February 16, 2020

Does the internal experience of mental illness diminish the potency of external threats?

Holly Cockburn

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PoetryThe deep dark woods (in me), 2020

On a later than intended walk – the light fades fast. Deep in the woods the wet ground merges with the surrounding mire-stained forest and the path home becomes guesswork. I’m not scared. Not of dark woods, nor being lost in unfamiliar places; not of travelling alone or walking through parts of cities at night that people warn against. Curious, I think to myself, as I direct myself towards what could be home(?). Maybe I should, but I feel that sometimes living with less than pristine mental health can lend a numbing effect to the outside world – all the ‘real’ stuff that goes on, the things that other people can see and feel and verify can fall into second place when you constantly feel under threat from the happenings inside your own head. This poem came to me in those woods, when I probably should have been more focused on where I was placing my feet.