Caterpillar

Mental health is a level of psychological well-being – the psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment”.

My sister and I revisited Caterpillar, by Mountains of the Moon.

We came down to the conclusion that it screams mental health awareness because it sums up the experiences of a person afflicted by a mental illness.

(The common signs of mental illness have been italicised.)

Here’s Verse one

I’m falling out

With everything around me now

Losing what I used to be

And I’m over it

Apathy. Indifference.

Our main character here no longer cares about anything at this point. Our minds are the control centre and when the control centre is in shambles everything else collapses with it shortly after: one tends to stop making attempts to stay afloat and them sinking doesn’t bother them at all.

They have been to the moon

I’m just a caterpillar dead in my cocoon

Difficulty perceiving reality

A cocoon is the place where a caterpillar is enclosed before it turns into a butterfly, during metamorphosis. What is startling is that this particular caterpillar is dead in theirs. It just shows you how detached they are from reality and how grave the situation is. The truth has been inverted now: growth is seen as confinement and doom.

Swept by my mind’s typhoon

And I’m all at sea

Another telltale sign

Confused thinking.

At this point our main character is their own worst enemy, their own thoughts are an insult to injury…this emphasises on just how much mental health should be taken seriously, I don’t think “at sea” is a great place to be.

The sea clearly symbolises a snare and this is justified by the chorus

I wish it could be different

Wish there was no dampness here

The moisture of the sea; the dampness, paints a picture of our specimen being heavily drenched in their problems and they wish that they were home and dry. Literally.

Oh we shouldn’t have listened

To the angst and the fear

Excessive worrying or fear

Now Verse 3

I had it all

Rivers of gold and forest so tall

But I ran my canoe down a waterfall

Started a wildfire

No matter how hard life gets, we all still have something precious that we can be grateful for and hold onto but a compromised state of mind has the ability to incapacitate us, it can skew our vision and cause us to throw everything, even the very little we have, away.

Mental health issues needed to be addressed with the utmost care, I believe of all the forms of afflictions faced by humans they demand the most attention. Our mental stability or lack thereof ultimately makes or breaks us.

This is where people lose the plot. A lot of the time we’re told “to get over it”

“Man up”

“You’re being dramatic”

Well if that’s the case, riddle me this…why are these stats here?

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10 – 24
  • 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

The outro puts the final nail in the coffin.

Here I sit in silence as it’s rising at me

And I’m afraid that I’m not taking my chances

How do I know it’s light in the horizon that I see?

I’ve seen questions, but never answers

Here the caterpillar is faced with “light at the end of the tunnel” but he is uncertain about whether he’s really out of the woods or not.

Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason.

That’s how sensitive this type of situation is, one is so deep in sorrow that they don’t even believe that they can be saved and a helping hand can easily be mistaken for being a source of harm.

The catastrophe brought about by poor mental health is made apparent here

I used to be the one with the grandest of dreams

But how can hope keep believing through the war?

The brightest of ideas can be dimmed by the dark cloak that is poor mental health, what a huge waste.

We need to bring back hope.

We need to help people win the war.

We need to eradicate the stigma.

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3 comments

  1. ayansolaibukun · June 24

    So enlightening. Drastic effort needs to be taken against the stigma. Many folks with mental health issues will rather ‘die in silence’ than ‘open up’ due to stigmatization. By the way, you are such a fine writer; apt and highly descriptive.

    Like

    • Zothile Zulu · June 27

      Thank you and it’s really great to see that not everyone is blind to how important mental health is.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ayansolaibukun · June 27

    You’re welcome.

    Like

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