Lifting the lid on mental health issues

Poetry tends to break forth from my heart before it hits pen and paper, unstoppable as a hymn of praise in a dawn chorus.

Words are shaped in fires of adversity and honed in hues of happiness.

Neutrality is not my norm.

The unlocking of verse usually relies on deep emotion for me.

This poem was birthed in meditating on an event currently being experienced by a family member.

My brother-in-law, Andrew,  has had Schizophrenia since his teens. You can click on the link to find out about this serious mental health illness.

It has had many manifestations, some manageable at home, or in the community, and others requiring specialist care.

Now he is in a bad place mentally where it is hard to reach out to him and harder still to see the person he once was within.

It is a painful thing to witness as a soul seems lost to all but God.

Here is my poetic rendition of his current situation.

I offer it in empathy, sympathy and support for all those who may suffer similarly, plus their families and carers.

And in the hope of promoting greater awareness and understanding of mental health problems in general.


‘Locked’


Locked
inside a room
made safe
with softness
nothing hard
nothing sharp
to cause harm
Locked
inside a mind
peopled
made rich
with multiple
conversations
spinning through it
Locked
into the past
which streams
and seems
ever-present
in the here
and now
Locked
out of society
and sense
reason and
rationality
 scrambling round
in vain
Locked
away and observed
by those
paid to care
bathe bodies
soothing mind
being kind
Locked
and hospitalised
medicated
sedated
until a key
can be found
to set free
©JoyLenton2o13
(All rights reserved)


Very few of us will get through life completely untouched or unaffected by mental health issues, either in our own lives or those of our loved ones, family and friends. 
Even fear and anxiety problems can become all-consuming and paralysing.
Mental health disorders can be relatively mild or severe, ranging from debilitating stress to clinical depression, through to paranoia and psychosis.
All need to be taken seriously, treated with care and compassion, with appropriate medical attention and treatment sought as necessary.
Though we can be ‘locked in‘ or ‘locked out’ in other ways too in terms of isolation, loneliness, and being marginalised or misunderstood by others, often leading to great misery and devastating effects on self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.
Let’s aim to befriend, support and care for one another;  to demonstrate God’s love and compassion in action to those we know who may need extra understanding and kindness right now.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” ~ Colossians 3:12

14 Comments

  1. Beautiful Joy. I wish the church would collectively be as open with pain. So often we put a vaneer of niceness over things. Life often hurts and we should be supporting each other, especially when dealing with mental illness.

    1. Oh, yes, Lynda, that is one thing I wish were different too. There still seems to be such a stigma attached to having mental health problems. As Christians we are challenged to see things as Jesus would. Thank you very much for your perceptive comment.

    1. There is nothing more powerful than personal experience close to home to teach us how people react to these things. Thanks very much, Mandy, for sharing your own experiences. I'm really pleased you liked the post! 🙂

  2. wow, joy. very powerful and poignant. as one who has suffered through mental issues i can relate on some level. while beautiful and amazing, the mind can be a harsh cage, not always playing by rules you hope it would.

    thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Tim. Good to see you here! Thanks very much for stopping by to share your thoughts and experiences. Our minds are certainly wonderfully and fearfully made in all their amazing complexity. I really appreciate your insightful comment.

  3. Dear Joy,
    You touched my heart again. I know what it is like to have a loved one that seems unreachable. Also, depression and anxiety can touch anyone, whose brain has reached that breaking point. I thank God for His compassion, mercy, love, and grace. He can overcome and has won the victory already, even when we suffer. I am praying for your family and your brother-in-law. I hope he gets better. Love, Debby xxoo

    1. Debby, I am so pleased to see you here! I know times have been tough for you too recently. Thanks very much for your lovely, understanding comment. We do hope and pray for recovery and healing and are ever thankful for God's mercy and compassion. Bless you, my friend. 🙂 xxx

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