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.
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