Depression is a difficult problem that often goes undetected in the sufferer. It can have a paralyzing effect, wrapping the depressed person in a fog of darkness that prevents him or her from thinking clearly and getting help.
It seems so enormous and overwhelming that many sufferers give up without even trying to help themselves. However, writing can be very therapeutic for a depressed person, especially because it does not involve having to face people (which can be difficult). While seeking therapy, counseling, and possibly medication are important steps to take in getting help, writing definitely has a place in healing from depression.
Define the Problem
One of the things that can make depression so frightening is that it is hard to define. When you write, your thoughts and feelings are in black and white and can be evaluated and read by you. Problems look more manageable that way. Being able to view these issues clearly can help you get a handle on them. It can even make your problems look smaller.
Record of Your Progress
As you write down your thoughts, you have a record of your thoughts and feelings to look back on and see your progression. What you were struggling with five years ago or five days ago may look quite different now. As you read your journal, it can help to see that you came through the struggles of the past. That means you can make it through your present struggles as well.
The Inner World
Sigmund Freud had a theory that depression is a symptom of some unaddressed issue of the subconscious that needs attention. He theorized that the inability of depressed people to go about their normal routine – you can not eat, sleep, or concentrate it seems – is your subconscious way of forcing you to stop everything and pay attention to it.
Regardless of what you think of Freud, writing does give you access to your personal inner world that you could ordinarily ignore. Learning what is actually in your innermost being can be very insightful and healing.
Keep It Private for Now
When you write, you do not need the judgment of others or the pressure to appear brilliant or “correct.” You are not writing for others, but for yourself. If, in the back of your mind, you are thinking of who is going to read your writings and what he or she might think of them, you are inhibited. Eventually, you may want to share your writings, but only with your counselor, therapist, or trusted friend. For now, write only for your own healing and be accountable only to yourself.
Writing is helpful in that you are doing something – something that does not require money, making appointments, or anything else that can seem overwhelming when you are depressed. Depression can make you feel very helpless, but knowing that you can take solace in writing – and writing is actually something you can do to help yourself – can help you heal.
Making It Beautiful
As you write, you may be delighted to find that ugly, sad thoughts turn into beautiful phrases. Your depression can be transformed into something moving, meaningful, and creative. This can transform your view of your depression.
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