Poems are a great way to let out feelings and emotions that you couldn’t otherwise say to someone, or even articulate to yourself in any easy kind of way. It can help with the stigma related to mental illness as well.
Being expressive helps depression, while at the same time leading to eradication of stigma. Also, reading poetry in tandum with writing is especially useful — you can learn how to express feelings better as well as create a new coping skill for yourself; poetry is calming and artistic. Creatively penning your thoughts has been proven an easier way to express these kinds of things, even more so than direct dialogue in writing, if your having trouble finding a way to fill in the blank space on your journal page it can be a huge help and a great way to start your therapeutic processing of events or experiences. It will even help you understand your own feelings, emotions, and thoughts while also making it understandable for others if that is what you are having most trouble with. In my own experience, I started writing poetry to get what was in my head out instead of trapping it inside forever. I was able to write the poem as if it were directed to my abuser, in lieu of a letter that way suggested by my therapist. It worked, and I felt a whole lot better, I even sent it to him when he was in prison after several failed attempts to send an actual letter. The pain was unbearable for so long, this was the direction that helped transfer that pain; through a creative channel. It opened my eyes to how deep and far my depression really was, as well as others eyes who didn’t know how hurt I was or how I was effected by the trauma. It saved my life. Here is an example, one of my most recent poems that helped me cope.
~ Skyline ~
A sleeping world, fueling insomnia
Racing thoughts abound, nightmares emanate
Afraid nobody would believe you
They don’t see the pieces on the floor
While your trying to pick them up, broken
Why would they, they’ve never before
Focusing on their happiness, never yours
Memories of their life, irreversible like mine.
Nobody knows the real you
Or what you’ve been through
If they did, what would they say about you?
Afraid of isolation and secrets exhumation
Already killing you inside, much confusion
Feeling like there’s fire all around
Your whole life comes burning down
But you know what happens? Extinguination
God douses the fire with grace and love
When something turns to ashes, it’s ok
For it then gives a clear view of the skyline
You’re entitled to a happy ending too
Unlike everyone else, God knows you
Pouring out love, quenching life’s moments
Defeat is an option, life’s challenges are not
claim your experiences, gain inspiration
Soak up this light, rebuild with guidance.
~ Written by Carrie Edwards ~
I know that most people think of depression as being an illness that takes over the mind completely, making it hard to ever be happy or even have good days. But that is a very concerning misconception. That’s why I urge you to write about anything and everything you want to, even happy moments, especially the ones that you want to remember. Do not let poetry drag you down the path of self-stigmatization. Writing poetry as a coping, and even fun, mechanism frames an individual’s mind around what’s good for them. The more others in this world can understand, the less stigma we see. What other creative ways can you think of to express your feelings, thoughts, monumental experiences, and sharing your personal story? Helping yourself can and does help the rest of us too. You don’t have to be afraid of the world if you are helping it.