Why Writing Has Become so Important for Me and My Mental Health and Why I Panic When I Lose the Will to Write

Updated on December 4, 2019
Taz Haddlesey profile image

I began writing in April 2018 when worsening symptoms of PTSD and depression stopped me working as an ED nurse. Writing is therapy.

I started writing to help manage my PTSD, when I can't write I have a big problem

Writing has been a little slow in the previous week. It’s not that my life or livelihood rely on my writing because I’m a nurse by trade but writing has come to be something quite important to me. It has turned into a sort of self-directed therapy for my PTSD and depression. So when inspiration ebbs, I begin to panic that I won’t be able to handle the heaps of anxiety that shower me daily.

I have never been able to physically speak about the horrible things I witnessed and experienced in my childhood and never had the need to but when this trauma was reawakened a couple of years ago now, writing walked in and gave me a space to channel my negative thoughts and nervous energy.

Since my involvement with mental health services, I have learnt a lot about why my mind and body respond the way they do given certain circumstances. It doesn’t make the relentless anxiety any easier but it is good to know that there is cause and effect for the way I am reacting to life because of my mental ill-health. Lots of health professionals had recommended writing at this point or art or anything that encourages expression but I was too lost in my mind to attempt it.

My silence has been the root cause of a lot of my physical anxiety

I learnt that the severity of my anxiety could be as a result of being so silent about my mental health and what was happening in my mind from day 1 until my first suicide attempt age 27, a year ago now. From a very young age, I had done such a good job of suppressing anything I thought might rock the boat, have people pity or lose respect me because I was utterly determined to grow up tough and independent as a result of my experiences.

This has not only made me reluctant to speak to anyone about my experiences, but it has affected my ability to speak in every way. At times I get so nervous I can barely speak at all or say very little. Since my PTSD symptoms arose, I have developed severe social anxiety which makes everything related to people and interaction much more difficult.

You can imagine this poor communication leads to further problems as I fail to speak up for myself. In hospital this meant I missed out on activities or had to endure treatment regimens/changes because I couldn’t say no or challenge anyone.

As well as talking, I'm trying other things to stay calm

I also learnt that rather than communicating any disappointment I experience, I bury it deep which again, apparently turns into physical anxiety too. This makes a lot of sense to me and I’m working really hard to improve my communication skills in order to speak up for myself, to be able to make conversation without panicking and to be able to access the services that could help me through this difficult patch in my life.

The thing is I’m well aware that this will take time if it happens at all, thus pushing me to look for other things to help manage my PTSD symptoms. I do take medication for this but I find that often this really is not enough to make my life worth living as drastic as it sounds.

Exercise is a useful calming activity, while you're working out

I tried increasing my exercise so started attending a gym as often as my nerves allow, mainly weight lifting with a small amount of cardiovascular exercise – every workout I designed in effort to reduce my anxiety. This worked to some extent whilst I was actively lifting weights, not so much the cardio, that made the physical anxiety worse at times. Then I’d leave the gym and feel exactly the same as before.

I did however believe it’s important to keep going for my general and mental health and that it made a good physical activity to maintain alongside something else less physical like art or writing. I’ve tried painting, sketching, clay sculpting among other things and nothing has really stuck apart from photography which I’ve always done whilst walking or travelling.

Writing was an unexpected gift that I'm very grateful for

Eventually, around about the lowest time of my life, after I quit my job, I spent my time panicking and writing the occasional poem about my situation, thoughts, memories and conversations I wish I could have. To my surprise I was able to focus on the words, sounds, rhymes etc.

The first poem I wrote was a conversation I probably need to have with a relative. It’s strange to say but putting the words/memories on to a page actually stopped them flying around my head at a hundred miles an hour. As if I gained closure for that specific situation or conversation, like putting it to bed.

Admittedly the next flashback, nightmare or intrusive memory continued to feed my anxiety and further crush my spirit but also fed the next poem which has been the way ever since. The images and words that follow me also cause me harm but give me something to write about. The discomfort I experience as a direct result of PTSD is unbearable at times and I really do need to put a lot of work into functioning so if my symptoms spike and I’m not able to write, I don’t have much defence against it all. That’s why panic surrounds writer’s block.

A writing challenge is always appreciated but not as much as ever-absent balance

I received some amazing feedback about my writing which is great but it took a long time for me to accept that positivity in order to start sharing my work and encouraged me to try other things. I have written short stories, journals, political poetry, articles/blogs and reviews. They’re all very different in their style and purpose but fascinating to me all the same. Now that my eyes have opened a little and I am doing so much better, I do like the challenge and having new content too. It’s all distracting and at the end of the day, that’s the best I can hope for.

That being said I would like to maintain some more balance in my life, rather than typing away like a machine one minute and spending the next staring at a blank screen and freaking out about it. I must admit, my life is very much that way right now, maybe it will all settled together and with work, I will find a little balance and even a little peace.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)