or ‘being down in the dumps’, 

wearing me down drip by drip

‘man up, just get a grip’, 

not to battle the stigma 

or explain the enigma 

of attempting to hide 

all the turmoil inside.

It’s bad enough being sad 

let alone called crazy, mad, 

nuts, looney, or insane 

adding to the pain. 

But I now feel no shame 

in naming its name.

Admission, talk, therapy 

was the way out for me,

gave mental wealth to cope 

when I almost lost hope.

Walks. The birds. The trees. 

Feeling the kiss of the breeze 

are now my expressions

to escape from depression.

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