Pick Up a Pen

You grab the walls and put my head in your hands, 
Screaming and screaming until all air leaves your lungs, 
Scratch your hands and hold your wrists tight, 
There’s simply no way that any of this is real. 

You go into the garden and breathe in deep, 
You can feel the cold on your nose. 
Your hands turn to ice and start to become numb, 
The lines between reality and fiction are blurred. 
Flicking through pages and realising that  
Books are better than your mind, you think. 

Sitting and watching film after film, 
Devouring story after story, because 
No matter the fiction you absorb:
It is just that… Fiction. 

When you walk out of the cinema, 
The screen and blackness have gone, 
Now, only the light of day remains. 
Real life, sinking it’s claws into your precious brain. 
Run, run, the voice in your head shrieks, 
People around just watch with ache in their hearts, 
The realisation that you have gone, 
They can’t seem to get who they knew and loved back, 
Grasping at a vacuum, with repeated nothing… 
Empty space waiting to be filled. 

Corners are safe, you think, so you sit and wait, 
You wait until you feel at peace again, 
Waiting until you can fully be happy with the 
Real world. Nobody will ever be fully contempt, 
But some days will be better. 
Tears rolling down your cheeks, you feel like 
You’re in prison, with no release date. 

Trapped in your mind, you can’t hear a thing, 
Surrounded by friends and family,  
Yet you can’t see their faces. They know where you are, 
They will hold this memory until you can find your way back, 
Protect you if anything even attempts to cause harm… 

One day you look around and see their faces, 
It’s unbelievable and you ask, ‘What day is it?’ 
Somebody calls back, ‘Why it’s today, of course,’ 
You nod, knowing there is more. 

You start off quite shaky, understandably so, 
At least, though, you are glad to be home, 
Because there is nothing like the life you have, 
There are cracks in pavements and holes in roads, 
But without these, who would you be? 

You feel a pang in your heart as the darkness 
That consumes you threatens to come back and 
You feel all of reality come back, then 
Pick up a book and start to sit down, 
However, this time it is empty, with pages to fill, 
You think that maybe you’ve got a story to tell. 
Sensibly, you don’t dive straight in, 
Then one day you look and pick up a pen. 

Word after word comes pouring out 
And inky pages begin to fill up, 
Like the books you read, the stories begin to form, 
They piece together like a jigsaw puzzle. 
Friends and family stand with smiles on their faces, 
Proud to see the work you have created. 
They sit and read, page after page, 
They know that this isn’t fiction, they saw it with  
Their own eyes. Unlike book after book lining your shelves, 
This story is real, 
It’s one you’re proud to tell, 
You can hold it in your hand, it is yours and finally… 

You own it. 
 

Voices, Vices, Fighting and a Future

Settle, settle, quieten down,
My head is pounding,
All of you talking…
Give it a rest!
I don’t need your comments
When I am trying to get dressed!

You’re fat, you’re ugly and you have no worth
This isn’t needed in any sort of way.
Please stop being like that.
All I want is to have some tea
And you’re whispering in my ear
Telling me what I should be.

I am lonely, tired and you’re the only ones here,
But you’re just too loud,
You’re not what I need.
The voices screaming
Will not let me succeed.

Leave me alone!
I would rather have no sound.
My life will never get better
If I can’t turn it around!
You make me feel bad about my body
And my mind.
I need my time and opinions,
Otherwise I’ll go insane!
Is this what you care about or
Is it the control you enjoy?

There’s a door over there,
But a rope tied to my back.
Which way am I headed,
Which way am will I be on track?
There’s opportunities and a future
Shining as bright as the sun.
Please let me go
And start a new life.

Your words aren’t going to help me,
Maybe the doors will?
Understand, because you helped me get somewhere,
It’s just holding me back now,
You stay in your comfort zone and
I will move on.
Sorry for leaving you,
But staying would be wrong…

You Can’t Tell Me How to Feel

One of the things I have always found odd in my life is being offended on behalf of another, second-hand offense, if you will. I also wanted to start this post by saying that I am one of the biggest advocates for free speech.

When I was younger, I thought it was ‘normal’ when people would get upset over something they had heard or seen another person say or do. Having a disability often meant that people would make inquisitive comments. I look back on a lot of these moments and see them for the questions that they were, simply inquisitive.
They wanted to know why I walked the way I do, have the posture that I have, carry myself in the way I do. The problem was that many people, including family members, didn’t realise that I didn’t mind, as long as I knew that I was telling people the correct information too. Often being asked questions like, ‘Why do you walk like that?’ is frowned upon, but if you phrase it in a polite way, there’s no issue there, and everyone has the right to say that they don’t feel comfortable with telling you.
By far one of the best questions I overheard between my mum and sister when I was little was ‘When’s *birth name*’s poorly leg going to get better?’ I wouldn’t have minded telling my sister that I was born this way and it wasn’t going to improve, but my mum instantly said, ‘You can’t just ask these things!’.
An even better example of my sister making a gem of a comment about disability was when I was seven years old in Disneyland, making my sister five. She was riding in my wheelchair after her legs got tired from walking around the park all day and I was walking beside her when she suddenly exclaimed, ‘We’re so lucky *birth name* is disabled!’, I giggled, I couldn’t help myself, it was laughable! Straight away she was told off and she said, ‘but it’s true, we wouldn’t get through all the queues and meet all the characters or anything!’ and she had a very good point, in Disneyland the perks of my disability are so much more obvious! I look back on this memory and smile, she’s found a positive in my darkness, how can you scold someone for that?!
Not every person will be forthcoming to you with their issues, but others will be happy to tell you. The only thing is the way you phrase things.

Rather than asking, I have had this observation made on my first day on a particular ward in a psychiatric unit, ‘You walk pretty weird, don’t you, Kian?!’. This is definitely not the way to introduce yourself or start a conversation! However, one of the main issues I had with this particular was how people reacted, a friend instantly interjected with, ‘You can’t just say that!’. I was just ready to repeat my life story for the 200th time! I replied, ‘I have cerebral palsy,’ and the person instantly apologised, feeling embarrassed that he’d just told a disabled person that they walk weird! I looked to my friend who stuck up for me, and told them that they didn’t need to, and that they had no reason to be upset. I can stand for myself, even if it is a bit unsteady!

Unfortunately I am not only part of a single marginalised group, I am disabled, mentally ill, transgender with a boyfriend! Now, I know that I am, for sure, still in a privileged position for multiple reasons, but it means that people both online and in real life are still there to criticise you, make fun of you and get offended on your behalf. Mental health patients I have met make some of the edgiest jokes out of everyone! Disabled people make the best disability jokes! As long as I know my boundaries and my audience. This is the key with any statements that may cause offense or be personal towards others. Sometimes you don’t know what another person is going through, and that’s okay, you can’t always predict how another is going to react to anything you say, but as long as you don’t purposely say something again, there’s nothing wrong with just apologising and moving on.
Emotions are not things that you can hold for someone, nor are they something you can project onto another person. If someone were to make an edgy joke towards me or in general about something I am first-hand personally affected by, it should never be another person’s job to get upset about it for me, unless they also have those personal experiences, whether they be first or second-hand. Otherwise, if you have never been a part of it, how could you possibly be offended?

The dictionary defines offense as follows: ‘annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself.’. Yes, that is correct, for ‘oneself’, not each other. Nothing is inherently ‘offensive’ just because it’s edgy, there has to be context and it has to effect people on a personal level. I could say Monopoly is offensive because I have personally experienced bankruptcy, for example.

Now, some reading this might think of me as an absolute hypocrite, and you would probably be right, as there is one particular social media site that is a complete minefield when it comes to Social Justice Warriors, being offended on another’s behalf and spreading misinformation. Twitter is almost on par. For quite a few months I became completely enthralled by the world of social justice and feeling the need to tell people that particular things are things to be completely disgusted by, when they don’t even have anything to do with me. I have called out posts, jokes and things that people say, and I have no right to do so. In fact, I often went overboard and perceived certain things to be offensive when they were actually just light-hearted. In this modern day society, everyone seems to want to cancel each other and there’s no need!

Now, this is not to say that people shouldn’t call out things that other people have said, that isn’t the case at all. I would encourage any white person to be anti-racist. In the UK, we have a list of protected characteristics, including race, religion, gender, sexuality and disability. This means that these people should not be discriminated against. The problem with today’s society is that we often don’t know where the line is drawn between making mistakes, phrasing things in the wrong way and making jokes versus being openly discriminatory.

I know this was long and heavy, but I hope you can understand my views on these issues.

What Team Work Makes – A Poem

So, I initially wanted to write about the identities and about how many new ones have communicated to me and things, but due to a recent incident, I am not having good communication with the system. I can hear little whispers about me every now and then and hear them communicating to one another, but for now they can’t forgive me, so I have chosen not to focus my latest post on them. I’m hoping I will be able to write about them soon.

Here’s the poem I worked on today, and I hope you like it:

There’s something that’s changed,
I could feel it within,
First it was a burning,
Prickling on my skin,
Then I realised it was something deeper,
Hidden in my mind within…

It wasn’t even physical at all,
Every attempt of getting away,
Was like hitting a cold, brick wall.

People told me it would be different
this time, I simply disagreed…
There was no part of me that
believed that I could succeed.
I didn’t want to work with them,
and that was a fact,
But they said to get better I would
have to drop the act.

So I tried and tried,
With minimal success.
Some days it was a chore,
Simply to get dressed…

Now things are different,
I started working with the teams,
Now all my nightmares,
Have transformed into dreams.
I never thought that I would get this far,
Yet here I am, the only proof of my journey,
Is an array of scars.

Sometimes there’s still bumps
Getting in my way.
At least now I know,
I want to live to see another day…

Linking with Trains (Trauma Memory Storytelling)

TRIGGER WARNING: Supernatural, ghosts, witches, trains, suicide and mental health are discussed during this article.

When I was eleven, my best friend and I used to love making videos. In fact, I still do. There were two days, however, where there was something different about filming We were doing it outside, at night.
One night I got my iPod, excited and ready to make a new funny video with my best friend, it’s one of our favourite things we did together, I was so excited to share one of our new adventures with our friends, and probably also YouTube.
We sat at the top of the slide, it was autumn, so we were wrapped up and trying to stay warm. For some reason, despite it having been a pretty warm evening, it was chilly, scarily so. Still, we continued to sit there with our evening snacks, trying to warm ourselves up and laughing together.
After filming and enjoying ourselves for about forty minutes, we started making jokes about murderers and ghosts coming to attack us. When it all seemed like a little fun and games, we started to hear different, strange and somewhat alarming noises. They started off as little cooing noises and screeches, which we blamed on foxes, owls and night time creatures. We continued to laugh and then I said something along the lines of ‘If that’s the best you’ve got, you’d better try harder!’ and my friend and I just laughed.
That’s when everything grew colder, quieter. No laughter, no noise, just the wind rustling the leaves of the trees. I turned to my friend and said, ‘Oh my God, did you just hear that?!’. Without a noise, she nodded. Then we sat, listening, hoping to hear a similar noise again, just to check it wasn’t the creepiness of the darkness playing tricks on us, that’s when we heard it again. A loud whistle, followed by a screech.
I pressed stop on the recording, looked at my friend. We both climbed down the ladder of the slide, one after another, realising there was absolutely no appeal in using the slide right now.
We got back inside and covered ourselves with blankets to warm ourselves up, shivering We were still excited, but this time in a much more nervous way, a way that wasn’t the same as what we were used to. I knew that this video would be something private, that would never be edited, cut or displayed anywhere, other than on my iPod. Where it stayed for another four years, when I found it again.
  My friend was staying over for a sleepover that night. After a long time of watching films, eating snacks and general chatting, we decided it was time to go to sleep. Then at four o’clock in the morning I was awoke by my friend in tears, half screaming, half crying. All she said to me was that she was scared. We’d only been asleep for a few short hours at this point, but I woke up my parents to ask for my friend to be taken home due to her horribly upsetting, distressed state.

Only a year later, I came back to that video, once I finally had the bravery to go back and watch it. Watching it from beginning to the end. Most of it is boring An eleven year old boy and girl just chatting. Then the moment, the infamous moment from my memory came. The noises. The noises that still plague my memory today. My family home where I grew up was not far from an old, no longer used steam railway station. These noises seemed to resonate that of a train. I knew, though, that this train had not been used in decades. I used to hear stories about witchcraft surrounding that of the old railway station and also how it affected all children who used it. Did my friend and I experience a ghostly presence that night. A haunted child from the Victorian era? A witch perhaps.

That isn’t where the ideas about the trains ended, though. My life was suddenly constantly full of ideas and the sounds of trains. I was a big Harry Potter fan, so that steam train fascinated me. Then, when I was eighteen. About a year and a half ago, I had the worst mental breakdown I have had in my life, prompting me to repeatedly attempt suicide.
I was moved to a residential home in York, only a five minute walk from a level crossing. This was the day that would make me rethink the things that I was telling myself about the trains.
I climbed onto the level crossing barrier and started walking towards the oncoming train, watching the headlights quickly approach me. I wasn’t scared, I was ready. Then, a gentleman jumped over the barrier and guided me off the tracks. Once both our feet were off the tracks, the train whizzed behind us. We were missed by inches.
   I screamed as the train rolled away into the distance. That scream, and the noise of the train on the tracks was exactly the same as the sound of the video that had been on my iPod since I was eleven.

So, was this in fact a premonition sent to my best friend and I, warning us about the future we were yet to face, or was it the ghosts of the old railway station.
It’s been almost two years since this incident and I still question it now.
My iPod was smashed just over two years ago, and I can no longer find this video of my friend and I anywhere.

Will I ever get my answers?

So, I’ve had this blog for coming onto two years now. I’ve decided I’m going to start writing things a little differently. I’m still going to share my poetry, but I am also going to show some in depth memories. Some told in with a more story teller’s vibe (such as this one), while others will be solely from the heart, with no dramatisation.

Let me know what you think and thanks for reading, as always,

Kian

Key Worker and Nurses Day, from the Point of View of a Patient

Today was a chance for the patients to give back and have a lot of fun with the staff. A normal working day would not be put on hold to present an entire buffet of food to gorge on and have our very own Oscars ceremony.

It’s been amazing to see how hard the staff work and how we have managed to have a day to kick back, relax and have a lot of good fun.

The staff have been so incredibly strong, dedicated and helpful throughout the entire pandemic. For us, it feels as though it has barely changed the unit at all (despite the daunting face masks). There is still the same enthusiasm and good spirit between all of the staff and patients and we’re managing to have a good laugh and play games on the daily.

There were many highlights to the day, one of which was to present the staff with their own miniature Oscars, in categories such as ‘Best Hair’, ‘Loudest’, ‘Laughs the Most’ and, importantly – the ‘Best Picture’-esque award – ‘Most Dedicated’. Not only was it a great laugh, but it was one of the great ways to show our appreciation for everything the staff do for us.

Another fantastic opportunity to show what great staff we have and also what makes a great staff member was to have two staff and stick Post-It notes all over them with words and phrases to describe what being a good staff member or nurse would entail. Words such as ‘Forgiving’, ‘Dedicated’ and ‘Having a Good Sense of Humour’ were just some of the ideas spawned from this game. It was a great laugh to see two of our beloved staff plastered in sticky notes!

All of the Post-It Notes of the Day

One of the main realisations for me was that we simply don’t thank the staff quite enough for everything they do for us. Not only working long hours, but the amount of effort they have put in during these hours is what counts, and they really are dedicated. Truly, every single one of them deserves a ‘Most Dedicated’ Oscar for their complete and utter brilliance. It’s been a lovely day, but honestly I think the patients should definitely be showing their appreciation more often than just one day. A pandemic shouldn’t be the reason we finally tell the staff how much they mean to us, because without them, I wouldn’t even be here, writing this story.

Until the next story, Kian!

Polishing Turds – A Poem

Sitting and ignoring the session of arts and crafts,
Really Rebecca’s attitude was all a big act.
Then the moment hit,
Yes, I’m going to paint my shit!
Mixing the colours of gold and brown,
Rebecca noticed she was starting to feel less down,
The one thing is said, ‘You can’t polish a turd,’
Well, this one’s gleaming, yeah, you heard!
Now the poo sits there drying,
We realise Rebecca was lying.
She wanted to go to arts all along,
Even though this is a poem, not a song.

It’s clay, it’s not real, don’t worry!

The Truth

This is something I have been wanting to share is the pain of learning the truth of why you are ill and where it all came from. I could never fully write it out and share the truth and put it out there for people who know me well to read. That’s why I hide behind writing things well, and writing as if things aren’t as real as they really are. I hide behind poetry, hyperbole and using big words. It simply fictionalises everything that I actually experience. If I were to write about intense flashbacks, I would normally write them from a second or third person narrative, so that I’m not really sharing my truth, it could be anyone’s truth who suffers from PTSD or CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

So here’s one slam poem I wrote, differing from my usual style of writing and delving into the less structured fear of the real world:

You’ve kicked me while I was down,
I accepted that. I said that I deserved it,
What you put me through turned each
and every smile into a frown.
You made me fight the tears back
when all I wanted to do was cry.
You made me feel like the person
I was is one that deserved to die.
Well, I’m changing the story,
Because you shouldn’t be the one
To take all the glory.
Your shouts and screams,
Reverberate through my skull,
Even when you’re not with me
you manage to make my life dull.
I’m fighting back.
Justice should be served,
so I can get my life back on track.
You tell me that my memories are all wrong,
After working hard through it,
I realise my heart sings a different song.
What you did caused me anxiety,
Now I’m scared all the time,
Sometimes turning me into
someone that isn’t me.
You need to know how wrong you were, and are.
You victimise all those around you,
Making everyone feel bad
rather than the person they are,
A shining star.
Don’t blame me when no one wants to know you,
Because that’s when they finally realise what’s true.

Isolation – A Poem

Once a happy place,
Is now solemn and alone,
What I once saw as an escape
Is just endless walls a stone.
No matter how much I cry out
There is no one around to hear,
But I can still hear voices,
Voices that aren’t meant to be here,.

So desolate this place must seem,
But you’ve never been in a place like me.
To me, this was once a safe haven,
How I wish that it could still be.

Now I want company,
While I sit alone in my shack,
I think about the world around me
And how I want my old life back.
Some people may feel like
They want peace and isolation.
Well, what they don’t see is that the pain
Of being lonely can end up in total devastation.

The Machinist – Film Review

Honestly, I rarely knew anything about the 2004 psychological thriller before I clicked on it on Netflix, in times of boredom during this pandemic; all that I really knew was of Christian Bale’s ridiculous and dangerous method acting approach to the role as protagonist Trevor Resnik.
So, The Machinist follows a machine operator in a factor who suffers from insomnia, due to unrevealed trauma from, what is hinted at being, a year ago. The opening scene is intriguing and gripping, instantly drawing the audience in showing the broken and battered Trevor attempting to dispose of a body just when a torchlight shines brightly on his gaunt face and the question is asked by the unseen holder of the torch, ‘Who are you?’. It then flashes to the present time and Trevor turning to the fridge, with a Post-It note saying the exact words ‘Who are you?’ in all capital letters.
It was really effective to dull down the saturation of the film and show little colour. The factory where Trevor works is dark, dingy and dirty, as is his apartment, which really sets the tone to the film and also shows the emotion – or lack thereof – of the titular Machinist, Trevor.
Even in the few moments of the film where things were starting to look up for Trevor, the bleak saturation and lack of colour was clear. It wasn’t black and white, but it was nearing that. The only real colour that was brightly shown was the red, in particular of a character’s car, the villainous Ivan. This instantly draws more attention to the car and how important it is to the entire plot.
The film is exceptionally gritty and sometimes hard to watch as we see the life of Trevor slowly unravel into madness. Reality is deeply questioned time and time again. When it is revealed that the closest relationships that Trevor had formed were either ruined by his deteriorating mental health or completely fictionalised by his own brain. His love interest Maria and son Nicholas turn out to be completely untrue. The villain is not Ivan, it is in fact, Trevor himself.
Another love interest, the sex worker that Trevor develops a close bond with is real, but Trevor’s insomnia completely compromises the entire relationship until it completely crumbles before him. This is when the climax of the film begins.
Trevor, now without a job and no lighting in his home attacks Ivan. Who he earlier also tried to frame for a hit and run incident. He tries to dispose of the body, this is where the beginning scene perfectly ties to the climax. The carpet that contained the body is unravelled to reveal that nothing is there. At this point, Ivan is an antagonist after being the reason he has no job, when really it was due to an explosive mental breakdown. The torchlight shines, the question is asked, ‘Who are you?’. Behind the torch is none other than the evil Ivan!
Suddenly everything ties together, Nicholas, the child of love interest Maria is the dead victim of a hit and run incident perpetrated by none other than Trevor himself, in Ivan’s red, flashy sport’s car. A hangman Post-It that had been repeatedly put on Trevor’s fridge throughout the film, eight letters, day by day another letter and another piece of the hanging body is added until Trevor fills out the last letter for himself and adding the last body part himself proclaiming that he is the K-I-L-L-E-R.
Trevor then reports a second hit and run, this time telling the truth and placing himself into custody when it all ends with him saying, ‘I just need to go to sleep,’ and a final image of Trevor falling asleep in his cell, finally able to come to terms with the horrific thing he has done.
I would most definitely give this film a five star rating, for Bale’s acting alone, let alone the way in which the film was shot, the way each character felt so viscerally real, just like Trevor believed they were. Each character had a strange way of being relatable, while maintaining a harsh outside view, as we see everything entirely from Trevor’s perspective, like everything is completely against him and he is completely innocent and it is everyone else in his life who isn’t right. It portrays the dangers of not sleeping and the visceral reality of mental health and exactly how it can effect a person and those around them, with one character even losing their arm due to Trevor’s declining mental state. There is shown concern from everyone in Trevor’s life while he remains in denial of his problems, and this is incredibly accurate.
Finally, looking at this from a personal perspective, it hurts to show how much people can be unaware of in someone’s personal lives and how any type of trauma or turmoil could be what flips the switch into mental illness territory. It shows what lengths a person will go to, to prove that they are right and everything their brain tells them to believe is the truth. It shows the dangers of what can happen when there is no intervention for someone’s problems, but also that compassion can be found in the most unexpected places and that people genuinely care even when you seem like the most evil and horrible person in your own mind.
Now, although I have just spoilt the entire film for all of you, I urge you to watch The Machinist if you have a Netflix account, because no description will do justice to what a masterpiece the film really is.MV5BNjk1NzBlY2YtNjJmNi00YTVmLWI2OTgtNDUxNDE5NjUzZmE0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTc1NTQxODI@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_