Say When

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

This poem floated around for a couple of days, days that were filled with overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and grief. Feelings that lied, telling me I was worthless and unlovable. Feelings that judged me as a person with a history filled with mistakes and regrets. To be this low, this depressed, I knew that I could no longer bear feeling like this alone and reached out to people. Thanks to kind words and encouragement, I was able to manage this depressive episode at home and not in a hospital. To live with a mental illness is difficult. Through the years, I have educated myself enough to know when I have to ask for help. Help to propel me back to a place where I can overcome feelings of hopelessness and scream back to the devious lies depression dishes out in heaping volumes. Lies that try to make me believe that a problem can not be solved or that the ugliness I see through the clouds of sadness is really beauty. Beauty of living life to the fullest and facing problems and discouragements head on, with power, confidence and clarity. Though my condition is a chemical imbalance, known as bi-polar disorder, stress plays a large part in my overall well-being. When faced with a long series of personal and family issues, I have to be extremely cognizant of my moods and any extreme ups or downs. I live on the low side of bi-polar illness and am prone to depressive episodes. I usually can catch myself quickly and make necessary adjustments to combat and contain the episode. It also helps that I have had the same doctor for almost 30 years who with a single phone conversation can get me headed back in the right direction, a stable direction, a more hopeful direction. Was this poem a cry for help? Yes. It also is a gauge and something I can refer to when in a better state of mind to remind myself just how low depression can drag me. It is my hope that anything I have learned about the mental illness I have been diagnosed with, may help someone else at some point in their life. Am I ashamed that the symptoms of the illness are so apparent? Yes. I strive to go easier on myself while not leaning into the illness as an excuse for bad judgment or behavior.  I strive for consistency and will continue to work hard managing this hellish disorder. I will always make myself available for anyone at any time to share what I have come to understand about living with bi-polar disorder. If  my personal disclosure can bring about even a minuscule change in awareness, then this poem was not written in vain. Be well. Be as well as you can be.


Say When


A hostess pours her guest a cup of coffee

She says “say when”

A grateful hand is raised

A judgement made


With a little room to spare

For cream and sugar


A mom serving her family dinner

She says, “say when”

Hungry hands are raised

Judgments made

Empty plates covered


With a little room to spare

For desert


A child gone astray

He says “say when”

A heartbroken hand is raised

Judgement made


With a little room to spare

For hope


A doctor treating a patient

With medication to ease the pain

The doctor says “say when”

Judgement made

A weak hand is raised


With a little room to spare

For more

And more


A life has been lived

The clock says “say when”

A  clouded judgement made

The hand is still


With no room to spare


For coffee

For caring

For loving

For worrying

For dying

For anything

Say when


Coventry CT


  1. dani says:

    there’s no shame in having any mental/emotional illness! you are a brave, caring, generous, strong, beautiful inside and out, creative, talented, amazing woman! and i am proud to call you my friend!

  2. terrepruitt says:

    Wow. You are strong and amazing!!!!! Hugs to you, Dear!

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