I am not ok – and creativity helps me go through it

Thank you all for the positive feedback after the first issue of FEELING PIECES. I was very pleased that you even sent me texts from yourselves. I was particularly touched by the following passage about the power of writing, which I am happy to share with you here (with the author’s permission):

But then the rays of light came to me, the moment my pen started ‚balling out‘ on the paper, I knew that it was going to lead to a big journey, a good one; a very challenging one, but a good one, a constructive one, one that will eventually get me ‚clean‘.

Feel free to share your writing testimonies with me. The new issue of FEELING PIECES is all about creativity and at what times the ideas flow the most.

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In this issue of FEELING PIECES you will find:

Writing helps me rein my sirens

Feel it, write it: What are your challenges?

Writing helps me rein my sirens

The other day Elle Bradley Cox, whose newsletter Don’t delete the kisses I really love, invited me for an interview. We talked about the meaning and moments of creativity. Because I usually get creative when I experience something negative. The last year in particular has been very challenging for me – I’ve had all kinds of moments of insecurity, countless panic attacks and persistent depressive episodes.

It became even worse when my partner went away for an extended period of time to visit his family; I stayed home alone. I haven’t been alone for a longer time for for almost ten years. During that time I became more and more withdrawn, I kept social contacts at distance, my job at the time was toxic and draining; plus the hard lockdown with a curfew had just begun. At that time I didn’t have a therapist either, I didn’t know anything about my mental state (only later my therapist diagnosed a moderate depression and adjustment disorder). My only companion during that time was my dog, who, like me, didn’t understand what was going on with me.

Every morning I stood in the shower for hours crying – that’s where I was hiding because I was embarrassed to cry in front of my dog. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I lost control of myself and my thoughts, and also lost contact with my usual world around me. One night when my thoughts were circling loudly again, out of sheer desperation I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen to write down all my thoughts – I wrote and wrote until my hand hurt and my head was eventually empty. Everything that had previously been raging loudly in it appeared before me on the page. And then it was silent – for the first time in several days I no longer heard those voices and I fell asleep.

The next day I looked at what I had written. I began to understand what all those voices in my head were howling before. And I began to organize them – since then I call them “my sirens” and eventually they turned into several poems about their luring chants.

„Isn’t it weird how mostly the dark moments in our lives spark creativity.“

That’s what Elle said at the end of our conversation. Yes, creatively grappling with my thoughts, with my crisis, helped me calm down and also showed me new ways to deal with my thoughts, especially in darker times. Writing became my coping mechanism.

By the way, it’s not just me: during the pandemic, a team of researchers confirmed that „engaging in creative activities in times of crisis (e.g., COVID-19) can help people, particularly those in a less individualistic culture, to cope with difficult events through increased feeling of being socially connected.“ Because „as human beings, everybody has the need to reach optimal functioning as such flourishing – the feelings of meaning, engagement, purpose of life, and optimism. This need is even more pressing in the face of crisis, as the occurrence of crisis threatens individual’s subjective sense of self and its existential core.“

That is why, no matter where I go, I always take my little black notebook and fountain pen (for a more intense writing experience) with me – so I can scribble down any ideas on the go and calm myself down with writing in moments of anxiety or panic.

Feel it, write it.

Writing is therapeutic. Because when you write, you can reflect on stressful situations, challenges, but also wishes or hopes in writing. Writing helps you to perceive and understand moods, feelings, thoughts, experiences, behaviors and their connections. And it also helps you to discover new perspectives and new paths for yourself.

It’s your turn to write

On my website you can find the FEELING PIECES Manifesto for therapeutic writing with some guidance for your writing process. I advise you to proceed step by step. Read one question and answer it – until you feel you have answered the question fully. Then move on to the next question. Enjoy your process!

What’s on your mind right now? What worries you the most?

Now go through your writing: which of these worries challenges you the most? Describe this worry in detail: what exactly worries you, how, when, where, maybe also why?

What would your life look like if these worries did not exist? What would be different?

I hope you like this issue of my newsletter FEELING PIECES. Feel free to contact me and send me your feedback and ideas. And I’d be very happy if you spread the word and share this newsletter with your community.

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