National Poetry Day: Freedom

 

“National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems.”

nationalpoetryday.co.uk

 

My Definition of Free

Freedom is fullness,

Wholeness inside,

A life lived in truth

With nothing to hide.

Love freely given

No matter the cost,

Risks freely taken

No opportunity lost.

Freedom is waiting

For destiny’s call

A life lived in hope

Of the greatest gift of all.

 

I wrote this poem many years ago, when the concept of freedom was to me like a fairytale is to a small child: a nice make-believe story. One can always dream, I thought, but one should never be so foolish as to expect the dreams to come true.

For years I lived trapped within the confines of my mind. It was dark and disconsolate existence, and one which I truly resented. The notion of ever being free from this way of thinking, feeling, being was laughable. And yet here I am, learning how it is to feel full and whole, and learning that the fairytale can still be real even when things go wrong.

Life is not either good or bad – it is both, sometimes at once, sometimes in equal measures but not always. For me, a whole lot of freedom has come from truly understanding this – that a bad life does not necessarily preclude a good one (if indeed this distinction can me made at all?).

Poetry has undoubtedly been an integral part of my healing as it has always felt safe to me: the ability to express myself without necessarily exposing myself, and in some of my darkest moments, I have been able to articulate what I could not give voice to in any other way. I dare say that the smallest, most creative part of me, always knew that there was a freedom worth holding on for, and worth fighting for.

Whatever your particular dream of freedom may be, don’t stop believing and don’t stop fighting. And write a poem just because you can.  You can! 

Ps: As it is National Poetry Day I think it would be rude not to mention that there are several poems in my book, A Sad and Sorry State of Disorder – A Journey into Borderline Personality Disorder (and out the other side)  just in case you were looking to read some more!

 

World Suicide Prevention Day

Nice Try

You’re trying hard to kill me,

And although I’m on your side

I’ll fight you if you get too close

In case I change my mind.

And your efforts to destroy me

Whilst valiant, are mad,

For how could you annihilate

A life I have not had?

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts: reach out – talk, write, draw, scribble, scream, call the Samaritans. Do anything other than take action on your urges.

If someone you love is suicidal, or you suspect they may be: talk to them, sit with them, walk with them, seek help with (or for) them, love them, believe in them.

Suicidal feelings don’t last forever. I promise you this. Life can get better, but only if you hang in there and are prepared to work with those who want to work with, and help, you.

The Samaritans have saved me more than once. They have been there in some of my darkest hours, and I am alive today because they were there when I needed them.

I had friends and family who cared but I was afraid to burden them with the terrifying darkness I was inhabiting. I have since learned that they would have come with me to the very core of darkness if they could have been by my side when I needed the most.

I have wanted to die more times than I can count but never once has that desire had anything to do with attention. Nor even, on many occasions, with dying per se: it has only ever been to do with stopping the internal, unbearable, intolerable anguish of being.

Never once did I think I was being selfish: I truly believed that ending my life was the kindest, most selfless act I could offer to those to whom I was convinced I was nothing but a burden. I thought everyone I knew would be happier and freer without the burden that was me.

In no way am I trying to justify or condone suicide – I am simply trying to explain to those who are struggling: that things can change, life can improve, and you will not feel like ‘this forever’, and for those who have lost someone to Suicide: there was nothing – nothing – more you could have done for them.

That all said, I have no other ideas as to how to prevent suicide. It’s a big ask. But if you reach out, talk about your feelings, believe that people care, and hope that things can change for the better, I don’t know – surely that’s worth a try..?