On Writing and My Mental Health
I often have a hard time admitting that I struggle with my mental health. Not just because I have difficulties admitting struggle, but rather I have difficulties allowing myself to struggle. What I mean is, I'm huge on, "Yeah this sucks, but others are having a harder time," and then I suppress whatever emotion I'm having. I know I am not unique in this, and how sad it is that we often push our own adversities aside because we feel that they are unworthy of attention. Yes, most things "could be worse," but if we continuously say that it becomes a prophecy.
Along with this suppression has been my aversion to therapy. I tried therapy once about six years ago, and she made a large assumption that I didn't have the taste for, and I never went back. I deeply understand that this is not how therapy works, and often you have to try a few before you find "the one." The same thing can be said for dating, and I'm mostly single, so if you see a pattern let me know. I'm not knocking therapy at all. I think it's hugely important, and I've been meaning to make an appointment for six years now--seriously. In exchange, my writing has become my therapy. I said a few weeks ago to my mentor, "I can't go to therapy. It's for my art." My favorite writers are mostly dark, or have darkness sprinkled within their work, and I find influence from that. If I escaped my own would my art be the same? I'm more fearful of that than I am of facing my demons.
I'm mostly joking, but I really have been able to utilize writing as a form of medicine. That typical metaphor of a dark cloud sometimes sits above my head until I put pen to paper (or rather finger to keyboard; this technological era lacks poeticism, and that alone depresses me). I don't typically journal, however. I either write poetry, a short story, or add to whatever project I'm working on. Michael Crighton inscribed in one of his books, Next, "This novel is fiction, except for the parts that aren't." That line has always stayed with me because it's true of all fiction works. Writers may call their work fiction, but is anything ever really purely made up, or is it just a concoction of things we've experienced or perhaps suppressed? As I write, no matter what genre I throw on it, I feel a release, and whatever darkness that I was experiencing gets translated onto paper. Even now, as I write this, I feel the clouds parting ways because I'm being truthful with myself. Isn't that really what therapy is anyway? Truthfulness? I suppose I wouldn't know. Some people have church, some people have therapy, and I have this, and it's got to count for something.