Mental health is a massive problem in our society, and prevents some people from enjoying their life and coping with the stresses of the modern world, which can be a pressurised and noisy place. We are constantly bombarded with things we ought to buy, things we ought to be doing and the demands of full time work with insufficient leisure and family time. Some people who know me might be aware that I suffer from depression from time to time. I also have anxiety, indeed the two often go together. I am fortunate that these are relatively mild, and I have developed strategies to overcome them when I feel they are starting to dominate. I am very confident in some areas of my life, but I am also a highly sensitive person, and things can affect me for years. For example, my anxiety around travel alone at night stems from an experience when I was only 17, and coming back from a theatre trip by train.
I don’t very often write about my struggles, but occasionally a few poems do make themselves known and insist on being written. When Isabelle Kenyon asked for poems on mental health for a new anthology she was compiling, I sent her three poems on the topic and was delighted when she wanted to include them all. Mental health is an important part of well-being, and problems can strike anyone at any time: it does not discriminate. I decided to send the poems because we all need to talk about mental illness. It should not be a taboo subject. It is not a sign of weakness. It can be a sign of bearing too much for too long in silence. It is an illness like any other, but one which is neglected and under-funded. The book is a charity anthology for MIND, and all profits go to that organisation. So in buying the book, you will be learning, helping, and reading some vert accessible and honest poems too. I don’t want to single any one poet out, but I have been reading my copy and I can see there is something here for everyone.
Isabelle has structured the book in sections, and it represents a journey through pain and the recognition of difficulties, to a more positive ending where solutions are being found, help is sought and given and some sunshine asserts itself. It is not a depressing read, but a fascinating one.It covers a wide range of experiences and there is plenty of light and shade. There are well known poets included alongside the more obscure.
It is a lovely thick book, with plenty of white space around the poems. It feels good in the hand and is easy to flick through and dip into. It is available on Amazon for £10.99 post free. https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=please+hear+what+im+not+saying