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April 15, 2012 / edwardonbebop

Writing and depression or anxiety

Writing during depression is good. I think there are two kinds of benefits you can get while writing during hard times.

Trying to write about your current issues will help you to narrow them down. You will feel less drowned into questions if you begin to put them on paper – or any other form, even digital for that matter. Do not try to write a perfect text in one shot.

In that case, what you may write does not have to be perfect. The simple fact of writing, will make you focus on the most important problems first. That is already a great value to be obtained from such a process. Secondary questions will probably come later.

Write something, even if that is a draft first. Maybe you will not even have to edit the text later if you do not plan on publishing it (on a blog) or showing it to anyone.

Doing so will narrow your current issues to the most preoccupying ones and formalize them into sentences that are a little more concrete than just emotions or feeling, making them easier to discuss (with a psychologist a friend or even yourself).

You may have another slightly different approach of writing. Instead of focusing on issues you can write about your expectations, things that you feel are lacking in your life or current situation.

To do so, I would suggest to really let go of any kind of self-censorship, maybe you can even use exaggeration. The idea is to project your expectations. That can be done by thinking that you are writing to someone who is not here to judge you, someone like a perfect confidant, someone who will listen and always say “yes” and support you whatever the situation (be careful, this is not the description of a friend as you may expect from a friend that he/she sometimes slaps you in the face to bring you back to reality).

For example I used the “mail never to be sent” method several times. The name is self-explanatory. Write a mail as if you were about to send if to your “perfect confidant”, but never send it. This point is really important I think: never send it ! You can also do as if you were writing something in your diary to keep it up-to-date.

That piece of text, that part of what you want or what you want to become, should be considered as something belonging to your Secret Garden. There is no obligation to share it with anyone.

However, if you choose to discuss about these projections with someone, you probably can do so, but in any case, do not share the exact content that you wrote ! Indeed the form may be deemed inappropriate or hurtful by your interlocutor (remember that maybe you used exaggeration to write those words). Extract the main ideas and make them the subject of your conversation.

Another essential thing is to write about positive achievements too ! Do not focus on things that go wrong, because you probably also did good things. It is equally important to write about them and discuss them just as you would do with negative things.

Please keep in mind that I only share here my personal experience and my advice. I am not a psychologist. Do not take what I write here for absolute truth. I only hope that sharing these things may help some readers.

8 Comments

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  1. Annie / Apr 15 2012 9:47 pm

    At times, I’ll write what are called ‘morning pages.’ I get up 15 minutes earlier and WRITE. Write, write, write and don’t stop, don’t reread, just write whatever comes to mind. I find this to be really therapeutic, in that it sort of clears the cobwebs from my mind and held me focus on the day, preparing for what I need to accomplish! I’ve never done this in reaction to a depression, but I’d imagine that it might help me focus and sort things out. Annie

  2. edwardonbebop / Apr 16 2012 11:15 am

    “Morning pages”: I like that concept ! Thank you for sharing your own experience. I may try this. The most difficult is the “get up 15 minutes earlier” part…
    Thank you very much again !

  3. Barefoot Baroness / Apr 16 2012 10:21 pm

    Excellente Post!! I write from many platforms, depending on my mood, the subject, the purpose or agenda, and who if anyone will be reading it. And I write for me first always.

    I agree writing and journaling is important, a good part of any process, I do first try t just write, without any editing, censorship, etc. then depending on what the piece is for I;ll do the editing. First drafts are raw in so many ways, and have great things being said, Never dispose of a raw first draft I say.

    • edwardonbebop / Apr 17 2012 7:05 am

      I am new to writing. Words are not my strong point. I only know what to say when I talk to a computer (sometimes they understand me).
      I have many many drafts. Although they are incomplete and not perfect I am strongly attached to them as they are a part of me and what I was feeling like at a given moment.

      My lady would like to know more about some of my drafts, but I chose not to share them with her or anyone else.
      When I choose to publish something, I do it publicly so that anybody can read what I write. I that case I edit the draft, but it is still somewhere.

      Thank you for your very interesting comment !

      • Barefoot Baroness / Apr 17 2012 7:30 am

        Tis you that I should thank. I am certain that what you have stashed is pretty good judging by your blog. I don’t worry about editing, censoring, etc until I get the .thoughts, feelings and emotions out first. I find I start second guessing everything and lose the intent and passion of the feelings. My thoughts about my feelings are only fuels by my passion if I don’t look back. I can look back later. So often I am seen writng by my Knight and he’ll advise me, “slow it down” I just cannot, if I do it would be like stifling an honest and raw emotion. Not healthy. He’s not a writer per se. So he does not quite get the writing from passionate emotion. Funny, he’s a software writer. Sound familiar?

        Thanks again for sharing Edward. It is a fascinating subject.

      • edwardonbebop / Apr 17 2012 7:41 am

        “software writer” yes, it sounds familiar !
        The subject is indeed fascinating. But I need to control the time I spend writing otherwise my Lady might feel abandoned (not exactly what we need right now).
        But as you wrote it sometimes like cutting a raw emotion from being expressed or even understood.
        I am only beginning to understand what lies behind the “simple” fact of writing. A very complex process actually.

  4. Barefoot Baroness / Apr 17 2012 9:06 am

    You’re doing a fine job. You are right to be intuned to your ladies needs first. How blessed she is.

    • edwardonbebop / Apr 17 2012 11:26 am

      “Needs” is exactly what I focus on lately. But unfortunately, my lady is not blessed. She suffers a lot of the side-effects of my current condition.

      I have to think about my needs. I have shut them down for so long, now it seems that I have to find myself.
      But even in that situation, I try to keep our relationship’s needs and hers into account.
      I don’t want her to feel abandoned while I try to “cure myself”.

      This is the most challenging time of my life.

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