Anxiety & Panic Disorders · Mental Health - Other

I Understand

By Shannon Harrington

You say that you understand.
That you’ll hold my hand
As stand and cry.

What does that mean?
That you’ve been
Where I’ve been?

Is there’s a voice
Giving you a choice
Between hating or despising yourself?

That your muscles work
As the thoughts lurk and
Throw your stomach into turmoil?

Do you feel these things
As your mind flings
More poisonous words?

Then how can you say “I understand”?
That’s a lie.
Do you stand in my
Shoes and want to die?

What if “I understand”
Is nothing but an empty promise:
That you’ll be there
To show up at a distance
And pretend to care?

When the razor feels cold
Then come to me
With those bold
Words full of a bigger promise
Than you realize.


Hello, I’m Shannon Harrington and I’m graduating high school this year. I suffer from anxiety disorder, minor ocd, and partial seizures. I find much inspiration and expression through art in forms of writing, music, and painting.

Mental Health - Other


By Abigail Regier

God one time took my hand
it was the middle of the night
and I was very upset about the
loss of a friend but didn’t know to
call it that because I didn’t want
to bother my father.
He walked me through the
emptied city streets
homes gone silent with the
sleeping, the anethesized,
buildings attached to electrical wires.
We walked for miles until we got
to the country where I saw
a family of deer running from
headlights and raccoons
stealing gnawed lamb chops from
the outdoor garbage.
He showed me the end.
I saw the end.
Then he left me to figure
out my way back home.
This is my pre-existing condition.



Abigail Regier has worked  as a reporter and writer for radio for  over a decade.  A graduate of Columbia University, she was born and raised in New York City.

There are many different types of mental health conditions, and two people may be diagnosed with the same condition only to display it in completely different ways. Also, many conditions that we associate with physical illness are also associated with mental health. To learn more and explore the wide field of mental health, please visit

Learning Disabilities · Mental Health - Other

not an average brain

By Leeann Sinniger

The doctor keeps upping my meds for the voice in my head.
Maybe I should have just stayed in my bed.
My bed has stains from tears that I cry.
And I can’t figure out why.
These ups and downs.
They call it bipolar .
Just another label.
And this is not fable.
I draw with a blade.
Making none of my friends stay.
Only scars remain.
No one understands so I just hide it all inside.
I don’t even know why.
I just can’t explain my pain.
I choose to stay no matter if they go away.
I don’t meet the right standards.
The teachers say they can stand her.
No she is smart.
You are ignorant for underestimating her.     All kids learn differently.
Don’t look at me like I have a disability.
Just because I gave trouble with my brain.
I will try not to leave stains.
I will fight the voices to try to make the right choices.

Hello I am Leeann Sinniger. I am 17 years old.  I like to journal my feelings. I am diagnosed with a learning disability and bipolar depression. Hopefully this will help some people understand what I have to go through.

Talking about mental health can take an incredible amount of bravery from even the most confident adult, and I am inspired by Leeann’s willingness to write about her struggles and share them with us at such a young age. She deserves a huge round of applause for her courage. I have known Leeann since she was a little kid, and she was my student back when I taught middle school Sunday school at the Huntingdon CMA. I am so happy and excited to have seen her grow so much over the past few years! 

Pre-existing Poems has had so many submissions from wonderful poets from all levels of writing experience, and I’ve never felt so humbled and grateful. I would love to see more stuff from teens like Leeann come my way.

There are many different types of learning disabilities which can affect people of all ages. To find out more about them, check out LDA America.

If you or a loved one are feeling suicidal or have the urge to self-harm, please reach out for help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 in the United States. If you’re nervous about the idea of calling a hotline, I also found this post that explains what usually happens when you do make the call.