I remember the very first things I ever learned to write. My name, of course, then the days of the week and the weather. Miss Matuza wrote the day and the weather on the chalk board each day, and we had to hand write it in our little paper booklet. I guess my mom taught me how to write the letters of the alphabet by then. That’s been so long ago. Forty years ago! But those first words were definitely not the beginning of my love for writing. Actually, I don’t think I developed a fondness for writing until I was much older. I think it started a little bit in college, but I wouldn’t say I wrote for the true love of writing, or even therapeutic purposes, even then. I think that unlike many bloggers here on WordPress, I was a late bloomer in this respect.
My first love of writing began with journaling, at the ripe “old” age of about 35 years old. When I started, it was mostly done as a record of my feelings, moods, and actions so that I could remember what to talk about with my psychiatrist and therapist. It was also a way to release the stress or excess energy that I felt. When I was depressed, it was often a way to motivate myself. I was sort of transferring the stress onto the paper, or on some occasions, vomiting it out, in a sense. I don’t remember if anyone suggested I journal. Actually, I don’t remember much at all from those years. I was in and out of the hospital and Intensive Outpatient Programs so often during that period of my life, for bipolar mania mostly. It’s kind of cool (and sometimes quite disturbing) to see what happened during these “blackout” times.
I remember that when I first started to journal seriously, I used the blue silk covered book you see to the left decorated with dragon flies. I thought it was the most beautiful and soft feeling book I had ever owned. I remember that to comfort myself sometimes, I would even rub the cover against my cheeks. Back then, I chose to journal by hand. We had a computer, but I thought all journals were best done by hand, plus I wasn’t aware of blogs or journaling sites at the time. I have never had good penmanship, but boy did it get pretty bad at times! I think a combination of moods, emotions, and Lithium hand tremors showed an added dimension to my struggles. You can see below how my handwriting became almost illegible. I remember that it was also almost painful, in a way, to have to hand write. At my old job I never hand wrote anything. I was rather an extremely fast and enthusiastic typist.
I have continued to journal with few breaks since buying the blue silk dragonfly journal, but I did eventually switch over to journaling on the computer. I found a bipolar support website and kept an online diary there. I have no more handwriting struggles, but sadly not the exact same added dimension. Now I enjoy the “flight and dance of my fingers on the keyboard” that I’ve described in earlier posts. My typing speed has increased even more. Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast! Sometimes when I’m hypomanic or manic I type thousands of words in a short time. Sometimes I type a hell of a lot even when stable. During this time I have found that a number of strange typos happen. I type “hear” when I mean “here”, and things like “section” when I mean “seclusion”. Hmm? What in the heck is happening up there in my brain? Strange words just fly from my brain to my fingers at 100 mph. Or sometimes it seems like my brain is IN my fingers.
Recently I have grown sick and tired of writing about my illness. It’s been over 10 years. Also, my mood is really stabilizing and my anxiety levels have become pretty low. I’ve incorporated more fun activities into my life (with my hubby and alone) and my mind has started to dwell elsewhere. I’m not just about a mental illness! I love the things around me (i.e. nature, people, new places, birds and animals) and am growing quite interested in hobbies from the past, and new ones too (i.e. cooking, thinking about social and political issues, linguistics, humor). All kinds of things! And do you know what? It’s a blast! I’ve added WordPress into my life. I’m also VERY MUCH enjoying reading other people’s writing.
Both types of writing I describe above have been therapeutic for me, but in different ways. Both types of writing have spurred my love for writing. Sitting home alone these years I’ve rarely felt that lonely because of it. Writing is like a friend. Reading other people’s writing makes me feel a type of connection with others. Plus, I’m learning new things again. I feel like I’m on the cusp of a new period in my life; a more productive period and rewarding period.
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