Face in the Mirror

A poem about how mental illness and past abuse can make you feel unrecognizable to yourself.

Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

Face in the Mirror

Face in the mirror unknown stranger
Dark circles tell tales of danger

Cold piercing eyes see past the soul
Empathetic heart never full

Welcoming ears hear each story
Unmoving tongue conceals glory

Trustworthy nose detects deceit
Exposed thick skin old lies secrete

Possible truth denied by time
Mysteries hid betray no crime

Emotions locked inside a vault
Members in black accepting fault

Foreigner weeps longs for a home
Wandering lost, forever roam

Weak smile conceals the violent past
Visions of hope will never last

Stand at the sink and face this foe
Pale shadows haunt suspicions grow

Thinking confused rouses anger
Face in the mirror still a stranger

  • by Scott Ninneman
  • Written December 8, 2019

Video version of the poem.

Living with mental illness and/or memories of past abuse can sometimes make you feel unrecognizable to yourself.

hen the negative, dark voices come calling, they distort everything that you know to be true.

While I have learned to live a productive life with bipolar disorder, there are still times when a stranger greets me in the mirror. Those days, it’s hard to put a smile on my face or believe I have a life worth living.

Life is always worth living, though. The tears eventually stop, and the sun always rises. If you don’t recognize yourself today, just hold on. Tomorrow may be a better day.


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Read next: Depth of Darkness – Another poem about living with chronic illness.


Scott Ninneman is a daytime bookkeeper and nighttime writer. The voice of Speaking Bipolarhe writes about battling mental and chronic illness. Other topics include poetry, personal development, and pop culture.

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This poem first appeared on Medium on December 8, 2019.

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