Laurie Sharlinski

Coming Home

My room becomes a prison as I become ill I know I cannot stay here of my own free will
I get my coat and take off not knowing who I’ll meet
I walk my way to London down the middle of the street

Creation comes easily when manic
But everybody seems to panic
Recovery will dull my mind 
And leave some of myself behind

Days later when I find myself I’m in another space
Escaping from emotions beyond time or even place
My mind is so excited by things I think I need
My body is so empty and very sad indeed

Creation comes easily when manic
But everybody seems to panic
Recovery has dulled my mind 
And left some of myself behind

I travelled far away but now I’m coming back
I see my island clearly appearing through the black
Today my room is sunny, I’m stable as I can be
Knowing I can stay in here yet I can still be free


‘Several years ago I had a routine check-up with my psychiatrist, and I was telling him that I was designing a fountain for the town centre in Slough. And he said “Oh yes, everyone’s an artist around here. Most of the people I see fancy themselves as writers and artists.” I said look, I actually studied art and he said “We’ve all got a book in the pipeline. I think it would be better if you find something else to do that’s more realistic.” It made me realise that for many people mental illness and thinking you are artistic, but not really being, go hand in glove.

I was so incensed I drove home, threw all my work into a portfolio and drove straight back again. I went straight past reception, down the corridor and into his office and banged it down on the table saying “take a look at that.’ I did get a profound apology.’

Laurie has been a visual artist and writer for many years and has won awards for her work. She wrote ‘Coming Home’ as a song for this project, beginning with the chorus lines that appeared during a workshop, then combining this with lines from other poems, to create a song expressing what the bi-polar experience was like. The song was broadcast on BBC Radio Berkshire in May 2010 with music written by James Ewers of the band My Luminaries. It was sung and recorded by Amy Barton of the band Amy’s Ghost.

‘The line ‘I walk my way to London down the middle of the street’ refers to something I did actually do. I was on a mission, I had to get somewhere, there was this driving force that propelled me forward for miles and miles. I’ve walked all over Great Britain at some time of other. In actual fact I was probably escaping from some kind of pain, after a form of trauma. In bi-polar there are extreme highs and extreme lows. With the high, everything seems very funny, with a lot of wild imaginings. The creativity that comes out is wonderful. A degree of mania I can cope with, in fact I quite like.’