Photo Story Friday: City Poems

Warning: the following story and poems may trigger people who have had experiences with mental illness. I don’t mean to scare or shame these people. I want everyone to know that it is okay to let people in and seek help if you are struggling. In this story, Jane’s mom makes a smart decision. She does not rush into making an rash decisions concerning her daughter. The poems she found were disturbing to her but they were not suicide notes – simply outlets for Jane’s anxiety (a healthy option for dealing with mental illness). Read on and know that if you struggle or know someone who is struggling, your feelings are valid and so are you. You are not alone.

As the sky turned to black and the air cooled, Jane couldn’t sleep. The sound of cars racing below her 15th floor apartment in downtown Chicago loudly echoed. The blaring sirens, honking horns, and screeches of car wheels on pavement usually lulled Jane to sleep, but for a little over a year now, these city sounds became the anthems of her sleepless nights. The clock rolled around each hour: one, two, three, four o’clock. When her eyes were closed, her entire body shook with anxiety – panic of the next day. There was no controlling it.

Fear sped through her every nerve, stirring up her imagination. Words of terror swirled around her mind, generating sentences, forming stanzas. Poetry. Her intense thoughts were adding up, creating weight; too much to bare. Jane needed to release her agony into something she could see, proof of what she believed was her insanity. Reaching over to her black stained nightstand, Jane jiggled the jammed drawer that had been broken for well over five years and she hopelessly felt around for her journal and a pen. Then as she realized that there was a perfectly good lamp sitting on this same stand she was rummaging through, the light was flicked on and her paper and pens were easily found.

Jane scribbled out the stanzas that were held captive in her mind. Silent, salty tears streamed down the side of the Jane’s face as she completed the two separate poems; each one displaying the condition of her hurting heart and mind. Lifting her hand from the paper, with a sigh of relief she was able to fall asleep. The fear of the day to come had passed and she was able to shut her eyes and drift off to sleep. Jane now had a way to fight off her panic and channel her energy into something tangible. The only thing she hoped for was that no one would find what she had written or discover what she was hiding.

The next morning when Jane’s mom, Lissa, was wandering through the house to gather up the laundry. She walked into her daughters room and saw that Jane had left pieces of paper out on the nightstand. Lissa wasn’t normally the kind of mom to snoop through her daughter’s personal life or writing but something about the rushed scribbles and the way the paper was so crinkled was intriguing to her. Lifting the collection of notebook papers from the nightstand, Lissa stood, leaning on the bedside, one hand on her hip and the other holding the papers tightly, she began to read. She was astonished at what she read and didn’t know what the best course of action would be for this type of situation. Jane would be home in a few hours from school and maybe she would attempt to talk to her then. For the time being she left the papers alone but accidentally let them fall to the floor as she quickly turned and walked out of the room, completely forgetting to grab Jane’s laundry basket, which was her initial object of interest.

The poems that Jane wrote went like this:

Title: Stop Everything

I want the world to stop spinning

I want my heart to stop beating

I want the pain in my chest to subside

I hate the breath

in and out of my lungs

I hate my instincts

They have told me a lie

My prayers are answered

With a slap in the face

A simple “no” would be fine

I go to sleep angry

Wake up angrier

Picking up your heart is hard

When it’s been trampled

Pieces everywhere

shattered across the ground

A broken vase – no more beauty

No way to step over the painful shards

I hear a voice

“You’re not really loved”

I don’t know whether to believe it,

This voice inside of me

Pounding in my head

Pounding on my heart

The rhythm keeps me awake at night

Staying positive

Is now impossible

I don’t want a pause

I need to stop everything

Title: Spiral


Going around and around

With no stop in sight

Right when I think the spin will stop

I realize I’m wrong and the dizziness I feel is not simply yesterday’s leftover moments,

It comes from my current descending spiral

I look around, vision blurred with rage, looking for something to calm me down

There is nothing

If I had anything I wouldn’t want to start again now, and not here

After doing what I thought was impossible for only a day

I’m left drained

Left to believe there is no energy to even begin a spiral

Again I am wrong

My mind plays tricks on me

As soon as I am comfortable

I am thrown outside the walls of my personal barricade and straight into the line of fire of my emotions

I am shot by the fastest bullets, millions at a time with no delay and at increasing speeds

Why do you not hear me God?

I pray for you to take away this aggressive pain

A pain that makes me sick when I think about it

Fearful when I try to act on it

And regretful for having it in the first place

You have given me moments of hope, through music, worship

When you seemed so close

Those moments fade as quickly as this poem will

But as I reach out to touch you, to know that you are going to protect me

My hand glides through the air, grasping nothing,

I blink twice and what I think I see turns to dust

I seem to be constantly spiraling

I try to escape and there’s no way out

I distract myself for a tick of the clock, thinking it has past

I become lost in myself until the spiral picks me up again and throws me into familiar territory that terrorizes every inch of my being

I want to retreat

But to who? And where?

The person who can calm me is the one who brings me so much grief

I’m done. Done. I need to be done spiraling.

Published by alliemilot

Student, Artist, Musician, Writer

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