He says he’s broken all the time,
there’s something wrong with his head:
There are monsters in there
that push to get out.
It’s almost funny
because he’s the most whole person I’ve known.
He never seemed to be broken,
just a little worn at the seams.
But there is a look that accompanies pain,
It belongs only to those who’ve seen hell.
They’ve battled a thousand demons,
and lived to tell the tale.
In that look, they show the illness,
crawling on it’s knees;
It’s sedated but god,
it’s still a monster.
And what they don’t understand is that the madness is a monster,
it claws at his mind and brings him to his knees until he has
The break in reality begins:
Cracks form along a fiberglass window in an electric blue room where they analyze the way he breathes so that another scan might make sense of the hole in his forehead,
that same endless hole that took everything from your mother and father and
And the meds begin again, drawers dedicated to failed promises of “better”,
bottles lining up around him as he fills it up for the week and you hope to
some sort of God that this is not the week that he breaks.
Not too many know this,
but there’s no exact science to the diagnosis, treatment
or in my case prevention,
of mental illness.
You are frustrated as the doctors prescribe another dose of chemical warfare,
something about “try this, you never know what will work”.
They don’t know. They never know.
So they bombard him with pills, one for every check mark on the list,
and then they wage counter-attacks on anxiety and anger,
brought on by the faked chemical balance in his brain.
The packages are delivered, shaking pellets of resistance,
they precipitate like rainfall on your home and they bring order in their wake.
If they work, all is well, he starts to smile and the haunted look behind his eyes diminishes.
If they don’t well, that’s where the nightmare begins.
He starts to have the nightmares, the ones he’ll never tell you about
he starts to get angry and you pray, let it be you this time, not his unhinging
that’s causing him to yell.
You sit day by day and every moment is a minefield
a test of how well you can keep daddy together.
Then one day, you wake and your mother is on the phone
and you see him sitting on the couch as he looks at you and you know
that today, he’ll go away,
“until he’s better sweetie, he’ll be back before too long.”
And you hear them talking as you remember the fight,
the way you turned to music, to drown out the night.
You know that when he’s back, you’ll be right at square one,
and eggshells are iron compared to your walk.
That’s where you start to think, I share the DNA
the chemicals are missing from me too
will this be me someday?
You do everything you can, running screaming from genetics
hope you missed the curse since you’ve seen the consequences.
You’ve been there, lining up the bottles, the ritual of Sunday and the finality of Saturday when you reach your last box and know that weeks end when the pills are out.
You cease to feel when they regulate your chemistry, you cease to understand how humanity works so you turn to old practices and habits in hopes that something will click.
Please, don’t let this be all I have.
And in the end, the monsters still push to get out, you still hope every week that he will be ok,
that something will change.
That these pills piling up around him will make it ok, that someday you will be something other than the daughter of a broken man,
because there is no science to this reality,
there is no art to it
because there is no cure for demons.