Poetry as a Cure for Teenage Mental Illness
You may think poetry is useless and dull, which it can be, but it also an amazing way to be creative and show what you feel. Poetry dates back thousands of years to the earliest literate cultures, before even written texts. In these times it was used for remembering history or law. Throughout centuries it has evolved into many new types of poems, topics and uses, such as Shakespearean sonnets or Japanese haiku. The poetry that is popular today is pretty much anything. It can use any structure like rhyming or free verse and be any type of poem such as a ballad or a narrative. They can follow any topic from refugees to romance. A popular topic is mental illness, which helps many teens in todays’ society cope with the struggles of depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses. These types of poems help teens relate to mental illness in an entertaining way; help them express how their illness makes them feel and express themselves creatively and assists them identify with other common or uncommon experiences to help them appreciate that they’re not alone.
Mental illness is a terrible thing, and it can trap people in a mindset that everything is terrible that they’re all alone. Poetry is one of the things that can help people realize that this is not the reality, that they’re not alone and helps them identify with common experiences to do with mental illness. One example of this is a response to a poem about anxiety and panic attacks called ‘Panic Attack’. The poem details the feelings of how terrible panic attacks are and that no one will truly understand. In the response, a 14-year-old girl details her situation with the same symptoms, and that people don’t understand and all they do is tell her to ‘breathe deep’, which never helps. This poem helped her understand that she isn’t alone in the fight against anxiety. She says, “I always thought that nobody understands, what it felt like what I’m going through, but you do”. “Thank you so much for helping me realize I’m not alone”. These quotes show that poetry does indeed help teens in their struggles against mental illness and helps them realize that they are fighting together and not alone.
As poetry is an outlet for people with mental illness, it can also be a great chance for people who aren’t suffering from these things to learn about mental illness. It teaches the struggles of mental illness people who haven’t had to deal with such things. By using poetic devices such as metaphors and personification it can paint a picture or a story in someone’s head of how hard life is for sufferers of things like anxiety or depression. An example of this is this quote from a poem called ‘2 Hours’ by Brian Pardee’: “Anxiety rips me out of my sleep, a shock to my system like a bucket of ice water. I open my eyes to see a demon hovering near the ceiling; fighting it will lead to my slaughter”. This shows people how terrible anxiety is that it rips them out of their sleeps and evens uses a metaphor to compare it to a demon. These illnesses leave teens feeling trapped and alone. This shows how poetry can help teens don’t suffer from any mental illness gain a grasp on what it’s like to suffer from these things. These illnesses leave teens feeling trapped and alone.
Poetry is a great outlet for people suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. It is able to help teens express themselves and how they feel and their differences creatively. This is shown in this verse from a poem about what depression is like and getting out of it. “I see a rope crawling down my pit. I grab hold and shout, ‘I’m ready’. I ascend the walls of my pit, slowly. It takes years. I meet therapists and friends who care. I talk to my past and say, ‘Go away’. I am still climbing. This is a journey. I get so tired, sometimes slipping back. But I hold on tight. I don’t let go. I don’t give up”. This verse in ‘The Pit’ by Jacob Kahn does a very good job at showing how he feels on his journey getting out of depression. Through this, Kahn shows the reader how tough and how much of a dark place depression is, and the long struggle to get out of it, but that you must never give up. It uses many poetic devices such as metaphors like “I see a rope crawling down my pit” and “I ascend the walls of my pit slowly”, depicting the journey out of my depression as coming out of a pit, slowly. “I get so tired, sometimes slipping back”, this metaphor depicts slipping back as still getting hits of depression now and then, as the journey isn’t perfect. They help paint a picture in the readers mind to show them what it feels like to have depression. “I talk to my past and say, ‘Go away’”. This quote is personification and depicts Jacob getting out of depression as literally saying ‘no’ to his past and his depression.
Poetry is a great option for people suffering from mental illness to go to help them cope with their illness. The three points that have been discussed being that it helps people realize that they are not alone and they are fighting together, that it can help raise awareness and help people gain more knowledge on what it’s like to have a mental illness, and that it helps teens express how mental illness makes them feel and show their differences in a creative way.
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