This happened long ago and far away, but the memory still stings. Mental health consumers, take note. Amy

Dark Place In An Old-Time Church

Once upon a time, I, Sunday School teacher and wife of the preacher
asked for prayers for my falling, frail state of
misdiagnosed psychiatric overdose.
What a head-first dive into the greasy gruel of the gossip pool.

Mental illness was whispered there with vague disgust.
These were tough folks, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”
Could spare no time for a mental lapse
Manic = panic = Someone Else’s Family

Treat diabetes with insulin
No reason my skin should’ve been thought thin
Imbalance of a chemical nature, a different nomenclature
My bootstraps are still pharmaceutical

Incidental mental quirks, deep emotion runs
through my family like Drano through pipes
creative, self-deprecating, frustrating, flustered
mermaids – hilarious but precariously perched on the rocks

It was no a sin, this place I was in,
and not theirs to judge,
for as they whispered uneducated superstitions behind me back,
they were also mocking Jesus’ message of love

I sing praise to the God who has seen me at my lowest and pulled me higher.
While I was wrapped in darkness
God lit the fire, showed me the light, and
got me from uptight to upright

They stared as I took my fall;
I scared them all, even as I forgave them in my heart.
Upright eventually, but when would I fall again?
And then – when would I mend?

© 2011 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Also posted at my poetic home, Poets United.