Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Writing and mental health

I'm know I'm not alone in having my mental health shredded by lock down, but in many ways it's surprised me. I'm not known for being a party animal. In fact, my "lock down life" is incredibly similar to my "pre-lock down life". The only differences are not being able to see my Dad in his care home, and missing my knitting group. I maybe had one coffee-date with a friend a month, pre-lock down. You'd think I would be able to take this pandemic in my stride.

Turns out that although I'm still as antisocial as I've always been, something about lock down is currently taking my generally more-buoyant-than-drowning disposition and demolishing it. I'm struggling to write (which is really not like me. Normally I have more ideas and desire to write than I have hours in the day). The smallest thing is liable to make me cry. My joie de vivre is gone, leaving nary a trace.

And yet all the signs are good. Vaccination in the UK is going well. I've had my first jab. By the end of the week, both of my parents and my husband will have had their second jabs. The country is slowly emerging from lock down. More people are allowed to meet up, albeit outdoors (at least in Scotland). The weather is sunny.

None of that seems to be filtering through to my emotions.

I'm trying to write my way out of it. Not my books... they currently lie outside my grasp and trying to write them is more frustrating than healing. No, I'm trying to journal, or write to process my thoughts and feelings.

I keep a daily diary where I record how my day has gone. That can often be quite dry and factual, in all truth. But I also have a separate notebook where I just write. It started out as "Morning Pages" and on occasion I still do morning pages. In fact, I should probably go back to doing them regularly. However, these are more "any time I'm feeling low pages" which could be any time of the day.

It's essentially a process to clear my head. I can't change anything that is currently dragging me down. I need to learn to accept that. Just the act of putting it all down on paper seems to help though.

The requirements are simple - a notebook, a writing implement (more often than not a pencil) and some time. Sometimes I write for a few minutes. Other times I'm still in full flow half an hour later. Generally I feel more sanguine afterwards.

How are you coping? What solutions do you turn to? Drop me a note in the comments?



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