Word Salad, or You’re a Fool, Doctor, and an Insult to My Intelligence by Karen Adler

I found meaning
where it was all along
in the living of this moment
the breathing of this breath
the pictures in my mind
in my view of the world
my world view
my seeing of different worlds
better worlds
as I walk
…….one step at a time
…………..one day at a time

From there to here
from here to there
from the past to the present
and into the future
from me to you
from hatred to love
from loss to gain
from a bird in flight
…….to one who walks on ground
…………..and then soars skywards once more

I found meaning
in my life
when you told me
I was mad
chemically imbalanced
when I realised
you were wrong

I found sense in confusion
I created order out of chaos
I made wine from filthy polluted water
I transformed base metals into solid gold
I mixed vibrant colour from ashen greys
I drew strength and wisdom out of the abyss
…….like drawing clear water
…………..from a deep deep well

I found beauty and the crone in age
and arrogance and innocence in youth
I mixed them all together
…….in a big bowl
…………..of word salad

You’re a fool, doctor
and an insult to my intelligence.



Author’s note— This poem is dedicated to psychologist Jocelyn Clayton who introduced me to the work of the Grofs, Assagioli, and to spiritual crisis after the death of my mother. Also to the unknown grandmother in this article who more or less asked, “Can I see the test results, please?” when confronted with her grandson’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder—a question which everyone should ask when confronted by these diagnoses.

Karen Adler ~ Art Therapist

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Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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