I'm 46, and I have a long history with schizophrenia. I also have a host of other side issues, like self-harm, bipolar, PTSD, anxiety, and anorexia that make my life extra fun. I write for The Mighty as a schizophrenia advocate, and I'm looking to branch out my voice into other arenas of other mental health issues that I am also familiar with. I'm not pretty, but I'm true. This is a performance submission. I hope my bad teeth and grimace don't scare you off, if it helps, close your eyes and listen.

**Please be mindful that this video may contain self harm triggers

Published on Apr 17, 2016

Haven
The Elephant Ears blow in a warm breeze contained in the high brick courtyard filled with sun and the shade of ancient oaks. A small, delicate wrought iron table is set in the center with chairs. I lead you to them and pour you a hot cafe au lait.

Put the cigarette down now.
No, don't put it out on your arm.
Its okay to cry now.
I promise you, it's safe to feel here.

Don't look at the blade like that.
It's not your enemy anymore.
The fight's been fought.
I tell you that it's safe to feel here.

You don't need to bleed
to let go of the pounds of pain.
Let me show you how I did it.
I promise you, it's safe to feel here.

I know you think the blood will
make you feel something tangible.
What I want to help you see is that
you are a whole big bundle of feelings.
They just haven't had a place to be.
But I promise you, it's safe to feel here.

It's okay to let feelings cascade over you.
It's safe to laugh,
safe to cry,
safe to scream,
safe to burst.
Just not to die,
not to bleed,
not to hurt,
not to scar.
I promise you, it's safe to feel here.

If you want, I will get you an
ice pack to wrap around
your aching head now.
And if you still want to
hold that ice to your skin
until it burns, I understand.
I promise you, it's safe to feel here.

I know the pain you feel inside
seems to have no other way out
than if you cut-slash-burn.
But, I know. 
And I know you have more in you than pain.
A reserve of strength, like, wow.
Underneath all the ugly.
Behind that pile of bloody bandages,
there is a power in you that
will let you relax, let it all out
in a way that doesn't hurt more.
Because I promise you, it's safe to feel here.

Copyright 2016 Cydniey Buffers. Do not use without permission.

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