The Sun is Shining

Two of the many sides of mental illness.

Two poems by Nichola which help people think about what life is like with mental illness and how lockdown has given a taste of this to others.


The sun is shining, the birds are singing,
The sun is on my face,
I’m so happy to be here,
in my favourite place,

My favourite place is my garden,
so peaceful and green,
I sit and watch the birds and start to day dream,

I dream about my future, and what I can be,
I dream how lucky I am to have a family,

A family of my own, to care and watch grow,
A family to protect, to prepare to die for,
A family that comes with the ups and downs,
With a prince and princess but without the crowns,

I cherish the days of watching them grow,
Of her skipping along with her hair aflow,
Of his cheeky smile and his nature so sweet,
I’m so blessed with the love that we all need,

To think not long ago all this didn’t matter,
And our little family would be left to shatter,
I look back and thank god that I am still here,
But now I know next time there’s nothing to fear,

Next time I will be sure, here is my place,
I will be stronger and picture their beautiful face,
I will be sure that those feelings are going to pass,
And soon I’ll be sitting on my lovely green grass,

I will be cooking their tea, and washing the pots,
Kissing them goodnight with “I love you lots”
Sitting and chatting about their “boring” day,
Guiding them through life in their own unique way,

So again I've been sat quietly dreaming,
I know my life now has some meaning,
I have mental illness and sometimes need space,
I will be fine, I have my favourite place.

They Don’t Know (us and them)

The sun Is shining, the birds are singing,
The sun Is on my face,
If only people knew I was in my dark place,

A place with dark clouds, and black crows,
A place that’s barren, where nothing grows,
A place where a smiling face asks how you are,
A place where you have to reply “I’m OK ta”.

They don’t know I’m wishing the hours away,
They don’t know I’ve spoken to god, forced to pray,
To pray for my heart to stop, to pray for peace,
To pray for a calming robe to wrap around me,

How my brain races, doesn't know how to be calm,
How I have a sporadic impulse to hack at my arm,
How I feel protected and safe while I’m at home,
How I’m comforted knowing I’m not alone,

But others try to hide, they don’t like to fuss,
So I’ll speak for us all, with a “we” and a “us”,

So the world is in lockdown because of a virus,
Suddenly people are anxious and frightened,

Nothing has changed for people with mental illness,
We don’t like getting close or going to a café,
We don’t like stopping for a chat or places like that anyway,
We have patience with boredom down to a tee,
We are experts on dangers that we cannot see,

People worry about us, that we might sink,
They have no idea, we’re stronger than they think,

They’re too scared to go to the shop,
They fear other people and forced to stop,
There senses are heightened tenfold,

People are losing their jobs, trying to make ends meet,
But we’re used to it, it’s no mean feat,

No emergency fund for us, or a mortgage break,
We get forms, assessments and a decision that’s fake,

They have hope for a day of normality,
A vaccine hope,
What if lockdown is your normality,
And there is no hope,

No new intensive care bed,
Or a specialist at a drop of a hat,
Would you feel worthless,
Not good enough for that?

No cure for your anxieties or fears,
Not even a tissue for your trickling tears,

So would you still ask me how I am with a smile on your face,
If you knew I was struggling in my dark place?

10 Comments on “The Sun is Shining”

  1. Wow, what an amazing poem! I’ve just read this to a friend as we were having a conversation about the impact of COVID, some of the young adults she works with feel exactly the same as you describe.

    Thanks so much for sharing your work. Amazing.

  2. What an amazing poem which portrays the well documented daily struggles of someone suffering with isolation in lockdown and shows the parallels with what is a daily ongoing often private struggle for an individual suffering from mental illness. Sarah

  3. Beautiful poem. Thought provoking too. I would want to ask you the final question, would you want to hear it?, What is a better way to connect via a question?

    1. Dear anonymous,
      Thank you so much for your comment.

      I want to make it clear that the poem was not directed towards professionals in the mental health field.

      I have had brilliant care through mental health services.

      For professionals asking how we are is a huge part of their job, we understand that and sometimes crave to be asked and we are always asked respectfully.

      The poem was written to emphasise how mental illness effects a person and how “we” are so good at putting on a fake pasona.

      We do this because we’re protecting ourselves and other people from the truth, when we’re asked by an acquaintance how we are we can’t reply “I want to hack at my arm” Or “today I’m suicidal “ so we just be polite and keep it to ourselves .

      Many times I’ve had to make conversations with people that don’t know how I feel or are dismissive about mental illness and I say goodbye, smile and walk away and I’ve thought “they don’t know”, “they have no idea”, and I wander what their reaction towards me would be if they did know.

      Would they still ask how I am with a smile on their face ?

      Would they ignore me next time?

      Would they not allow their child to play with mine?

      Would they avoid me?

      Unfortunately I think yes they would.

      I hope that helps.

  4. That second poem made me SHIVER – it was so good and rang so true, as someone who has suffered from mental illness for years. COVID is like our every day. You are so talented!

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