The Your Voice section of The Poet’s List showcases articles and blog posts written by poets. These pieces may or not be about poetry. Most often, they are on topics with which the poet finds passion. You can find more of these posts, here: Your Voice.
I’ve suffered from severe anxiety and depression since the age of 20. I tried again and again with many approaches to fight back against mental illness: therapy and exercise; cognitive behavioural therapy; medication; trying to be more open with the people closest to me. All of these things helped in different ways but they didn’t completely fix me.
Towards the end of my 20s I couldn’t cope. On numerous occasions I fantasised about taking my own life. I was in a lot of pain but it was a pain that nobody else could see, so it didn’t feel justifiable to me. It didn’t feel like it should have been there.
In my darkest time, I made a decision that I had one last thing to try – and that was to stop hiding. I couldn’t keep up this double life, portraying happiness to everybody. It started with a poem. I found that putting my thoughts and feelings into poetry somehow made them easier to say.
When I’d written poetry previously, I didn’t feel that I could share it as it was still too exposing for me, but this time, as a last attempt, I did something terrifying that later turned out to be absolutely necessary for me. I filmed myself performing the poem and posted it online.
The response I got turned out to be life-changing. It transformed how I saw everything that was happening to me because for the first time I was showing that I wasn’t afraid to talk about it. That was the biggest step I’d taken.