You are currently on the:CMHA National
Visit our provincial websites
The Power of the Pen: Writing as a Therapeutic Tool
Jul 18, 2019
6 years ago, I started therapy for depression. I was completely lost and at the end of my rope – I had been struggling for over 38 years of my life. 38 years of what I like to call acting. People who struggle with depression and anxiety and other mental health issues are always good actors, sometimes no one even knowing they are struggling expect for themselves at times. After I made the call for help and started therapy, my therapist would always give me homework to do between sessions, and I would hand it in weekly. We would read through my homework together and she would teach me how to see the world in different ways, and it was working – it was working in ways I never thought were possible.
When I started writing, doing my homework, I was very uncomfortable at first.
I had never written anything at that point and I was never a good student when I was in school, but an amazing thing happened. When I was handing in this homework every week, it sparked something inside me, something that I never dreamt was in me in a million years.
Writing became a safe place where I was able to express my true self.
I discovered that I was able to write things down that were in my head, my feelings, my emotions, my thoughts. Things that I was not able to express verbally I was able to write with ease, everything just flowing out of me with no problem at all. Writing became my voice when I wasn’t able to express myself any other way!
I started to document my daily life, which gave me insight into my struggles, what was triggering me, what would set me off into a downward spiral in my mental state. I took the tools that I was being taught to use in therapy and made them my own, making them easier and more understandable to use. I took all my tools and created positive tools. I realized that the tools I was being taught to use were meant to counter my negative thoughts, but they weren’t helping me rewire my brain from negative to positive. So, I created positive Thought Records! Positive Journal entries. Instead of proving my negative thoughts wrong, I would write about my positive experiences and why I deserved them, enforcing the fact that I deserved all these wonderful things that I had never thought I did before. Everyone deserves to be happy, even me!
It was incredible how powerful of a tool it became, being completely lost in the moment and truly focusing my overactive mind.
I started to document my own mindfulness exercises, not allowing my mind to bounce from place because it was fully concentrating on the experience and the writing out of each detail, each word, each sentence. I like to say when you write, you connect your Mind, Body & Soul.
I started to write out my own guided meditations. I also applied the same tools used in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapy to create meditations to heal traumas in my life. I created my own tools and found my own ways of applying them in my everyday life! Because the only way therapy ever works is when you embrace it and turn it into something you love and enjoy doing! Not something you are told that you have to do because we all know when you are told you have to do something, you won’t do it!
Writing had such an impact in my life that I end up writing 3 books.
“Why I Run” My story of how I won my life back from the darkness of depression, and “Creative Writing For The Mind, Body & Soul” which teaches the 5 core elements I use in my therapy but in a journalling format. I have also turned this book into a 4-night course, teaching it for different mental health and addiction organizations. My newest book is, “My Guided Meditation” Using Meditation as a Therapeutic Tool to Focus Your Overactive Mind, truly showing you the power of your mind as I walk you through all my meditation techniques.
Writing changed my life, gave me an outlet, a way to express myself that I never had before.
Do yourself a favour and buy a pen, a journal and start writing today – you will learn to free your Mind, Body & Soul just like I have! You will turn writing into your best friend! A safe place where you are free to write and express yourself in ways that you never dreamt possible.
“Only with open conversation can we break the stigma behind depression, let’s start talking and do it together”.
Author/Public Speaker/ Writing Coach