Unless you’ve suffered from a mental illness it’s hard to imagine how painful life can be. I wrote this poem for my friend Mathew who suffers from Manic Depression----- ‘How Long’ is about our understanding of each other.

The umbilical cord of mental distress
I know yours and you know mine
“Don’t call me I need time alone” you say
Isolation reigns sublime
You’re aware that I won’t disturb you
Truly I'm not offended
The Bionic Man has fallen apart
Given time and space he’ll be mended
I don’t wonder what you’re doing
Or how long this silence will last
I just pray to God you stay strong
As you’ve had to do in the past
I marvel at you’re courage
After so many painful falls
You’re dogged determination
Locked behind such lonely walls
You force yourself to get up out of bed
Clean the house and go to the shop
Force yourself to go to the Gym
Though the voice of exhaustion screams stop
I’ve immense respect for you’re suffering
So hard so sad so deep
You’re tenacity astounds me
Night after night with no sleep
The silence of the unused phone
Deafening but I understand
I’m powerless to help you’re plight
Or steady the trembling hand
You remind me of a chameleon
Such a toughened outer skin
But inside hides a delicate child
With a pain so deep within
The umbilical cord of suffering
You know mine and I know yours
The world hurries past you’re window
But you’re safe behind closed doors
Hold on to you’re qualifications
Unleashed talent so bitter to taste
They say time and tide waits for no man
But this time out won’t go to waste
For now you have to be patient
You and I both know this will pass
One thing were never sure of
Is “How Long?” Isolation will last