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MAD Poetry commissioned poet An Ross responds to the question: Has poetry increased your sense of being connected to others in regards to your own mental health lived experiences?

Sort of. I think I have felt connected to people in a grasping way for a long time and letting myself write with no agenda line by line out of a feeling, and sharing that poetry without thinking about it too much has been very healing. Whatever healing means. Now I feel more connected in the way two dancers or martial artists become a single organism. Call that social organism God. A dance of love and charity. Other times I'd write poetry from a less healthy place. I think sometimes it was seeking some sort of national identity of like, banjo lawson type stuff. I want to be compassionate to that cus I just wanted the state-dad-ghost to love me out of growing up in rural Australia with The Fear. And the poems are very weird and kinda beautiful artifacts, and kept me alive, as with all of my grasping and lashing out. Poetry just feels part of me I suppose. It's nice to just let that be. Trying to make it a Thing feels unhealthy. I like John Forbes a lot, I think he fell down this hole and his poems are extremely beautiful regardless.

The aim of this project is to share lived experiences of mental health via poetry. Therefore, some of the content may potentially trigger some readers. If you require mental health support or assistance, a list of free confidential 24/7 support lines can be found here. You are not alone in your journey.