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Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash

Anxiety gnaws at my bones
Paranoia tells me to go home
All these voices inside of my head
Tell me I would be better off dead
They call it illness — quite the disease
The very reason I am never at ease
Heavy breath to a pulse racing
Feet moving always pacing
Pills can’t stop it
Nothing drops it
No one knows the pain
I am on the edge of insanity
Falling down the cliff
Emotion puts me at risk

I scream out in fear
Yet no one can hear
I am all alone
Brain too far gone
Listening to lies
Hiding behind disguise
No one understands
You don’t know who I am
There are two sides to every tale
This is the version I choose to wail
Chemical imbalance shoots
Surges of energy does loops
I need to renew my will
This is a day being mentally ill…

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Heather D’Aoust is a nonbinary writer, artist and author of two books, who also publishes under the pen name Jeff-Free. A practicing Buddhist, D'Aoust is incarcerated in California.