MUSHROOM m i n d

By Steph Raymond All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Poetry



The bright lights in the office were beginning to give her a headache

as she waited somewhat anxiously for her name to be called.

Now that Gemma was finally getting the help and support

she sought her entire emerging life,

it was easier for her to

challenge chaos with creativity

and c u r i o s i t y ;

surrounding herself with literature and nature

helped her to control the

lows and transitions with

t r a n s f o r m a t i v e t h o u g h t s

rather than

destructive ones.

And now she knew to take advantage of her hypo-manic states by



planning fun activity’s for the family

and utilizing her creativity in an abundance of different fashions.

She was still in the process of having her medicine in proper proportion to her illness

and so she still had to be careful,

especially when she was alone.

“Gemma.” A blonde lady said,

whom she recognized as her optometrist;

though she hadn’t seen her in seven years and

was long overdue for a check-up.

Without a word Gemma followed her passed the main room with walls stacked with glasses,

into the hallway that held the examination rooms.

They began the examination right away and Gemma did her best to name

the different sized letters as they changed on the wall ahead.

They came to the conclusion that Gemma would need a slight adjustment

to her contact prescription and so Kathy, the eye-doctor,

turned on the lights to fill out a form.

“How old are you?”

She asks her suddenly,

eyes having paused on her wedding ring.

“Twenty five.”

“Oh my goodness.” She says,

“I have a son your age

and I can’t even imagine him married.”

Gemma smiled politely,

“different strokes

for different folks I guess.”

She hated herself for using such a cliché during a conversation,

but didn’t always know how to navigate with small talk.

“Well, it’s just he’s still in school.

He wants to get his masters.”

“Wow, that’s wonderful.”

“I know right.

He wants to work with kids who have a hard time

transitioning from home to college and university

because of mental health problems.”

Gemma’s heart lifted,

knowing fully how important such support was...

how she could have used someone like that

during her own University experience.

“That’s actually a lot more important

than most people realize. That’s so great.”

“You’re right, mental health is very important

and there needs to be more open conversation

about it and more education about it too.

You know that boy who passed away,

from your home town?”


“He was my friend.” She said simply.

“Well my son, he went to,

you know that environmental camp

with Mich growing up...”

Gemma was familiar with the exact camp that she became a part of during her teenage years.

“And I think everything really affected him.

And you know,

his mother was telling me that she hates that his friends blame themselves

for what happened to him.

For not knowing the kind of help he needed.

But she feels like she blamed herself too,

because she feels like she did the wrong thing

by trying to hide his illness.

Or pretending as though everything was normal.

No one really knew about it,

and therefore could not offer him proper support.

And it’s just so powerful that people are realizing

the importance of being open about mental illness.”

Gemma let Kathy go on, soaking everything in, completely

r e f r e s h e d

by her own grasp on the importance of conversation concerning

mental health.

It made her realize two things.

Firstly, that perhaps, through conversation and education,

her family and friends could finally get to know and understand her.

Secondly, that she herself had to stop hiding that part of her identity for her own sake.

How could the people around her support and comprehend how different life was for her

if she never talked about the things she feels?

Besides, spending almost twenty-five years

p s y c h o l o g i c a l l y a l o n e

and confused

had been lonely enough without prolonging it now that she had

an accurate diagnosis and better understanding of her own

p s y c h e .

Maybe now she didn’t have to hide.

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