I am writing a poem for my Creative Writing class, and my teacher suggested I find a "more interesting alternative" to one of my lines. For context, my poem is about how dead kids are honored and put on pedestals and "never forgotten," but mentally ill kids are hidden away and ignored by society.
"an elephant in the room" comes to mind.
"dead kids are honored and put on pedestals and never forgotten, but mentally ill kids are an elephant in the room."
- The expression “elephant in the room”, sometimes also “elephant in the living room”, means “a big issue everyone is aware of, but which is being ignored, because everybody finds discussion about it uncomfortable”. The rationale behind the idiom is that an elephant in a (living) room would be impossible to overlook, but people in the room can nevertheless choose to behave as if the elephant was non-existent.
example sentences from the press:
- "Increasing poverty in the world is the western politicians’ elephant in the room."
- "There were two elephants in the room: one of them Clinton’s unspoken near miss with the Feds and the other one her Republican rival, who served as the main target of both Democrats’ speeches."
- "Race is the elephant in the room when it comes to inequality in America."
- "Disability is the elephant in the room that we may all wish to ignore. We may be frightened by disability because it reminds us of our own individual and communal vulnerabilities."
"Racial prejudice is the elephant in the room. It’s been whispered for years so let’s deal with it: many African Americans have privately complained that..."
"Jerry's family keeps criticizing him for not getting a job, but the elephant in the room that nobody talks about is his meth addiction."
in limbo as defined by The Free Dictionary. This phrase, meaning in a state of neglect for an indefinite period of time, dates from the early 1600s.
in a state of neglect; in a state of oblivion; in an indefinite state; on hold. (*Typically: be ~; leave something ~; put something ~.) (emphasis added)........
They kept her application in limbo for months.
This phrase is particularly apt for your use -- hiding away mentally ill children -- because, as TFD further states:
... allude[s] to the theological meaning of limbo, that is, a place outside hell and heaven to which unbaptized infants and the righteous who died before Christ's coming were traditionally consigned.