Lockdown poem: In the Midst of Poison

June 2, 2020

Collage created by Finn Souter. Images selected by Basmah Mohamed from Pixabay.

Basmah Mohamed expresses the current pandemic’s impact on her mental health

We’re all awake in the same nightmare
Or perhaps I’m the only one asleep
Because the nightmare I’m awake in is
The chaos in my mind becoming frantically louder
I can’t tune it out
From the sound of the stillness of the world
But it’s easier to dream than it is to be awake and fall

Out of place

I have taken on so much
But have done so little
To take care of myself

And I’m falling apart
While I try and stitch everyone back in one piece
So I can lift what weighs them down
Before my own weights weigh me down

Isolated but not alone
And still living outside a body I should call home

I need to breathe
But the oxygen I breathe is poisonous to me
And I’m drowning in my own guilt
Yet it’s tragically beautiful how my heart still beats
Still I’m dead to the living and living to the dead
In a world where silence speaks to me the most.

Writing poetry brings me comfort, especially during these unprecedented times. It allows me to be vulnerable, to get in touch with all the emotions I am feeling and helps me cope with them a little better.

During the past few months, being in isolation, has definitely taken a toll on my mental health; fluctuating from periods of acute anxiety and depression to extreme highs. I found myself trying to do so much when I was really mentally exhausted. I later realised the two don’t work well together.

While it’s great to use this time to learn new skills, hobbies, and other cool stuff people are suggesting, the most important thing is to look after your mental health. Be sure to rest for as long as you need to. Even accomplishing small tasks, can at times, seem quite daunting. Try sticking to a routine: getting up and going to bed at the same time, eating regular meals, exercising and drinking plenty of water are a good start. If you can manage that you should be so proud of yourself.

If, like me, you are struggling with your mental wellbeing, please do reach out to friends and family for help. You can also find support here.

Basmah is a writer and poet from north London and has been working with Exposure for many years. You can find more of her work here.

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