A serious issue
The title of this article may be long, but it is important. Poor mental health and mental issues are silent killers; they plague our thoughts every day and night and follow us around like our shadows do. They crawl inside our heads and find places to hide, and once they do, they whisper negative things about our weight, our height, the way our bodies look, the color of our skin or hair or teeth, etc. And it’s important that we take care of ourselves in this way because if we don’t, the big, ugly “S” word begins to look like an outcome instead of a possibility.
I don’t particularly like to write on such topics, but as a man who has suffered from poor mental health nearly my entire life, I feel that I have some credibility to talk about the matter.
For years, I’ve battled with low self-esteem, body dysmorphia, and anxiety. Together, these inner-struggles that I would deal with led to a lack of confidence and an alcohol and drug problem. And although I still face smaller battles every day, I can say now, with confidence, that I am much better than I was before. And I give credit to my lovely and wonderful girlfriend, but a major part of my recovery was my being able to write.
Isn’t everyone a Writer?
I wouldn’t say I’m much of a writer (even though that’s what my tax forms say), but rather that I’m a man who’s tired of listening to the little voice in my head telling me that I am not good enough.
I believe that writing has done more for me than any shrink ever could. There’s some indescribable honesty between a writer and the paper that most people will never come to know. It’s beautiful like two people dancing is beautiful. Writing is like a compassionate lover who doesn’t judge and understands and never butts in with something useless or unhelpful. Writing saves and without it, we are never more than the llittle-lostsheep.
Whether you want to write poems or short stories or novels, and whether or not anyone ever reads them, or whether or not you’re any good at it, you should still give it a go. If you think that writing would help you, then you should give it a try. There’s no harm in dedicating twenty minutes to an hour, writing about something that happened to you, or something you want to accomplish, or something that’s been bothering you.
Hopefully, you’re someone like me and found writing to be a wonderful retardant to the fire, i.e., your mental issues building inside your head. But even if you haven’t realized it yet and perhaps picked up a bottle instead (also like me), just know that there is still time: all you have to do is run out to the store and pick up a pen and some paper and get started.
A learning process
I’m still not a good writer, and there’s always room for improvement (and I could definitely improve for more). Thankfully, writing is a learning process. You pick up things as you go and you build them, and you keep building, and one day you may be great, and even though you might not ever see your book on the shelf of a bookstore, it’s okay. As long as you can keep the demons in your head at bay, keep writing.
And some of you, the men most likely, will say, “that’s girly, that’s stupid, that’s for sissies.” Fair—but not remotely true. Writing is something personal and it’s more of a routine, like combing your hair or brushing your teeth, rather than it is something for “sissies.”
It’s a mental workout, and it’s really no different than hitting the treadmill or doing sets of curls.
The same way we try to take care of our bodies is the same way we should take care of our mental health. We work it out, so set aside your pride and do it.