Writing allows me to make sense of my thoughts and self-analyze in a way I don’t do otherwise. Realizations and revelations come out when I write. My swirling anxious thoughts start to make sense to me, and it helps with positive change and moving forward.
I haven’t been writing as much lately because I judged my writing as poor quality and an embarrassment to put out in the world. (Narcissistic Recovery: Cognitive Function)
And yet without it, I’ve been struggling. I tried to keep up my daily journaling practice, but even that suffered my censure. As a result, I wrote very little for the past few weeks.
During this time, not realizing I’d taken a break, someone asked me with great concern whether my writing is helpful or if it’s holding me back in my healing. I think they fear I am engaging in an unhealthy form of rehashing or dwelling.
I understand the concern; it’s one I’ve thought to myself, as well.
The answer, however, is unequivocal. Yes, writing helps.
If I don’t write, all the nasty thoughts and memories stay inside me and I’m choked by them. It’s like I’m being eaten alive from the inside. I need to let the poison out, to drain it, or I will never get better.
I love my friends. I love my family. I wish it felt more productive to talk to them about all of my inner demons.
The sorry fact is, I only know a few people who get it. And the sorry fact is, I don’t want to burden them.
That’s one of the bitches about “reach out” advice that I hate. I’ve seen others have this same gripe.
It’s easy enough to tell someone with depression to reach out when they need to, that you’re there for them, and so on and so forth.
But you who want to help, you have lives. You have jobs. Some of you have partners, and children, and others leaning on you as well. There isn’t enough time in the day for you to be able to be there for me in the ways that I need. I know I would prove a burden if I leaned on you more heavily.
Because my depression is constant. Sometimes it’s a low rumble and sometimes a mighty roar, but it doesn’t go away and it’s something I fight 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If it’s a mighty roar I reach out. I promise you, I do.
Thankfully it hasn’t gotten there often, and often when it’s at that stage the simple act of reaching out and hearing of your willingness to help is enough to quiet it. I don’t need to ask more of you than that. You show me love in those moments. It’s what I need. The roar subsides and becomes a manageable rumble again.
But on the low to medium rumble days, it’s still there. And you’re busy, and I don’t want to bother you. So, I write. I get it all out of me, whatever it is that’s causing the rumbling that day. And then it’s out. I’ve done something constructive with it. And that feels good.
Perhaps this need to feel seen and heard is my own variety of narcissism. Perhaps. But maybe not.
Maybe it’s something beautiful and wondrous to want all my dark corners and crannies thrown out into the light. Maybe screaming into the abyss, “I am here. This is me. This is all of me, every part, all the things I love and am proud of and all the things that bring me disgust and cause me to stay in my home and cry,” is something brave and healthy and needed.
Too many of us keep ourselves hidden. Too many of us learned it’s what life requires of us. Don’t be sensitive. Don’t have big emotions. Don’t be so dramatic. Push your feelings away. Just keep smiling. Make sure you keep everyone around you comfortable at all times. Nobody will like you if you’re frowning.
Maybe, just maybe, I want to show my writing to the world because I want to scream a big hearty FUCK THAT to all those notions and to inspire others to do the same.
Maybe I’m not narcissistic. Maybe on some level, I’m altruistic? I want others who are in unhealthy relationships to wake up to their abuse. I want others who are depressive and anxious to feel strengthened by my fight.
I want to feel less alone with my struggles and want others who struggle to feel less alone, too.
Writing is my medicine. Writing is, in a way, my way of reaching out. Yes, what I write about is often awful, uncomfortable, and personal. That is the point. That’s what needs to be exposed.
Do I think my writing is any good? Well, I don’t think it’s fabulous, no. I don’t turn a phrase in the manner I appreciate in other writers. My imagination is different. I think my writing tends towards straight documentation rather than rich and vivid descriptions.
That will have to be okay. I’m sure there’s a need in the world for writers like me. The point is to stop judging my current offerings as unworthy and to continue trying.
Because, even if I never earn a cent from writing, writing is something I need to do. Not just for myself, privately. I need my writing to be exposed to the world.
And I realize now that I can’t stop. Whether it makes people I know uncomfortable or not, it’s something I need to do. It’s bad for me to not write. I must continue.
Does writing help? Yes. Writing is my medicine. Writing is my way of reaching out to my inner tribe and the larger global community. Writing is an act of self-love and a means by which I receive love from others.
Is my writing hindering my recovery? No. I thank the person for their concern and for causing me to evaluate this question. Having given it great thought, though, I can now say without a doubt if I was not writing about my experiences I would be far worse off than I currently am.
“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.” – Roald Dahl