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Poem - I Am The Face Behind the Label - Amy Kloeblen

I am the face behind the label

By Amy Kloeblen

I am Real. I am your co-worker. Your best friend. Your neighbour. Your spouse. Your sibling. Your parent. Your lover. Your child. I am the person beside you on the train and near you at church. The person passing you on the street. I am everywhere and anyone. Yet l am nowhere and no one, since your eyes are blinded by fear an your mind by ignorance. We are just alike, you & I, me & you, yet we are not the same. For l bear the Label, the unwanted stigma of generations. Thus I am routinely ridiculed and detested, neglected an stereotyped. Forever misunderstood, simplified, restricted. I am master of deception since society deems it necessary for me to conceal my afflictions. I don a mask of pleasantness daily, yet beneath it l am in turmoil lest you discover my terrible secrets. Every day l attempt to escape the prison within me, and the demons that haunt my very soul. The chains that bind me have weakened from the mighty strength brought by knowledge. Yet l remain...trapped within my mind, unable to every truly be free. Randomly exited from society, condemned to the confines of my own being. Arbitrarily sentenced to endless punishment for a nonexistent crime. Convicted by a fictional judge and jury, blind to my protests and deaf to my pleas. I am not guilty of wrong doing. I have committed no transgression, yet l suffer continuous agony. I am the victim of a mysterious, unexplainable injustice. Authorized by the universe, chance and fate, ironically enforced from within. My potential is overlooked, my contributions unseen. Only my superficial Label is visible to the untrained, uncaring, shallow eye. Thus I am discarded, abandoned. Left to observe the world from behind a shattered window pane that distorts the vision of my reality from yours. Always on the outside looking in. shamed into silently enduring infinite torture, eternal frustration.Forever isolated, cast aside, forgotten...My suffering is real, although you may not see it. My fears are real, although you make light of them. My feelings are real, although you ignore them. Do not underestimate my capabilities. Rest assured, l will prove you wrong time and again. Do not brazenly assume to know what it is like. You cannot begin to comprehend my existence unless you have lived inside my head, amidst the confusion and tempest in the darkest corners of the deepest reaches of my mind, my soul. Do not dare judge me according to your misguided perceptions. Do not callously and thoughtlessly dismiss em, for you do NOT know me, despite what you believe. Your assumptions about me are inherently flawed. Tainted by fear, clouded by prejudice, poisoned by ignorance, colored by scorn. You cannot fathom the frustration and confusion felt when your own mind betrays you, becomes your worst enemy. What remains? What do you believe? What do you ignore? Who am l? what is REALLY me? How do l distinguish myself from the parasite, the insidious beast that invaded me, consumes my every moment? THIS is the reality of My existence. The darkness and anguish that envelop me attempt to smother me..drown me. The terror that overwhelms my core tries to devour me.destroy me, yet l remain fight another valiant, hidden battle for my very survival each dawn. Sadly, often the worst pain inflicted comes not from within me, but from outside me. From the society that attempts to label me, limit me. The society that attempts to silence me, ignore me. Relegating me to the outskirts of civilization. 
Questioning my morals, my despair, my reality, my torment's very existence. I may falter at times, struggling to overcome the unearen infirmities of my own brain, yet l refuse to succumb to ignorance from without! I may not conform to your definitions of normalcy. But l beg of you - do not belittle me or berate me, as l already find monumental faults with myself. My mind taunts me, proclaiming that l will NEVER be good enough or normal enough or worthy enough. Overpowering feelings of inadequacy and doubt plague me, shadowing my every step, my every breath, mocking my persistent attempts to fit in, survive, excel. Yet wearily l journey on in my quest. Endlessly searching for the elusive summit, that which in obscure (albeit temporarily?) from my view...Happiness, freedom, peace of mind, hope, control, confidence, respect, acceptance, love, answers. A life. A Future. A Chance. Inching ever closer..Do not deny me this intrinsic human right. I am no less, and no more, deserving of it than you. That which you accept unquestionally, unappreciatively, is my ultimate objective. That which you unknowingly take for granted, is all l desire, all l long for, all l crave with every fibre of my being. I am not looking for your pity, just your understanding. I do not wish you to fear me, simply accept me. I am not seeking an excuse. I merely desire your compassion. I am the face of mental illness, and l am Real.

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