I close my eyes to blacken out the blue,
Inundated by the piercing silence of the deep.
I finally feel like I can breathe, with the weight of the water all around.
Into my soul, I feel the soothing waters seep.

It’s so calm, for once, now that I am alone.
At last, my churning mind is hushed,
And the eddying thoughts, all cease.
Into this liquid cradle, I put my trust.

I swim deeper & deeper,
Trying to catch a ripple of panic, a swell of helplessness.
Just so I can feel something again. 
I tread these waters to get away from the waves of emptiness.

The desperate need for breath cascades in,
I swim towards the flickering light,
My lungs surging, 
My mind saturated with fright.

At last I reach the surface,
Gasping for air,
The flooding rush of life is returned to me,
I feel a golden flow of joy, so rare. 

The glory of being alive fills me,
A whirlpool of emotions spills into my soul, 
I can finally feel again & I’m no longer numb.
The tides restore me & for a moment, I am whole.

I feel the ebb & flow,
I feel the sun upon my skin,
I feel contentment sinking in,
And for a second, I feel in control of the tidal waves within.

Yet, in a matter of time, I know I will wade in emptiness again.
This torrent of euphoria will drain.
The swirling thoughts will stream once more,
And I will be engulfed in the cold, dark rain.

So I submerge myself fully, into this time of feeling alive.
I let each emotion come pouring in.
I dive into these waters, and feel it all so deeply.
In this moment, I thrive. 

{Author’s Note:}

This poem was partly inspired by close family members and friends with Bipolar Disorder. I recently read a book about the life of a young boy with Bipolar Disorder. I was incredibly moved at how accurately it depicted the mind of a person with Bipolar. It gave me a very deep insight & new perspective on this, commonly undiagnosed, condition. I hope this poem/post raises awareness somewhat, even though it may be on a small scale. 

To anyone who is affected by a mental illness or has friends or family members with a mental illness: I know that this is the typical response, but please know that you are not alone. You are so much more than the label, the stereotype, the illness. You are strong…and even though I may not know you personally, I believe in you. You do not have to tread these waters on your own. Take care, my friends. ❤

–Elise Barretto


17 thoughts on “These Waters

  1. Elise, as I read this I began to wo nder how the beautiful, happy vibrant young lady I met could possibly have these thoughts. It didn’t make any sense and I became concerned.
    Thanks to your note, I don’t have to worry for you but the reality you have shown is that this could be anyone…. one minute happy the next in despair. You’re beautifully talented.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy- thank you from the bottom of my heart! That means so much to me. I am totally fine, but I appreciate your concern.❤️ Writing is my main way of processing and understanding things. Sometimes, I hear stories, watch movies, read books, etc. that inspire me to write about them to better understand the situation that’s hard to fathom. Most of what I write is imaginative. Sometimes I’ll just think of a situation and imagine what it would be like to be a person going through it. Or sometimes I’ll just take my own feelings on a subject, and amplify them. This time it is a very sad subject, but I wanted to write it since it’s a perspective not often revealed. Thanks again, Kathy! I hope you’re well! ❤️


  2. Dear! I don’t know how you do it but this resonates deeply into my soul! I’m not bipolar but your vision gives me a very different perspective and let me be compassionate towards people going through this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think not only people with bipolar disorder go through these ebbs and flows. They feel more intensely, the highs and lows, but this could be about anyone. Thanks Elise! Very moving. 👍

    Liked by 2 people

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