18 Oct

I recently attended an online mental health summit with 10.999 other participants from around the globe. This poem was inspired by this overwhelming response from the Christian counseling fraternity. 

You’re not sick 

Hi, I’m Alex I just heard I have cancer

 I’m gutted I told my best friend He said; 

“Shame Alex, sorry to hear that buddy.”

I thanked him for his sympathy He said; 

"Seventy percent kick the Big ‘C’ into touch nowadays.” 

Then he added; 

“Don’t worry bud, I’m here for you.” 

Hi, I’m Susan I had a kidney transplant three months ago

I haven’t cooked a meal since I got home

My friends set up a roster to feed my family every day

Hi, I’m Greg I fell off a ladder last week

Broke my collarbone

My mate Doug moved in that night to take care of me

He drives me to work

Shops for supplies

Cooks and cleans

He’s an angel

Hi, I’m Catherine I’m forty-seven

I’m depressed

I’ve had recurring bouts of depression since I was sixteen

When I asked my parents for help they said;

“You’re not sick snap out of it.”

“You’ve got so much to be grateful for.”

“You’re still a kid, don’t be silly.”

My husband left me five years ago He said;

“I never signed up for this. You’re sick in the head.”

He called me a narcissist and said;

“The world didn’t revolve around you.”

I lost my job last week

My thirteenth job in as many years

I had too many days off

I was ashamed to tell them there were days I couldn’t get out of bed

I attempted suicide once


My father said;

“When are you going to stop looking for attention?”

I asked him for help, and he said;

“You’re not sick. Snap out of it.”


Hi, I’m Joanne I’m a mental health counsellor

 I’m so encouraged today

I have this client

Her name is Ronda, not her real name

She’s been seeing me for three months

I’ve seldom seen a person in the state she was in on our first meeting

She told me about her bouts of depression 

They began when she was sixteen

Her father told her she wasn’t sick

He told her to pull herself together

I told her she was

I told her not to be ashamed about it

I told her it was a mental health issue

I told her I would be there for her

I told her we could walk a path together back to health

Through her flowing tears she sobbed;

“You’re the first person to understand me.

The first one who has ever told me they would support me.

The first person to tell me I’m sick, in a loving way.

Thank you.”

After today’s session she confidently said;

“Joanne, this will be our last session.

Thanks to you, I can do life alone.

I am no longer sick.

Now my father is right.” 

A poem by Andrew J Smith October 2023 © All rights reserved

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