Before technology became a big part of my life, I had to find other forms of entertainment. I was a creative soul, I could create the most beautiful things from your everyday trash.
Something I can remember so vividly however was the enjoyment I found from writing, I was obsessed with books and I believe I was so captivated by the world I could envision when reading, that I wanted to create my own little universe. I was always a good reader, despite needing large print and purple overlays, the thing was though that I could read a huge ass novel before I could even spell or finish my alphabet, don’t ask me how, it just came naturally to me.
If I close my eyes I can still see myself sitting in the car on the way to my Grandparents house, a three-hour drive. I’d have my MP3 plugged into my ears, probably listening to the radio or Marilyn Manson (Don’t ask!) and would be writing on bits of lined paper that I had clearly ripped from a school book. I was particularly fascinated with tornadoes and twisters so most of my first short stories revolved around that.
In the summer I would sit on my trampoline and write songs, I don’t think I could do that now, although I have gained more passion for poetry recently, so who knows what the future may bring! Essentially, my head was always in a book or I was writing, despite my prevalent issues with spelling and grammar, it just never stopped me.
Then came high school, I had no time for books or for writing, I was too busy surfing the internet or out with friends and when school was over, the same happened with college and then when I started the world of work.
I let life take one of my genuine interests away from me, I just said to myself that maybe one day I would write a book. It wasn’t until I lost my job to bad mental health in 2016 that I found myself so bored of all this free time, that I took up writing again.
It was so hard, I was rusty with English and my imagination had been blocked with layers of depression. Yet the more and more I wrote, a little each day, the easier I found and the more I noticed how therapeutic it was, it only started out as something to do but it became my saviour.
All my writing is based on my own life and my mental health, this is to help others but also because it helps me drag those horrible thoughts that try to attach themselves and root deeply in my mind and put them out onto paper.
I would laugh at my dad for enjoying poetry or tease the kid in my class who was obsessed with English lessons, there was just such a stigma on literacy and I have no idea why. I only wish I had pushed past that teenage angst and expectations so that I could have started writing sooner and more frequently, it would have benefited my mental health so much.
The great thing about writing is that it will not judge you or talk back to you. You can keep it private, tear it up or show it to the world, however you feel most comfortable in presenting your work when it is finished. What I have found though is that it all has the same effect, it makes those thoughts real and you can see them in front of you, you can make sense of whats going on and start to un-jumble the chaos inside your head.
I sincerely believe that everyone should write, you do not need to be good at writing or a literary genius, I certainly am not. Writing is a form of expression, it is art, just like music or painting. You can really create something beautiful out of the pain that you feel inside, something that you may become proud of.
If I didn’t write today, I am not sure I would be making the same progress in my recovery that I have, I don’t even know if I would be a mental health advocate as the two tie together for me.
So make some time, get a pen and paper or open your laptop, write your thoughts and feelings out, worry about layout later. Just drag out that black dog and stand face to face with it, soon it won’t become so scary, you may learn to tame it even.
If you decide not to share your words with others, it does not make you less of a writer, besides, there is no time limit on publishing anything! You lose nothing, so give it a shot!