Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Tag Archives: Mental Disorders

Cacophony © 2015 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil (Click to enlarge, lots of detail)

My Wednesday night, up until 4 am, still fritterminded.  Shared with ABC Wednesday.  Miles to go before I sleep…or even shlep!  Amy

Erasure of Self
Amy Erasure 001
Like goosebumped skin
erasure sets in

Eyes closed to sun
Energy, none

The me people know,
the warm glow,

cedes to the smear
of what is now here

Go, thou dread curse
Take with you your hearse

Better days will come
If I (     )

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Artistic Expressions’ Margaret asked us to write to a sketch. This one I completed at the onset of my last depression. As always, I crawled out, just in time for Riley’s triumphant graduation! Peace, Amy


Virginia Deep

Bittersweet days and
sleepless nights

Days spent on park benches
regarding passersby
as butterflies
tethered to their lives
Wings pinned down by convention

Nights in her convent
the room of her own:
Smoke, coffee, tension
The quill stung with her blood
No control and again
voices voices voices

No rest, no cure
No choice, save the obvious
Stop the voices
Drown them
Condemn them to
watery oblivion

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Mama Zen gave us a challenge: Write about Virginia Woolf. I have not been posting much lately, but this was inspiring to the nth degree. Thanks, Mama, I knew you could raise me from my slumber! Peace, Amy


grabs me by my big toe
pulls me down slowslowslow
slithers me off the easy chair
through rug’s woolen sheepish hair

cannot fight this downward pass
eyes are foggy ruby glass
cried so long they’re swollen large
gremlindeep is now in charge

© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Depression does have a face, and not only the one you see in the mirror. It has claws and a gravity surpassing that of earth. Peace, Amy

Letter to Blanche

Dear Grandma Blanche,

I know it’s been a long time
since I have written
I was only seven
when you met heaven

But I want you to know
in case you’re not watching
that as I grew
I was more like you

Sure, crossword puzzles and
acrostics and such we share,
but playing by ear?
Piano, my dear!

That gift of gab we were
both born/cursed with
Talking to all
Talking to walls…

Yes, I got that, too
Manic depression, haunting
Sometimes “crazy,”
sometimes “lazy”

in the eyes of others, that is,
bound as they are by convention
They don’t see through
like we do

Thanks for teaching me manners,
That conversation with your hostess is never
better than your words
with servers of hors d’oeuvres

Thank you for the music knack
the restless spirit, the lifelong struggle
And if I learn it
Let me earn it

Love, Amer

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

dverse Poetry Pub wanted us to harken back to the age of writing letters. I’ve been writing more letters lately, if only to help the struggling post office. But writing a letter to someone dear who’s dead is a challenge.

I write about Blanche, my maternal grandmother, a lot. Gone for some 50 years, I still feel her presence in my life. She had that knack of talking to people where they were, no matter what race, gender orientation… she spoke truth to power and often ending up in a cruel sanitarium for doing so. She is my HERO. God rest your soul, Blanche. Love, Amy

This is also “in the margins” at my poetic lily pad, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads.

Living With It

I live with manic depression
My constant companion
Reflecting my moods,
flexible in social situations
Always ready for conversations

At night, as I lie in fetal position,
it spoons my spine
It dances in the rain with me; it’s
my partner trolling homeless venues

People say my brain ain’t right
I say, “Wrong”
I see things wide awake they
cannot conjure in dreams
Hear music of another world while
their ears are stuck in this one

Feel the breeze blowing
through my soul, sweet and
filled with love.

If all that’s wrong, well,
like the song says,
I don’t wanna be “right”

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

‘Bipolar’ sounds like you’re either up or down. It can be that way, but I prefer the term manic depression, rooted in depression with frequent upswings in energy when left untreated. Yet here I am, with proper treatment, claiming the best part – that “other-mindedness” of which I often write. I feel God has blessed me (God can be quirky), and I hope my gratitude is reflected in this poem. For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Open Link Monday.

Peace, Amy

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads presented me with a real challenge – a new form! Not my strong suit, but once I got going, I was on FIRE, baby! I’ve also placed this on the shelf of the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Process notes below.

She sings
for the lonely
whose martini glasses
teeter their moods to sighs of “then”
Choosing songs with good bones, timeless, misty
Watching hookups destined to fail
Witness to a rapt drunk
who cries; to whom
she sings

The blur
of is/is not
falls upon her lightly
winds around her soul so tightly
She seeks solace in the bitter bottle
Battles blues with burn of bourbon
Diff’rent bottle, the script
would help her beat
the blur

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

First, thematic: She Sings is from my days in piano bars, where I was the only performer. Some nights I found that the sights and emotions of my customers were more interesting than my music. The reference to “good bones” is, of course, from old houses in terms of reconstruction.

The Blur can be any sort of mental disorder, when the person chooses to self-medicate rather than follow the doctor’s plan. In this case, she has received her diagnosis, gotten her meds, and won’t “play along.” Most heavy drinkers I know don’t gave the insurance or don’t realize they need a psychiatrist; I’ve seen this lead to the worst ends possible, including several suicides… and my mother’s lifelong battle with booze.

AS TO THE FORM: A Rictameter is a “form with a shape.”  The syllable count is 2-4-6-8-10-8-6-4-2.

A bit of history from the Real Toads site: Created in the early 1990s by two cousins, Jason D. Wilkins and Richard W. Lunsford, Jr., for a poetry contest that was held as a weekly practice of their self-invented order, The Brotherhood of the Amarantos Mystery. The order was inspired by the Robin Williams movie Dead Poets Society.

UPDATE:  This was just reblogged by The Real Cie at The Cheese Whines.  Thanks, Cie!  Click the link
to check out more Cie-mantics!

No Blame, No Shame
(a different kind of coming out)

The LGBT tradition of admission
(sometimes to family derision)
is called, “Coming out of the Closet”

The closet, a cloister of treasures
like Jimmy’s high heels and
Ellen’s bow ties: Sanctuary

Once declared, closet is aired,
fairly cleared, faintly scented with
lavender or motor oil, and shame

Mental disorders, the discordance
of synapse each to the next, need
same mother/father confessions

Nowadays, they call it “coming out,”
but why steal a feeling so specific,
resulting in either terrific or horrific.

I call it, “NO BLAME, NO SHAME”
when I get around to telling confused
but Amy-supportive family, friends

Once, we were “possessed by demons,”
the spectre of exorcism (still practiced
by propagandist sects, ignorance exalted)

Later we were ruled by La Luna,
hence, Lunatics, Loony, Moon-tuned
with no room for self-love

Then we were Frankenshocked
thru electric sockets into submission
A rotisserie for the hotheaded

Now we are diagnosed, presupposed
unless war and gore have inflicted
all-too-visible, invisible wounds

No blame, no shame. Nobody can
tell us anymore that we are “less than”
To hell with stigma, guilt, and hiding

I’m simply seeking help to become
the most authentic Amy I can be,
more in control of the blogroll

No blame, no shame. Say it loud,
I have manic depression and PTSD,
but they don’t have me.

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Went to the Wisconsin State Conference of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Did you know NAMI started around a kitchen table, as some moms discussed their children’s problems and diagnoses? Once again, proof that I am in a good place. Geographically speaking. Peace, Amy