The Power of Poetry with A.S. Minor

A.S. Minor is a United States Army veteran who deals with Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and PTSD. He is a multiple competition-winning spoken word poet and novelist, and he uses these platforms to bring awareness to mental health in venues of all sizes, from open mics and local poetry slams to national poetry competitions and theaters, as well as a TEDtalk. Read on as he shares more of his journey here:

I’ve taken medication for most of my life. At a young age I was misdiagnosed as ADHD, and was prescribed Adderall. Due to the nature of my actual issues, the medication helped some of the symptoms but not all. When I got older, and finally received that proper diagnoses I was put on a nice cocktail of medications that changed fairly frequently in the beginning. Over the years I’ve gotten off my medications countless times, and though I’m dedicated to my own recovery, oftentimes it’s difficult because I know what I felt like without the medications, and it is so vastly different than when I’m actually on them. Because of this difference in feeling, it seemed unnatural and suffocating to be on them.

As someone who has been on and off medications for an extended period of time, I recognize the benefits. I recognize the changes in myself when it comes to my own thought-processes and to my interpersonal relationships. I also recognize, however, that the person who I am when on the medications is wholly different  than the person not on them, and thus I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m wearing a mask, and everyone loves that mask but doesn’t necessarily love me , because I’m  the one underneath that mask. Another note to keep in mind is that, when on the meds, I still feel and recognize the same emotional responses that I’d have without them, except my outward response doesn’t reflect that the way it would. Hence the feeling of suffocation, because I feel these things but am now unable to express  them. With that being said, that feeling of being a fraud behind a mask serves to increase my own guilt, rejection, and shame, but without the ability to release those feelings in any way I’m just left to dwell on them, creating a vicious cycle.

I wrote this poem after having gotten off my medications once again. A part of me felt like I wanted  to be on them, but the other part of me felt what I described above, and so I at least wanted to try it. I struggled with the notion of getting back on them, because I felt like the meds were a way to help those around me more than they were a means to help me. I did, however, get back on them, but not before writing this. Please let me know what you think, and if you can relate. You can check out more spoken word on my YouTube Channel or connect with me on Facebook  and read more on my website.