Things I Have Learned About Mental Health
That sometimes, the image of success
is a half-defeated man getting out of bed.
That sometimes it sounds like the water
running from a shower-head.
That resilience sounds like a woman
calling the father of her children, knowing
they might not want to hear her anymore,
the thousandth knock on the door
of a dismissive consultant,
who chalks your desperation up
to a behavioural flaw.
That the mark of honesty can be a tiny truth
wrapped up in the minimising lie:
“I’m ok, but I…”
That the hardest question to answer,
is “are you alright?”
when the desired answer is “yes”
but the truth is, we’re doing our best to survive
and we disguise our pain behind a smile.
That we should ask twice, but we don’t always think to.
That a battle can smell like a bottle
being tipped down the sink.
That bravery sounds like speaking out
but also like the silence of a secret
that’s painful to keep.
That sometimes strength looks like weeping.
That tears can be red, can be read
like a map on the skin.
That the hardest person to look after
is often yourself.
That all this is invisible,
unless you take the time to read the signs.
That we should take pride in the huge victories
that may appear small,
when it’s difficult to recognise they’re victories
That not every battle can be won.
But we are bold to fight at all.
We are brave, and strong.