Introduction Foreword Writing Together Coping Within The System Coping On My Own Coping With Teenagers Coping With Relationships Live Performance

Helen Cevic


When I was at college
I lived with my husband
By the edge of Ilkley Moor.
I loved the way the moor changed mood with the weather.

In the summer, we would walk
To the top of the moor
Glistening in the sunshine
All thoughts put back into perspective.

In the winter
It could snow for days.
Pure, white snow falling softly on the bracken
The car blocked in for weeks.

It wouldn't matter.
We were happy then
With the snow piled up.
We'd walk or catch the train.

Virgin footprints
Creaking snow.
That fresh fall
Before it starts to go grey.

I was heartbroken
To leave the Moor.
Did I already know
I'd be leaving my husband?

I came to Brighton
Where the sea is at the end of the road.
Like the moor, it
Changes mood with the weather.



I had a breakdown.
They don't like that term.
It describes it so well though for me.
I use it unashamedly.

Well is it without shame?
I don't tell everyone.
Not on first meeting.
Thankfully lots of people know.

If only I'd had just one.
That would seem O.K.
In fact I had another
Then another, then another.

Manic depression, bi-polar disorder
That was the final label.
Frightening to have a diagnosis.
Now I am in the system.

Always before, when it was a one-off,
Once I had recovered
I was taken off pills.
I could stay well for years.

Yet the last time overwhelmed me.
I have problems with loss.
Redundancy on top was too much.
Will I ever recover from this?


'I was introduced to poetry writing by Alan Morrison, two years ago, when I attended a creative writing class at Mill View Hospital. I was in the middle of a psychotic breakdown. At first my thoughts flew everywhere at once. Alan was always interested, however garbled the metaphors. It became a way to express some of what was going on inside.'