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Looking after ourselves

Senior Contributor

Writing As A Form Of Therapy

Hi all,

I have found throughout the course of my life that writing has been a constant companion to me. It has provided me with a way to vent my frustrations, to grapple with the eternal verities of life that confound and delight me, to explore ideas and concepts, and to try to put into words the often chaotic moods and thoughts that result from having a mind that's a little bit odd...

I have written lots of poems, especially in the last 3 or 4 years, dealing with depression and bipolar. They help me to process and understand some of the things that are happening in this twisted little noodle of mine. As such, writing has become one of my main forms of therapy.

One of the best things that I find about writing is that it can act as a kind of mood diary. I can read things that I had previously written, and it will quite often map out where I was at during the time of writing. The words I spread across the page act as signposts of my progress, too. As my self knowledge increases and my life journey progresses, I find that it affects how I write and what I write...

Often, we do not see the thousands of tiny little changes to our selves that our life experiences cause over the years. It can be very helpful to re-read old writings, in order to see how far we have come, what we have improved, where we have fallen back into old harmful habits, and the things that we have learned.

The language that we use in our writings and in our thoughts and in our speech is very important. It can reveal a lot about our selves, our states of mind, and our moods...

That language, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe that we attract certain kinds of people around us, and create (or at least influence) life situations based on our choice of language. It helps define who we are as a person.

Negative thinking, self-deprecation, self-hatred, these sorts of dangerous life traps are often revealed in our choice of words. So too are the positive things. It all starts with a glass. How we describe the glass and the quantity and quality of its contents, that's where language comes into it, and it can shape our very lives and the lives of those around us.

Writing... it is my solace and my main tool of self-analysis. It is my favourite form of therapy... Smiley Happy

2,192 REPLIES 2,192

Poem - And So I Am Become Darkness

I wrote this poem two months after the breakup of my marriage. I had been mired in a major depression for nigh on 2 years. I thought I was at the bottom of the pit, but I went into freefall when she left. I did not just dwell in the darkness. I became it...


And So I Am Become Darkness

The dark night consumes me with its unfeeling blackness,
Incapable of caring or even knowing I exist within its infinite reach;
Hope, that warm light that I once could turn my face towards,
Is for naïve fools and restless fanatics, neither of which is me;
And so I am become darkness.

Love, that crazy dream, that half-lucid reverie of madness,
Once called to me, promising a bridge to cross the breach,
With its boiling of the blood and its tantalizing rewards,
Only to turn its back on me, a slave who once was free;
And so I am become darkness.

There is no space more cavernous, nor place that is more cold,
Than that which for so long was bathed with golden light,
Only to be plunged into a startling, deathly gloom,
All the more real and palpable for having known its opposite;
And so I am become darkness.

I once was drawn to believe that fortune favours the bold,
But that is a hard ideal to cling to, surrounded by uncaring night;
With sight’s sense gone, I listen for my heart’s boom,
Only to confront a numbing silence inapposite;
And so I am become darkness.

What once I turned to for comfort, is now emptiness and lies,
There is not enough stuff in this world to fill the gaping void,
And thought is but a reminder that emotions cut so deep,
And emotions are but a reminder that thought is of no aid;
And so I am become darkness.

With love being the seed of life, what’s left when it dies,
And with the fields struck fallow, of growth and hope devoid,
What is there left to do? Oh cruel harvest, now it’s time to reap,
With light but a memory, given now to fade;
And so I am become darkness.

Poem - The Pits

It's hard to describe, the descent into depression. It's not always the same. With what I now know, this poem is describing the start of a dissociative state and, quite likely, a mixed episode. I hate mixed episodes. They are my least favourite of all of the curve balls that my head and heart throw at me. The restless energy of a hypomanic episode, mixed with the relentless tug of depression...


The Pits

The quiet’s starting.
Getting harder to paste on that fake smile.
Not talking much.
Just want to be left alone.
People around me starting to notice.
Asking "What’s wrong?" or saying "Cheer up." -
What not to say to someone heading for the pit.

That distant, can’t concentrate thing,
The buzzing of my thoughts,
Is getting stronger and louder.
Angry bees.

Head feels like:
Beat! Beat! Beat!

Appetite disappearing.
Not sleeping well.
Bags under my eyes.
Too much thinking,
Or not enough.
Smile gone (even the fake one).
Can’t even cry.
Feeling dead inside.
F*** off!

For once,
Meeting it stone cold sober.
Good idea?
Who knows?
Head on.
Head screwed on.
Screw loose.
Light headed.
Truck squishes rabbit.
Run rabbit run.
Just a red stain on the road.
Bits of fur blowing in the wind.
Am I the wind, the fur, the rabbit, the road or the truck?
Or all of these things?
Or just the stain?

Or perhaps just the nothing that waits
At the bottom of the pit?

Re: Poem - And So I Am Become Darkness

Beautiful @Silenus

I do not see darkness as all bad. Its just a metaphor.  Dark soil is full of nutrients. A cavern can provide shelter. I dont want to undermine the power of your writing though, or the difficulties you write about. 

I am editing as I didnt realise you included a 2nd poem. Its edginess is evocative.

Thanks again.

Poem - Oblivion

This poem deals with one of the things that plagues me from time to time - insomnia. Being bipolar, I am normally very careful to guard my sleep. Lack of sleep usually sets off a major swing of moods one way or the other. More often than not, my frustration levels will skyrocket, and a too-high hypomanic episode will result.

Normally, I am quite blessed with regards to sleep. Usually, I will be asleep within a couple of minutes of my head hitting the pillow. That is why it hits me extra hard when insomnia strikes...



Sleep, sleep, wherefore art thou?
‘Twould indeed be fine to meet thine sweet embrace,
Oblivion, I long for thine whispered sweet nothings,
To bring a fitting end to the day’s hubbub.

I long for the break of the bough,
The cradle rocking gently, night’s kiss on my face.
But alas, the lullaby’s memory in my ear sings
Not, nor doth the calming massage rub.

Damn you night, for you have cheated me
Of the most worthy prize which I seek,
Why, oh why, dost thou keep me from my respite,
What have I done to stay thus awake?

Is it the moon that doth keep me from being free,
Or mayhap my soul’s cankerous reek,
That sees me constantly feeling consciousness’ bite
When I would give all for sweet oblivion’s sake?

Re: Poem - And So I Am Become Darkness

Thank you very much @Appleblossom. Indeed you are right - darkness is not all bad. I feel this way about depression too - it is not all bad. It is a flip side to the coin of my mental health. Often, the depression comes as a form of self defence - the mind and body can take no more, and so a period of rest is forced upon us. It can be brutal, but in the grand scheme of things, it provides a balance of sorts...

Hugs and happy vibes beaming to you... Smiley Happy

Re: Poem - And So I Am Become Darkness

Hi @Silenus

I started writing about 5-6 years when memories of my childhood abuse came to me.  I was told my one of the pyschologists that i was seeing that writing is good.  So I began one day to write my life story from when a baby, child, teenager, adult to now.  I haven't yet finished my book, there is still lots more to write and every now and then I go on the computer and start writing more.

For me I enjoy writing as it lets my mind wander and I start writing whatever comes out.  I have written a few poems and I did a lot of writing while in a mental health unit.  I remember one time it was 3am and I coldn't sleep so I grabbed my journal and pen and started writing a poem about being in hospital.  I will have to find them and post on here.

I struggle at times to talk to people face to face about my emotions, my personal issues and my mental illness so I find that writing to them ie. my therapist or psychiatrist I can go into great detail without the worry of having to talk to them.

Take care


Re: Poem - And So I Am Become Darkness

Writing also helps me figure out what I'm feeling and how to deal with things... Not so fantastic at poetry myself though, not like you. Quite a gift to have.

Re: Poem - And So I Am Become Darkness

Hi @BlueBay. Smiley Happy

It's great to hear that you are writing your life story. We can learn so much about ourselves from our past life events and experiences. More power to you!

I find sometimes that it can be a rather fine line to walk between bringing up past traumatic events in order to process them and understand how they have broken us (and continue to trigger us), and becoming sucked in to those past traumatic events to the point of obsessing about them and losing ourselves to them.

The Buddhists sure seem to have gotten it right - everything appears to be about balance. The old yin and yang. Hahaha...

I reckon you are spot on about writing things down for your therapist or psych. I have experienced similar success with writing things down. Otherwise, once I am in the office talking to them, I can forget things, or get distracted by something else that is a lesser issue (because it's easier to talk about than the harder issues).

I also find that writing takes me to a different head space. Because writing is slower than speech, I am forced to think more about what I am "saying", and there is also the added advantage of being able to go back and edit what I have written down. This allows me to structure my thinking so much better than the natural flow and stream of consciousness of speech.

Both speech and writing have their place. Sometimes it is important to have that blurt of speech. Some rather amazing things can be uncovered by a good therapist from unstructured, unprepared talking. Little Freudian slips, or times when we let our guard down and reveal things that we may not normally feel comfortable with disclosing, can be wonderful moments that allow us to reveal things otherwise hidden from us.

I wish you all the best in the continued writing of your life story, @BlueBay. Don't forget - we are the ones with the pen in our hand (or the keyboard at our fingertips). We decide what is written in the grand scheme of things, as authors of our own life stories. The past is an important part of our lives because it helped to shape who we are, but this moment right Now is the real deal, where all the living takes place...

Hugs and happy vibes beaming to you. Smiley Happy

Re: Poem - And So I Am Become Darkness

@DefiantPanda wrote:

Writing also helps me figure out what I'm feeling and how to deal with things... Not so fantastic at poetry myself though, not like you. Quite a gift to have.

Hi @DefiantPanda. Smiley Happy

Thank you so much for the compliment.

Don't go poo-pooing your own writing though. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I really don't believe that there is such a thing as "bad writing". We each have our own individual voice, and the story of our lives is beautiful in the telling...

Hugs and happy vibes beaming to you. Smiley Happy

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