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Confusion- a cacophony of emotions

My therapist asked me to draw a picture of myself and talk about how my body was feeling my many negative emotions. I found it too hard to voice these feelings and instead wrote a poem. I am trying to break free from an emotionally violent marriage, and my body has become ill as well as my mind. But there is light visible at last,..... now I just need to find out who I am..........

The butterfly reference in the last verse is because I have used it as my totem for change, that I have been trapped in a chrysalis for so long, not able to move freely, be myself, my children too, and the next stage being the butterfly when I can be released from the prison that has kept me from knowing life, and I can fly to freedom and new life, and HAPPINESS! :)


My image in crayon, childishly drawn on a blank sheet of paper,
What does it feel? Show me.
My body and mind is a tangle of thoughts and emotions,
Jumbled and jammed and exhausted in a loop of confusion,
Gasping, clinging, blinded in the swirl of mist around me,
Trying desperately to focus, make sense, survive.

Prickles and waves, tremors and heartbeats,
Anxiousness displayed in one and every nerve,
Breathing fast, feeling faint, nauseous, no hiding.
Overwhelming, clogging me up, instilling fear,
Emptying my head, and tying my tongue,
Deep breaths, soft rabbit, quiet, calm.

It is but a small whisper, can barely be heard,
So deeply kept, buried, held tightly within,
Knotting me up, causing me harm,
Screwing my head and clouding my mind, silently screaming,
Blocked from release by the fear.... of what?
ANGUISH, freed only in the drama of my mind's eye, alone.

The metaphorical Black Dog, a sad companion, curled up, comfortable,
Hiding in the shadows, just out of sight, growling, alert, guarding,
Unpredictable and sinister, oppressive, crushing, imprisoning,
Saps my energy like a parasite, laying me down,
Low low down, in the stream of tears that flows unhindered,
Amongst the despair and hopelessness... and silence.

A tight rope of knots, muscles under duress,
Jaws clenched with tension, the fighting within,
Countless muddled thoughts have me tossing about,
Choose! Which one is right, why can't I get a grip? (Too much stress)
Afraid for the children, what harm has been done,
I am the adult, alone, encumbered, scared. GET IT RIGHT.

What rights do I have, am I worthy of peace?...afraid.
It is me who's at fault; I ought not to have needs... selfish.
I must say I'm sorry, approval is best, me last... doubt.
Respect for myself was lost long ago...mean.
I could have said no, I am such a fool...ashamed.
Trapped, unworthy of freedom, no good... GUILTY.

Make myself small, hide me away, DON'T notice me,
I'm pathetic and weak, inadequate and unsure, DON'T talk to me.
Where is my integrity, my substance and wit?
I am a shell, an empty, harsh and colourless shell.
No, not true, I am stuffed full of self-doubt and judgements, squashed in, tight,
Accumulated and magnified, and consuming my self-trust.

I scream, silently, inwardly, deeply, distressingly, secretly, ashamedly. CUT.
Why? It's foolish, stupid, self-centred, uncontrolled, pointless. Why?
I know, I don't know, it's hush hush secret, please don't talk, don't ask,
Can't cope, I need, it relieves, wakes me up, slaps me, I feel.
Doesn't hurt, (of course it does) emotions hurt, punishment, distraction, comfort,
I DON'T KNOW! Overwhelming, not telling, blame, Ssshhhh.

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The chrysalis is a-wriggling, she wants to break free, and breathe,
Safely warm herself in the sunshine, stretch, open, be sure, carefree,
Feel the gentle breeze drying her lacy wings, children too, peaceful,
Then we can fly, together, to safety and smiles, the future of dreams.
There is hope, excitement, fear, unknown,
But there is no going back.