All posts by Allison Burke

Allison Burke is an international bestselling author of seven literary works, including The Sandman, proceeds of which are donated to the AFSP. She also writes for Geeks Unleashed and manages In the Clouds Independent Publishers.

So Say His Girlfriends

by Neesa Suncheuri

His smooth skin shines brightly.
I’m overwhelmed with warmth and wonder,
It’s not a choice to fall in love.
His eyes tell glad stories he never reveals outwardly,
Hypnotizing me when he smiles,
Fueling my unspoken imaginations.
Thoughts of HIM intersect with hopes for romance,
I invent a perfect relationship with HIM in my mind,
Playing parts of both HIM and myself within myself.
In the vague shadows of my dreams,
He stands before me openly.
But all we do is gaze at one another,
No hands ever holding, neither arms embracing.
We say nothing to one another,
But merely feel each other’s spiritual presences.
I think of HIM every waking moment,
Which is clear evidence that we are soulmates.

Continue reading So Say His Girlfriends

Unique, Volume 2

By Stacey Lehrer

EDITOR’S NOTE: Get caught up here on Unique’s story.

The summer I visited Unique in a rural Appalachian town was the first time I went to see her on my own. There were some indications that the agency wasn’t the best or safest, but Unique said that things were okay. Later that summer I started having trouble getting in touch with her – every time I called, the staff would tell me she wasn’t there. I eventually found out that she was in the hospital, her first psych hospitalization in years. It was the beginning of a very different phase of her life. The next few years were a constant cycle of hospitalizations. She was chronically suicidal, desperate to find a way to end the pain she was feeling. I got really good at tracking her down, and at getting the staff in various psych units to let me talk to her even though I never had the magic “code number” at the start of each new stay. She was in one rural psych unit often enough that the staff recognized my voice and didn’t even ask for the code number anymore. She started saying things that didn’t quite make sense, talking about the agency administrators bugging her phone and stealing her belongings and stalking her. The agency was shut down not long after, so it’s not too far-fetched that there was some sketchiness happening and her brain was trying to find a way to make sense of it.

Continue reading Unique, Volume 2

Prognosis Poor to Fair

by Darick Taylor

I danced naked—primal and ecstatic—
a chasm opened by crumbling synapses
where the drugs had been.

The benzodiazepines and dextroamphetamine
were given to me by cold men who saddled me
with a prognosis of “poor to fair.”

This was the initiation rite:
to survive the long dark
of being something both more and less
than human.

The god-shaped hole in
my chemically damaged brain
was met with a constellation of deities
as the universe poured into its blackness.

I lay hallucinating—
an eternal terror of being outside of time
where the vast vacuum of meaninglessness
at least trembled at my unwillingness
to give up and die—

as so many others had, would, and will.

Darick Taylor is a mental-health advocate and survivor. He studies Converged Communications at Florida State College at Jacksonville, and he hopes to use his growing skills in media production to combat stigma and support all people who experience mental illness.