Swimming, Not Drowning: Poems by Mari-Carmen Marin

An enlightening, original and deeply poignant book about pain and healing…

Writing in free verse, Marin takes the reader on her journey through her struggles with the anxiety disorder that often leads to depression, prompting dark thoughts. The first part, “Deep Water,” explores Marin’s self-doubts, fears, and disappointments. The second part, “Drowning,” is deeply moving as Marin breaks more and more before piecing herself back together in the third part, “Swimming.” Marin’s free verse poetry captures decisive moments of her life, with glimpses back at her childhood years in a troubled home environment, with her parents constantly fighting. During her early teens, Marin begins to experience extreme anxiety, ending up in the hospital. But her paralyzing anxiety attacks were immediately dismissed, and she was prescribed Valium for temporary relief. As her struggles with depression and anxiety continue, Marin experiences the typical troubles and triumphs of a young girl; falling in love, unexpected breakup, heartache, and trauma. The early adult years saw her making a mess of things once again, but she paid attention to her studies and was able to secure a teaching position. She was properly diagnosed with depression and anxiety during her twenties. Marin had another breakdown many years later: struggling to find a balance between her job and motherhood, she turned suicidal. It was her husband and family’s support that helped her cope with her condition. Free verse poems of, usually, just a page or two tell the story. With poignant imagery and vivid prose, Marin effectively captures the complexity of her emotions as she deals with fear and emptiness associated with depression: “I don’t want morning to come./ I don’t want to open my eyes./ I don’t want to see sunlight stream through the slats,/ announcing the beginning as if nothing./ So I lie down in bed, a moth in a spider web./ Darkness helps me forget I should fight./ Sadness brings silence, no voices screaming, demanding, demeaning, a silence swaddling me for sleep.” At the same time, she also delves into issues of how the lives of people with mental health conditions are often plagued by stigma as well as discrimination. Marin is candid and straightforward as she shares her life experiences, including the darkest moments of her life. Moving and eloquent, the book is a testament not only to one woman’s fierce will to deal with her mental condition, but also to the healing power of patience, understanding, and support of family and friends.

Swimming, Not Drowning: Poems

Mari-Carmen Marin

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Legacy Book Press LLC

Pub date June 3, 2021

ISBN 978-1734798685

Price $12.99 (USD) Paperback, $6.18 Kindle edition



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