How Poetry Saved Me During My Depression

I wrote once that writing wasn’t just a hobby, it was a method of survival. For me, it was. I became depressed the summer before I started my freshman year of high school. I spent most of that summer in bed, in the dark. I’m not going to write much about that experience though because that is not what this article is about. This is an article of recovery.

 

When I finally started to recover from my depression, I went through a sort of identity crisis. That depression had been with me for so long that I had no idea who I was without it. After having lost interest in most things in my life, and having almost lost my best friend due to how hard I was to be around, the depression was the only constant in my life. It had become my best friend. And then I picked up a poetry book, Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. That was my first foray into the world of poetry. I found a home in words and the power they had. I was already writing fiction at this point, as I had found that it helped calm my overactive imagination. Reading this book made me want to try my hand at poetry writing.

 

 

I can honestly say it changed my life. My poetry writing helped me turn my demons into something productive. It taught me that I am capable of turning the ugly things in my life into something beautiful. Having the power to turn my emotions into something other than pain and sadness made me infinitely stronger. It showed me that I had the ability to lift myself up inside me all along. That is a necessary lesson we all need to learn.

 

Having severe social anxiety, I struggle to find, and use my voice. Writing gave me that voice. Well actually, it helped me strengthen the one I already had. I went from not being able to raise my hand in class even when I was 100% sure I had the right answer to being open publicly on social media about my mental health and sexuality, and even sharing my writing. (To be honest I still detest raising my hand in class. Old habits die hard.)

 

Writing also gave me a passion. It sparked a fire in me that has only continued to burn brighter with time. That fire, that passion, is what has kept me from sinking too low emotionally again. It has given me goals to work towards, like one day publishing my own book- which is actually currently in the works!

 

Poetry writing gave me my identity back. It showed me that I was a writer, but it also taught me much more than that. It showed me I was whole without being sad. It sounds twisted that I would need that reminder, but depression tells your brain a lot of lies. It showed me I had so much more to do with myself than just laying in my bed buried under my blankets.

 

 

I encourage you to pick up a pen- or who am I kidding? In this day and age, pick up your laptop or your phone. Just write. Whether it’s in a journal, or it’s a story or a poem, just let it all out. It doesn’t have to be good because it doesn’t have to be shared. It’s just for you. You don’t have to keep it all inside. Breathe in, and then exhale all of that sadness and all of that heaviness out right onto a page. You’d be surprised how good it feels. It’s kind of like a self care magic trick.

this poem is for the little girl

who sat on therapist couches

wishing they would swallow her whole

wishing she could be back in the safety

of her room and her blanket cocoon

hiding from the heaviness of the world

that was just too much for her fragile shoulders

i am so proud of you

for putting one foot in front of the other

when even getting out of bed

made your eyes burn with tears

i promise you little one

those smiles won’t always be so forced

and those weaknesses that feel as though

they are drowning you

will become your greatest strengths

you will find your inner light

and you will shine it like a lighthouse

i promise you

you will be able to find a home

within yourself once again -written by me