Spring Street students share their thoughts on mental illness
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, celebrated in the United States in May since 1949, a group of students from Spring Street International submitted the following pieces of creative writing.
by Alex van Dongen
There is a lot to see in a mirror.
There’s every little bit of your physique on a flat board, a reminder that people can see you.
You’re not invisible and you don’t know if that’s comfort or the worst thing you’ve ever heard.
You spin in the refracting waves, pinching your arms and belly.
You look like a Greek statue, you say, but that beautiful thought has become an empty mantra.
So you steal someone else’s hoodie;
now it’s not your fault you look like that, it’s someone else’s clothes.
So you wear the most formal outfit you can get away with;
now no one can look beyond your corduroy trousers and your embroidered shirt.
So you’re wearing oversized jeans and a hoodie and a flannel because you need to hide, you need to be invisible, but you’re overheated and absolutely nothing is right.
There are days that go well.
You look good and your shoes aren’t too tight.
And there are days when you tell your friends you’ll just eat later, you’re not very hungry tonight.
You associate bread with guilt, and the feeling of a fork touching your teeth makes you sick.
There’s no real rhyme or reason, but when the blonde-haired nurse weighs you down and your mom raises her left eyebrow, you know it’s not going to be a good week.
by Liliana Meckling
you can’t see past my kindness.
you don’t see my blue, calloused hands tired of writing emotional baggage in hundreds of notebooks.
you don’t see my eyes, they are dull now. they were once filled with bright greens and blues from a children’s storybook.
you don’t see my once full pink lips that are now crusted over and thin, just wishing to be kissed by only hers.
you can’t see my stomach, my ribs are visible now and he can’t remember the taste of anything but cucumber and grapefruit.
you don’t see my bruised knees, constantly bumping into things that hold me down.
you don’t see my wrists, my veins darkened with scratches since I felt nothing but helplessness.
you don’t see my blistered feet, still pacing around, making sure everyone is okay.
you only see my kindness.
you say now it’s my turn. you tell me that now you will fix my hands, give me chamomile tea to help me sleep and my dull eyes will come back to life. you will kiss my lips with a soft balm until they return to their original smooth pale pink.
you give me strawberry cheesecake, tomato soup and grilled cheese to remind my stomach how it feels to be full again.
that you will cut my nails so that my wrists no longer have to bear their wrath.
you will freeze my knees until the purple stains disappear and the warm ivory color of my skin returns.
you’ll bandage my bleeding blistered feet, then you’ll finally lie down with me and hold me until my mind heals.
and for that I owe you my whole healthy existence and I see
every bit more of your kindness like
you do mine.
by Seamus Summers
The candles flicker, the smoke rises, your heart jumps in circles and spirals.
The call sound calling your name asking a danger question at the end of the sentence.
Time is still and motionless.
Instantaneous! The world is back is not a video game.
Pencils fall, hands freeze, footsteps synchronize with your heartbeat.
The red yellow orange glow overflowing your eyes, your mind caught in a deadly flashback.
So vivid so real you can still feel the stones on your feet.
Locked in these repeated steps and breaths, your mind is a mist clouded by the fire.
Distracted and blurred the unwoven lines of concentration.
So you run away from that sound away from that spark away from that orange yellow light.
You keep running as far as the eye can see your only thought is: can you keep it like the people on TV?
The thing is, when you finally come back, it doesn’t get any easier to hear a Burn match.
Your mind focused on the eyes, the beat returns,
The next snap is coming
Nobody knows what’s wrong
The pull is gone
As the footsteps return.