How writing has improved my mental health.

Credits: Matthew Henry On Unsplash

Battling with mental health issues can be very challenging, especially when you don’t have access to help. Thus, I adopted writing/journaling as a form of self-care because I had prior knowledge of the concept of mental health issues. So, when I joined high school, it developed into a hobby that helped me improve on my mental health. If you know something about the Kenyan high school life; you know it can be quite demanding and detrimental to your mental health. It can drive you into depression without a warning. Hence, being familiar with how to deal with mental health issues is very important and I believe I was. However, when mental health issues became my reality, I didn’t know how to deal with it. In addition, seeking for help was off the table because of corruptible systems. Then reality clarified that I was alone in the fight. After much thought and consideration, I turned one to writing to express my feelings. Thus, my journal became my therapist. I called it my little book, which turned out to be a great indirect support system, my therapist.

This little book, which I guarded with my life, became a safe space for me to vent, rant and celebrate my milestones. It is from writing in my little books that I got to deal with tough issues that I was facing. Some issues included anger, loneliness, feeling misunderstood and being easily triggered. These attributes were a recipe for disaster because no one really embraced my perspective. In order to deal with it, I learnt to express my feelings in my little book as if I was talking to an actual therapist. The reward was a sense of clarity and I got to understand the reasons behind my feelings and eventually learnt to work my way through certain issues. In addition, I journaled whenever I was happy in order to understand myself more and what makes me tick. Eventually I understood myself and I eliminated worries, negative thoughts. As a human being, I sometimes get so consumed with rage, anger, negative emotion that I completely lose myself. But through writing, I can channel my feelings to a piece of paper as a mechanism to offload.

When I peruse through some of my ‘little books’, all I see is a bare soul, honest emotions and thoughts. I now understand how having such a support system helped me wade through life’s challenges. As a teenager, I never understood the importance of writing. Little did I know that this simple activity, helped with my mental health. Presently, when I write and the emotions are too heavy, I rip the paper and burn it. To me, it is a way of releasing and burning all the negative energy. This tradition has helped me learn to release and let go of things beyond my control and comprehension. As a result, I get to deal with rage and anger in less dramatic ways. In addition, the act of writing is therapy because it has helped me understand my own feelings and thoughts. I realised when I write, I rouse some questions about my direction and life and what I need to change. By answering those questions, I get to work my way through life, design my direction, and give my mind a sense of belonging. In the end, I get to release negative energy, get clarity of mind, understand my fears and definitely work through any issue. Eventually, I learnt to love myself, forgive myself, and accept myself. .

We all struggle with negative emotions now and then, but when ignored, they can turn into mental health issues. One better way is to channel the negative energy onto a piece of paper.

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