we’re not real anyways
by maddie mitchell
we’re not real anyways explores mental health struggles, highs, lows, LGBTQ+ love, and heartbreak. These poems contain the struggles of dealing with many mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, OCD, BPD, PTSD, and anorexia nervosa. The collection was written during the author’s time at a residential eating disorder recovery facility and while participating in the step-down programs.
she tried to disappear, so he could finally be happy.
she wanted to fade away until a girl asked her to stay.
maybe she won’t always hate herself.
About the Author
maddie mitchell is an 18-year-old poet and writer from paris, kentucky. she graduated from bourbon county high school in 2019, one year earlier than expected, and began attending georgetown college at age 17. she is currently a sophomore and plans to major in english and political science with a minor in spanish. she hopes to one day attend law school in order to become an immigration lawyer. she is also a part of the oxford honors program at her college and plans to spend a semester or two at oxford university in england in the coming years.
The young writer deferred a semester of college during her sophomore year to focus on treatment for several mental illnesses including borderline personality disorder, anxiety, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anorexia nervosa. she was at a residential treatment facility for her eating disorder for over 11 weeks, and she then went through several step-down stages of the recovery process over the span of several months. throughout this process, she wrote many of the poems included in we’re not real anyways. her book also speaks on topics of feminism and lgbtq+ romances. she has hopes that her poetry is relatable to others who deal with similar issues discussed in this, her first book, we’re not real anyways.
Early Praise for we’re not real anyways:
Maddie Mitchell’s book is a clarion call from the war zone of anorectic suffering. Her poems unveil and call to account the forces and indignities that imperil young women by pressuring them to be perfect and small. This is an emotionally searing, impressively crafted sequence that intertwines its statement of truth with an ongoing search for hope. It is the work of a talented young poet whose voice is haunting, inspiring and indelible.
—Barbara Burch, PhD,
Professor of English, Georgetown College
Right from the title, Maddie Mitchell plays with the reader’s doubts of reality and invites us into her mindset and into her personal experiences that are easily translated to the universal by happenings that have let her down, that let us down as we yearn throughout life for approval and acceptance. Within these intensely feminine and young experiences there is also such love amid Mitchell’s words. With the intense title of, “to all the boys who pulled a gun on me,” and with those initial words of that piece, i love you, it shows that Mitchell understands it is not just her that yearns for this love.
These poems hold such an innocent intelligence and would be an incredible gift to read for young people, people struggling, and especially for those that don’t seem to be struggling as well. If young people were encouraged to read such common and powerful feelings, it might make a positive difference within themselves. What these poems reveal is how we should shed more light and place more emphasis on young mental health and stop condemning people from certain thoughts and emotions. We should be listening and opening our arms in acceptance. In the poem “ww3,” she labels the feeling of enough as only found in Dr. Seuss books. There is not an in-between anymore; it’s either good or not good enough. The unfiltered abandon that Mitchell is able to confess in each poem for us is admirable.
—Rebecca Smolen, author of Excoriation,
Gateless Method facilitator