Should I Disclose Mental Health History at Work?


Artist: Unknown

Source: Like Minds, Like Mine

Article by Bernadette McSherry

This is a very interesting read. The Pros and Cons. Jx

Should I Disclose Mental Health?




Artist: Robyn Hancock










Which direction

Do you choose?

Win or lose?

Inward or outward?

You decide,

Which way to

Live your life.










© Copyright 2016, Robyn Hancock. All Rights Reserved

I decided, given the new year that I would create new poems for this publication, thus giving me a creative challenge.



Photographer: Dario Torres

There is a moment immediately after an action

When silence is deaf to itself:

There is only the smell of discharged weapons,

And smoke. Fractured air reverberating

From concussion; the hammering of fire.


Hands slowly disconnect their grasp

From stock and pistol grip.

Sometimes at the second of release

The shaking starts, butterfly wings

In the wind.


But within a minute, perhaps less, quiet rushes

Like a wave to engulf ears, cheeks, lips, the dirt

That is dressed with cartridge cases, belt-link and

– pray God not me – scarlet flowers that resolve

Into dressing pads.


Until like the release of a dam, from trickle to flood,

Come the screaming assault, a drenching in oily whimpering

Signaling men trapped in agony with no merciful release.


And so it goes even after the years have drawn tight

And the memories have been ingested.


One day a man meets a woman. They duel consensually

Drawing blood lightly with humour and intrigue.

But both are wary, carrying lessons from earlier actions


With dressing held ready to staunch the flow.

Copyright © 1994 – Jerry Beale

I wanted to describe how difficult it had been for me to allow anyone close to me after my experiences as a soldier. I felt dirty and damaged, and certain that anybody who looked into my soul would somehow be harmed.

Working through Cobwebs


Melbourne Street Art – Artist Unknown
Photographer: Jennifer Cox
Photo used with permission

“I’m trying to work through cobwebs”, he said,

with eyes pouring like rain
into a leaky boat
squaring off the shoreline,
heading out to sea
avoiding Redbacks
like the plague. negotiating
rogue waves
behind his back,
facing his fear; ex –
tended arms pull
away – escape
for the moment.

he scans the horizon
left to right that sinking
feeling farther, closer
than he expected de –
Nile; a river in Egypt
too far away to row
a thunder clap into eternity,
Isis turning a blind eye;
Trite – on dragging him
under, spinning
a vortex only Terra –
firma can translate.

taking the bull
by the horns, he finds
solid ground wrestling
Taurus, knee deep
in mud that sticks
like shit on the inside;
cobwebs cling to hard –
wired neurons
lodged in the gaps
in – between grey,
a matter for
black and white.

separate, facts find
fiction fornicating
in a web of deceit
by design, too lurid
for children like
Persephone – abducted
innocence; a metaphor
for rape, choking the Hell
out of life. all the while,
pseudo affection bribes
a hand – full of lollies,
to sweeten the blow.

“I want everything to be saved”,
he said.

© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

It’s very sad watching loved ones hurting.

Write to Heal – Interview by Drem

Writing To Heal Featuring:
Jodine Derena Butler


Art of Drem


Jodine is a fantastic poet and writer from New Zealand. We connected on WordPress early on in my endeavors. We find inspiration in each other’s work. We give each other strength. We both…

Write To Heal

Here’s a Q & A I did with Jodine recently that highlights her life’s journey and her Writing To Heal process.

Jodine, to start, where are you from? What’s your life like?                                           
     I was born in New Zealand and moved to Cairns, Queensland, Australia in 2011 where I currently reside. I have two dogs, two cats, two adult daughters, three grandsons (and counting), four stepchildren and one awesome husband!
I have been a counsellor, social worker, supervisor, group facilitator, sex worker and more recently a cosmetic tattoo artist at Cosmech Ink, our tattoo business, but I’m too blind, my anxiety goes through the roof and I start to shake. Not good with a tattoo machine in my hand! At the moment I am a stay at home wife and stepmother to two beautiful girls.
And of course, you’re a writer. When did you start writing?
     I was introduced to poetry at primary school, like everyone was as part of the curriculum, learning Haiku and Rhyme. I knew I loved writing then. I won a story competition in high school for English at age 13, at Te Awamutu College, in the King Country of New Zealand. I always got top marks for English. I did three undergraduate papers in creative writing, thinking I would apply for the Master of Creative Writing degree at Auckland University. I passed well but I had a meltdown. I wasn’t ready then.
Well, I can see you’re ready to keep writing now! When do you write and how? Is there a specific time of day you set aside to work?
     I write whenever I feel words and thoughts are ‘coming to me’. Usually if I am processing a problem or feeling. Age has changed how I write as I have more experience to draw from. In my 20’s, I tended to write more during the day and always in rhyme. The content was more about relationships, trying to understand them and myself in them. My 30’s was more during the night, all night often, and I would experiment with different styles and ways ie: randomly point to a list of words from the dictionary and then work with my unconscious to see what came about. In my 40’s, I did some creative writing classes and learned other tecniques, the names of different styles ie: stream of consciousness, appropriation, list poems etc and began to read more about other poets work ie: Sylvia Plath, Alan Curnow, Wystan Curnow, Sam Hunt, Murray Haddow and Miriam Barr. I wrote less, but better executed.

     I used to physically write on paper, then into journals, then on computer and now I write ‘live’ to my blogs via my Android and edit often. I need to print my work out as I have no physical copy but I am always editing.
You have so many different venues to put your work out. You must be writing more often now.
     Whenever I feel the words coming. It depends. If I am going through a traumatic time, I write more. As I learn to see and appreciate happiness, I try to write about that rather than problems, but it’s much harder for me however I’m improving all the time.
                                                                                                     In a traumatic time, it’s hard to see the light. Why do you continue? What keeps you going and gives you the strength?
     I write to heal and it’s good for me and others… To make sense of my childhood, depression (I may have Persistent Depressive Disorder) and trauma (I may also have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I sought the aid of therapy for years to address these issues which reared its ugly head in my earlier relationships. I needed to find a way of articulating my thoughts, feelings and actions in order to heal. I started Head Lines NZ, to encourage others to do the same by promoting mental health awareness in New Zealand.

     …Life, love, pain, death. I like to include mythology a lot. Maori, Greek, Irish, Welsh and others. I have written one poem for an American friend Chip Allan of The Pine Ridge Philosopher , where I researched the meaning of a phrase I wanted to include in Comanche in my poem ‘Mother Nature’s Siren Song’ for Poetry Out West. He emailed me a little about where he lived in West Virginia which inspired me.
What dreams do you have for your writing now?
     I am reconsidering doing a Masters in Creative Writing at James Cook University.  I want to publish a book of poetry, a memoir in poetry of sorts. I also want to publish an Anthology of my New Zealand national poetry E-zine Head Lines NZ. It is open to Kiwis all over the world and I have a wonderful eclectic range of contributors who I would love to see in print.

Her poetry is published on Poetry Out West.

Her Promoting Mental Health Project in New Zealand is at Headlines NZ.

Her fiction is found on Far North Fiction

Her tattoo business and husband’s tattoo art is seen at Cosmech Ink

• Photo creditor is Jason Majewski as seen on Cosmech Ink

A Night of Conflict


Photographer: Barbora Biñocovà
Photo used with permission

a night of conflict

and i know that’s what i seem to
desire as a pyramid to tutankhamen’s
eyes lined with kohl and coal covered
fingers cupping flame to ceiling asking
asking what all those symbols mean
when everything can be taken
out of context and eventualities
which never quite eventuate
how you will it
to be

and i sold my palms
to the closest fortune-teller
willing me empresses and rivers
and rabbit-holes into my wonderland
where conversation is a silent motionless
enterprise of saffron and silk and
rustling curvatures implying
bodies dancing and living and laughing
and searching for the next
little thing

and i on the mezzanine and i
in a hallway circumventing solutions
mapped out by cartesian thinkers and notes
of endless misconceptions
given salt and pepper
to taste

i want all of this to crumble
for hieroglyphics to bathe in
green currents green melodies
in silver solutions
inseeming and insoluble
inscrutable and enchanting

Copyright © 2015 Jason Morales

Jason is a Kiwi Filipino.  Slightly conflicted.  Slightly frazzled with life yet likes going for moonlight runs in his boxers sometimes.



Photographer: Wendy Sama
Image used with permission

I am a child of mother earth

A gift I was given unto

My body and spirit a temple

I am free an only I command it true

Of only happy and gentle souls

Of those which disrespect it

Must be a devil on burning coals

I have been gifted a loving spirit

And my temple I shall protect

Only a privilege to those if I allow it

Or be in their spirit I shall reject

Forgive all that believe in their right

To cross through my temple gate

They are but naive and selfish spirits

The word “No” only the devil does hate

Where but hell gives a spirit the right

On another to force it’s wants and greed

To touch uninvited beyond ones boundary

Abusing a personal gift, only rejection you shall feed

The key to my temple and sanctuary

Lay in the gift gives, not in a kiss

If I withhold the key and NO is spoken

Don’t force your touch, your spirit I will dismiss

Copyright © 2008, Shannan Walsh

Hi my name is Shannan, I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager, I have suffered from Anxiety and Depression for many years and writing has been a great therapy. I have had to deal with alcohol and drug addiction in the past. I had a child hood which involved battling with suicide and low self esteem which developed into anger and addiction. My words are my life and the roads I have travelled and I have kept them very private for many years, I am finally ready to share these poems and I am sure many out there will relate and I hope know they are not alone.



Photographer: Wendy Sama
Image used with permission

Dusty grey clouds float overhead, Reminds us of dark days past

A history of pain, hurt and anguish, Oh the memories and the years gone by fast

The clouds drift apart to a sun so warm, To replenish, cleanse us and heal

Lessons learnt and wisdoms earned, We spread our wings and the freedom we feel

All burdens let go and hatred forgiven, The gift of inner power released

Strange emotions felt, love, caring and trust, Past mourned, put to rest, burnt, deceased

Self esteem rebuilt, dignity and pride intact, Our minds our own, the freedom of speech

Positive thoughts, controlled calm and gentle, The attributes in our children we must teach

Through gifts of courage and strength given, Happiness and joy, like the sun, shines through

We give ourselves freely and open our hearts, Love will be given and be honest and true

So we hand you back the remote control, And the ropes which we were once tied

No longer your play puppets to dance on command, We forgive you, the last word spoken –

But wish no longer to stand at your side

Any negative souls don’t tread on our ground, Your control, hate and hurt is unwelcome

Take heed of this warning, as we now stand strong

Only the glorious sun and bright stars shine in our kingdom

We are beautiful women, born of Mother Earth, Once broken, scarred, beaten and weak

Now our fires burn strong, no hate in our hearts

We don’t need you, we are survivors

We will stand on our own damn feet.

Copyright © 2008, Shannan Walsh

CONTRIBUTORS NOTE:Hi my name is Shannan, I have been writing poetry since I was a teenager, I have suffered from Anxiety and Depression for many years and writing has been a great therapy. I have had to deal with alcohol and drug addiction in the past. I had a child hood which involved battling with suicide and low self esteem which developed into anger and addiction. My words are my life and the roads I have travelled and I have kept them very private for many years, I am finally ready to share these poems and I am sure many out there will relate and I hope know they are not alone.

Kenspeckle Blue


Life is strange
I was strange and I was alive

I was once observed as a black sheep
garbed in rainbow hippy clothing

To most of those other sheep roving
I was then resolute and self assured
Determined  to be more like those around me
It’s taken me years to change my mind

Now that I have succeeded in doing so
I am desperate to have that fifty four year old
unyielding mind back
self confidence is now what I really lack

The straw that broke the camel’s back
Is that I now go to extremes much easier

Am I normal now and really just a stranger to myself?

Copyright © 2015, Steve.Brother-Majik

 Steve.Brother-Majik suffers from schizotypal personality disorder and is a self employed signwriter with a low power fm radio station ‘Radio Wild-Card’ and owns his own home in Wanganui East, Whanganui






I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care

yes I do, sure I do, no I don’t

fuck-face fuzz

screaming ripped hamstrings

she says

“careless Ezra scratched me out”

I don’t know what to fucking say

should I be this old?

did I crawl all this way?

I’ll stop asking questions if they stop surfing Rosa


Copyright © 2014 Keith Nunes

Keith Nunes is a former newspaper journalist who now writes to stay sane. He’s been published widely Down Under and lives in rural Bay of Plenty with a retinue of nutters.