Hey, Hey Chicks!
Today NYAC will host its first guest post! How exciting is that? In keeping with this months motto, I thought it would be kind to offer my platform to other bloggers for them to share what and how they use particular methods for coping with mental illness. If you are interested, contact me and we can set up a date. I have one slot available for November and will feature the authors/bloggers on Thursdays. Without further ado, I present Ashley from Mental Health @ Home …..
Writing can be such a powerful way to promote mental health, both in a personal sense and in terms of getting the word out there to others. Let’s take a look a little closer at the connection between writing and mental health.
Find a purpose
Getting in touch with your purpose for writing can help anchor you if you start to feel pressured by struggles with your illness or outside factors stats like followers and likes. What do you hope to get out of your writing? The more you’re able to stay true to that, the more successful you’re likely to be and the more likely it is to give you what you’re trying to get out of it. There are a lot of possible reasons for writing, and all are equally valid. For example, writing can be a way to express your feelings, to connect with others, or to escape from things that confine you in your everyday life.
Personally, I prefer sticking to a niche. I write about mental health, and while I occasionally stray from that path, having that clear focus works well for me. It has also meant that in my WordPress reader and on my Twitter feed I’m being exposed primarily to content that supports mental health in some way. I’m able to connect with people who experience and feel a lot of the same things I do, and that means so much.
Find a form of writing that resonates
Writing can take many forms, and you may experience different benefits from each. You may also surprise yourself and become inspired to try a new form of writing. I’ve witnessed several new poets emerge on WordPress.
I’ve journaled off an on for years, and earlier this year I started bullet journalling after being inspired by other bloggers. Bullet journalling not only allows me to track various things to do with my mental health, but the structure prompts me to take more notice of positives and accomplishments.
I’ve been a blogger for just over a year. It wasn’t something I’d ever thought about before, but once I decided to start I was all in. The blogging community has been a really important source of support for me because my depression has made me very isolative in my “real” life. There’s also a lot of flexibility with blogging, so it’s easy to change your style if, for example, your illness is doing a number on your concentration. Posts can be long, short, diary-style, topic-focused, fiction, non-fiction, image-heavy, text-heavy… really, whatever you want to do, you can do. It’s your blog, after all.
If essay-writing is your thing, there are sites that will publish pieces in that format. You can explore a topic area you already know, or learn about something entirely different. While I typically write about my mental health, it’s nice to sometimes shift the focus outside of myself and take a more objective stance.
Creative writing, such as fiction and poetry, can allow you to tap into that creative side that may feel hidden. Writing something intensely personal can allow you to express your feelings in a new way, or writing about experiences that are not your own can be a temporary escape from the everyday world. It’s easy to find prompts and writing challenges to help support you in your writing and stir up the idea pot.
Nudge your way out of your comfort zone
Writing offers lots of ways to push yourself out of your comfort zone without much risk associated. If you’re a computer writer, why not try writing in a pretty paper journal? If you usually write at home, maybe try to write in a coffee shop. It could be an easy way to fit in some behavioral activation and challenging issues with anxiety or isolation while doing something that you’re already doing anyway.
There are many options for having your work published on other blogs or websites. While it may seem daunting to submit your writing for someone else to approve or not approve, it can be a good way to push yourself in a way that’s still fairly safe. After all, if you submit a piece to a site and don’t hear back from them, you can go ahead and publish it on your own blog and get positive feedback from your lovely followers.
Writing can be a good way to stimulate parts of your brain that you may not be using that much. You can engage your right brain creative side, and you can also start to tap into some of the subconscious stuff lying just beneath the surface. I often find after I write about something I have greater insight into how I’m thinking and feeling. Mental illness can make it hard to stay focused and organized, and writing can be a good way to push yourself a bit more in those areas. On my blog, I have a weekly recurring theme that involves doing some research on a topic, and that’s made for some good brain exercise.
If you’re lacking structure in your life, developing a routine around your writing could be helpful. I haven’t been working that much due to my illness, so writing has been very important in filling my time in a way that feels productive but not stressful.
So, why and how do I write? I write because it’s the best way I have to express myself. It’s a way to connect with others and to challenge myself to think about things in new ways. It’s a safe way to work on things that have become so much harder with my depression. It’s a way for me to be me. Blogging and journaling are my writing methods of choice, although I do dabble in other forms of personal and non-fiction writing.
Why and how do you write? How has it helped you?