Voices: “Battle Fatigue”

Here we are in the third week of the “Voices” series honoring Mental Health Month. This fifth poem is about a feeling I think many of those with mental illness can relate to. Sometimes when you’re waiting for something to happen with your treatment- the chance to go to inpatient hospitalization, for instance, or for a new medication to begin working, or for your insurance to approve a new therapy- you sit there and you’re just barely hanging on. It’s an excruciating feeling, being miserable, wondering if you’re going to feel better anytime soon, not knowing what’s going to happen or if what you’re trying is going to help. It’s frustrating and it’s not like you were full of hope to begin with. This poem is about that lag time between now and “better”- whatever that means for you.


Battle Fatigue

Oh my God, the exhaustion

I can’t tolerate this for much longer

I’m wearing down to my limit

When right now I need to be stronger

It’s so hard to hang on through this time

I’m just here by the skin of my teeth

I feel Death’s presence with such a force

With Life buried so far beneath

How can I feel so alone

When deep down I know that I’m not?

Why can’t I take in this love,

This warmth, and this requiescat?

When will I finally feel worthy?

Will there be an end to this grief?

Will I soon find a place I can heal?

Will I finally find some relief?

I know that there’s hope in the future

But right now I’m blinded by pain

I cannot see through my depression,

My rage at the stress and the strain

That’s been unduly placed upon me

By my family and my disease

I’m struggling for some way to cope

I’m turning to God to say Please


Just let me push through my doubt

Strengthen my faith against fear

For if I become dead set on dying

Then I won’t have the strength to stay here

© Sarah Henderson 2006


About writingforrecovery

Sarah is a writer and poet who speaks out about issues that make people uncomfortable. Sarah advocates for causes such a sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and mental illness, and often speaks openly about her own experiences. She is determined to abolish the stigma associated with these issues and believes that it starts with people telling their stories, so she started a blog called Writing for Recovery where people can do just that. She is the author of three volumes of poetry and is currently at work on her fourth. She is convinced that there's a novel somewhere in her, and occasionally picks at the chapters so far. View all posts by writingforrecovery

2 responses to “Voices: “Battle Fatigue”

  • Leslie Robin Neshama

    Thanks, Sarah. Another good poem, sadly, of anguish, and distrust, of inertia. I recently realized that, for me, the Cure is in Communicating. With words, with my Voice: it all adds up to Living for me. If I can communicate, than perhaps I *can* live…..
    Bless you, Sarah, and keep telling us your Voyage….You, We, are not alone……

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