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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

A blank page is like a clean slate; an empty space to do whatever you want with. Blank pages allow for creativity, mindfulness, attention toward the inner self and even emotional release. Writing is a great form of expression, and for me, it has helped my mental health more than I could ever imagine. 

May is a very special month because it is mental health awareness month, which is something that is very close to my heart. While it is making progress, the stigmatization of mental health in our world is still very prevalent. It is propelled in our society through social media, especially Instagram. It crams our minds with how our life should look like, but what we are really seeing most of the time on social media is false happiness. This is because what we see through our phone screens is only the highlight reel of people’s lives. There is a great quote that sums this up that goes along the lines of, “Sometimes the grass will be greener on the other side because the grass is fake.” 

For most people, it seems that writing in the form of journaling is an effective emotional outlet and activity for getting in touch with one’s inner self. I have tried journaling many, many times, starting and stopping, always trying to get back into the habit of it. For me, I find journaling a difficult hobby because I am the type of individual to process things internally rather than using an external outlet like journaling. However, I have found passion and happiness in creative writing. 

In elementary school, my favorite part of the school day was creative writing time. The teacher would either give us a broad topic or we could write about whatever we wanted. I could write about literally anything I wanted: stories, personal experiences, etc. As I got older in school, creative writing became less of an activity as academics became a much stronger emphasis. That is how I found journalism; it was academic but also a great writing outlet. Even though I did not stick with journalism in college, I did want to make it a priority to keep up with writing because I loved it so much. 

I joined Her Campus last school year, at the height of the pandemic when my mental health had reached an all-time low. I had no motivation for school, work, friendships, and daily tasks were becoming extremely difficult. I went to counseling and workshops which were extremely helpful, but I knew that I also needed to get back the passion in my life that the pandemic took away. 

The structure and creative freedom of writing for Her Campus helped me improve my mental health more than I realized at the time. Writing articles every week, and being able to write about pretty much anything I wanted, was the best outlet for me. Even if I wasn’t writing about personal issues in my own life, it still put me at ease because of my love for writing. It made me realize that writing helps me to navigate the world when things seem daunting, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. I found writing again when I needed it the most. 

In light of mental health awareness month, let us remember to be kind and practice empathy with another. Symptoms of poor mental health can be apparent in another individual, but they can also be silent. Everyone is fighting something that you may know nothing about. Take care of one another, but most importantly do not forget to take care of yourself.

Gillian is a third-year at Cal Poly SLO. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Child Development. Gillian is an editor and writer for Cal Poly Her Campus this year. She enjoys writing about sustainable fashion, social media trends, and activism. Even though she is planning a career in psychology, she loves being a part of Her Campus because it allows her to have a creative outlet and continue her passion for writing.
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