Cry in the Wilderness Poetry & Prose Series: My junior year of high school was full of mood swings and highs and lows. This poem series describes one of the lowest periods of my life. (March-April 1975)
Preface: Suffering from a mild nervous breakdown, I skipped one month of my junior year in high school to work on healing. I mostly stayed shut up in my room reading, meditating, and journaling. Sometimes, I would walk in the woods in search of a renewed feeling of peace.
I had so bottled up my feelings for so many years that they all imploded one day. I started crying and could not stop for the longest time.
My parents sent me to six sessions with a psychiatrist. He was a total quack. He would lie totally reclined in a lazy boy chair and stare at me. He would not ask me questions or help me talk through my problems. His only aim was to medicate me. Thankfully, I refused.
It was a good thing too. One year later, I worked part-time as a receptionist in a dentist’s office. A kindergarten teacher was one of our patients. She was so doped up from the four types of medication she was on from that same psychiatrist, I don’t see how she was able to teach. During my sixth session with him, I got up and ran out, begging my parents not to make me go back.
The best news was that once I realized that there was no human help for me, I put my life in God’s hands. Slowly, during that month, I learned to like myself as I was. Then I learned to love myself again and take each day as it comes. Little by little, I gained balance and perspective. I finally was ready to re-enter high school, a stronger and better person. I also learned to not allow my feelings to fester but to search for healthy ways to vent them instead.
Sadly, I threw away the journal I kept about that time period. This series of poems are my only written record of some of what I was feeling during the period I called “my month.”. (March 1975)
It was a mistake to come out of my seclusion.
The peaceful feeling is gone.
I’m back in the old hell.
Please don’t let me do it again.
The World Kept Right On Spinning
Yes, I got my wish.
An unwanted dream came true.
The world stopped
to let me off.
Why couldn’t it have waited
until I was ready to stumble on again?
All could have been
suspended in time.
No! It kept right on spinning.
The people kept on keeping on.
While I strove to put back together
the pieces that were pried and pulled apart,
iron out the wrinkles,
and find sanity in a life
that seemed insane.
It’s like I’m learning to walk all over again.
Is there anyone to lend a hand
lest I stumble and fall?
my place on the merry-go-round
is still vacant.
I pray I may get on more gracefully
than when I got off.
Perhaps if I have a better outlook on life,
it won’t spin at such a dizzying speed.
It will be hard,
but I think I can make it,
whether it be on my own
or by taking the outstretched hand of a friend.
Whichever . . ., I’ll get back on
a wiser and better person
than when I toppled off.
Ready or not, here I come!!!
I WANT TO GET BACK ON!!!
Tomorrow Is The Day I Re-board The Merry-Go-Round
Tomorrow will come upon me, I fear,
before I am ready.
I can’t turn back now.
How I wish I could!
If I don’t return tomorrow,
I may never get back on.
Yes, I got my wish.
The world stopped and let me off
for a short period of time
to get my head straight.
The drawback, it didn’t stop with me
to wait until I was ready to get back on.
So once I re-board the merry-go-round,
I’ll have to make up for lost time.
Tomorrow begins my feeble attempts
to prepare myself for the day
that I get back on.
A whole month it will be.
I’m still not ready; but the longer I put it off,
the harder it will be.
Please, God, give me the strength
and courage to make the leap
back on to the ever-revolving merry-go-round.
Help me, so I won’t lose my head
and give up the fight.
“Shepherd, show me how to go … .”
Thank you, God!
After returning to high school after my month-long nervous breakdown, I found out who my true friends really were. Here is one who was obviously no longer my friend. (April 1975)
Watching The Clowns At Their Play
I stood there and watched the clouds hide the sun.
I, an observer, could do nothing to stop
the clowns at their play.
I was engulfed by a smile,
once warm and open and substantial.
Now suddenly turned cold and even sinister.
A black shadow
seeped through the light,
visible only to me.
Daily I struggle with it,
strive to overpower it.
Why can’t I extinguish it?
Let human will cease,
and His will be done.
The black shadow is no more.