Scars and Sunshine

When I was in the adolescent ward of a psychiatric hospital

The other teenagers and I were asked to draw our illnesses

Using Crayola markers I drew a thunderstorm

Rain pouring out of the clouds steadily hitting the pavement like I imagined myself

Lightning bolts representing every time suicide was more than a fleeting thought

Each breath I took ached for it

Rain meant every time death was on the backburner

But blood still rain down the shower drain

One of my friends called me “a fucking idiot” for wanting to kill myself

My response was that he could call me all the names he could think of

Nothing could be worse than what I thought of myself

There was a boy in the outpatient program named Andrew

We called him BiPolar Bear

The last memory he has of me

Was my face red and blotchy after a meeting with my mother mediated by the social worker assigned to my case

She was the person I kept telling there was something wrong with me

But she listened to me like she listened to a fire alarm whose batteries were low

There was a girl who attempted suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills

Upon learning about her discharge she gave me and a few other girls she referred to as her wives “wedding rings”

I brought mine to college with me 3 years later because I still wonder how she’s doing

I have my roommate from that stay as a friend on Facebook

I’m so glad she’s still alive

I remember every late night sitting on her bed playing 5 Card Draw

Scars still linger on my skin from coming of age with a mental illness

You have no idea what it is like

The only constant thing was the therapy visits

I hesitate to show my scars on the beach when I wear a bathing suit

Usually I wear swimming shorts

But for the first time in 5 years I wore that bikini

I have never felt so much strength in so many stares

Even though I have not been cleared of my troubles

I still lend out a hand to people like me

Because no one deserves to be silenced in their own misery

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