Writing for Mental Health.
Writing for Mental Health.
I am a writer. I write.
I am a good writer. Bobby told me so
I am a bad writer. Bobby’s mind told me so.
I don’t care what you say.
I do care what you think.
I am a writer. I am writing this.
I was always a writer who never wrote.
I am a writer with words tumbling in all directions.
I hope they make sense.
I hope you read them.
I am a writer. I read them.
I am a bear. My name is Bertie. I think a lot. Some bears do.
Mindfully Bertie has become synonymous with photography assuming a similar importance to writing. This blog is devoted to the benefits we can all gain from writing. We look at the benefits to mental health in similar fashion as going to the gym for physical health. Acknowledging that they overlap to a large degree. So this blog is essentially written. Later in the blog we list ways in which we ask you to consider if writing in its various forms could be beneficial to you.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, BBC Radio London organised free writing workshops for young adults, to work with spoken word artists and poets to explore the way in which writing and creativity can help with mental health issues. Thirty five young adults came into the BBC to work with spoken word artists and the young adults then performed their work at the end of the event. The following poems were all read by their authors on air on Friday 17 May. Some on the Vanessa Feltz show. The last one by Lucy, most movingly, on the Robert Elms Show. All on iPlayer for a while.
“My anxiety is a sweet, cheap, sticky, body butter
That was gifted to me and set aside on the dresser for a few years;
Eventually it became a substitute for all my necessities.
It coats my entire body and its distinct scent lingers,
Leaving me wondering if anyone else notices it.
It settles into my skin.
I wonder, has it disappeared yet
or has it stained my hands and feet in a restless shape,
Or a distinctive film that just won’t be rubbed away.”
“What do you see when you look in the mirror?
I see the person I promised myself I would have become.
I see an innocent child lost in a park due to foolish mistakes.
I see a strong tide breaking a mountain apart piece by piece.
I see a plant whose growth became stunted due to lack of nutrients.
I see a black hole and I ascend to the former essence of a great star.
I see a face looking back asking me,
Do you know who you are?”
“This trauma is a blanket of hot cheese on top of nachos without the topping.
Call it cafeteria cuisine. A mission in fine dining
I wonder if my mother ate the same meal at school
I guess it would explain why stomach ulcers run in my family.”
“I just want piece of mind.
No matter what I do these days I just want people to take a piece of mine
for inspiration though.
I refuse to die knowing my purpose is to create a stronger me,
Than believe in the lies my mind tells me.
It tells me it will definitely bring you peace but please never think of the consequence.
Why can’t my mind snap out of this dark place?
Where did this darkness come from?
I just need peace.
So I will bring it to myself before death comes knocking.
I won’t answer but just notify of the due though.
It will be behind the doors I refuse to open.”
“Sitting in the front row of my own apocalypse
Popcorn in one hand and an excel rum and ginger beer in the other.
The fire is burning the buildings of my pre frontal cortex
Fill my eyes and it burns like acid light
Or do I mean acid rain?
Even if our planet’s so destructive that increasing levels of
Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides consume our air. Damaging our lungs
The loss of breath
That pain. That hurt. Still wouldn’t compare to the pain my mind makes me feel
To the point of being worthless, no better than dirt.
Bullets begin to ricochet
I dodge I pray.
Suddenly the hippocampus of my brain can no longer regulate my cortisol.
I am left unhinged, unfocused, lost but my mind is open that I blink when I see them all
The versions of me I wish I can be.
The happy and cheerful Lucy
Smart and independent.
Has all the answers Lucy.
The one that’s forever repentant.
The list goes on.
Dead bodies all over me.
Suddenly my popcorn turns to debris
No longer am I in my plush VIP seat.
I am now in the screen;
No longer is this a dream
My heart beats at 200
My pulse …. I feared
Inhale! ………… exhale! ……. I’m alive
Welcome to my misbegotten land
The land I call my mind.
Whether you think you a good writer or not, writing can be extremely beneficial for your mental health. It’s not about crafting the next great novel, it’s about honouring your thoughts and feelings. In this respect, writing a blog has found its place in the modern world.
Here are some reasons why writing could improve your mental health:
- Personal expression. As an outlet to get things off your mind you can’t beat writing. As long as you keep the document secure, you can write to your hearts content and share without actually sharing. Rant away. You can come back to what you’ve written to analyse/laugh/cry about it another time. Or you can simply delete it. Shred it.
- A lasting record. If you don’t destroy what you have written, you’ll have an amazing record of your life to look back on. Memories (good or bad) are useful to our mental health in lots of ways. It could be a chance to reflect on when life wasn’t so great and see how far you have come and feel positive for the future. Remembering happier times. Even the most mundane of days will be interesting to revisit in the future.
- Saying things you wouldn’t say verbally. You could write something you want to share; a letter to someone who needs to know how you are feeling; a blog post to the world to get your ideas out there. Putting your words into words can be a release and a relief!
- Mindfulness. You can be “in the moment”, type or scrawl away with no distractions. You can’t scroll through social media whilst writing about your day. It’s an escapism that offers a creative outlet and a chance to be you.
- Improved sleep. Writing down a list of things to do, or letting go the stresses of the day before bedtime might help you sleep better. If you find yourself awake, full of worries and thoughts, maybe switching on the light and writing all that down will calm you down enough to drift off?
If you write, do you find it has improved your well being? How do you feel when you write? How do you feel when you read your writing?
If you do consider writing a blog, you should consider the technical side. If you are handy with computer matters, then fine. If not, the stress of that side of things could take away what you have gained. At Mindfully Bertie, we were lucky to meet Tim and Tracey on the blog course. Tim is an IT expert and the posting of Mindfully Bertie is his chosen responsibility. Ultimately we cannot imagine what life was like before we started recording it. Which explains why we love the nostalgia of years ago reliving many things that we had forgotten perhaps forever.
I don’t think I am any good. If I thought I was any
good, I wouldn’t be!
Lighting a Candle for Diddley
She met Laurie Lee as a young girl, through her friendship with his poet friend.
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