All works by artist Ethar Hamid
Follow this link to read our interview with Ethar Hamid
for our campaign Mental Illness, Health and Recovery
I will go down to the lake
And dip my toes in the blue-green water,
Tadpoles tickling my feet.
It would be a cliché scene
If it weren’t for my bottle of morning Prozac
Sitting beside me,
On the grass.
It will be a good morning,
The sun rising above me
Like a citrus fruit that smolders a rusty scarlet.
I will lie down on my back
And let a ladybug crawl over my chest.
No one will stare at me
Until maybe I start muttering
To the voices talking to me
To leave me alone.
I will not look different—
I will not be different
Unless I lie there, frozen,
Too weighed down
To even shoo away the birds
On my head.
The happy faces in the old photos
Still dampen my spirit.
It’s hard to get used to
Lagging behind everyone else.
My soul has stretched thin—into a chord
That God will play
When the dragonflies reign, supreme.
By then, I might have crippled myself, in angst,
Had it not been for the invisible binds that restrain my heart
Perfume, Illness, and Resentment
The days smelled like musk, I remember.
It was only my mom who carried the scent,
But somehow, I recall the whole day smelling like that.
I also remember
Pill after pill
That I would have to swallow,
Each month a different one, seemingly,
Because they never worked.
What was wrong with me?
Why couldn’t I be perfect and glowing, like my mom?
Her patience and love even as I would kick and scream
She even had the audacity to smell like musk as she tried to soothe me, still.
I remember green pills, yellow ones, white ones, and blue ones.
I remember how it took so long to find a pill that actually worked-
A pale pink one that reminds me, painfully,
Of my mom.
Pale pink is her favorite color.
Of course it is.
The Diary of an Entirely Insane but Self-Accepting Person
~ Entry 1
The line that the Mad Hatter says to Alice in Alice in Wonderland is so understandable, to me; “I don’t like it here, Alice. It’s terribly crowded.” And that deep comprehension worries me. What’s more, I think the Hatter was talking about the fact that he was imprisoned in the Red Queen’s castle…I, on the other hand, don’t like it, here, and I’m no inmate, anywhere. I just don’t like it, here—it’s terribly crowded…and a host of other things.
Bipolar? Schizophrenia? Depression? Well, I have no doubt that something is wrong, with me. I’ve been seeing doctors for a long time, now. But is it fair to blame everything on my illness? And if not, who or what to blame it on?
~ Entry 2
Sometimes, I wish I could be a therapist. But then I remember that I would have to talk to people, all the time, and I would have to get out of bed, every morning (I’m not lazy, ok? It’s fatigue), and I would have to be somewhat centered, in my own life. The fact that I am incapable of any of those things…well…worries me. I guess I’ll settle for being a writer. (Fortunately for me, that requires none of the above.)
~ Entry 3
“So…you have bipolar. Or some other condition, possibly. That’s what you get, son. Everyone told you life chews up creative geniuses…wanna-be artists…writers. But you went for it, anyway. And now, you’re complaining about people watching you, and voices in your head…and…purple cats in your peripheral vision. That’s what you get, son.”
Are these the words of the worst psychiatrist in the world, or the best? I still haven’t figured it out.
~ Entry 4
Probably my favorite part from Alice in Wonderland is this; “Have I gone mad?” the Mad Hatter asks his friend Alice, in distress. Alice, like her father did to her, all those years ago, places the back of her hand on the Hatter’s forehead, as if checking for signs of feverish delusion. “I’m afraid so,” Alice replies, gently. “You’re completely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret—all the best people are.”
Instead of being told that the C.I.A. isn’t after me, or being asked why I believed that my mom was poisoning my food, I wish I had someone to tell me something like that, while I was “round the bend,” years ago. It would have been much better therapy, I think.