I’m a diagnosis, a thing. We’re all just things- poem by Drem

This poem is based on the personal experiences of myself, friends and loved ones that have had to survive the abuses in the US mental health hospital system. This is the unfortunate truth for a large percentage of the American population who suffers with mental illnesses, as described in the culmination of received oral reports.

I’m a diagnosis, a thing. We’re all just things- poem by Drem

June 18, 2016

“In that place

I was another blue haired

suicidal cutter

that likes to rip her skin off for fun.

Who loves the color red.

And paints her face like a Cherokee Native American

because there’s too much blood in her body.

Pumping and smacking those veins.

Get the most out of them and make a beautiful mural.

I’m the next Picasso.

I work a lot in Earthy tones.

It scares my mother, though.

I’m a thing.

A diagnosis.

Let’s list ’em, okay?

For the insurance companies.

I’m not sure this is all necessarily me,

but what would I know? I’m apparently crazy.

In any case, we need to make the hospital money with:




manic depression,




after 15 minutes with a doctor, nurse, and social worker meeting

and a 2 page questionnaire.

That’s all they got out of me.

Maybe they need more blood…

They look a little sad.

No, it’s not that I was raped.

or that I was sexually assaulted again this past August.

No, it’s not that my father liked to fuck my dog-

bestiality was his way to jerk off.

No, it’s not that I was molested when I was a kid either.

That’s not my problem.

No. It’s these diagnoses.

I don’t need therapy.

My head just needs more synthetic drugs

to solve my never ending pain,


Medicare, the best solution is electric shock, I mean convulsion, therapy.

Do you hear the doctor, Medicare?
They want to put me under anesthesia

and shock my brain

as I seizure.

My toes tremble.

I’m strapped down.

And I then miraculously wake up

forgetting the past four weeks

with a rebooted brain

that can’t feel pain.

That can’t feel depression.

That can’t feel anxiety.

That can’t feel life.

I wake up dead.

Isn’t that nice?


Plug in.

Press start.

The brain’s an electrical machine

after all.

They say it works.

Not a person, like

I’m an expression, they said

who is not right in the head.

Supposedly an expression

of my sub-conscious,

they say,

that’s purging

since I can’t keep food down anymore.

That or I’m an anorexic now

since I lost so much weight.

And collapsed in the kitchen.

It’s not that I need psychotherapy.

I need those fucking pharmaceuticals, baby.

Another SSRI.

Experimental anti-psychotic.

Up the mood stabilizer.

Add another to the list

next to my Vicodin (panadeine forte)

and Tramadol

and chemo

and steroids.

Oh the list.

Oh the list!

Just another suicidal cutter

I am

that likes to slice up her body

and paint her face with her own blood

and sing “You may be right, I may be crazy”

by Billy Joel

on the top of her lungs

at 6AM

because what else is there to do?

Stare down the only clock on the floor?

We’re all a little bored.

Even the other people in my head

are getting rather restless

after all this time in this room.

I don’t feel like making


with that man who tried to slice his throat open

with his own hands and a sharp knife

after three years

in bed alone.

He’s quite loud

and covered in thick scary scars.

I also don’t feel like making conversation

with the glistening boy

who’s currently on a manic high

and hates wearing condoms.

He floats in and out

and converted to Judaism.

He’s kind of fun to talk to, sometimes,

when he knows where he is

and knows who he is talking to

so he can keep his stories straight.

I think he thinks he’s still in Israel.

We’re all locked in.

The loud one, the pretty one,

and the rest I forgot since my brain was shocked.

Two safety doors.

One hallway.

One clock.

One activity area.

Three meals a day,

that I remember.

And guardrails

so we don’t throw ourselves

out the windows.

It’s tempting at this point

even though none of us wanted to go out that way.

Just give us something to do

besides drugs

that confuse our brain

even more than they’re already confused.

I’m a diagnosis.

A thing.

We’re all just things.

And it’s okay

to walk me through

the hallways naked

covered in vomit

holding on

to the sides of the walls

and then thrown in a cold shower.

Cold showers are good for psychotics.

Did you know?

You know this is a psych ward.

So we’re all assumed psychotic.

We’re all assumed crazy

the minute those two doors lock

and we’re wanded up and down

for knives

and padded down

for “illegal” drugs.

We get the cups of our legal ones

at a quarter after nine

and again at 6:30 at night.

Often minus water.

No water.

Psychotic people

apparently don’t need water.

I’m a diagnosis.

A thing.

We’re all just things.

We’re all just things.”

(c) Drem


Art featured is by Sam Weber.

22 thoughts on “I’m a diagnosis, a thing. We’re all just things- poem by Drem

  1. This is horrific! I was offered ECT when I was ill with Anorexia; I can’t believe it is still an accepted method of treatment. To forget! This is raw and ugly – fantastic writing but I am shocked by what I have just read. That takes a lot. Respect xx


  2. It’s truly shocking that this is the way those with mental illness are treated. An inconvenience, something you pretend to understand while trying to sell barbarism under the guise of a cure. Captivating poem, honest and brutally evocative. Thank you for sharing, it’s a chilling reminder of the cruel world we live in an so wonderfully put together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading. It is. And it’s scary to then post about my experiences. My mom wants me to send this to my doctor. I was done when the puke thing happened to me. I originally went in for my depression for ECT.
      I also don’t think men and women should be on the same floor. When you have an 18 girl with bipolar who was homeless (probably wasn’t even bipolar) next-door to a 55 year old schizophrenic, assaults can happen. And they did. Had to taser the bastard. I swear, you come out of these places more fucked up than when you walked in just by what you see and who you have to mingle with and all the drugs they drug you with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a dreadful state of affairs and it’s a simple lack of decency and care. A doctor or hospital administrator prioritises the physical and turn a blind eye to the mental. Hospitals always have the rep that you leave there sicker you feel stressed to get better and panic when you don’t because the staff make you feel like an inconvenience if they don’t get there way. Humanity does not dance to the same song, each of us must find our own way and the medical community needs to accept. This was truly is extremely brave and it would be something your doctor should see. Sometimes they need to see the words in ink to stop them from thinking 5 steps ahead and leaving you behind. I hope you have better experiences with doctors going forward, illness may always be in a state of flu but treatment should be empathetic and unique to you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t need empathy, though that would be nice. 🙂 I just don’t want to be treated like an animal. I should be treated like a patient there with the same level of care as someone in for a broken leg or gallbladder attack. Actually, we are treated worse than dogs but sometimes we get Mac & Cheese. in psych wards you can’t always sign yourself out, period. Involuntary check-in so you have no say and sometimes no say in your medication plan. They just list what’s going to happen to you- but how can they make such a decision after such a short period of time observing? These are dangerous mind-altering drugs!! If it was a voluntary check-in, you need to write an appeal for release and they have 3 days to read and make a decision. If they don’t want you out, you stay and are threatened with being sued if you lawyer up. We are reduced to bodies in a room. We aren’t seen as individuals, just diagnoses.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It can be easier for the doctors to compartmentalise in order to do a job. but when your job isn’t a broken bone something you can mend with your hands the compartmentalisation won’t help. Yes you need to be diagnosed, but no one broken arm is the same why should a mental condition be treated as the same. You’re right it’s worse care than animals but the animals can’t disagree. Rules and regiment are the doctors friend and help run a hospital but it doesn’t help someone who is chaotically suffering something that can’t be controlled by a bandage. It’s a scary look how human society acts when humanity and dignity is stripped from an individual or group. Your story is paricularly harrowing and sadly all too common.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t even know what the answer to this would be. I should write an article about it…
      It is at times the closest thing to hell on Earth. Like a prison- tasers and tranquilizer guns. Except, we didn’t break any laws. We’re just sick and need some help.


      1. I don’t either. I don’t think any one of us does — that’s the problem. Science tries to learn, but it’s at human expense. Have you seen the man on PBS, Mr. Amen, the Change Your Brain, Change Your Life guy? I think what he says makes sense. He seems to have a good conceptual approach to brain function based on physical factors. The PBS specials come up fairly often. Anyways, your writing helps me, your writing can reach many others who also appreciate reading your thoughts and opinions, and, most of all, it’ll help you, too. It is cathartic, surely.


      2. Yes. I was actually going to go to one of his facilities but it’s SUPER expensive.

        I’m happy it helps you. It’s making a circle ^-^


  3. Wow. I am blown away by this. It is such a deep and honest expression of what actually happens to people who are stigmatized by those who “know better.” Things need to change, but I’m not sure how. I hope that words like these will spread and make people give more than a double take.

    Liked by 1 person

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s