Writing & Mental Health
Coping through Art; Expressing through Writing.
Right now we, as a society, have started to talk more openly about topics that used to be kept hidden; silenced. Things like mental health have come a long way when it comes to openness and being able to talk about our feelings and struggles with people. When I say people I mean in public, with strangers, on social media. Even so, there are so many hang ups when it comes to talking about our mental health as the government, news sources, employers, etc…continue to feel threatened by people talking about the depth of their emotions and their struggles. We are still trying to erase the fear of “crazy” people as well as trying to educate people on what it is to have a mental illness.
I believe that I have always used my art, ie. writing, as a way to cope with my mental health struggles. I grew up in a family that was not very stable (an abusive father and a mother who had suffered through it for too long) and so I would carry notebooks around with me every where. I would use them as a place to spill all of my anxieties around being in situations that made me feel unloved, uncomfortable, and unsure. They helped me ease my mind. I found this to be both helpful and even normal in my mind. Writing was a passion, right? Passions are something that everyone has…what is so wrong with expressing oneself through an art like writing? As I shared more and more of my writing and myself with others, I found out that other teenage girls didn’t ﬁnd this to be normal. They found me to be a bit weird, dramatic, and a little bit on the crazy side. Maybe they were right. Maybe, the trauma that I had gone through had affected my brain and made me a little odd but writing was saving me. It was saving me from cutting my wrists until I bled to death, from starving myself until I had turned to dust, from running away and becoming a victim of abuse by the hands of a stranger (the system). This all sounds extreme but it is the truth. Writing saved me.
Using writing as a coping mechanism for my anxiety turned into more than just that. It became my major when it was time to go to college and my chosen path when it came time to choose a career. It became my life; something I wanted to share with the world. Feelings that I wanted others to see were not weird or bad…rather feelings that are still misunderstood by so many and were maybe not “normal” but were valid! I could never really explain to people what I had wanted to do with my life. I would be ﬁlled with self doubt and never even wanted to attempt
calling myself “a writer” but the truth is that all my life I have only wanted to do one thing… Write.
In 2016, I decided to start putting my writing on Instagram. I was terriﬁed but I ﬁgured, why not? Since joining the Instagram poetry/writing community, I have learned so much when it comes to art and mental health. Some of the most beautiful experiences of feeling accepted, validated, understood, and appreciated have come from this platform and the choice to share my words and my feelings. Since then I have made it my mission to share open and honest poetry that is inclusive and helps spread awareness on topics that deserve more time in the light of day such as mental health, self care, and the hardships that go along with being a mother/wife/female in this world.
There are still so many people who will say that your truth is too dark, dramatic, ridiculous, attention seeking, etc. Do not let those people stop you from creating. Remember that we still have power in this sometimes dark world and that power lies in what we choose to create, what we choose to share, and who we choose to be through our struggles.