Catch and Release: a Poem about My Stay in a Mental Health Facility

Miranda Wallace Ireland

This poem was written about my recent stay in mental health facility where I was admitted due to a meltdown. Miranda Wallace Ireland

Catch and Release

I am autistic because

when everyone else laughs

and I don’t think it’s funny

I don’t care to mimic you

No monkey see, no monkey do


I am autistic because when someone is cruel to me, I dare wonder why

I do not see

the part of me that’s broken in your eyes

I stare into your disrespect so you think I don’t understand

It’s me you send your laughter to

But I do

I’m just not going to fight you


Until you push and push and push

your demands more exhausting, exacting, absurd than the last and I CAN’T

Give in to you one more time so out I lash and suddenly I’m the one

who is less human

I only hurt you

when you hurt me first

you know your coercion, control

are abuse, that hurts


You dont treat me like a human

you treat me like a fish

slippery, with a silvery magic but to be gutted

Fish don’t feel pain

they said

for decades

fish don’t remember

the prisons you build

NONE of it true

Fish feel everything you do


I am not slippery

(but my magic is true)

You just can’t catch without

my making you


Miranda Wallace Ireland

Miranda Wallace Ireland is lifelong writer and artist who uses the pen, the camera, and many other mediums in order to cope with life in Neurodivergent society. She is 36, has two children, and lives with her partners on Vancouver Island.

6 replies on “Catch and Release: a Poem about My Stay in a Mental Health Facility”
  1. says: Mel G

    Wow, l relate to this poem. It can be so hard to capture these experiences with words and I’m so grateful you did. Thank you for sharing this with us

  2. says: Steve Staniek

    Dear Miranda – Welcome, and thank you for your courageous sharing.

    I had a major meltdown in my teens that sent me to hospital, where things got worse. The NT world, doesn’t understand, and therefore does not know how to treat or heal us, esp when our autism becomes driven into extreme places, from which the only way out is a meltdown.
    During my meltdowns, all of my normal defences [mostly social delusions] that kept my life organized and connected to the common reality collapsed, sending me into emotional/spiritual chaos. It takes time to reorganize or convert that emotional/spiritual chaos back into some order from which life can proceed.

    Why does this happen to us? I believe that autistic people are simply spirits that too large and powerful to fit properly into these tiny human Earth bodies. The parts of our spiritual nature that don’t fit into the human shell, stick out, and become problematic to us and others. These troublesome bits, like my eyes that have trouble connecting with other eyes, often seem like disadvantages, but they can grow into our greatest strengths.
    I find deep comfort and fulfillment, in tending mindfully to my extraordinary spiritual nature and needs.

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