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Theo Anderson

Theo Anderson was born June 14, 1991 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Around his 15th birthday, he began to exhibit symptoms of severe mental illness. He was soon diagnosed as suffering from bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. His last two to three years were a constant struggle with the pain and misery which accompany these illnesses. Throughout his life, Theo was a kind and gentle spirit who accepted all people regardless of their limitations, beliefs or station in life. He remained to the end a happy, hopeful person while suffering from the profound depression and hopelessness which accompanied his illness. Theo died November 11, 2009 in Rochester, Minnesota.

In his last few months, Theo began writing poetry. Following are three of his poems which address a young person’s struggle with severe mental illness.

Wayne and Janet Anderson

Invisible Ink

I keep filling up notebooks

With words I never sing


Invisible ink

Cultural commentary

The next George Orwell

Or maybe a hit

That just might sell


This is the song where realization hits me

I’m not the child I thought I would be

Listen close now, pretty girl come here

I have a story to share with you


This time last year I can’t remember

I must have been detoxing my memory

I wipe the slate clean but it never looks quite new

I have a story to share with you


So if you would, please lend me those ears

My humble lungs are not quite done

And if you find yourself beneath your fears

My words and your thoughts can sing harmony


I’m not the child I thought I would be


Upside Down

I spill my head upside down, spill its contents on the floor

It doesn’t feel much different, can’t think straight anymore

I haven’t in awhile, but I find myself without the need

The need for rationalization


I stick my hands into the ground, digging for a purpose

To stay alive, to live and breathe, I feel like I’ve heard this

Heard this song before, with a thousand different melodies

A thousand different singers


I chase my shadow, I chase the light

Chase whatever suits my mind

At the given moment

Crazy pills like cyanide

Yet water all the same

Can’t live with or without them


I shove my mind into a book, let the author convince me

That life is simple, or complex, depends on who I’m reading

Metaphors and imagery, each one like concrete

Cold and hard and gray


I turn my eyes to the sky, to the atmosphere

Nothing residing up that high will ever keep me here

Got a bad case of life poisoning, wish I could take a break

Wish I could just take a break


For years I studied how not to live

I pray no stares come my way today

It was wrong, you were wrong to look at me that way.


A Brief 15 Seconds Inside My Head

Wreck, wreck, wreck.


Wreck wreck.

My hands continue to shake,

I took the time to check.

“Sit still!”

I tell them.

But I’m a wreck.

No outlet, no release.

Not for me – I pace the floors – not for me not for me not for me!

Could there be

a single thing

to kill all the


Not for me not for me not for me.

I’m a wreck, you see.

Some call it nervous, others OCD.

But not me.

I call it me. I am what you see.

Wreck wreck wreck wreck wreck,

a description of me.

Are the doors locked?

Wreck wreck wreck.

Are the windows shut?

Wreck wreck wreck.

Is the alarm set?


Do I look okay?


Is my pulse normal?


Am I gonna die am I gonna die am I gonna die am I gonna die??


Wreck wreck.

Is my heart about to stop, or my car about to crash, or my plane about to fall clean out of the sky??

Am I gonna die??

And WHY??

Why do I wonder if I’m alright??

Why do I wring my hands in plain sight??

Why is my mental state a constant fight??

Wreck wreck wreck. Wreck wreck.

On top of my neck.

September 1 – 2009