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poems for anxiety

12 Poems About Mental Health to Let You Know You’re Not Alone

Courtney Lowry is a photographer, poet, and artist from Baltimore, Maryland who seeks to empower those whose voices are silenced through her work. Her photography series “Generalized Anxiety Distortions” explores and documents her struggle with her mental health while studying abroad in Hong Kong. “I photographed through any material I could find while walking around the city, replacing feelings of isolation and suffocation with anxiety in real-time,” she writes. “My passion for raising awareness of mental health, the disable, and women of color is expressed in these poems.”

 

poems for anxiety9.19.19

I think my rotation around the sun is complete.

I’ve tasted the sweetest water from the purest of rivers and run my fingers through the kindest of soil.

I have danced with the spirited birds and sauntered through the grasslands with mammals who love more than humans.

I think my rotation around the sun is complete.

I have seen the rains and felt their fresh touch against my balmy cheeks.

My feet have touched the asphalt of my ancestors.

And my back remains broken from the baggage I constantly carry, pressed against my spine.

I ask the children after me to please take my place.

I think my rotation around the sun is complete.

 

poems for anxiety

9.15.19

Summer’s sweet sugar spoils,

Turns bitter,

Rotting in the heat,

And dehydrated from holding out false hope.

Little hands grip tight to nothing

Gripping skin and digging into

Palms to feel something when nothing is there

Tired of being controlled, placed in a box, wrapped in a bow

 

poems for anxiety5.28.18

We were too

Young to realize

The venom that

Laid within their

Eyes, eager and

Hungry…we remain

Guarded, high castle

Walls. And when

Intruders came along,

They ask us

Why we can’t

Open up, but

They weren’t there

When grimy hands

Covered our mouths,

They silenced us

For good.

 

poems for anxiety

4.11.18

Poking amongst the

Meats, my body

Becomes a supermarket

For male consumption

And dehumanized for

Female scrutiny

Leave me with

No identity to

Define me from

The rest of

The black girls

Manipulate and strip

Me from my

Craft like play-doh

Mold me into

Your white aesthetic

How good it

Feels to be

Told that Or

How you Do

Your art

Is wrong

–art school kids.

 

poems for anxiety

5.27.18

Sometimes freedom doesn’t

Taste as good

As we hoped

Freedom from love

Tastes bitter, but

Freedom from pain

Is sweet, like

A candy you

Rarely find in

A glass case

Unless you look

Hard enough and

Ask the store

Clerk what flavor

It is. Freedom

From pain tastes

Like a vanilla

Sky. Freedom from

Love tastes like

A Freudian theory.

 

poems for anxiety

10.9.19

I used to listen to music while I read

I used to say “I’m sorry” a lot

I used to never reveal the swords that people drove into me, instead just let the blood mix with the purl of my knit sweater

I used to attribute everything to their pain and not their actual actions

I used to be a doormat

I used to claw at the empty well, while everyone around me drank from Dixie cups

I was never offered a drink until my throat was bone dry

Then they poured water on me

And left me there, almost to die

Still to this day, I do not hate these people.

 

poems for anxiety10.10.19

I love the rumble of the heater in the morning

I love the fresh crack of a good book, pages still untainted and crisp

I love letting go of poison

I love how the sky turns yellow orange around 3:30 instead of 6

I love that everything has this golden cast over it

So quickly how nightfall comes…I’m still getting used to that, even though it’s happened every year of my life since birth

I love that I only care about a few people still and go unbothered by the ones who’ve shown me otherwise

I love how easily I take breakups, I think that is my superpower.

 

poems for anxiety

10.25.19

there’s an anxiety in my chest

when I realized that the blanket I keep pulling up to my face fell in the street earlier this week

I feel

Infected

Tossed the blanket

Off of me

As the plague burns me from the inside out

I had two alcoholic drinks this week

That might kill me too—my liver

My heart was broken because I didn’t handle it with care, no “fragile” label

Slapped on the front and I may be closer to death than I think

I walked with my jacket open too many times

 

poems for anxiety

9.13.19

things they don’t understand

walking into a room and feeling searing eyes

being denied service at the door in hong kong

showcasing my work to blank eyes, glossing over my heartbeat, but never stopping to listen

never feeling beautiful because of my wiry hair

professors always telling me to make projects about what it was like to be black

when on most days i’m tired of talking about it

the teasing because i didn’t listen to rap

the judgment when i started listening to rap, but it wasn’t their rap

mocked because of my proper speaking

outrage because i’d never eaten a chitlin

defeat, as I came to terms with maybe being black just wasn’t for me.

 

poems for anxiety

8.22.19

take my medicine with a straight face

swallowing my pride

tiptoeing on the bed

careful not to stain the sheets

a pain in my chest

a chill down my spine

its been so often this pain. this much

 

poem for anxiety

11.14.19

She holds her empty cup out to the world

Expecting every rain to just fall inside

The privilege of just asking for it must be nice

Us black girls can’t do that

Us black girls have to stand in the back

We didn’t even get cups

We go thirsty and no one cares

poems for anxiety

9.2.19

the well of my self love

refills after running dry since may

and the days before

it fills slowly with water from

the holy spring of a clear

mind and a focus on myself

instead of the things i

can not control

god hears my weeks of praying

asking him to open

the rains above to fill my well

it fills slowly, but it fills.