Poetry Submission on Topic: Mental Health Stigma. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Mental Health Poetry Contest 2022.

Kaleidoscope of the Mind

By Apara Mahal Sylvester

I’m a multi-faceted kaleidoscope with many beams.

In my life I have accomplished countless goals and dreams.

I have been a world traveler and a teacher, just to name a few.

In China, Germany and India I have seen the early morning dew.

I am a published author, photographer and freelance writer.

In all honesty, my life couldn’t be any brighter.

Yet, my mind is far from the norm.

You see, I have weathered many a mental storm.

I have Bipolar Mania to a certain degree. 

Although, I have never let Mania define me.

I am not ashamed that I have a treatable illness. 

Medication helps my mind to achieve stillness.

I was diagnosed later in life when I was in my prime.

I have even been in a mental hospital more than one time.

Taking medication fights Manic episodes with all it’s might.

There is no shame in taking helping pills at night.

I am a human being, just like you, with strengths and flaws.

To mislabel what I have does not help my cause.

I am NOT “mental”, a “mental case” or even “Insane”.

I have a treatable disorder of the mind to which ostracizing brings pain.

I am sunshine, confidence, faith and humbleness.

I am NOT some “frenzied” or “crazy” mess.

I strive to be an inspiration to others with my words.

What I say is NOT “strictly for the birds”.

Respect my mental illness which countless others possess.

My wish is for you to educate and understand, judge less.

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