hospital flowers

This poem was born out of my complete frustration with the way mental health issues are dealt with, by friends, family and professionals. Bizarrely, or maybe not, i really enjoyed coming out of hospital after my appendix burst – i received cards and well-wishes, and i was cared for and looked after. I felt like it was making up for the previous 7 years of my life where i had no sympathy at all for my severe issues with mental illness. It might be twisted, but it makes sense to me.

break my leg and bring me flowers
let me be hit by a train
or car
not for the want of death
just pain
or diagnosed with some strange malady
or whatever will provoke your sympathy

take me to hospital and bring me cards
let there be
wounds on my body
casts on my limbs
hurt in my eyes
and pain when i breathe
and you will know my suffering when you see my scars

where is the proof of my sickness?
no marks are left by ocd
depression causes no limp
anxiety no wounds that you may see
or may grace with all your empathy

ocd leaves no marks unless
you class the skin worn
from my hands and wrists
from scrubbing with green scourers
and anti-septics

or the crack in my jaw
from grinding my teeth 49 repetitions at a time

depression doesn’t give me a limp
other than that when i attempt to
pull my unmade self from unmade sheets
to stagger downstairs
to try to eat
and it certainly leaves no marks
other than those you’ll find on my legs
and my arms

anxiety causes no open wounds
unless you see me shaking
in a crowded room
eyes frantic
hands clammy
and searching for you

“you’re faking it”
“there’s nothing wrong with you”
“snap out of it”
would you say the same had i’d a
bump on my head?

are the only sicknesses worth your sympathy those that leave scars?
if so,
then break my legs
take me to hospital
bring me hospital flowers and hospital cards.

2 thoughts on “hospital flowers

  1. Great poem. People don’t understand mental illness. There is so much stigma and misunderstanding and it hurts the people who suffer from it the most. I think people don’t know how to react to someone they can’t cheer up with flowers. I think sympathy and compassion and patience is more important than flowers when it comes to supporting someone with mental illness… so they can take their flowers and stuff ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your comment 🙂 You’re right – flowers won’t make it all better. But it sure would be nice to know that at least a mental illness garnered the same emotional support from our friends and family as a physical illness does.

    Like

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