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AManicDepressive Christmas

'Tis two weeks till Christmas and all though the house 
Not a thing is prepared and its quiet as a mouse 
The children are sad cause their mothers not there 
She's ill in the hospital- its surely unfair! 
But its happened before, and the kids have no hope 
That this will different - they'll just have to cope. 
It's been two long weeks since this relapse began 
When she went without sleep for a house spic and span 
Her speech was so rapid, they scare understood 
Her excitement and restlessness more than it should 
And her irritable mood, her anger and fear 
Were way beyond normal, that much was quite clear! 
Her family decided (it wasn't too soon) 
To hospitalize her that same afternoon... 
When they went down to visit the following week 
She no longer smiled....and would barely speak 
Her mood was so low she just wanted to sleep 
To be left all alone to think and to weep 
She stayed in her bed refusing all food 
Nothing they tried made a change in her mood 
The depression grew worse and the pain grew inside 
Till the only solution seemed to be suicide 
Then gradually the medicines given her worked 
She emerged from the dark to the world she had shirked 
The professionals call it manic depression 
Or bipolar disorder...but thats just an expression 
The people who have it really know best 
How this illness can be an impossible test 
To get back to the family I'm talking about 
It seems they will have to manage without 
The gifts and the turkey, the music and tree 
Given up happily all will agree 
In exchange for a wife and mother most dear 
Who'll be home from the hospital just in time for New Year! 
-c.s. 1992 



It seems that I have always travelled the path of sharpest stone 
never was the way soft to my feet 
even the branches of the path were as shattered glass 

and so I came across a pair of boots 
magical they seemed 
as if made of the finest goatskin 
they caressed my bones 
and chased the dreams away 

these boots though soft 
had a will of their own 
not many nights had passed 
before I wore them even to bed 

the miles moved under my feet 
and the path became furious and fast 
and distrustful 

soon pieces of gravel 
found their way into the most obscure cracks 
and itched and scratched my feet 
which had become soft without protection of their own 

new soles were nailed to the bottoms 
so I would be ever farther from the path 
more insulated from the sensation of walking 

then thicker soles and thicker again 
until, like Troy, even the journey stopped 
no one was asked for help 
so fearful was I that they might steal these leathers 

as the life inside my soul ebbed 
friends without guile 
gently slipped them from my weary feet 

walking the path of glass 
caused countless tiny cuts to form and bleed 
leaving a trail of my pain behind me 

friends without shame 
massaged the oil of their love nto my soul 
the cuts still formed but healing came faster 
until I walked the path 
head held high 
having learned to accept the pain of the journey 
as my reward for removing the boots 
of other travellers 

ef    apr 1996 


There isn't much left in this world that offers
much yet doesn't cost a cent.  The hug, freely given
and received, is an exchange between two people 
expressing shared thoughts and emotions.  It costs
 nothing in the currency of the world but its returns
 are many.

1. It can be used at any time and is fully returnable.

2. It can express emotions running the full range from
sympathy or despair to happiness or elation.

3. It can say "hello" or "good-bye with warmth and 

4. It can tell a friend in trouble "I really care, 
can I help?"

5. It can tell a sick person "I'm here for you, please
share my strength.

6. It has no unpleasant side effects.

7. It generates good will and elevates self esteem.

8. It offers comfort and consolation in a warm
non-invasive way.

9. It can simply be a gesture to say "I love you"
or "will you be my friend?"

10.It makes both parties feel cared about and accepted 
as they are.




Messengers cluster together, cornered, confused...
Shuuuttt   Dooowwwnnnnnn........
I become Bleak.
Soul starved.
A step off.
Thoughts gather at the junction, waiting for direction.

Ghost whispers..."step here, step there, smile, nod, complete the day."
I know the rhythm...distant, but familiar
I do it in my sleep.


Gears grind, shift.
One guard releases it's hold.  Then another.
Clear, open road scenery.  Light peeks through.
I move purposefully, confidently...there are tasks to be done.


The shadows explode!.  Brilliant radiance smashes in!!  Washes the soul with
glorious, delicious, escape!  EVERYONE is my friend!!!  I CAN DO ANYTHING!!!
Eyes wide, breath clear...I AM INVINCIBLE!!!


Gray wash.
I scramble to the side.
"Maybe I can outrun it this time."
Stumbling, sliding..down to my knees.
Fingers blanch through tightened grasp.


Messengers return from the round trip.
Patiently waiting instruction...
needing to know..."what next"?

                               - Linda Staples

patchwork sign


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Allie Bloom,  David Schafer, M.Ed (Blackdog)
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Founder:  Colleen Sullivan

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