Time: 2001, the year of eleventh grade.
Place: Office of my mental health therapist.
I’ve made a little gorilla for you.
You can place him here by the tissues.
He’s made of beeswax shaded ecru.
He’ll listen as I talk of my issues.
To me, he represents a story,
A quarrel between mind and heart.
He fights my sad emotions with glory,
And empowers me to take apart…
The behaviors of all the people around me,
The social injustices that serve to astound me,
The logic of simpletons which confound me,
The rules of society which surround me.
Sam over there, that boy ignores me.
Why does he do so? Does he abhor me?
I have a best friend, but I truly hate her.
A closeted lesbian? Do I want to date her?
I don’t understand why I hate my friends.
No one has depth, it’s just clothes and trends.
I want to date, but I’m not attractive.
My brain clouds my face, it’s psychoactive.
No longer have I personality.
I’m a victim of sheer rationality.
Unable to follow my heart or instinct,
My intuition, it’s now extinct.
You, my therapist, always tell me to cope.
“You’re an intelligent person. Never give up hope.”
Deep in my mind, I know that I’m tough,
But your words of encouragement, they’re not enough…
That’s why I’ve sculpted this ecru gorilla.
He’ll stand his ground with quiety.
He’s perfectly made, I’ll name him “Vanilla.”
He’ll fight away my anxiety.
I know that it all starts in my brain,
That’s why I’m here today.
I hope one day, I won’t have to complain,
And my illness will go away.
Neesa Suncheuri works as a mental health peer specialist at a housing agency in Queens, New York. She is the founder of a Facebook discussion group for peer specialists and other recovery enthusiasts, entitled “What is Wellness? A Mental Health Discussion Group.” Much of her creative inspiration is rooted in her now-tamed schizophrenia. She is a singer/songwriter, and performs in various venues in the city. She writes poetry, maintains a blog and is currently working on a memoir. Follow her on Twitter at @aquariumspeaks.