Using Writing to get through Bad Head Days – Part One

by limebirdamber

Many people are aware of the link between different forms of mental illness and creativity. Poe, Hemingway, and Plath are three of the examples that came to my mind first. Hemingway and Plath killed themselves. Poe’s death wasn’t a suicide but it was brutally self-inflicted in many ways. My list of three is only a fraction of the full. And, well, if you didn’t realize the link I hope you see it now!

This post is about using your writing to deal with the bad feelings.

madness

I have depression and have experienced episodes of psychotic behavior and thoughts, so I can only speak from these perspectives. I’m not crazy, and neither are you! I promise. The tool of writing is at your disposal. It can help you get through those bad head days. How so, though?

Two major ways I think of first are journaling and incorporating the thoughts you experience into your character’s actions and thoughts. I’m going to split these ideas into two posts, with journaling first.

Your journal takes whatever form you like the best: don’t feel trapped into a single way. As any writing usually does, fit it to your personality. You could keep a daily private journal or whatever schedule you want to keep. You can write whenever a bad feeling captures your heart. You also have the option of writing it on your blog.

WordPress’s community supports you. I have never been a part of such a supportive community until now. I encourage everyone to share details of their life on the blog, especially when you need a pick me up. There have been days I felt extremely down and my blogger friends cheered me up so much I forgot why I was sad. Being able to talk here, without fear of reprisal, is liberating. Even if people from your ‘real life’ read your blog, reaching out on here can still help, even though it’s scarier. They never realized you felt so bad, did they? It was too hard to talk to them, wasn’t it? Well, the informality and relative security from being behind a screen can help you be honest.

The point to a journal is to get the bad thoughts out of your head, whatever they are. It’s a private place no one else can enter, unless you want them to. It may feel useless at first, but in keeping it up you’ll find it to be more and more helpful. Also, just knowing you have the option feels amazing too.

You don’t have to feel trapped. Use your words to get better.

I’m rooting for you.

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44 Responses to “Using Writing to get through Bad Head Days – Part One”

  1. Bloody fantastic post and certainly adds to my feeling that writing is in a way a kind of therapy. I am with you on many, many levels here.

    I’ve kept a diary since I was 9 and it is a wonderful way of expression and recording your life. Looking back can help you move forward etc and all that wonderment.

    • Thank you! I wish I still had my diaries from being 9. 🙂 I always destroyed them cause my little bro would read them! I’m glad you could resonate with the post.

  2. I never could keep a diary, I always hated to do it. But I really like this post, and I completely agree with it! Great post, Amber! I couldn’t agree more. Writing IS my therapy. There is no better way to escape all of the troubles around you and go to a better place. You can escape into the worlds of your characters and your stories, there is simply nothing better! I love to write!!! Writing has saved me! 😀

    • I feel like it has saved me too, in many ways. It gives me a purpose and an outlet at the same time.

      I’m glad you have other ways of coping, other than a journal. There are many ways to use writing to cope, the journal was just one idea. 🙂

  3. Fantastic post. Writing helped enormously with a bad head day today. You see he forgot valentine’s day. Not a note, a murmur or whisper past his lips, and I took this very personally. I spent the whole day getting more and more worked up about this oversite and eventually took to writing out my temper with pages and pages of emotions that slowly leaked from my body where they were welled up tightly, down my arm and through my tense fingers onto the page. He’ll never see these words, he doesn’t need to. I needed to say them to someone and my journal is a good listener.

    • I’m glad you have that listener to deal with that problem, I can’t imagine how bad that must have hurt. I would recommend telling him your feelings before they get brought out in a more angry way.

      Go you for writing first instead of blowing your top!

  4. I can tell you without a doubt keeping journals kept me sane as a teenager. I was really happy on the outside, and really angry on the inside at times, and keeping my journals honestly helped me to sleep. I’d lay awake at night sometimes just driving myself crazy with my thoughts, but once I wrote them down I’d finally be able to sleep.

    • That’s why I think it’s so important to write them down! 🙂 I’m so glad it helped you then. If you ever need it again, I’m sure she’d be glad to hear from you any time 😉

  5. great post! I used to have depression and now only seem to get depressed about still being single. I’m slowing getting through today (valentines day), the most hated day of the year (which, by the way, for me is on a par with christmas and birthdays….)
    😦

    • You can do it! 🙂 Don’t let the day or the singleness get you down too much. You’re amazing how you are, without another person. 🙂

  6. Writing is therapy. I’m so glad it’s helped you. Stay strong!

  7. Amber, this post is refreshingly honest. Also, you have given me a really good idea for something I want to do. OK, this sounds mysterious, but it’s something that I need to write, something I need to do. I’m not going to publish it, but I think it will help me.

    Thank you.

    • I try to be honest; writing is the best place to be honest.

      Ohhhhh an idea? I hope it gets you through whatever you’re thinking about.

      I hope it helps you. 🙂

  8. Thanks for this post. Writing certainly is therapeutic, but it can also be a bit scary in terms of what feelings you might unlock and bring out. I went through a traumatic event almost four years ago, and I’ve often thought of writing about it, but nothing seems quite right – I can’t really blog about it or write about it in any public way in case my children see it (I’ve tried to protect them from a lot of the details), and I’ve never really got on with journal writing; I’ve tried a few times but I always put barriers up to stop myself writing freely in case someone else sees it. So instead I resort to writing teenage angst style poems (!) which are unrelated to the event, but allow me to unleash something from inside in some way!

    • If I could *like* this (as you do in Facebook), I would!

    • Getting the feeling out is the important part, not the method. 🙂 Whatever works for you is what I would say do.

      I hope the pain leaves you.

      I think you could write about it, and then destroy the paper in a symbolic manner of letting go. It would It also make sure no one ever ever sees it.

  9. I totally agree with you! I have kept journals for over thirty years and it really helps you get through the tough times, and as Cat says, you have a recording of your life. And believe me…you do forget as time goes on. 🙂 And your journal can take any form you want!! You can cut out pictures or doodle or whatever your heart desires! I can’t advocate it enough!

    What I like about this piece is your honesty and what you say about WordPress and other bloggers…I feel the same way!

    • The combination of being online and writing makes honesty a bit easier. I understand it’s still hard at the same time.

      Good job keeping a journal so long and what a creative idea of keeping them!

      I forget things easily. I need to document more. 🙂

  10. Great post, and it’s so true, writing is the best therapy, and even if no-one sees it, it’s probably helped you. Thanks for this!

    • Thanks to you too! Sometimes the things no one else sees helps the most. They will see your change in attitude and have no idea where it came from and you say, “I’m over it.” and this time, you mean it.

  11. Reading and writing have been my escape my entire life. I’ve not kept a journal since I was a teen, and only for a few years then, and I admire those that can.
    What a fantastic post Amber, and you are right about the community support on WordPress. Everyone is so supportive!

    • I just love it. I think I’d be in a lot worse place without it. I never even expected it to be here, either!

      Escape is very important. We have to step outside ourselves to get a grip.

  12. Fabulous post, Amber. Your openness and honesty about headspace challenges in your life and how you deal with them is always inspirational. I’ve suffered from depression most of my life and it’s only when I write that I’m free of it. Way to go, Amber, long may you write.

    • Thank you thank you! Writing is very freeing. The wings gifted to us let up soar over the immediate problem and find a solution.

  13. Great blog and oh so true!
    Journaling has saved me many a time. I’ve kept a journal, off and on, all my life.

    • I’m so glad it helped you. It’s encouraging to see how many people have been helped through the process of journaling. Never give up!

  14. Hi,
    I so, so agree with you. Hmmm… but as a writer, you may want to check the spelling of “Hemingway.”
    ;~)

    blessings to you!
    mare

  15. I’ve kept a journal since I was 13. In my teens and early twenties it was the one place where I always felt safe and sane! In a weird way writing a journal has also fed my creativity – both in helping me deal with my anger and fear but also in teaching me to express myself without fear of criticism. I even draw and paste things into my journals, making them a sort of playground for my imagination.

    I’m not sure I’d have the guts to post them online but I really admire people who do. More than that I gain inspiration from the blogs I read, the stories and the lessons in others posts. The sense of community you get from blogging is incredible.

    Brilliant post, thanks Amber!

    • Thank you too! I’m glad you have it for yourself – who says anyone has to see it? Right? 🙂

      Once you start writing something the ideas just keep coming! That must be why it fuels your creativity. It also stays private and away from other eyes. The ideas you get from it are the ones others can see 🙂

  16. Thanks for writing this post and sharing it with us. I know that starting and continuing with my blog has helped me to process years of bad feelings, and I know there are more to write about. 😎

    • I think blogging has helped me tremendously. I don’t know what I’d do without it now!

      I’m glad to hear you’ve been helped too.

  17. WHAT, Beth? What?? We want to know.

    This was a great post, Amber.
    I can also say that if you do anything else creative, like art, or making rude candy hearts, it helps muchly in releasing stress.

  18. Really great post, Amber. I can completely relate to everything you say, and I am so glad that you have found a supportive community through blogging.

    The journal thing turned out to be a bad idea (for me) because someone snooped through my room and found it. Talk about going into depression–I don’t know if I ever fully recovered from that. Not only was everything out there now, but trust was lost. It took a long time to start getting it back, and I’m still working on it.

    So, needless to say, I don’t write journals per se. Instead, I write “fictional” stories to release my angst. Luckily enough for me, I find it easy to jump into the skin of my characters, so writing stories about my problems has been very therapeutic.

    Thanks for sharing your words and thoughts, Amber. 🙂

    • That’s actually what part two is about!

      I know the pain of losing trust in a journal. I kept them younger and my brother snooped – that’s what brothers do though. Parents though? They did it too. Luckily, when I was older and kept a much more serious one I don’t think anyone ever read it.

      I hope you can regain the trust someday soon.

  19. Wonderful post. Sometimes I think people post their “rants” for the world to see and may well regret opening themselves (and possibly others) up in such a raw way. Best to keep the private stuff private when emotions get the better of your judgement. If you have a calm mind and a real purpose for sharing some of those raw feelings, well, that’s a different matter.

    • I usually share on WordPress when I need support and I’m afraid to get it anywhere else. Also, I believe it can be helpful to remind people they aren’t alone – or be reminded of that yourself.

      I tend to keep it to what I did myself, I think, than involve other people. I definitely don’t use names for the most part. I try to keep them anonymous. I don’t mind what people think of me, based on what I write regarding depression and such, as much as I used to.

      It’s out there, it’s me, deal with it, I didn’t force you to come to the blog; is the attitude I try to keep.

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