I want to write a love poem for the girls who have been branded with, “Borderline.”

I want to write a love poem for the girls who don’t feel loved.

I want to write a love poem for the girls who hurt so much that they call hospitals their home.

I want to write a love poem for the girls who are told they are “manipulative.”

I want to write a love poem for the girls who learned to spell “worthless” before their first name.

I want to write a love poem for the girls with “Borderline” who were never hugged.

I want to write a love poem for the girls who are unable to scrub this 10-letter word from their forehead no matter which scrub brush they use.

I want to write a love poem for the girls who are terminated for telling their therapist they love them.

I want to write a love poem for the girls who wear their hearts on both their sleeves.

I want to write a love poem for the girls who think there is something wrong with them for loving this hard.

I want to write a love poem, but what I want even more is to say that you don’t have to wear this label.

It is not an identity.

It is not who you are.

I want to write a love poem for the girls who, when they look in the bathroom mirror, only see a diagnostic code.

I want to write a love poem for these girls because just maybe, instead of branding them with this label, what they need is someone to love them.

Maybe I’m not a therapist.

Maybe I’m just a poet.

Maybe this is true.

I may not have the DSM memorized, but I’ve saved words on a two-sided cassette.

I play side one for painful comments from therapists and side two for ones from my past.

Maybe I’m not a therapist.

Maybe this is true.

I am a poet, though, and if nobody else is willing to, I will write the girls with “Borderline” a love poem.

I love you all.

May one day the world recognize this diagnosis for it is— developmental trauma.

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Return to the Poetry Collection

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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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