Talking doesn’t feel like healing.
For me, talking feels like
opening old wounds
waking dormant demons
picking at infected scabs
exhuming ancient tombs
disrespecting my delusions
breaking down dams
giving titles to things
which should stay nameless,
seeing a photo of the monster
who is better off being faceless.
Writing, on the other hand…

They slice me open, head to toe,
and I bleed all over the room:
all over you and your box of tissues
all over her and her silk scarf and red clipboard
all over him and his little notepad and fancy shoes.

The blood pours and pours and
then suddenly you say, “Time’s up!”
and “See you in 6 months”
and I am shoved out of the door,
feeling more unstable than I felt this morning,
before I saw you all, before you made me talk.

I drip a trail of fear along the empty corridor
and the tears on my face crystallise
in the cold outside the ward.

The sky is grey, heavy with snow,
the clouds stained nicotine-yellow,
and I have no idea how I’m going to make it home:
even if I get there, I fear I’ll choke
on those regurgitated memories,
traumas that were so hard to swallow in the first place
but ones I must repeat on request, apparently,
coughing up my worries and sad stories
to another strange face in another “safe space”
in the hope that someone will help me,
will tell me finally
how to get rid of the vile aftertaste
of the badness that lives within me.

The wind blows straight though my body:
I peek beneath my blood-soaked coat and see that my chest is hollow.
I look down and follow the path of despair and see my heart,
lying there quietly just inside the door. I run but I’m not fast enough.
Over the sound of my sobbing, I hear the deadbolts locking.

I bang on the windows, screaming,
The evil receptionist appears and ignores my hysterical tears
“If you don’t leave…”
“But look what they did to me!”
“…we’ll phone the police.”
“He made me talk about all this shit and now I’m just supposed to deal with it? On my own?”
“I’m going to count to 3…”
“They can’t just open me up like that and leave me exposed to the memories,”
“I can’t take all of this trauma home with me, please, help me, please,”
“Help me, I just need to know how to fix me, please,”
“That’s it. The police are on their way,”
“How is it that I always leave therapy in a worse state than I was in when I arrived?
This doesn’t feel like healing to me, it feels like assisted suicide,”
“Get away from the door,”
“You were all supposed to help me but you only hurt me more.”

I run away from the scene of the gutting,
trying to hold my organs inside my body,
trying to delete the worst parts of my life story,
cursing myself for talking
and knowing nothing about sewing.

Talking is an essential part of healing and recovery. Talking therapies have proved to be beneficial to millions of people, and can save lives. Please do not let my individual experience discourage you from engaging in talking therapies ♥

Originally published at Free Verse Revolution here in response to the prompt ‘Healing.’


      1. Unfortunately that’s NHS mental health for you… understaffed and oversubscribed. I waited 2 years for DBT and was then told that I wasn’t even on the waiting list, I’d “slipped through the net.” The gov desperately needs to put more money into the service. Thank you for reading, OF xx

    1. Thank you!!

      It’s good to bleed but irresponsible of therapists to make someone bleed, then not help them to clean themselves up afterwards and just send them out into the world as a bloody mess.

      Nowadays it’s better for me to just bleed on the page ;) Thanks for reading and commenting xx

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