Freedom and Independence Mental Health Writing Bipolar

Bipolar, You Can Not Break Me

I am taking a wonderful writer’s workshop/workout with Nadine Kenney Johnstone on Monday’s.  It is closed off for membership for the time being, but it is worth watching her website to see when it opens up for new members again.

Last week she read two amazing poems by Maya Angelou.

Phenomenal Woman and  Still I Rise

Then Nadine asked us

To do a quick short piece where your character is talking from a fierce place. Freewrite. Showcase the power within someone. What does it look like internally and externally?

I have never written poetry before. I never thought I could. Poets boggle my mind, how they use the right words, the right cadence so eloquently.

I AM NO MAYA ANGELOU!! I am so far from her, her spirit and brave thoughts, her challenges.

But I found myself writing this, my first attempt at something new. Good or bad poetry, it is me.



Bipolar you cannot bring me down, you cannot break me.

You did that, but now I am stronger. I have battles fought, I have risen beyond them.

My soulmates surround me, my friends give support.

I am learning to be fearless and not hide. I am stronger in the open, not cowered and stooped, not curling into myself.

I stand straight and taunt you to come at me again.

My warrior self will uplift me, I can fight, I can stay rooted.

I have words to bring you down. I have soul to lift me up.

There is beauty to ring in new days and sunsets to dip into slumber, relaxed, content.

Happy and whole.

My husband encourages me, my groups encourage me, my writing encourages others. I am not alone. We are not alone.

I have seen what solitude did, my agoraphobia, my darkened halls.

I am better in the midst of others.

I don’t shuffle like the past.

I march onward. 

I wear flowy now, and color. Gone are the prisons of my black and gray. My uptight and constricting.

My wrist jingle and shine.

My neck rises from the circles of metal and leather and stones. My head is upright and strong.

I look forward. I look beyond. I see possibilities.

My ears are decorated, music penetrates and makes me dance. Dragging my feet is obsolete.

Bipolar, you may still touch me, but you will not bring me down.

I have learned lessons, gained wisdom, and let myself fly.

There is no more torture. 

There can still be pain, but I will not tumble into the abyss.

I can fall, but the softness of others and my will to be here will capture and let me descend slowly.

I will not break.

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  • Reply
    Amy Bovaird
    February 9, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    I really like this. It shows vulnerability and strength at t he same time. It is beautiful. My brother is bi-polar and we have seen him at his most vulnerable, and then in his strong moments. I hope he stays well. My best to you. PS Your class sounds terrific!

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 9, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you Amy! Mental illness is a weird bird. Sometimes you go off on flights of fancy and destruction for you and those around you, and then you plunge. I know it caused me many friendships, particularly before I was diagnosed and we had a better understanding of what was going on and how to treat it. I wish you brother and your family the best. Yes, my class is fantastic. I only started writing last year, but I can honestly say the writing groups and workshops I have participated in gave me the stability I needed to organize around and provided friendships that empower me. Thank god for ZOOM session, right?

  • Reply
    February 8, 2021 at 8:17 pm

    I’d say Maya would be proud of you, and the rhythm of your words. Nadine asked you to bring the fierceness and the power within. Looks to me like you met the challenge in fine form, Ria.

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 9, 2021 at 8:06 am

      Ah, your comment is so nice to hear! Even if Maya could approve and say keep writing, keep working, I would be thrilled. I am so glad you liked the poem.

  • Reply
    Anne Bader
    February 8, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    Ria, that is so beautiful, and so inspiring. I love it, and I applaud your courage for putting your work, your self out there. Deep bow and appreciation.

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 9, 2021 at 8:03 am

      Thanks, Anne! Funny, the more I talk about all of my past and my illnesses the less power the have over me. Never thought I could be so happy and fulfilled.

  • Reply
    Nikki Rodwell
    February 8, 2021 at 4:33 pm

    That poem has just made me cry .. it’s incredible ❤️ Thank you x

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 9, 2021 at 7:58 am

      Thank you Nikki! It is nice to know my work can touch people.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Absolutely loved this. I’m no poet either, so I can’t judge structure or form, but I love the depth and the feeling your writing evokes. Absolutely love it.

    • Reply
      Ria Talken
      February 8, 2021 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you so much, Vanesa. I learn more about myself and the craft of writing every day and love all the possibilities I am seeing. Each workshop or writing group presents something new to explore. I really appreciate your kind words.

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