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a prescription of overthinking

by manilla

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23 Reviews

Points: 4108
Reviews: 23

Thu May 16, 2019 1:26 pm
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paperforest wrote a review...

Hey manilla! This is a cool poem, I really like the title, and with it the idea that overthinking/anxiety is like a drug. (And my mind ran away with the connotations of this, thinking that you could say it's almost addictive in how it's so hard to stop overthinking and worrying about things.) My main complaint though is that I'm not actually completely sure that's what you're saying in the poem. The first stanza starts off with the really cool metaphor "minds are drugs", but the rest of the stanza seems almost too strong to me to suggest that this is just anxiety - LSD has connotations of being really strong, making people see visions/hallucinate, and often people who take it just aren't the same person afterwards (and often not in a good way), so this first line makes me think that what's affecting this mind is something more serious, like actual hallucinations or something like schizophrenia.

The line "for i see things no one should think" leaves me with some interesting questions, like what are those things, and why the word "see" when these are things "no one should think"? Is that a continuation of the visions/hallucinations connotation of LSD, or, since I'm still trying to reconcile the title with the poem, is it more of a "I'm seeing all these things that could happen that are bad and no one should worry about them or think of them but i'm worrying," an anxiety thing? I'm not sure I want or need those questions to be answered, but I feel like it might be more obvious what you're going for if I knew whether to trust the title or the connotations of what you've said so far in the poem.

The second stanza I like a lot, although I think that comma at the end of the first line might be unnecessary? It sort of breaks up the rhythm for me - or maybe keep the comma and get rid of the "and" at the start of the second line? I really like the use of the words "translucent", and "shifting", and "play", all together they sort of make me think of the phrase "play of light", which adds to the idea that these things the narrator can see aren't real, and yet they're affecting them anyways. Something interesting that I noticed is that the first line is responsible, the narrator is saying "i act", as if saying that despite seeing these things it's still the narrator who's responsible for their actions, but then in the second line they've sort of let go of responsibility - the "shifting words" are playing with who they are, they've let their hallucinations take over. Not sure if this is relevant to the story of the poem, but it's interesting that the narrator, though perhaps not perfectly reliable since their mind is like a drug, is still self-aware enough to acknowledge that they were responsible, and then they sort of handed over the responsibility to their visions. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but anyways it's cool.

The third stanza is interesting. By this point I was hoping there would be some explanation for the gap between the ideas that the title gave me and the actual content of the poem, something talking more specifically about anxiety or overthinking, but I don't really see that here. So I'm going to stop worrying about the title and just look at the poem. The phrase "temporary, blissful pills" makes me think that the narrator thinks the pills are probably good, and that these pills are helping stop the visions/hallucinations and so bringing the narrator back to objective reality. But the last line confuses me, because now the narrator "can't ever escape" this reality, which makes me think that they want to escape it. But that makes me think that the sans-pills state of the narrator's mind was an escape, but because the pills are described as "temporary", it doesn't seem to me like they're trapped in objective reality at all - they can just stop taking pills and go back to their visions. Not that that's necessarily a good thing, but they could if they wanted to. Or maybe, because the pills are temporary, the reality that they can't escape is actually their subjective reality, the fact that their brain is going to keep producing visions despite the pills. But now I'm confused, and I'm not sure if I'm interpreting it right.

Emotionally, I like that last line - it's a good ending, leaves me with questions but nothing that I can't infer, and makes me wonder more about the narrator's mixed feelings regarding their mind and the pills. Also the word "collapse" in this context is really neat, it gives unexpected visual imagery that I like a lot.

One last thing, the word "funny" used in this context gave me a very Alice-In-Wonderland vibe, in that as far as I can tell "funny" is used to mean "odd", which I think is a rather old-fashioned use of the word. It was unexpected, but it sort of goes with the "play" in the previous stanza, and it contributes to the feeling of vague, unsure meaning that I get from the last stanza (and also the second line of the first stanza), which all ties in with the idea of drugs and a sort of unreliable narrator. If that's what you're going for, I really like it. If it's not, I think the first things to make the meaning clearer would be to change the title, or make it more obvious that this is a metaphor specifically for anxiety and not actual hallucinations, and make the last stanza more clear, maybe by expanding it, showing which reality is being referred to and what the narrator's feelings are about it and the pills.

I don't know a huge amount about mental health issues and even less about drugs, so I apologize if I've said something wrong or hurtful. All in all, this was a really neat poem to read and think about, and I hope I've said something helpful. I can't wait to read more from you!

manilla says...

Thank you for such a detailed review!

paperforest says...

You're very welcome!

The strongest people are not those who show their true strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.
— Unknown