Poems about Mental Health

Warning: these poems may tackle difficult or distressing topics.

They say “breathe”,
As if it’s easy.

“Breathe easy,
I’m wheezy.
Brain queasy.
Thought acrobatics swizzle trapeze-y.
It’s not easy,
being easy on yourself.
Rummage thought-shelf.
“Just think self.”

I swim deep in the aquarium of mind.
Mermaid tail swooshes thoughts
into their suffocating tanks.
Thanks, a lot.
Mind-stomach drop.
Tail flop.

Why –
The moment I close my eyes,
do I see my life’s demise?
Like computer code spelling out lies in lines, and
crimes prime inside eyelids batting out of control.

Am I in control of my own home?
Finger to bone.
Seek phone.
Is sanctuary real
or mind’s attraction?
Is sanctuary peace
or torture retreat?

Heart beat self up.

Forgive me,
Though I cannot forgive myself.
You say “breathe”
And I say

CW: graphic self-harm

Despairing at the voices bouncing off walls and back to pierce my ears,
Like trumpeting Angels, Vibrational pipes,
I swear I could hear a spider crawl across the carpet,
A conveyor belt of noise and phrases on repeat,
Anguish and fire,
A harpooned mind caught in nets enraged,
Of provoking horrendous tongues,
I find refuge in the sharp steel blades,
Sawing motions back and forth,
Trying to numb the pain,
Yet I can’t stand the metallic red paint dripping,
The tightening of skin like wringing out a wet towel,
Squeezing my soul out,
Evil laughter permeates the room,
The blade is too dull to end the noise,
I turn to the pretty pink match heads,
Striking out at fire, sizzling onto fresh pale skin,
Skin scrunching in the tightest fist,
Smouldering brown circles, making craters,
Each crater a symbol of fleeting silence,
The relief is immense if only for seconds,
I find refuge from the constant whispers,
Grouping together willing me to end my life,
I strike another match and watch the pink,
Burst into orange sparks and fires,
Fires of freedom from the evil worms burrowing into my mind,
Maggots with teeth gnawing all too eagerly,
I make more circles on my skin,
It’s not a choreographed dance,
More of a stamping and sizzle,
The sizzle is now my refuge,
If the teething maggots were real,
I’d burn every single one,
I stopped striking matches at the sight of feet,
I look up to my sister’s eyes bewildered and wild,
She takes the matches away and calls for help,
A different kind of refuge finds me now.

The grey sky shrinking in on me.
On me. Around me. Enveloping me.
Driving me in.

Gravity increasing down on me.
Forcing me. Shaping me. Crushing me.
Dragging me down.

Fear all-encompassing me.
No hoping me. Despairing me. Failing me.
Calling my name.

I sit
And look

I cannot go.

I am lost.
No way out.

These four walls
This phone
This space

This time
Expanding to infinity
Leaving me for dead

For now
I exist
Only in my head.

How can I find refuge from myself
when my mind whips up the storms
that clatter through my bones,
make my skin shake?
Where will I find calm?
Whenever I look to myself I see
the plum pink bruises of battered words
tapped out on screaming screens
that scratch the soul’s invisible surface.
I cannot disconnect.
And the doubts grow stronger in the evening
cast shadows like crawling ink spots,
rise like damp up unsuspecting walls
make a home there.
I must find space in the quiet of my heart
seek thimbles of light
curl up into a cat shaped ball,
cup my hands to my ears
drown out the noise
and listen, carefully,
for the waves of my own tranquillity. 

Stress hailed,

Into the darkest sea,
Pain is all there can be,
Nothing can ever be set free,
No matter the bribe or the plea,

No way to swim up,
Nothing to heal the mind deep cut,
Profoundly unfound and forever stuck,
Suspended as if thunder struck,

Crazed in mind,
No hope to find,
Frozen in place,
Death beaten
Me in the race,

Shadow shifts swiftly,
Dooms danger dangling,
Hidden hate harboured,
Flooding fiercely free,

The fire of life fleeting,
Deaths kiss heating,
The minds cage summoned,
No escape within reach,

My icy pool breached,
Stability now beseeched,
Suddenly standing bolder,
Their hand on my shoulder,

There touch a saving grace,
My heart reaching natural pace,
My demons demand refused,
Back in the solace of reality’s refuge,

I’ve been in emotional pain today
brought on by exhaustion & challenges
triggering deep held wounds in me
in my soma, like a hellish awake coma

A visceral feeling translated into words appears, feeling like:
falling in a never-ending black pit


which could go on for many years
with sharp knives stabbing at me as I fall

all alone, swirling down


Crying for help but there’s nobody there
To hear my call, nobody is coming

All alone

not wanted, a burden

Falling or should I be running?

Shamed, ridiculed, judged, no one cares, it’s my fault
it’s my responsibility, I have to find a way

But my mind is scrambled, I’m drowning
exhausted, I can’t find a way out

Beliefs say: I can never get it right, I’m a bad girl
I’m alone & nobody wants me

falling in pain, wanting to die

But sometimes when I open my eyes & look around

or there’s something “normal” that happens

my tear-stained eyes & my tear stained cheeks

see that there may be some light
around this space, this pit & around me

There may be some safety
(Just maybe?).

Childbearing has delivered a mania,
incoherent and excited, un-me,
my babe snatched by fey folk
when lunar made lunatic.

My poor husband is sorely tried,
my mother, lost to the workhouse.
I know only a childish notion of her.
My mother is another mother-employer.

Cries stutter from my unsound mind,
they claim, to trouble
neighbours on the street,
Mrs Holmes witness to my wild hands.

Paisley mill looms pound all night,
through the villa’s mock asylum.
I plant forget me not during garden ration.
My sewing fills hours, days.

CW: suicide

Most days I feel suicidal
I try tuck it away
Like a hotel bible
Hoping someone will steal it
So I don’t have to feel it
I can’t even tell why
It’s just this overwhelming feeling
Of wanting to die
It’s like my heart’s bleeding
I can’t fuckin live this
Society’s norms are harsh
I need a loving kiss
My life’s a fuckin farce
I’m about to crash
There’ll be no coming back
All my hopes are a dash
I’m sick of all the flack
Finger tips are raw
From scraping myself off the floor
Tryna hold down the law
Just can’t face going out that door
Put on a smile
Fake it till you feel it
That’s the style
Play along with the head games
You need to survive
Perfect pose for the photo frames
Shit is this being alive?

Where are all the friends?
Where are the family?
My heart always lends
With no return remedy
I’ll fight another day
Get on with this daily grind
Pretend I’m the sunshine ray
Staying strong with my self-love you’ll find.

Most nights
I’m edgy, alone,
hands and feet
a nervous blur.

It’s unreasonable to
expect limbs
to be calm, when
the heart is crashing,
the belly a roundabout,
the world at full tilt.

In this restless state
I stare south, hope
you are looking north.
Hope that the Earth’s
delicate curvature
is refracting our existence,
calming our unease,
offering anchorage.