Genre: Poetry, Mental Health, Depression
“After being beaten down, I locked my feelings inside. I finally feel brave enough to let my words be heard. Poetry dealing with my mental health battles and the loneliness that comes along with them. My goal is to help anyone who feels alone, see that they are NOT alone.”
The prevailing message of the poetry in ‘Beaten Not Defeated’ is to never give up. However, the author’s words are not some simple positive affirmation. Swaney paints an intensely emotional atmosphere of depression and all the thoughts, feelings, and fears it entails.
Raw and unfiltered, the reader can absolutely feel the author’s pain and that’s what makes his message truly inspiring. He’s been there, IS there, and yet he’s pushing forward and supporting others to find their strength as well. Sometimes the toughest enemy we face is our own mind. Every line in this book outlines that fact through the author’s struggle to overcome and persevere.
As someone who has also dealt (and deals) with depression, addiction, and PTSD, I really connected with this heartbreakingly beautiful poetry. Many people who don’t personally deal with depressive disorder (clinical depression) don’t understand that it’s not just ‘being sad’ and it’s certainly not something we can just ‘get over.’ Depression is a disease that cripples the mind, disrupts our brain’s natural chemical processes, and leaves us with intense, recurring emotions that are exceedingly difficult (if possible at all) to control.
That being said, we’ve all dealt with sadness, loss, hopelessness, loneliness, or trauma of some sort. There needn’t be mental illness to experience these things. If you’re struggling to find hope or think nobody can really relate to you, pick this book up and give it a read. I guarantee you’ll come out of it with a sense of ‘hey, this guy gets it. And if he’s battled all this and is still fighting, I can too.’ He describes everything from severe instances of loss and suicidal thoughts, to the mundane daily grind of work that wears down a person’s spirit.
My only complaint (which honestly isn’t a complaint since it did not disrupt the enjoyment or impact of the poetry) is that there are a few instances of grammatical errors such as confusion of ‘your’ vs ‘you’re.’ However, I personally feel that due to the pure nature of this work, it isn’t actually a flaw. The author’s words are incredibly genuine and therefore there is no need to ‘doll’ anything up.
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~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden