I Was Once You

Unkempt and malodorous

dirt encrusted

orange, nicotine stained fingers

eyes meet on the sideways glance

judgments palpable

do I scare you?

Shielding your child

you scurry by

your words

puncture the frigid air

“don’t stare!”

My appearance

parallels ‘The Fisher King’

and, I too,

have a mad and magical story.

Once upon a time

I went unnoticed

harmonizing with society

until my mind

became hostage

to vague and nebulous thoughts

unnerving those around me.

You see –

I was once you.

A creator of dreams

a goal tender

and spiritual seeker


the happily ever after.

I used to

laugh and cry like you

live and die like you

and hang onto hope like you.

But now,

the thoughts and voices

I used to hear

are replaced by those

that are unclear.

Commanding – demanding,

cutting me down

I long for a place

that has no sound.

Where the walls don’t breathe

and I’m not alone

where uttered words

are my own.

Instead, I hunger

for a morsel of kindness

not apathy and hatred,

indifference or blindness.

While you fear that

which you don’t understand

know that it’s about

the cards in your hands.

I could be you

you could be me

separated only

by tragedy.

So before you judge

and look away

know that this

could be you one day.

Your safe house shattered

and all that matters

is the pitter-patter

of unclear thought

moving about

leaving you

to scream and shout

– I was once you! –

Deb Correia 2/21/2015 ©

I want the conversation of mental illness to be ongoing.  It seems the conversation is strong when a celebrity with mental illness commits suicide or a person with mental illness commits a violent crime.  There are many who struggle quietly with their illness daily – and they wish only to belong and not be stigmatized.

I recorded an audio version of this same poem – and am not sure how to link it to word press so I’ll give you the link for twitter – and hopefully that will work.

#np soundcloud.com/deb.correia/sounds-from-saturday-night?utm_souce_soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter

2 thoughts on “I Was Once You

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