Beyond Survival – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

I am in the trough
crests of fear
a briefness
then surprise

I let another wave
pass through me

after the cold slap
initial sting, I realize
I am still here

It is unexpected 
knowing my history 
of being pulled under

Now I tread my legs
strongly sure
lift my face skyward
with dare

©Ali Grimshaw 2021

Let’s change the way we talk about depression and suicide. Here is a link to the full article Why mental health advocates use the words ‘died by suicide’, from which these valuable points were gathered.

Please use “died by suicide,” instead of “committed suicide,” as it removes culpability from the person who has lost their life and allows a discussion about the disease or disorder from which they were suffering. Let’s move away from blame toward compassionate language.

Not everyone who suffers from depression will have suicidal thoughts. And not everyone who has suicidal thoughts will act on them. 

“Speak with your loved one about how they are feeling and encourage help-seeking by way of the many resources available, including the American Association for Suicide Prevention and American Association of Suicidology.

Be direct in your conversations. Dr. Klich finds that because suicide is so stigmatized (and also, just a really tough thing to talk about), people tend to skirt around the issue, or even unintentionally steer victims of suicidal thoughts toward a reassuring answer.

Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by way of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK

May is Mental Health Awareness Month


22 thoughts on “Beyond Survival – Poem by Ali Grimshaw

  1. This stood out for me: “knowing my history of being pulled under.” I relate to this, as I battle depression and that’s exactly what it feels like. And sometimes you don’t even know it’s happening. Thank you for your poem and commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It means so much to hear that you felt understood by the message of my poem. Depression can be very isolating. I hope that you reach out for support. There are people who are compassionate about your experience. I am one of them.
      Take good care.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for valuing what I have shared. There are so many people who struggle with depression alone. My heart is reaching out to them. Please share if you know of someone.
      Thank you,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Powerful metaphor/imagery – “after the cold slap / initial sting, I realize / I am still here”. Can only imagine how it would feel to choose death and then find it had not “taken me”. I CAN imagine choosing death – for many reasons – though I’ve never (yet?) come close to such.
    Thanks for the link. I have been on the wondering-why end of another’s choice to check out. My perspective is that such a choice is courageous; perhaps wise; absolutely beyond any other’s full understanding – thus we owe the one gone nonjudgmental respect.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jazz,
      Thank you so much for your compassionate response to my poem and message regarding the judgment around suicide. All I know is that I don’t know what others experience. I believe that the shame around mental illness keeps us from being able to talk about what we experience and this creates more isolation. I am sorry to hear of your loss. It is understandable that you are wondering what was going on for this person. Losing someone you can about is always difficult. I am sending you love. Thank you for caring.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ali, thank you for this. The poem and the request to change the way we use language around depression. We, as a society, also do not address anxiety well either. It is as pervasive and disabling by itself and even more so as a partner in major depression. 🙁

    Liked by 1 person

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