“Mental Health Reflection”

Human Relations Council Commission
poster designed by Cara Simmons

between now and this moment
I start, stop.
Start again, stop.
Give up, quit, remember, forget.
Why has it become so difficult to express myself?
Is this resistance, doubt, or F.E.A.R.?
False Evidence Appearing Real –
If so,
How did I get here?
Extreme mood swings, low-level energy, excessive worrying,
secreting grappling with not fitting into the old perceptions of myself.
Three words: I. need. support.
What is this?
A single upset, replaying like syndicated television,
insomnia, now anxiousness turned into irritation,
From a moment of pain to a paradigm of shame
I know first-hand.
all it takes is one traumatic change.
It could be problems with meeting basic needs,
environmental deprivation,
grief, displacement, separation
from long-term community, traditions, and family.
Unprocessed trauma trapped in the body
and emotional pain left unattended
become mental illness.
Taking care of your mind
is no different than seeing a physician for sickness,
 a trainer for fitness,
a lawyer to help with legal issues,
 and accountant for taxes.
What does it mean to be mentally healthy?
If you’re struggling,
maybe mustering the strength to voice your needs,
acknowledging small victories,
no matter class, culture, or creed
Remember, happiness is less of feeling,
and more of a state of being.
At any given time 1 in 5 Americans
suffer some form of affliction.
Which means it is a permanent part of human experience.
Breathe deeply!
When the tears are overbearing,
sadness overwhelming.
It may not be easy but take your medication.
Grasp for peace,
there is strength in prayer.
Our communal awareness will decrease habits of hurt and prolonged suffering.
Stigma released, well-being is not weakness, self-care is treatment.
You are not alone. 
Together we can take responsibility.
Create safe spaces and healing.
Many People, Many Voices, One City

             ©️Sierra Leone