A Heartbeat of Hope by Gary

Not long out of hospital again, where I received little care.
Feeling powerless and hopeless and so full of despair.
My ‘life’ has been traumatic, distressing, I long to be free.
Yet, I don’t deserve kindness from others, let alone me!

I noticed an event called Compassionate Mental Health.
With support from others, I booked it and found strength.
The thought overwhelmed me, I have no words to explain.
But I knew I needed to begin to free myself from my pain.

But how could I get there? the journey would take forever.
A lovely lady went out of her way, and we travelled together.
What an act of overwhelming kindness to start the first day.
Car sweets, chatting, laughing and bonding the whole way.

The tent, the beautiful people, the real life human company.
The joy in morning when someone made me a cup of tea.
How different it felt when there was just no preconception.
Sitting round a log burning stove we made a real connection.

No ‘them and us’, no mention of illness, disorders or labels.
Instead, equals, human beings, were some of the phrases.
At this gathering I felt the true warmth of so many caring folk.
This feeling enveloped me like a kind of empowering cloak.

No~one afraid to show their emotions, I felt incredibly safe.
Mirrored in the faces of others, my worth I began to embrace.
Telling part of my story in a circle, was ‘held’, heard and loved.
I cried, wasn’t judged and even allowed myself to be hugged.

The power of the deep emotional human contact was so real.
Within me the scared little girl knows now she deserves to heal.
I realised I matter, the people in the forest helped me to see.
I’ve begun writing a list of small steps to care and be kind to me.

I sit alone again but with the memories of the camp in the wood.
The feeling is still there, that feeling of being totally understood.
Three days of unconditional humanity, something in me awoke.
I know what it is, I’ve had time to reflect it’s a ‘heartbeat of hope’!


This poem was written by Gary after attending the Compassionate Mental Health gathering in October 2017.

If you’d like to be part of the November 2018 gathering, book to join us

Here’s a video about Compassionate Mental Health


1 reply
  1. Max Lewy
    Max Lewy says:

    From one poet to another, it was a pleasure to read this lovely verse. Well done to the writer, and I’m so glad she or he seems to be finding their footing and a place of belonging here. I must say it me smile.

    However, I must also say that as a victim of extreme iatrogenic trauma myself, who is also something of a political dissident, my unhappy experiences in the past lead me to a fairly pessimistic outlook about human beings in general, and I find the description of warmth and coziness almost too good to be true. In other words, the need for a soothing consensus must always be balanced against a need to embrace genuine, often quite bile-fueled dissent (the almost inevitable product of real trauma)… otherwise to my mind it is a faux-togetherness that is being created: an environment that is so ‘inclusive’, that only people who are totally ‘inclusive’ of absolutely everything are allowed to be there ! That is what we sadly find so often nowadays.

    The poet speaks of her tears being accepted without ‘judgement’. Tears are a beautiful expression of human emotion. But, there are other expressions, less charming perhaps, that just as badly crave recognition… would they also embrace her/his snarl? Perhaps they would. Just my two cents!

    I sincerely wish everyone involved with this excellent project the best of luck in all their endeavors, and especially of course, in rallying against this tyrannical pseudo-medical regime – us ‘crazies’ are counting on all of you! – and may the author of this awesome poem continue to find the healing and nurturing environment they deserve. Blessings, Max J. Lewy, author of the recently released ‘Madness: a form of love’


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