A Published Poet Part Two

by | May 29, 2020 | Blog | 2 comments

Last year I entered a Mental Health Poetry competition with Make Our Rights Reality (MORR), my poem Did You Know made it in the top 25 and the prize was for my poem to be published in an anthology. The digital anthology has been released, the physical anthology will be out after the lockdown in the UK is lifted.

Did You Know is a poem I wrote about my darkest time a few years ago, when I was suffering with depression. It is a letter I wrote to let those around me know how deep in depression I was. Poetry for me has always helped me process my emotions. Many of these poems stay in a notebook or on my computer, as I once found them too personal to publish. But I saw this competition as an opportunity to make my voice heard amongst those who have suffered with mental health issues.

I am really pleased with this poem. I can look back on the words I wrote and be grateful that I no longer feel that way. But knowing that this anthology will be read by other young people who may be suffering with their mental health and my poem may make them feel less alone, makes me proud.

Did you know?
by Emma-Jane Barlow

Did you know that in my darkest moments,
I imagined a world without my heart beating and I smiled?
Every day, I wished for a way out, searching for salvation,
a path that would lead me towards the light.

Did you know that before I shared the positive picture that you liked,
I was drowning in desolation on the bathroom floor?
On the edge, pierced with panic in my chest, the walls crumbling around me.
Trapped, desperately watching my dense tears descend to the ground.
Alone, clock ticking, waiting for the storm to pass.

Did you know the immeasurable time I spent fighting with my own mind?
A damaged wasteland, a toxic atmosphere, somewhere you would never want to be.
The countless moments I spent revisiting old conversations.
Analysing every-spoken-word, every-emotion-felt.
Exhausted by the endless cycle of never-feeling-good-enough.

Did you know the infinite seconds, minutes, hours that I struggled to find silence?
Wanting just a fleeting moment of peace amidst the chaos of my unruly thoughts.
Every day, I dragged my legs through the mud until the sun set in the sky.
Sleeping, my only sanctuary, my only safe space away from the bleak.
In my dreams, I was free from the demons that held me hostage.

Did you know that despite the glimmer you saw in my eyes, inside my soul was breaking?
The mask I wore was due to the fear of being misunderstood by a disapproving world.
When it slipped, the eyes would stare, the voices would whisper, the fear returned.
No one recognised the hopelessness in my heart, the desire I felt to eliminate the darkness
that was growing inside me, once and for all.

Did you know that although I am walking on solid ground today,
I am waiting for it to dissolve, without warning, beneath my feet once more?
I see the light, I feel the light, I am the light. I can finally breathe without pain.
Yet I know that one day, when I’m not watching, my demons will return.

View the full anthology here: http://makeourrightsreality.org.uk/young-people-use-poetry-to-speak-out-about-mental-health/

Written by Emma-Jane Barlow

 Emma-Jane Barlow is a 30 year-old author, poet, writer and autism advocate from the UK. She has been writing poetry since the age of seven and finds comfort in writing about her life experiences. She has two published books and is currently working on a third.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Leigh Davis

    “Autism advocate.” Fight for a real cause instead of one making more WIMPS. You don’t have autism. 99% of the people saying they have autism don’t. You just like labels. You want all these labels because you think labels make you a more fulfilling person. You want all these labels because you want more and more sympathy for doing nothing. Oh I can’t do that, I’m autistic. Oh, pardon me for being a SKANKBITCHMORON, I’m Autistic. Love me and buy my book even if it is CRAP because I’m AUTISTIC. My hair looks like a BLUE RAT’S NEST but that is fine because I’m SO AUTISTIC.

    Reply
    • Emma-Jane Barlow

      Hello troll, how’s the weather in Iowa? I see you. I know where you live. I have your IP address. Please get some help with your mental health and stop projecting your unhappiness on the internet by attacking strangers.

      Sincerely an autistic person that is not offended by your comment at all and doesn’t believe in being hateful towards another human being for no reason.

      Reply

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