In honour of World Mental Health Day, we urge you to take a minute of action in whatever way makes the most sense to you. We’ve pulled together a few poems that serve as a gentle reminder to spread awareness, show love, and above all—remind us that we are not alone. Assume all trigger warnings.
‘FIXING THINGS’ by VIMAL SANGAM
Katie Edwards/Getty Images
in my home, we never repair things the flickering light bulbs, the bathroom tiles, the squeaky doors in my home, we believe that nothing is really broken as long as it is functional, that ceramic coffee mug chipped right where Pa’s lips touch still finds it’s place in the glass cabinet with Ma’s most prized crockery, how the light switch has five dusty brown duct tapes stuck against the edges making a sad scratch every time we press it, you see there is a jigsaw puzzle lying in our attic with half of the pieces lost but we still keep it because some day we’ll put it together and now all of my edges are frayed in trying to put this family together, I don’t fit anywhere, anymore
in my home, we have the creaking cupboards, the torn bedsheets, that jar whose lid just won’t fit right our photo frame hanging on a loose nail, the stains on the carpet, the toaster that half burns every goddamn slice of bread, my parents’ marriage, all of it running on a belief that it’s okay as long as no one sees it the cracks on the floor or the ones in their relationship the spoilt milk in the refrigerator breeding lovelessness as their tongues wage day and night like clanking of the utensils in the kitchen sink
in my home, we never mend things until they’re dragged to give up and today as I’m twenty two, tired of being the duct tape in the brokenness of this house, tired of regretting a childhood spent in darkness because they were too busy haggling about who’d switch the light on I realise it is me who needs fixing now so instead, when the guests arrive we shove the broken plates to the back throw Oriental rugs over the walls flaking off, make love the harbinger of dysfunctional bonds and hide our torn selves behind a glorious smile that switches the light on and laughs when they look at the family photo and say- ‘oh what a happy picture!’
‘Another reason to go on living’ by Swati barik
My mother asks me why do I Give my poems names Like wheelchair, a crutch, an inhaler A one bedroom beating heart Why can’t i call them something prettier, softer, less sick and more alive or simple literary devices that carry my sad around when it gets bored inside It’s home, or when restlessness locks itself out of my mind, It doesn’t happen often But it happens. What she means to ask But is too afraid to is Can you not put yourself on display like that? You’re drawing the wrong crowd. Most of the days i sneer at them, The questions i mean. Or the crowd ( depends on what day it is) A girl gone feral is a girl alone But today is a question mark Shaped freckle resting in the crook of my arm with the IV needle And time is throwing rocks at my window, so before the tapping stops Let me tell you that this poem right here, is a gas mask A tiny piece of tech miracle A small rebellion against death’s tyranny, This poem will make paper swans out of your discarded suicide notes and teach them how to fly so that your friends can find you on time, This poem thinks you’re beautiful Even on the days you don’t wash your hair or shower because inside the blanket is a dark you feel safe in, This poem will say i love you back Exactly seventy three times and will not be afraid to hold your hand in dimly lit parking lots, This poem will not cancel plans, This poems thinks love is coming, is just around the corner and is one call away. This poem will dial the number. This poem will help you on the days medicine will fall short, On the days you’re the only person In your one bedroom beating heart And the walls start to close in on you This poem will be there to paint the cabinets yellow, it’ll let the sunshine in, This poem will kiss you behind the ear and rub that spot on your back you can’t quite reach when you’re nauseous This poem will love you, unconditionally. Here mom, If it still doesn’t sound pretty Think of it like like this This poem is just Another reason to go on living In a long list of reasons For one more day at least.
‘INCOMMUNICADO’ by ARITRI SHAH
“Talk to someone” Seems like a hollow sticker Pasted on too many walls For a mind That’s calling ‘May Day’ How many bodies In the river Does it take To notice We’re not built of the steel we claim? How many autopsies Till our minds are cut open To the possibility of feeling? How long should someone be asphyxiated For us to know That they’d been choking All along? Your concerned friend Swallows the lies you laid out for breakfast. An “I’m fine” with a dash of smile Dressed in the apology For your existence. The ‘someone’ you’re supposed to talk to Doesn’t seem to understand Why the weight of the world Seems to descend upon your chest. Apathy Sits cross-legged across you And pleads you to tell her What plagues your mind. And just when you begin mouthing a river The sea of judgements Engulfs you. Now your lungs are blue from advice And rock bottom Seems like a cozy bed Where drowning is a lullaby You sing To the bases of the icebergs. If at all sunbeams kiss water, Your shipwrecks learn to walk in daylight But the nights The nights are for sinking.
‘GRIEVING MILLENNIALS’ by smita singh
Credit: AMBar Del Moral / Mashable
we teenagers paperclip our sadness onto the art wall and like to call it an abandoned masterpiece. our language and estrangement is a newlywed couple who was forced into a marriage of collateral damage by abuse. they say if we visit a therapist, we’d violate the community guidelines of our mother tongue, which only knows one sentence—”log kya kahenge, beta” and it’s ironical how the ‘society’s voice’ [lullaby sung against human mercy] shapeshifts into our own parents’ so we pretend to eat communalism, fascism, homophobia, bullying, rape and everything inhuman and bury down questions like “maa, aren’t ‘we’ the society?” beneath our condensating foot soles.
we teenagers are scared and furious poets cursed to exist without metaphors—we compare our mother’s lap with a mournful ocean bed and pray to a faceless god to drown in its inexistence. our knees shudder like collapsing cosmopolitan cities due to pandemics with every “are you okay?” question so we say, “yes, we are” and do not tell them about how these days, our laughter sounds like ambulance sirens carrying foreseen death news and how we post aesthetic ig stories of the sunlit sky while gulping frozen sunrise in the darkest corner of our room.
we are young and they tell us that we are easy to be molded into our dreamlike beliefs so we name our lover’s skin, a Vrindavan street aftermath of Janmashtmi celebration—ruined yet serene and ourselves, a Banaras ghat where the dead resides reeking of unholy explosions. this is ‘love’ for us—romanticizing polaroids of melting sandcastles until the other person leaves us for wombing too much emptiness.
every time we reach our birthday, we cut cakes with our weapon-like shoulder blades and manage to speak “thank you” to “God bless you” wishes from our violence-dripping throats. on most days, self-love for us, feels like a stranger wounding our fleshyard that looks a lot like assault. at nights, our body defragments into pieces we try to fix in the most ‘acceptable’ way—by denying that we are broken. we wonder and worry about falling skyscrapers while there is a whole hometown within us waiting to be visited.
#World Mental Health Day , 2021
Some of the most common mental health conditions, depression and anxiety, can be treated with talking therapies, medication, or a combination of these.
Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favorite projects, or broaden your horizons. Do a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.
Try meditating, Mindfulness and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your mental health, state of mind and outlook on life.
Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road-trip, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant.
Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. And it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.