Don’t Breathe a Word


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Songs and Poems
By Anne Marie Brian

ISBN: 978-1-84991-011-8
Published: 2009
Pages: 113
Key Themes: poetry, manic depression, love, recovery, empowerment



These songs and poems have been written over the past 20 years, usually when I have been in a “high” phase of bipolar disorder (manic depression). I am always very creative during these times, and tend to stay up late scribbling away. I have been a writer of sorts for the whole of my life. I have written a novel which was rubbish and ended up in the bin. For 25 years I have written letters to a penpal which, incredibly, she has kept, so maybe one day they will be “discovered” and published posthumously! I play guitar and some of the songs in this book have tunes and chords and everything, but to date I have only recorded four of them. I hope you will enjoy reading my work. It is not my intention to offend anyone, but I want to stick up for people who find themselves on a psychiatric ward, because it can be a terrifying experience.

About the Author

Anne Marie Brian was educated at a Convent school from which she was expelled at the age of 14. She was born in Hammersmith, London, in 1959.
She did not like school much but managed to obtain a smattering of qualifications later on.

She had her first “breakdown” at the age of 26, when delirium tremens was incorrectly diagnosed as a drugs overdose, and treated with a cocktail of psychiatric medication. Her consultant psychiatrist said at the time that she would be in hospital for two years, but her parents kept her at home, and three months later, she was off all the medication and back at work.

At the age of 30, while in the middle of a degree course, Anne Marie was hospitalised, sectioned, and labelled “schizophrenic”. Six months later, after her release from hospital, she stopped the injections of modecate and recovered sufficiently to work full-time, and so her consultant psychiatrist changed her diagnosis to “manic depressive”.

In 1994 Anne Marie had son, Callum. Despite all the negative input from psychiatric services, who harrassed her to such an extent that she had a breakdown when seven months pregnant, she not only successfully raised Callum, but also home-educated him from the age of 7.

Anne Marie lives with Callum and her partner, Iain, in Berkshire.

Book Extract

My Love is Unfaithful

Into my pillow I softly weep
I cannot find comfort in sleep
Though my Love
Is playful, joyful,
I despair when he’s unfaithful
I can smell the tempting kisses
Of this cunning liquid mistress
Coming in delicious forms, she
Seduces him
With poisons warm
That sweet lure of liquor beckons

And the first one’s down in seconds
And, though he swears he’ll give her up
There’s always one more little sup
I cannot kill her with a sword
Nor with a thousand chosen words
Her magic’s of a deadly kind
The spells she weaves will drive him blindly to – oblivion!
While he’s deaf to my cries
And the tears in my eyes
He mistakes for laughter

‘Illness’ or ‘Ability’?

I can …

Fly like an angel

Across the sea

And love everyone

Even if they hate me

I can …

Smell the sun

On the trees

And instantly put you

At your ease

Or listen to the grass

And feel the running feet

Of ages past

I can …

Look into your eyes

And see your ancient soul

And hug you

Until you feel completely whole

I can …

Catch the moonlight

On the lake

And tangled cobwebs

Made of lace

To weave an Elvin gift for you

I can …

See the world

In a single flower

And look around

For fruit that’s sour

And taste if first, so you don’t thirst

I can …

Catch a rainbow

For all to see

And dance in the light

That follows me

And in my mind’s eye perceive

Prophets of old

In raiments of gold

I can …

See God in the faces

Of people I meet

Especially the poor ones

On the street

And, feeling the love

They badly need

Try to protect them from

This world of greed

I can …

Let down an onion

Into your hell

And as I chant my ancient spells

A kindly spirit

In my heart

Beckons me to take your part

I can …

Write a Sonnet in sixty seconds

And hum a tune

Until fame beckons

Or dance in the nude

And make you laugh

Until you ache for solitude

I can …

See the face of Jesus

In an ordinary window

In can breathe

The changing seasons

Like a silver minnow

And see the world in the eye of a fly


Climbing higher

Walk into the sky

What am I?

To you, “Bipolar”

But, in ancient times,




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