photograph by Nikki Compson

photograph by Nikki Compson

By. Rachelle Foster

It’s been several months 

since I last wrote a poem.

Some time ago 

in dark days 

my creativity was stolen. 

In what seemed like an eternity

that passed by 

in a glum haze,

I struggled to transfer feelings

from my head

to the page. 

But I’m back now 

to tell you my story. 

And never again 

will I say that I’m sorry,

for taking some time out 

to deal with demons 

that forced me to struggle

with reality 

and reason. 

Every day 

I am showered with memories of hospital beds. 

Of white rooms,

sterile sheets, 

and people 

telling me there’s something wrong with my head. 

Up until now 

I’ve been embarrassed 

and I’ve kept quiet, 

when it comes to the conversation regarding mental health

incase I might start a riot

or be told that I’m lying. 

My granny always tells me 

that the best remedy 

for depression

is to have a cry on your own. 

But why should you cry on your own

if you’re already feeling alone?

We’re living in a world 

where we’re told 

to buck up 

shut up 

keep it together.

So excuse me for telling you 

that I’m at the end of my tether 

and that I still have to wish 

that the awareness

around mental health

would get better. 

Yeah yeah,

we’ve come a long way,

but in my darkest days 

my biggest fear

was being labeled 

crazy or insane. 

Because of this,

I lived for so long in denial 

and my illness had the chance to develop

for quite a while. 

Until it became critical.

And so 

I took so much longer to heal. 

So this one

goes out to all of you 

who are ‘staying strong’,

who are silenced

for fear 

that what they’re feeling 

is wrong. 

I’m here to tell you 

to not be ashamed,

that life is hard 

and it’s okay 

if it’s causing you pain.

But more people than you know 

are going through it too 

and once you start to open up

you’ll start to notice who 

and it might surprise you. 

Learn that talking about this 

is not a taboo. 

I’m Rachelle

I’ve been burned alive 

and crumbled to ashes

but like a phoenix, 

I rise.

I’m reborn 

and this time

I am back with more passion. 

Life doesn’t stop 

because you’ve been mentally unwell

and trust me,

while I know some days

are a personal hell, 

like I said; I have a story to tell. 

I’ve been diagnosed with terms such as 





but one thing I’ve learnt 

is that those labels don’t define me. 

They don’t measure me. 

They don’t describe to you 

the story of my recovery. 

And what they don’t tell you,

is that I wake up 

every morning

I battle my demons 

and to the skies 

I start soaring. 

What doesn’t kill you

but tries to 

does make you stronger. 

I know it’s fucking cheesy

but hang on a little longer,

listen to what I’m trying to say.

We only have night

so we can have day.

Darkness and light 

live within all of us.

We’re all the same. 

So don’t worry,

you’re not ‘going insane’,

today is just a bad day.

Things will get better,

I can promise you that. 

And the more you do

to keep your mind intact,

the brighter the sun will shine tomorrow

and that’s a fact. 

Take me 

as living proof,

that by speaking out

and being loud and proud,

you have nothing to lose.

You might inspire someone

or even yourself

with the stories that you have to tell. 

So sing them 

and shout them 

because they’ll only help

in battling the stigma 

towards illnesses in mental health. 


Rachelle recently trained at Brighton Journalist Works on their intensive fast-track course for her NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. She graduated in June 2018 and since then has gained multiple work experiences on Brighton-based news desks and been commissioned by national publications such as VICE UK. She currently teaches English to ESL students in Barcelona and is interested in freelance work to accompany her teaching hours.

Twitter: @rachellerfoster
Facebook: /rachellefosterjourno