Mental Illness

He said, you’re not like other children

The disappointment of a father evident

Hiding the tears of a sobbing wife

Shunning leers from prying neighbours

 

He said, you’re not like other children

Depending on the boy’s mood

He cries profusely into pillows

He makes mad crayon sketches across the wall

 

He said, you’re not like other children

Finding symbols in things unmeant

Hearing what others cannot

Seeing all the colours in invisible light

Feeling the cracks on the floor

 

He said, you’re not like other children

Insistently speaking to a twin who is not there

Drawing friends with no eyes

Watching trapped bugs melt in spider webs when others would choose to play with dogs and cats.

Darkness of the mind, just an inkblot of poison fills the jar.

Undo the blinds, can you still see the faint sunshine that filters through.

Light and dark, unmatched playmates in shadowy playgrounds.

Run your hand along this length of rope or the metallic cool of a gun.

Will it be tonight, that the fingers will curl into the familiar hollow and pick up.

Will it be tonight, that the phone will be switched off and eyes shut tight.

Will it be tonight, that there will be a note left behind.

Please don’t let it be tonight, or any other night.

I’m here praying that you’ll live through these terrifying times.

Please hold on.

Don’t let your starlight eyes lose their glimmer in the dark.

To be physical is not my demand, yet I will reach in myself a desire to reach out to you, if doing so will keep you safe. I will wrap my arms around in fierce affection, complete the space between fingers and pray my hardest to never let go.

There is a different pain, slow and terrifying, in watching the people you care suffer.

It has always been about you, is what you claim, that the wrongness of things persist. Never do you consider yourself a smile or a pocketful of bright, nor the velvet cool of a nocturnal’s shadow. Both have their strengths and beauty, but in yourself you are a stone drowning in a hidden pool.

The constant picking on sleeves and the hemline, how deep is the ache to tear them away. So many threads pulled taut, adjusted every moment or two. Strings weaved in order to purport a clever disguise. Patches of irrelevant cloth, threaded onto your back as temporary salves to save a facade failing.

You think, you truly think that you are pulling yourself together but I recognise that you are a sweater unravelling, and in time even my trembling figure can no longer support your breaking frame.

I am standing in front of you, in the same room with a heart screaming — yet all I can do in the end is watch your lungs choke on wool and inconsolable sorrow, and I am left behind with the mess of you.

I know the rugged edge, what it means to stand and feel the last rocks on the worn sole. It’s with this in mind that I can see that not everyone is right in the head.

While imperfect, let me run my hands over your cracked skull and hold you until the monsters go away for a little while. Don’t be afraid of my tears, they weep to find a way to water the hope that still lives on in the darkest of places.

Don’t melt away like snow in the afternoon, dissolve in the rain like ephemeral sugar. In my weakness I remain because I care, and still do.

When the light in your eyes start to fade don’t forget the words I’ve prayed into your broken spirit. I will sing you the song of the loved and I will love you until you are nothing less than whole.

Love will find a way.

Boy, you already know that you are a work of art.

Even with eyes blanketed in darkness, I can draw the contours of your face.

You are given to indecision, the way you would redo the smallest details over and over again. Some days it’s the hue, some days it’s the bold streaks you can’t seem to perfect.

There’s no start over, and so you make do. Every day a little fidget, a spot and blob. Until both the beginning and the end gets lost in the arms of each other.

I could see it then, your hesitancy, even with the arm outstretched as you said hello on our first day.

Boy, I hope that one day you’ll decide for yourself that it’s finally okay to let this canvas be, no need for any more vertical knife cuts into your papery skin.

It’s about time that you let this painting dry for a little while.

I did not want to see. Sight has a way of painting pictures prettier than what they are supposed to be. It has a way of making people fall both in and out of love. A way used to judge, consider and destroy.

Day in and day out, I am clouded in darkness. In a space cold and narrow, there is no difference between the floor and the ceiling. These walls of marble are smooth and impossible to the touch. With eyes closed there were some things I could no longer understand.

Reach out, you said. To whom? Who can I reach while I’m asphyxiating in this pit, an endless tunnel of despair? In my desperation I am a flower on the wall, stuck paper-thin and immobile. Though I try, no one will hear these screams.

I am a piece of coal, indistinct, burning, burning burning burning

And gone.

I reach out at last for someone, anyone, to prove that I’m not alone. But the scariest thing isn’t taking the first step. It’s taking it and confirming your biggest fears: that there is no one, only void and this is how I will go. How do I move on from here, to know that all that remains is empty?

This is what you made me do.

Just like a dandelion in the wind, my mind’s been blown into a thousand pieces.