Friday, November 3, 2017

Mental Illness and Writing: Helmet Head

I’m writing with my cat in my lap. He just refuses to leave. He’s warm and toasty and I’m able to type so it isn’t so bad. I wanted to talk a little bit more about mental illness and writing. Everyone struggles to some degree. People with mental illness and depression struggle even more.

Concentration. This can be a big problem for me. It’s sometimes super hard to concentrate on what I’m doing. Like I’m even thinking of something else right now. The cat that’s in my lap. Wondering where this is really going. I guess the best way I can explain it is writing it out.

Mental illness and depression can be described like many things. But today I’m going to explain it like this:

Mental illness is like always wearing a helmet, and never being able to take it off. Sometimes the helmet gets so heavy, it’s hard to even hold my head up. Or the helmet gets tight, squeezes my thoughts into the center, causes stabbing headaches.

Sometimes the helmet exhausts fumes in my mind and body. It comes out of nowhere and I’m instantly sick with worry, anxiety and feeling like I’m going to throw up. Like the fumes from the helmet are making me sick inside.

Sometimes the helmet gets lighter and feels like it’s barely even there. In those moments, it isn’t so bad. But I believe the helmet is there to protect me too. Like sometimes the negative thoughts help to prepare me for what could come. “Could” being the key word here. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with negative thoughts either. This sometimes happens too.

I realize more and more that this helmet is cemented to my skull. I will always have it.

But with writing, my “helmet” opens up these little air vents, letting my mind breathe for a while as I write something down. Just let it go and go, till things feel better. And the helmet closes up and I move through my day, accepting the fact I will always be wearing it.

With a mental illness, there’s ways to cope. But through the years I’ve learned, writing, by far, has been the best way to relieve my mind. Taking medication and maintaining a stable environment is first and foremost. But during those times, there will still be ups and downs. I hate when someone says, “control your emotions.” You really can’t. You can only try to turn the volume down on it. But it’s still there. You can’t delete your emotions either.

But you can maintain them. Being really emotional through writing helps too. Helps build stronger characters, and so building strength in you, your voice. Everything you put into writing, it’s all a part of you. But only just a piece of you. And there’s millions and millions of pieces to you, maybe billions or trillions, etc.

The point is, if you wear a similar type of helmet, like I do, writing can help with that. Walking, watching TV, visiting friends, petting your cat (like me) or dog, or hamster or whatever. Keeping an active and healthy lifestyle. Creating good habits too! All this, writing can do for you. I hope this helps you! Thank you for listening. 

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