Aksel Holland, age 17, died on April 10, 2018. Everyone who knew Aksel talks about how warm, loving, and intelligent he was.

His poem sets the bar for all of us.

How it really is

It’s not tragic
It’s not your disease to pity
It’s not something for you to feel lucky
that you don’t have to deal with

It’s an illness. disgusting
It takes people and changes them
Ugly shadows of what they could have been
had their mind not revolted

You sing praises for those who can function
Those who shower, work, talk
And condemn the ones who need help the most
“Look at that crazy homeless man”

If I yell at the air, you draw back
If she bleeds from her arms you recoil. gross.
If he can’t get out of bed, he’s lazy
Illness is only valid when it’s ‘normal’

The only tragedy you are allowed to mourn
the only moment not reserved for us
is the loss of a soul, a life
that couldn’t stay above the current

Do not look at me with pity
do not look at me with disdain
I am just as human, just as real
as you, and I need your help

I am not the storm
We are not who you think
We are fighters, warriors against everything
that you refuse to see