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

‘”Don’t you like talking?” vs “Don’t you like keeping quiet?”‘

cropped-hadithe-steadfastness.jpgI think it’s important that we have regular conversations with ourself.

I look at it this way, my body, and my soul, and my mind. They are three different reflections, of me as I’m standing in front of a three-way mirror. Other people might walk by and pass and comment, but ultimately I’m the one standing in front of the mirror.

They, “the people”, society! say that we are often are own worsts critics, and this is true. But we can also be our own trumpet blowers too. It is important for me, and for you, to strike the right balance between this, the right balance that suits your own innate nature.

For me there’s a mental check list that my mind keeps hold of.

“What would please my Lord, my Rabb?” my mind asks.

“Doing this” my soul replies, hastily wanting to answer before my body does.

“Doing ‘that’!” my body butts in, not wanting to have it’s opinion trampled.

Ever patient, having been given reason by My Lord, my mind asks again, “What would please My Lord, the Creator (Al Khaaliq) ?”

“We could do ‘this’?” My body wants to compromise.

So does my soul, “We could do ‘that’ though”.

Again my mind asks, “What would please My Lord, Creator of all that is in existence?”

I reach a compromise.

My soul says, “I want to do ‘other’.”

My body says, “I want to do ‘other’.”

My mid says, “Okay, let’s do ‘other’.”

It can work out like this fast, or it can work out like this slowly, either way, as long as it works out like this I am happy, because “Other” is actually my name. As in I am another person. A different person from everyone else. Yes everyone is different, and that makes for some sameness. But in all honestly, if I sit down and take some time, that true me, that inner me, created by my Rabb, is the me that will come out.

So i guess in a way… I’m advocating patience.

:).

That’s it from me, take care.

Azeezat A.B.A.

Pst! (whispers) I wrote an article, following in my uncles footsteps… but don’t tell him 😉 It’s a “not so secret”, secret.

Life is what you make it…. sort of

I’m not a particular fan of Hannah Montana, but I have been known on the occasion, to sit down with my younger ones and watch a couple episodes. I may have even enjoyed those few episodes. 🙂 I do tend to listen a bit more to what the characters say, then what they do. Drama, is interesting and there are different mediums that are used to get messages across.

The first part of this title’s post, is from one of ‘Hannah’s’ songs. Life is what you make it.

To some extent I agree, how you approach things is important. The way you tackle something can make it easier or harder.

Take shopping with your parents for example. Too much mouthing off on your part can make the experience a very arduous one (speaking from experience 😛 ), but joking a bit and doing what needs to get done, maybe helping to get different products from further aisles can make the experience a far more fun and positive excursion.

For me personally, I still believe in what I refer to as Qadr, divine decree. Of curse it is important how you approach things, it’s very important. In fact that’s called intention. Our intention behind things matter. What’s our purpose?

That’s one of the questions I want to ask myself this academic year. What is my purpose? Why am I doing this degree?

To remind myself, I’ll probably look back at this post. So I might as well write down the main answer to my question.

First and foremost may intention is to please my Creator. I want to utilise the degree in a way that it can be counted as an act of ibadah. So in order for me to do that I have to make sure I do the best I can in this degree. I want to use it in a way that helps people. At this juncture I’m not sure if that means being a lawyer, or any other job that a law degree enables. However the degree will give me OPTIONS. I love options. They lead to opportunities 😉

I’ve been given a second chance at my first year, and I cannot afford to waste it.

Economically speaking, I have less supply (of resources) than I have demand (for use of said resources). So, I’m going to have to give some stuff up. It’s funny I’m still able to apply the basic rules of opportunity cost, and I can tell you why.

It’s because I enjoyed it. I really did enjoy it, because learning about it was fun. I approached economics with that mindset, it’s just something i need to make sure I remind myself. I do enjoy learning. 🙂

Okay, I’m going now, I have some stuff to do, and yes one of those things does include reading about Gibson v Manchester City Council (I actually remember the case name yay! 🙂 )

Take care party people

xxx

Deola