You see the smile upon my face

It doesn’t match my thoughts

It’s my protection, my defence to keep you out

It’s not what I feel at all

Inside I’m confused, conflicted, torn

I don’t know what to do

My mind doesn’t always work like yours

I live with mental illness too

Those things you don’t give a second thought

Plague me every moment of the day

What are they thinking? Are they looking at me?

I hate this. I’m drowning. I just want to say

To share with you the other symptoms that I deal with now

Racing heart, restlessness, they give it away somehow

They’re tell tale signs my anxiety is growing

No sign of my heart slowing

I tap my feet and breathe in deep

Try to concentrate

But my mind is overflowing

The smile you see upon my face

Holds thousands of secrets back

It stops them coming out to you

When the odds against me are stacked

Some days I feel fine

And that’s harder to understand

Why this unstable mood in me

Which controls my every plan?

One moment I’m happy, elated beyond words,

But I know how fragile that is.

With one wrong word or unwanted thought

I plunge down into depths unheard.

And sometimes I’m not there at all

Not present, can’t feel a thing

Emotionally numb and blinded by

A great big dark abyss.

Then rage may build

Or just suddenly appear

My mind overrun with thoughts

I may not seem sincere

But when things change so quickly

Thoughts and mood and need

How can you constantly say without sounding fake indeed

With emotional extremes beyond control

And thoughts to match the pain

Unwanted voices, and visions too

I get given the label ‘insane’

I live a different life to the ‘norm’

Often in my own reality too

And on those days I cannot tell the difference between me and you

I can’t tell what’s real for everyone else

Or what’s there for only me

It’s a very scary place

When safe is what you want to be

I hear voices, conversations, and much more

Conflict, blackmail, taunting, that’s just the beginning and I swore

I swore I’d never give into them, but when they’re your only constant

You give up control, give into them, and see them as true monsters

Or people that appear to you

There’s more things others can’t see

Cannot hear and feel  but yet still, they’re very real to me

So a positive comment to someone close

Becomes my battle cry

For if i cannot feel good myself

To make those i love feel it, I try

On my face is a big smile

You cannot hear a sound

You don’t hear the desperate cries

Of the child who falls further down

Docs have  tried a cocktail of chemicals

To try and balance my brain

Along with intense therapy

That’s all my energy taken away

So then to try and face the day

Get through each hour by hour

It seems an impossible task

Yes daily I use all my power

I give my all to join you in

What’s considered a normal day

Get up, get dressed, get out of the house

When in bed I want to lay

Leave me alone, don’t get too close

Don’t leave me by myself

The conflict constant, and endless pain

To work through my thoughts: a daily strain.

Imagine being conflicted with what you feel and think

With what you know you need to do, but deeper and deeper you sink

Into the lows where nothing matters except not getting out alive

To intense highs where you can take on the world, everything in your stride

And that’s just the beginning of how this illness affects me

Yet on my face each day, a smile is all you’ll see.

All I want you to take from this

Is to understand for me

Even though there’s a smile upon someone’s face

That’s not always their reality, you see?

Sometimes smiles conceals pain

Sometimes it may be true

But a simple question  of ‘how are you really doing?’

Is enough to get someone through

And if you’re the one hiding, holding everything back

You’re responsible too

To take that risk and be honest to those you want to know you.

So be understanding and tolerant of one and other

You never know who’s using a smile as a very clever cover.