Our guest post today is by Valerie Johnston who talks about something that affects many people, and how writing can help.
Those with mental health disorders like bipolar may find that they often feel alone, confused, and depressed by their lack of control over thoughts and emotions. Often, those feelings can become so overwhelming that they don’t know where to turn. While there are many different approaches to dealing with the symptoms of mental health disorders, one solution that has proven to be effective is writing as a form of creative expression.
In fact, in a fairly well-known case, a woman who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (manic depression) for years began writing her own blog about her condition, her thoughts, and anything she felt like. Since she began her blog, she continues to condone writing as a manner of better dealing with mental health. Why does putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard have such a direct effect on mental illness? There are several reasons why artistic creativity can work.
Expression without Judgment
Almost anyone who suffers from a mental health disorder will indicate that they often feel lonely. Because of their disorder, they separate themselves from others in fear of constant criticism or judgment. Unfortunately, there are outsiders who think conditions like clinical depression or bipolar are signs of weakness. They are not weakness. Anyone can be affected by mental health disorders, no matter how strong or weak they may be.
Someone who feels alone or too often criticized because of their disorder will be able to express themselves – their thoughts, hopes, dreams, and emotions, without feeling like they’re being judged.
Another problem that people with mental health disorders may deal with would be disorganized thoughts. They may have trouble focusing on daily tasks, and this can interrupt their work life as well as their personal one. By writing down the thoughts, they may find it easier to put them into some type of organization. This can make it easier for them to put that organization to work in the rest of their lives.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder have the most trouble controlling their emotions. They may go through episodes of severe depression when they feel hopeless or even suicidal. They will also go through episodes of uncontrolled elation. These are called “manic” episodes and they can be dangerous too since the person may make poor decisions, may forget things they’re supposed to do, or may even specifically put their life in danger.
Often, a bipolar person feels that they have to bottle up their emotions and not show the episodes from which they suffer. By keeping those feelings to themselves, they may eventually not know how to deal with them anymore. By writing and creative expression, they can get those emotions out on paper or on the computer screen. This release may be just what they need to get through an episode.
Understanding the Mind
The mind works in mysterious ways to most of us. It can go from extreme happiness to sadness in an instant even for healthy people. For those suffering from bipolar or clinical depression, these severe changes in emotion can be amplified to a point that their lives are ruled by this aspect of their mind. Often, the mind simply needs a controlling factor or something that forces it to think in a different way.
Through creative expression, someone with emotional or mental health disorders can ease a number of their symptoms. The writing process forces the brain to think in a more organized manner. It also allows the person to feel like they have an emotional release for their feelings. It can even make them feel less alone and judged, even if no one ever reads what they wrote.
Thank you, Valerie! If you have any questions for Valerie feel free to use the comment section below.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.