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Depression and Back: Poet Susan Polis Schutz' Journey
Depression and Back: A Poetic Journey Through Depression and Recovery is the end result of a very special journal Susan Polis Schutz kept by her bedside and wrote in faithfully during her own three-year struggle with depression. Susan's poems were written on both her darkest days and at those times when she felt she was finally headed the right way on the long road to recovery.
The free-verse poetry and bits of narration are honest, soul-baring and inspirational, meant to get at the heart of the matter and encourage those going through any of the stages of depression. The book mirrors the four stages Susan went through: Depression, Pills and Therapy, Start of Recovery, and Recovery. Susan begins each section with a short introduction, then shares the poems she wrote during that time, not holding anything back.
Susan kindly gave us permission to reprint a few excerpts, below, from the book, published by Blue Mountain Arts. She also produced and directed a documentary on the subject, “The Misunderstood Epidemic: Depression,” which is available on DVD.
“When I first became depressed, I stayed in bed for three months…I didn’t care about anything. Sometimes I was able to write how I felt.”
From the brain
to the stomach
sinking into nothingness
I love life
so why am I so
Pills and Therapy
“I wanted so desperately to get better…I was willing to do anything that would help me, and I worked hard to overcome this misery.”
Rather than give into this
I’ll use what I learned in therapy
to figure out
what is making me feel this way
I’ll try as hard as I can
to examine my feelings
And I hope to
win the game
Start of Recovery
“As I started the process of beginning to recover from my depression, I wrote poems about how I felt while undergoing behavioral and other types of therapy…I constantly thought about what was going on inside my mind and continued to discuss my feelings with my wise psychologist while slowly getting stronger.”
I woke up
gazing at the
over the ocean
and I wondered
would win today’s battle
in my head
“Though it seemed like forever, after three years, I finally reached a point where I was usually not depressed anymore…I now look forward to most days and appreciate life’s beauty.”
a person that I am just getting to know
awakened to a new life of thunderstorms
as well as sunshine
with an understanding eye
full of tears for
sadness and difficulties
as well as for
joy and passion
Excerpts from Depression and Back: A Poetic Journey Through Depression and Recovery by Susan Polis Schutz are reprinted by permission of Blue Mountain Arts, Inc. Copyright © 2010 by Stephen Schutz and Susan Polis Schutz. All rights reserved.
Poet Susan Polis Schutz and her husband, Stephen Schutz, founded Blue Mountain Arts, a greeting card company, in 1971.