This poem was written by young ambassador, Aki, about her experience of being supported while dealing with complex mental health issues.
There was a time I believed, ‘No man is an island’
(except for me).
Said island floats in the depths of my mind,
It tethers me to the bed; I’m shackled and confined.
The world suffocates me, yet feels so far,
As its colours become muddied with tones of grey.
The warmth of the sun never quite reached me,
But laid, (metaphorically), around my skin.
Twelve long winters come and go,
(each colder and darker than one before)
as the treacherous waves erode my island away.
I mercilessly lose myself to the Rocky Bottom.
They say nothing is forever; mostly in the light of pain.
Though not the philosophy of a drowning man.
Drowning: a word to describe ones fighting to live.
Isn’t this reason for my island?
Like untamed beasts, memories,
Are never supressed how I want them to be.
I’m a frog in the well, as I circle my confinement,
Painting history on the walls so I can’t forget them.
A rare spring arrives, as you climb down to me.
I spot your rose-coloured glasses; I understand your world is beautiful.
“Go back,” I warn. “It’s deadly at night.”
Demons are meant to be out of sight.
Just like anyone, you’re scared of the unknown,
“But with the waves coming in, where else would I go?”
You take off your glasses to see the paintings on the walls,
The story that haunts me, follows you around the well.
You lifted the burdens, I held like Sisyphus,
Lifting the weight of a lifetime of emotional despairs.
You say my world is beautiful too.
For you saw the paintings as a part of me, (“Nothing of your story makes it ugly.”)
Compassion, empathy and vulnerability.
Black and white words; on paper, are all the same,
But such words in action are what kept me sane.
You point up to the sky and remind me there is light,
When the demons take turns to be unkind.
This, here, was the hardest fight.
Your love, a shield; my mind, the daggers
We head out to battle at the start of each day.
For the many times you ask, there’s nothing to say
But, one day, the walls of the well crumble.
The world paves forward to a view never seen,
We stand where colours bloom and the air smells of melted snow.
My tears, with my words, finally flow free,
As the ones streaming down your face keep them company.
“Memories are for the past, and not to be lived in.
The stories are not you and you are not an island.
Tomorrow will be better, just wait and see,
and if it isn’t, well, you have me.”
For more stories, writing and videos from young ambassadors, take a look at our 'Be kind to your mind' series.