from Hurtful to Helpful

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today we celebrate World Mental Health Day, for me there was more to be glad about.

i was approached by my clinical psychologist about 3 years ago to write something for the 2nd book of a series called “Mind This Voice”. it was something that was birthed from the psychology department of our local psychiatric hospital, and from my psychologist herself. the first book was themed “The Write to Recovery”, and this 2nd book was themed “From Hurtful to Helpful”. it was going to be about personal relationships in the struggles of coping with mental health concerns, and how it went from hurtful to helpful. for me, back then it was pretty much set that i was going to be writing about therapeutic writing.

honestly i don’t remember much of the process of writing my piece because of the amnesia, except that i had a lot of difficulties producing my first draft and procrastination was at its best. but i know putting it in words how therapeutic writing can be, lends me the voice of just one aspect of living with mental health concerns. it was also empowering to share about how writing helps us to find our own voice in the midst of our struggles, when we could say nothing when it hurts the most. that the written words are our tears when hope is gone, but also our joy when hope glimmered. more importantly, writing is like a friend, a confidante. one which we could trust our struggles with. for that to be put in words and printed in a book which other people living with mental health concerns and their caregivers could read and try writing out themselves…

i guess i am humbled and also very grateful.

sure it’s nothing big, some might think. it’s just a short piece in a book of many stories. and i must say that if i could change how i wrote it, i would. (what was i thinking 2 years ago???) but this is a little like a dream come true. it’s not that i dream to one day be an author. but falling into depression 5 years ago, i’ve written plenty. and time and again i get told by people on my team that i should perhaps “write a book” next time. when not just one person tells you that but a few, and repeatedly… there is this audacity to even hope that one day i could write something.

so getting printed makes my heart stir, and i’m gleeful like a kid. but also cautious to not let pride take over. i know all these happens in God’s grace and mercy. and He has been extremely loving. giving me crosses to bear, yet also being so gracious that in these sufferings i keep receiving. the past week letting it all sink in, i ask myself again and again, what good have i ever done to merit such graces (k that is my depression talking)?

with these i am reminding myself that out of all these suffering comes greater glory, that in pain gifts can be found, and nothing is ever for naught.

i leave with you a short excerpt from my piece titled “Let Writing Be Your Friend”.

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p.s attending the launch today and seeing my psychologist, i shared with her my latest “writings”, which is my research methods paper. i had done a study about reducing stigma people with mental illness, and i found some merit in just showing a video to reduce stigma. (enough to produce significant result, p<0.05) she had suggested that i could try getting it published. although initially i didn’t really think that was possible, she convinced me why there is even any possibility that it could be accepted by any one psychology journal. and then from there i was just WOOHOOOOOOOOOO. i used to dream as a nurse, to be academically published. whether or not this even concrete, this is the first step in the right direction!!! ok this is probably trivial, but let me just ride on the waves of happiness that came from today alone haha.

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