Hospitalisation and How it Affected my Writing

I was looking back at some old blog posts on a different host site, and I stumbled across a long forgotten post from Novemeber 2010. In it I wrote

…So that’s what’s been going on with me. Well that and a stint in hospital, which I think had completely broken me.

I’ve not been able to write anything, which in turn has led me to be upset… but I just don’t feel things the way I used to. It’s weird and horrible, and I hope no one has to feel the way I feel.

My sense of humour has totally changed. Things I found funny before are now not nearly as funny. I have officially become an unenthusiastic person. It bites and I don’t know how to change it, or how to feel things anymore.

I’m not asking why. I accept that this is something that has had to happen, because it did actually happen, I just wanna know what to do about it.

Reading this seven years later and being confronted with that former version of myself is hard. My heart swells and remembers the faint echo of its old wounds whilst reading this post.

It was written shortly after I was sectioned under the mental health act and hospitalised. I am someone who is pretty open about this having been part of my life experience, though I feel where I come from, both from a cultural and religious standpoint, there is still at times a stigma attached to mental health problems, and being open about difficulties people face in that regard. I stand by my resolve to be open about my experience though, because it is through sharing, open discussion, and sincere reflection, that I believe we all learn, develop, and reach new levels of compassion and understanding.

What is very weird though, is that I’d forgotten that my writing slump coincided with my being sectioned. Prior to being sectioned, I would spend countless nights losing sleep because I was pouring out a new story idea, or working on a new poem, or just scribbling my feelings out in a journal. After being sectioned I just couldn’t do it. I tried, I tried to force myself to keep writing, I even attempted NaNoWriMo from my room on the triage ward, but it just didn’t pan out.

For perhaps the majority of my life words and writing have been places of refuge for me; from spending summers folding a4 sheets of paper in half, stapling them in the middle and designing books, writing endless stories fuelled by a youthful imagination, to journalling during my time in boarding school, even those angst filled poems that littered my teenage years. However, in the midst of one of my most difficult life experiences, that tool and solace was lost to me.

It was not that I couldn’t access writing, it’s just there was something off about it, even now it’s so hard to express this in a way that makes sense. It was almost as though in the same way that my self confidence had withered away during my time in hospital, the creativity I normally overflowed with when it came time to put my fingers to the keyboard or even pen to paper had shrivelled up too. I can still remember the desperate struggle to write, how huge of a mental block there seemed to be, how it was almost as though I’d lost not only the capacity to express myself, but also the will to do so. I believe this is very much a parallel to how things stood for me at that time mentally too. It took a lot of work to get back on an even keel, Alhamdulillah! I do feel that this experience, as much as it knocked me down, was useful in that it was a way to start rebuilding myself with a stronger foundation.

Eventually, painstakingly slowly my love of writing did return. I started of with a journal, a hot pink faux leather bound lined notebook; no dates or days, just blank lined pages a year after I left hospital. I didn’t write every day, in fact weeks would go by and I wouldn’t pick up my pen at all. When I did write, I would write a sentence here, a paragraph there, and there were a lot of days where I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed, talk less of the mental effort it took to pick up a pen and organise my thoughts enough to write what I was feeling.

I kept writing though. A new year started and I was still using that same hot pink diary… occasionally. Gradually I was recovering, and so was my writing. Things were not exactly the same, just as I had been altered by my experiences, I believe my writing was too. At times writing can still be a challenge, but I am so grateful that it wasn’t lost to me forever.

To anyone who’s found that mental health issues have negatively impacted their writing I wanted to just put this out there, don’t lose hope. It can come back, it may not be the same, but the challenging things that we go through in life don’t have to forever be dark ink blots on the pages of our life stories, we have the capacity to grow from and learn from our experiences. To transform the inkblots into fantastic illustrations of growth and starting points for change.

Lots of love

Mission Statement

Salaam alaykum, warahmatullahi, wabarakatuhu, (the Peace, and Allah’s mercy, and Allah’s Blessings be upon you).

This year I signed up to blogging101. A course i’m hoping will help me hone my blogging skills :).

I wanted to let you know a bit more about why I’m here blogging for all the world to see, as opposed to writing in a journal (which I still do on occasion).

I’ve always been a bit of a chatterbox, I have my quiet more reflective moments, but I really do believe that communication is such an important thing. It’s one of the things that helps us build communities. Blogging gives me a way of trying to reach out to a wider audience of people. To me this is an opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with others. I hope that people will be able to relate to me, or perhaps i might, in sharing my own outlook, give somebody a new perspective with which to consider things. Ultimately I hope that this can be a source of goodness, and a place where conversation about life can take place.

Bipolar- Mood Management

Hello.
I feel like I’ve been off the blogosphere for a while. I’m feeling a bit poorly today, and have had to miss photography class 😰. Thought I’d make the most of this day off and do something I’ve been meaning to do for a while (post wise).
I had my last couple of meetings with my psychologists at the beginning of this month and we had a really useful last couple of sessions. I wanted to share this bipolar mood management thingamajig.

20130214-113221.jpg

It looks a bit crumpled and I had to do some rummaging amongst my various notebooks for it but its still intact- so let’s get to it

So at the top it says:

it’s helpful to keep an eye on what your mood’s doing, how it fluctuates, and what you and others notice about you when your mood starts to go low or high. Living with bipolar is a balancing act- the aim being to stay within the area around 0 on the scale below, when you’re most healthy and balanced

20130214-113710.jpg⬅(better picture of the scale)

After this it says to fill in the boxes below, thinking about what you start to feel like, the way you start to think, and what you do when you start to become high or low, and when you are very high or low. It also says to ask a close friend or family member to help you as they may notice things about you which you might not be aware of.

So then beneath that it has a the scale, underneath which is a table with five headings. “Very low mood”, “starting to get low”, “well, healthy, balanced”, “starting to get high”, and “very high mood”.

There are subheadings in each section of the table, “what I think”, “what I feel- physical sensations & emotions”, and “what I do”.

So I managed to fill this in, and I think it’s a really useful tool. This material was taken from this website.
I’ve not included my own answers – just because. If you want to get one for yourself or someone you know to use you’ll be able to find it at the link I just provided.

This is my first post relating to bi-polar. Hopefully I’ve put myself across well.

What do you think about this post? Did you find it useful?
Happy Thursday 🙂

xxx

A.B.A.A.