My journey with poetry started when I was in the grips of my mental illness

It was a way to pour my pain onto paper and were also the times the words would flow so easily. When I read poetry, or even quotes, which resonate with me, it gives me a connection to another’s story, at times speaking words I haven’t found.

Written word provides me with an outlet that I struggle with through spoken word, sometimes a phrase will enter my mind and I feel compelled to start writing. I have been on a turbulent journey with my mental health, getting a diagnosis of PTSD three years ago after long term depression and anxiety.

Working through so many thoughts, feelings and emotions is a full time job in itself. I’d find that my mind would be full of so many thoughts and they would sometimes be on loop in my mind, almost tormenting me and getting them out in any way is releasing some of that pressure.

It can be like a release of pain that is stored up in the body and manifests itself in some way, Emotions are said to move around the body and I do feel they find a way out.

I have wanted to share my story in the hope that it may help even one person, to help someone feel less lonely or isolated. I have found that when I do speak about my experiences, I feel empowered and liberated, but it’s been a long road to start to share anything about myself as it is so personal.

Whether you experience it first hand or watch a loved one go through their experience, it is humbling, terrifying and challenging. Watching it from the side lines is one thing, but seeing and being in it 24/7 is another story. It is like being lost in a world you cannot escape, waking each day and hoping to feel different but then feeling like that day will never come.

From my own experiences, I felt it was a very long journey and even though I had loved ones around me supporting me, it can still be lonely as no one can walk in your shoes to know how it feels. There are no amount of words or pictures that can illustrate the pain or suffering, one can only imagine. Recovery in itself is like a game of snakes and ladders, up and down. But in my story, there is hope. Recovery is possible and you may emerge a different person, but it also becomes a journey of growth.

I hope to share my  poetry more widely in order to connect with those experiencing challenges with mental health. Now more than ever it is so important to have an open conversation about mental health, poetry can be that conversation starter.

Anita