I have held the hands of broken souls whose lives disintegrated
I have stemmed the blood from self-inflicted wounds
paced miles with those on ‘constant obs’ – down endless corridors
and countered suicidal arguments with gentlest persuasion.
Played useless games of draughts and dominoes in soulless dayrooms
passing time and hoping drugs would heal their pain.
I have sought to help them regain strength
to engage in the battle of life once more and live it to the full.
Walked with them through ‘the shadowy valley’
shared grief and rage in pastel painted rooms
Listened to their stories, borne witness to their suffering
until they could emerge with courage and determination
find self belief in power that would sustain them
Helped them help themselves through tribulations
we all must face and must survive or die.
Hope is the balm and antidote for despair
Most powerful medicine of all.