Three Poems that helped me in Tough Times (attention might trigger) & Love Is In Da Blog prompt 24

Yesterday I wrote about the fact that we all deal with mental health problems in general and depression in particular in our very unique way. For me, writing and poetry was one tool, that helped me cope with the overwhelming power of my emotions.

I was wondering about my affinity to poetry

I was always wondering why I had such an affinity for poetry. My family was reading a lot but I am not aware that they had an interest in poetry particularly. However, my mum raised me with lots of children’s songs and little verses, that German mums taught their kids in those days. And now that I think of it, my grandmother was very fond of poetry and often recited classic poems she knew. And I did love a poem we read in school when I was very young.

Maybe that was the reason, that, a couple of years after my mum passed away, I suddenly felt the urge to write a poem. I knew a little from school on how to write poetry but I did not think about it. I just wrote it. It was such an experience to create something positive and beautiful. It was a very personal experience and I never thought of sharing it with anybody.

Writing poetry in good and dark times

Ever since I have written poetry especially in the dark times of my soul. There is something about poetic and mythological or spiritual imagery that speaks to me of the light and hope that is still out there just for me to reach out to. Since last year I have made it my habit to write a poem every day. I do not publish many of them as they are more an exercise to keep my poetic soul active than something to be published. However, they are also a well of inspiration.

Sharing three poems that helped me in dark times

So today I will share with you three of my favourite poems and write a little about how they came to be and what they mean to me. They are

  1. The Wild One
  2. No Words
  3. Hope

Poem One: The Wild one

I am a huge fan of Clarissa Pinkola-Este’s book “Women who run with the wolves” that combines the power of fairy tales with psychological healing. One symbol she speaks of is “the Wild Woman” a part of every woman where we keep connected to the wilderness our species comes from and where creativity, power and procreation lives.

I have come to see my mental health problems not only as a psychological problem but also a sign that something is not right in my life. That I am not following my calling whatever that might be. These are the times when the wild one is calling me to look inside and make changes. Often I am not able to fully follow her call. But I guess that is a process and not something that happens at once.

So a couple of years ago I wrote the following poem:

The Wild One

when
the wild one
rises

thoughts shatter
and
emotions run
high

when
the wild one
rises

danger has come
and
protection is
CAPITAL

when
the wild one
rises

I am
gone
but
not forever!

“The Wild One” expresses fully how I feel when I fall down the acidic pool of darkness I spoke of in “How I am going to achieve more self-esteem”. It is like someone else is taking me over and I have no power over my actions anymore. There is danger everywhere and I can only wait until this passes too.

This experience is hard to explain to someone who has never lived with a mental health problem. And more often than not when people ask me what is wrong I don’t really have words for it. Which leads me to the next poem.

 

Poem two: No Words

I think that is one of the problems with mental health issues: They are highly personal and have to do with ancient parts in ourselves that just have no language. So explaining them with words is just not possible.

When I write poetry I don’t only try to express what can’t really be put into words I also try to give this experience of darkness a spin towards light and hope. The poem “No Words” does show that nicely.

No words

no words
can describe
that pain
crippling me

no words
can describe
that pain
harassing me

no words
can describe
that pain
waxing and waning

but it never goes away

waxing and waning
as I work
my way
through memories
so atrocious
I hacked them away
from my mind
but my body
doesn’t forget

doesn’t forget
his breath on my face
his soft words
asking me
“Do you like it?”

(Do I like him
jabbing my innocence away?)

doesn’t forget
his moustache
carefully giving my
lips agony

doesn’t forget
doesn’t forget

as my mind
desperately
tried to get away

get away from it
get away from it

but no way out of his
iron embrace
no way out
of this pain

waxing and waning
waxing and waning

no words
can describe
that crack
in my sanity

there are
no words
to describe
what you do
to survive

there are
no words
to describe
that hope
that kept me alive

that needlepoint light
at the end of
the immeasurable tunnel
that I clung to

that needlepoint light
gently growing
into a ray of sun
embracing me softly.

There are no words
to describe
a healed
heart!

Reading this poem now still makes me cry. As I cried when I wrote it. A lot. Someone once said something like: the darkest hour is the closest to when the light comes back!” and in my experience, these are rather wise words. So often when I felt I could not go on it suddenly turned around and I found a way out. That is what the next poem is about.

Poem three: Hope

I have written several poems that are called hope. This one was inspired by an artist I have listened to a couple of years ago. Her name is Gila Antara and she has made Native American inspired music. One of my favourites is and was “We are the Power”. It was a mantra of mine in a very difficult time and it gave me the power to move on and change. So I changed the words of the song

Gila Antara ~ “We Are The Power

We are the power in everyone
We are the dance of the moon and the sun
We are the hope that will never hide
We are the turning of the tide!

into an acrostic poem

 

HOPE
WE so alive
ARE healing from
THE wounds given
HOPE so alive
THAT dances and stands
WILL be strong and
NEVER fall or
HIDE
I know for sure that I am through the worst when I am able again to write about hope.

Writing and reading poetry as a tool for healing

Last year I was lucky to take part in a Future Learn course called “Literature and Mental Health”. The University of Warwick explored how reading novels and poetry can help to overcome or if that is not possible to bear a mental health problem. It showed for example cases where just a verse or a line of poem helped people suffering from a mental health problem through a crisis.

There is also a therapy form that works with poetry. Good Therapy writes about it: “Poetry therapy, a form of expressive arts therapy, involves the therapeutic use of poems, narratives, and other spoken or written media to promote well-being and healing. Therapists may use existing literature as part of treatment or encourage those in therapy to produce their own literary works to express deep-seated emotions. In either case, they offer a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere in which people in therapy are able to explore their written expressions and associated emotional responses. (ย GoodTherapy.org: Poetry Therapy).

I have never had the chance to try it out but I suspect that would be a form I could work well with because reading and writing poetry has always helped me to get through the dark times.

Do you have experience with poetry and mental health problems?

This post shared with you my experience of the healing power of writing poetry. How do you deal with life events, life challenges and bad mental health? Have you read or written poetry to get through? Please let us know.

Resources:

YouTube: Gila Antara ~ We are the Power

Clarissa Pinkola Estes ~ Women who run with the Wolves ~ Interview by Tom Park

FutureLearn: Literature and Mental Health

GoodTherapy.org: Poetry Therapy

 


 

ย This post takes part in “Love Is In Da Blog 2018” and answers the prompt “vulnerable” and the media challenge is poetry”.

 


Love Is In Da Blog 2018 prompt 24

 

Ah, only 4 prompts left until the end of the month. It has been quite a journey and I am grateful for all participants who have brought so much joy and creativity to this event.

So what’s on for day 24?
The prompt word is

Wild

and the media challenge is to incorporate a book.

To remind ourselves of the rules/suggestions:

โ€œLove Is In Da Blogโ€ Rules/suggestions

  1. Join in! No matter where, when and with what. You missed the first day or week? Donโ€™t worry. Just jump in when it suits you.
  2. Send us the link! Unfortunately, my blog is now self-hosted and the ping-back option does not always work. So please leave a link in the comments on the day of the prompt that you are writing to so we can all come and visit you.
  3. Tag your post either with โ€œLove Is In Da Blogโ€ or #LoIsInDaBl. You can also use these as hashtags for Twitter and other Social Networks to give your post more exposure.
  4. No matter which medium the prompt favours you create with them whatever you please, and whatever length you please (no pun intended ) as long as it is about โ€œLOVE.โ€
  5. If you like, use this picture for your readers to find the posts.ย LoveBlogprompt24

 


 

4 thoughts on “Three Poems that helped me in Tough Times (attention might trigger) & Love Is In Da Blog prompt 24

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