Cerowyn Browne: My Journey

Cerowyn has written 3 beautiful poems about her journey through the highs and lows of living with mental health issues.

My Journey author

These three poems illustrate a journey I have been on with my mental health in the last few years. Although the journey is one of growth and recovery, as I hope these poems demonstrate, it is an ongoing process. I believe everyone is going through their own journey with their mental health, whether or not they have ever been clinically diagnosed (I have not). It is important to respect how far you have come, as looking back on the first two poems here has really shown me. Reading them made me feel both sad for my past self, and overwhelmingly grateful that she kept going, which is what prompted me to write the third. I also recognise however that there is always more I can learn, there will always be days I feel back at square one, and that is ok.

I wrote this first poem in the summer of 2018. I had just graduated university, during most of which I had been struggling with depression, even though I (and those close to me) did not realise it at first. I sent this poem in to flourish earlier this year, but anonymously as I was worried about “outing” myself in terms of how depressed I had been. Now however I feel ready to share it openly.

Another Morning

Another morning just waking up to a sense of dread
Mist fogs my view of the mirror
Who is she I see?

Heart is in a cage
No longer even trying to escape
Somehow that is even more terrifying
Is it possible she died?
No, the brain needs the heart to survive
I hope that holds true for me
That survival proves my heart is still alive

There are sometimes flickers of life
Voices in the white noise as I tune the radio of my life
An evening spent in hope
A jump into fresh water that feels like… fun

Sometimes though there is only white noise
The memory of hope makes despair even harder
I feel like a house sitter
This body is not mine
I do not care about its outcome
But I shall water its plants and I shall stop it burning down
Because one day the owner may come home

I wrote this second poem in early 2019. I had just had a big hit to my confidence which showed me how fragile the positive mental state, that I had worked so hard to create, was.

Falling again

The blow hits
Shock waves jolting to my core
Everything is fragmenting
Shards of my self just falling to the floor

Who knew such happiness,
Such hope, excitement, strength
Could so easily be torn away
So easily be wrenched
And leave me… wingless

Only one thing is different
Only one thing has changed
But it’s like someone’s turned down the dimmer switch
And I can no longer see how anything was ok

As I’m falling my heart screams
Don’t let me go back there again
I can’t bear to drown once more
In all that hopelessness and pain

I’m fighting, calling in the troops
I shall not go down easy
I grasp at the shadow of my happiness
And whisper, “please don’t leave me”

This last poem I wrote this December (2019). I have spent this year trying to lose the negative thought patterns and pointless expectations I had built up over years. I have given myself the space to breathe and to find the things which really feed my soul. There’s still times I take on too much, times I fall into self-doubt or compare myself harshly to others. But I have learnt a lot about how to look after myself, how to be strong, and when to let myself be weak.

She is alive

Another morning, just waking up to a sense of loss, of joy, of anger, of hope
Waking up to life
With a living heart
I can feel her blood flowing through my veins
There is a buzz right through to the marrow in my bones

There are still blows that hit
Shock waves jolting to my core
But everything doesn’t fragment
My self doesn’t shatter anymore

The mirror is less foggy
I still don’t know exactly who she is
But she is strong, she is clever, she is creative, she is kind
She is still working out most things
But she knows how to take care of her mind

My heart has come home
Filling each room with life again
And I’m so grateful for the house-sitter
Keeping going in all that hopelessness and pain
The plants she watered have grown so beautiful
And she stopped the house burning to the floor
Now I have a taste for living again
I am hungry for my future once more

The dark days aren’t gone
Sometimes I feel the doubts creeping in
I’ve jumped into a river
But I’ve forgotten how to swim
I hold my breath
I know that I will not drown
Something will save me
Something, somehow

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