A little musing today. I was reflecting that depression often causes problems of expression. Pent up feelings and thoughts just don’t know how to get out into the world. I remember working with a homeless man with a drug dependence issue. In spite of bagging a recent job, he went on a drug binge. He fell into a deep depression and just couldn’t seem to get out of it. He was stuck and felt blocked. He didn’t even know to to describe his pain and frustration. I noticed over many years of working people with depression this is a common feeling. Feeling empty, flat, hollow and not knowing how to let those feelings out.
So I said, “Well why don’t you write something?”
His response was “I have nothing to write.”
I said “Fine, then write I don’t have anything to see and then see what happens.”
What happened next was intriguing. He started scrawling hesitantly, slowly putting something down. Within the space of 15 seconds he started manically putting pen to paper. His initial hesitation gave way to a stream of consciousness. Suddenly his pent up rage and inhibitions became magically subdued and something inside him just let go. It all came out on paper, the self rage, feelings of frustration and disappointment, mainly against himself. Why he had made the same mistakes again. When was he going to learn and really break out of these patters of abuse and failure. Then something happened. He knew that what he wrote didn’t change his actual predicament, but it took a burden off his shoulders. He felt lighter, he was able to express himself. He didn’t realise before what heavy feelings needed to be expressed.
Expression of feelings is important. It’s part of being depression. Sometime when things are bottled up and repressed there needs to be a valve letting these out. I noticed that this simple technique of writing something and being caught up in the act of writing forges connections between the two hemispheres of the brain (which occurs in writing, especially creative writing).
To those who feel stuck, this is another tool you can use to help beat depression. Writing is a powerful way of meditation. People can get lost doing it and release things that really surprise and heal. Try it today.