Every Day For One Year I Sat Down and Wrote Myself


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10000 in stock


By Bridget Conway

ISBN: 978-1-78382-300-00
Published: 2016
Pages: 375
Key Themes: poetry, self help


This collection of poetry follows my journey of mental health recovery from May 2015 to May 2016. One day, amidst a dreary morning spent wasting away hiding under my bedcovers, hiding from the world, I decided to write a poem. I used to love writing poetry, and I was so sick, so out of place, and so alone, that I thought I might as well give it a go. Nothing else was working for me at the time: not the medication, not the hospitalistation because I was suicidal, not the frequent psychology sessions, not the constant string of messages from family and friends who were concerned about me. So I wrote a poem, and I felt a release from myself. Getting that time out from my own worrying mind is something anyone who has ever experienced a mental illness can tell you is an incredible moment; it’s so precious that you never want to let go of it. So, I vowed to myself to try writing a poem every day, so that I could feel that jolt of life run through me when I had all but given up.

This project became my lifeline over the coming weeks and months. If I couldn’t get anything done on any given day because I was so sick, I could at least say that I was able to write a poem. You’ll notice that I missed some days, however, and you can be sure that on those days I was not feeling well at all. The absence of my words are the absence of my strength on that particular day and the blank page speaks volumes about what it’s like to live with a mental illness every single day. It’s never cut and dry, and it’s often riddled with ups and downs.

Looking back on that year, I’ve learned many things about myself and about taking care of my health, but one in particular I’d like to share here. You see, I am not fully “recovered” and I may never, ever, live a normal and carefree life. My mental illness was and is still a big part of my life, and I will carry it for as long as I live. After a year of writing poems and then re-reading what I’ve written, I can see my progression towards a more positive way of life, but I can still see places for improvement, growth, and learning. I am not totally okay, but the difference is that now; I am all right with the fact that I am not always feeling or acting perfectly. I am human after all; I make mistakes and I’ve lived through traumatic and difficult experiences, but I made it through and I will continue to push through anything that comes my way. I’ve developed a set of tools for when I need to fight, and I have them by my side, at the ready.

I have not recovered, but I have come to terms with who I am. I will still have bad days, but they will be less and less, and I will manage them and continue on. The bravest thing I can do is to keep on standing up at the end of every battle, victorious, possibly bruised and battered, but still here.

I still do something every day for my mental health, it’s changed from writing a poem every day to making a painting every day, and every year after this I will try something new. This is what I do for my mental health; the sense of routine and the achievement of what I have to show for it after a year have given me a sense of belonging and self-love that I haven’t found anywhere else. It works for me; it may not work for you or people you know, but that’s the beauty of us, we are all unique. So get out there, and do what’s right for you.

About the Author

Bridget Conway grew up in small-town America and lives up to her Irish heritage: she’s incredibly passionate and headstrong. Upon turning 18 she travelled halfway across the world to Sydney, Australia in the hopes of finding adventure and freedom. Upon arrival she claimed the ocean breeze and the busy streets of the Aussie hotspot as her home and has never looked back. She studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and Theatre at the University of New South Wales, and completed an Honours year specialising in literature that explored the voices of animals. From there she jumped between jobs as a florist and as customer service representatives for companies she didn’t like. Life started to take dark turns for Bridget in 2012, and she was formally diagnosed with depression and generalised anxiety disorder. Bridget was now an outsider of society, and the way she looked at things began to change. The storm of her illness became unbearable in March 2015 and she was admitted to hospital for risk of self-harm. Her eyes were opened wide as she contemplated her position in life, sitting there in the grey and listless mental health ward. Things had to change, and she realised it was up to her to do the hard work. Bridget turned things around in May 2015 by starting a daily exercise to take care of her mental health, and like most things in life, she has tackled the project with Irish zeal. Over a year later she now works as a support worker for mental health clients, is studying a Diploma in Youth Work, writes and edits for Lipmag, volunteers for Lifeline and The Smith Family, and continues her daily healing project into the realm of painting. She has learned to forgive herself and to love every mistake she makes, and, most importantly, to take things one day at a time.

Book Extract

My sleep hangs over my neck like a noose

I lifted off today and fell back down the side of the knife

The place near the bed sheets with the cat hair loosened and then released
Is where I hide best
From all the sunlight that burns deep

The problems that stack themselves like my lies
Into little piles of hard worn stones
Toppling ever so slightly in the breeze

The river of my body has moved like a laser today
Pierced the last breath of relief
And nothing has changed

Today is the same
Tomorrow is the same
Everything is the same

On the edge of my hopes
The same face stares back at me and asks
What are you?


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