Yes, in my ever busy world I managed to find the time to write a book. If I am honest, I actually have a few writing projects on the go, including a murder mystery novel, another poetry book and two non fiction books. So what is this latest book I have published? And why have I been keeping it such a secret?
My book is called The Journey and is a collection of poems written by myself during my own journey through mental health issues. I was diagnosed with PTSD some years ago following a personal traumatic event and I recently went through intense therapy, including EMDR, to try improve my anxiety and other uncomfortable symptoms. During this therapy time I wrote poetry as a form of expressing my emotions, especially when I had difficulty relaying these feelings to the therapist.
To me, poetry is the ideal platform to voice your most deepest of emotions. Writing short sentences using few words is a perfect form of expression. The process of writing a poem takes only a short amount of time, which means you can see instantly your thoughts on paper. I believe when we see our most intense emotions spilled out onto that solitary white paper, we can almost connect instantly with the words. I think that connection helps with the healing process.
Have you ever had a million and one things to do and find it overwhelming as it all swims confusingly round your head? You decide to write it down on a ‘to do’ notepad and suddenly you don’t feel as overwhelmed and you can see a way forward. Well, I think writing can be used in much the same way. Writing for therapy courses are becoming popular now with people who are struggling with mental health issues. In fact, I have recently trained in therapeutic writing and I am running a course this year, as part of my new writing workshop business.
I remember attending my first writing for therapy course. I left later that day feeling like I had lost the heavy weight from my shoulders that I had brought with me earlier that morning. We were even encouraged to burn what we had written if that felt appropriate. I have to admit I did burn some of my work but it felt the right thing to do. It felt cleansing and powerful at the same time, like I finally had control of my feelings and emotions. I have written about writing for therapy before and if you missed that post please click here and have a read.
So, onto my own personal book. You are probably wondering how it felt to see it finished and in print? Well, it felt both satisfying and scary at the same time. The satisfying part is easy to understand. I took a box full of poems and selected the best to be entered into book form. Seeing my poems in print, in my hand, in a tangible book form, was extremely satisfying. If you are thinking about publishing your own work, never underestimate how good this feels.
So onto the scary part, which some of you will be wondering what on earth I have to be scared about. Well, the act of putting my personal and intimate emotions ‘out there’ in the universe for all to see is VERY scary. I worry how people will react. What will they think to this ‘new side’ of me that they haven’t seen before? Will I be judged? Will I be treated differently? I know only too well the horrible stigma that surrounds that topic of mental health. We hear all the time that things are changing around mental health conversations. But is it really? And yet, all of us at some time in our lives suffer with mental health issues. So why do we still shy away from admitting we have suffered? Why are people like myself who take the brave step to go public, SO worried about the consequences? Isn’t it a sad fact of life when we can’t seek support as we are so scared of recriminations?
As I get older I think I get braver. I watch other people on social media sharing their mental health stories and I admire them. I want to be like them, free and open with my story. I am inspired by these people every day and I hope that by sharing my poems I am on the road to finding a more authentic life, free from hiding in the shadows.
I would love to open this up for discussion although I am aware this may create inner conflict in some people who are not ready to express their own mental health battle. However if you feel able I would love to hear from you. What is your story? Have you encountered difficulties on your own journey?
My book is for sale on Amazon. Please click here for the link.
Take care dear friends.