Today, anxiety and depression visited in force.
They are not strangers to me. They drag along their cellmates: anger, sadness, and fear. I’ve developed strategies over the years to keep them at bay, and ways to handle them when they arrive, but the one I don’t turn to often enough is writing.
Today, as I started spiraling out of control, my husband said, “You need to write.”
Despite the effort it takes to start, I open to a blank journal page and begin writing by hand. First, just my feelings. Bullets of anger and ugly. Bullets of guilt and gratitude.
Then observations. The teak bench in our bathroom. The smell of wild orange snaking from a diffuser. The soft blanket of rare SoCal rain hugging the hillside.
I keep writing whatever comes until the shift happens: the arrival to a rhythm beyond myself where there is no separation between body, mind, and page. And, these words spill out:
Writing is a place.
I stare at them. And then write them three more times:
Writing is a place. Writing is a place. Writing is a place.
May I remember to visit this place often. To enter the house of pen and ink when I dip emotionally. The page is healing. It’s discovery. An opportunity to learn something new, to bring forth present-moment magic, to bare my soul in way that thought alone or a deep conversation can’t.
The page gives crowded thoughts a place to move to: down my neck and shoulder to my arm and hand and through my fingers. Fear begins to melt.
Come here, I tell myself. Visit as often as you can.
It’s a return home. To a house made of mist and flesh, body and brain, fingertips and breath, paper and ink. There’s history here—my own and that of every person who has ever loved to write. They are with me. I am not alone. It starts with me and moves beyond. Words no longer come from me, but move through me. The house spins, the walls shift and lift and then settle. It is in this place that true writing is found. The arrival is always different, but the directions are the same: pen to paper, words to page.
No matter how you feel today, I ask you to write, to come home to yourself. Start with just bullets. Don’t worry about connecting thoughts or making sense or bouncing from idea to idea. Start with what you are feeling, then move to observations. Give them voice. Describe them. Release them to paper.
Bonus: 5 Mindful Things to Do Each Morning.
Author: Courtney Kilian
Image: Author’s own
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman