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Writing My Way to Recovery

November 14, 2022 Laura A. Barton

When I had nothing but my mental health struggles, I had writing. I had no answers. I had no knowledge of how to fix or stop my pain. I only had emotions simultaneously carving out and bursting from my aching chest, so I tried to put them into words. In doing so, without knowing it, I was writing my way to recovery.

Finding Recovery in Different Forms of Writing

I’ve often talked about journaling as something that helped me greatly in recovery, and that’s no less true today than any other time I’ve mentioned it. Journaling allowed me to siphon that ache from within and pour it out onto a page, and suddenly chaos in my head became something I could sift through, see patterns in, and understand. (Or at least I could understand it better.)

My writing has never been pigeonholed to one form, style, or genre. Long before I was journaling my way through my mental illnesses, I was pouring my feelings out in poetry and venting my turmoil through short stories. As much as it falls into the cliché of a teenager writing sad poems and stories, it was my outlet at the time.

Then I shifted how I was channeling my struggles. Candidly writing about my experiences, especially with skin picking disorder, put me on the path to recovery. From blogging on my social channels to blogging on other platforms to compiling an anthology that included my story of growing up with skin-picking disorder, I was putting my writing out into the world. The more rawness in my words, the more the walls of isolation, stigma, and negativity broke down.

Breaking Down Walls with Words

Breaking down those walls through words—no matter what form, style, or genre—allowed me to see beyond the chaos that was otherwise my reality. I’ve loved writing since I was a kid, so although I never consciously conceptualized writing as a pathway for recovery, I’m not surprised it turned out this way. Clearly, this is how I process, and this is how I make the world, including my internal one, make sense.

To my fellow writers, to the people for whom words mean the world as much as they mean shaping it, if you’re struggling with your mental health, try writing about what you’re going through. Whatever form you choose for it, getting what’s going on in your head out on the page may be just what you need to start on the path to recovery from your mental health struggles.

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2022, November 14). Writing My Way to Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, January 27 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2022/11/writing-my-way-to-recovery



Author: Laura A. Barton

Laura A. Barton is a fiction and non-fiction writer from Ontario, Canada. Find her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and Goodreads.

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