The Secret to Writing About Mental Illness and Healing

Writing to Heal Mental IllnessPhoto Credit: Linda Biafore via Compfight cc

Do you journal about what life has been like ever since your mental illness diagnosis? If you're like me, and most people trying to figure their way out of a difficult situation, then the answer to that question is yes. Writing about what I was going through certainly helped me, but it wasn't until I wrote those words using a public forum did I realize the true healing power of sharing my story.

Healing starts when we give our pain a voice

Every week, sometimes daily now, I receive emails from someone who has read my writing online. They took the time to read my blog, and they've taken note of what we've created here with This Is My Brave. They often then reveal that they're struggling with a mental illness, or they love someone who is sick with a mental illness, and they're looking for advice on how to get well.

Within the lines of a journal is a great place to start healing

We're not doctors here, but we are real people who've experienced many different facets of mental illness. In order to live authentically, we've felt the need to be completely open about aspects of our lives which aren't apparent from the outside. We break free of the handcuffs mental illness shackles around our hearts when we offer our stories for the world to consume, to learn, to empathize. Some may call it oversharing, but to us it's a method of recovery, and This Is My Brave is a vehicle to encourage others to join us. Healing manifests when the audience is there to soak up what we've poured out.

Not only does This Is My Brave provide a physical platform (and podium and microphone) for which one may share their story on stage, but we also have this space here. We've spent the past year growing our community and know that there are individuals who have stories which are pleading to be revealed to the world.

You don't have to have it all figured out to move forward

When we keep our pain bottled up, hidden deep within our core, its power can overtake us. By putting our story out there for the world to read (or listen if in the form of a song or performed poem), we reclaim the hold our illness had over us. We are the ones who determine how we'll reveal our struggles. When we craft our trauma into sentences or stanzas or lyrics, the resulting art allows us to realize what the journey has taught us, or is teaching us, and how badly we want others to see they are not alone. We get to share a glimmer of hope that could save a person's life.

I urge to you join our community of brave truth sharers and use our platform. Tell us what you want the world to know about living with depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety or bulimia? What did it feel like to be diagnosed with anorexia, OCD, agoraphobia or PPD and where are you now?

Email Submissions@thisismybrave.org to be considered for publication on our blog.