Kenyan poetry

“Living with bipolar disorder”, questioning yourself and reality

Self-awareness is the first step towards healing and young Kenyan writer Emily K Millern knows it well. She often writes about her mental health struggles and so trasforms an unusual topic for poetry into art, achieving a therapeutic effect for herself and her readers. Sharing personal experiences – as her bipolar disorder – “reminds us that we are not alone, we are part of a bigger fight and we all have a role to play”, as she said. In fact, Emily strongly advocates for raising public awareness on mental health, a subject as sensitive as underestimated and neglected.

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“Bitter sweet” is the skin cut that suffocates the screaming soul

Mental illness can include a variety of symptoms; sometimes self-harm can occur. In a vicious cycle, the individual punishes his/her own body – the shell containing a suffocating inner distress – and takes somehow pleasure in it. In this poem Mercy Bibian describes with brutal honesty the “journey” to self-harm in scenes of cinematographic inspiration. So the reader witnesses the first cut and then the following ones, up to the establishing of an addiction to pain, to blood, to cutting – an act that almost inconceivably provides relief of unbearable thoughts and feelings of anxiety and depression.

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“Poetry, Pain, Blades And Grace” a night of silence and screams

Day follows night incessantly and with no mercy for those who don’t see the point of this alternation. Society crashes – with its questionable demands – the frailty of those who feel inadequate compared to the world around them and to others. When these feelings become overwhelming, there seems to be only a solution: suicide. But society labels and judges even this extrema ratio. So, in the words of Kenyan author Young Nino, what is left is “drinking your soul away” or anything that can soothe that pain “that takes away your will to live“.

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