Can You Tell?

Standing before the full classroom
I suddenly feel their age again
Awkward in my own skin, let alone my clothes
It takes a moment to come to present
To look out at their curious faces
Remembering I am now twice their age
With twice the experience.

Can you tell I have a mental illness just by looking at me?
I ask
Can you tell I have two cats?
I ask
You can't judge a book by her cover

Slowly and quickly time plays tricks
I share my story of deep dark dank depression
And wild wild expensive first-year-of college mania
Then the slam them into an even darker place of my mind
I never thought of ending my life,
I thought I was already dying.

Coming home.
Coming into the story of the present.
Returning from college as fetal child at age twenty-two.
Learning my brain disorder would not be terminal
if I took care of all aspects of my life.
Honest Communication.

By the end of my talk
The flickering of shame I felt at start
Turns pride.
I see how far I have come,
Falling and getting up to,
The great fall and the trust of getting up again, again.
Suddenly I feel honored to share my story from Hell to Hope,
The students eyes and hearts are locked on mine
I talk to them,

Guide that inspired this poem: 



this is really good

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