‘Voicing Shadow, Singing Light’ is a blog series designed to tear down barriers of silence that perpetuate suffering from mental illness and deadly last resorts. In August I put a call out on Facebook and Twitter requesting poems that articulate some aspect of mental illness – whether as sufferer, survivor, carer or friend. The response has been overwhelming – hundreds of poems flooded into my inbox over a short period, compelling me to rethink my original plan of a two-part blog series into something larger. Over the next week I will post one blog each day featuring some of the finest poems I have ever read about mental illness. I hope you enjoy them, and pass them on as you see fit. At the bottom of each post is a number of links to the Mental Health Foundation and the World Health Organization’s online resources for Mental Health. Should you wish to begin speaking out right now, there is an opportunity to leave your own responses in the comments box below.
The poems below speak to experiences of isolation, treatment, caring, and recovery. They constitute the very final part of the Voicing Shadow, Singing Light blog series – however, I have decided to publish an anthology. In due course I’ll put another call out for submissions online, but if you’re reading it here, do please get in touch if you’d like to submit.
Meantime, please continue to share these blogs with others who may feel inspired, edified or consoled by reading them. I have received an astonishing number of emails over the last week from people who have found comfort and recognition in these pieces. It is World Mental Health Day on 10th October, and I am very much hoping we can begin to speak out about this form of illness and look the demon in the eye without shame or fear. We can voice it, and we can sing of the light. There is a recovery.
RESOURCES FOR MENTAL HEALTH:
WHO Mental Health
Dealing with depression
Depression support groups
What is mindfulness?
Mental Health Foundation
Apps for mindfulness
Rhys Bevan Jones is the artist of the images used in this blog. My warmest thanks to Rhys for allowing me to use them.