The new doctor

With every new doctor, I start again.
Trying to explain my condition
to him, or her.
Trying to explain my level
of cognition;
the drugs I’ve had; the
therapists I’ve listened
patiently to;
the vocabulary acquired
and absorbed,
like a didactic sponge.
The lack of need for oft-repeated
facts and figures;
the stolid ‘1 in 4’ quotation.

I am the thing itself;
not a stat or senseless
person; thin and rosy.

I know which drugs I can
tolerate; to what strength
and dosage. I speak the
language of clinicians and
medical rhetoricians;
I have been at the sharp end
of suicidal ideation
and withdrawal. I have swam in
the mucky, tatty scum of
autumnal dross.

I have absorbed all manner of hurt
and castigation.
I can stand the ‘end of days’

Look up at me.
See the length of my experience.
Observe its ample girth and

The truth is, I know more than you.
You have read about me;
now here I am.
An apple in a bowl of pears.

And I have lasted longer than anyone
might have been led to expect.



Claire Sexton is a writer and poet who focuses on issues of mental health and neurodiversity. She has previously been published in magazines such as Ink, Sweat and Tears, Amethyst Review, Foxglove Journal, Reach Magazine, and Anti-Heroin Chic. @gingirlsexton (twitter) @insta.clairesextonpoet (Instagram) Website: