Your Chance to Speak Up

I need your secrets and techniques! The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) Jefferson City, MO chapter is graciously allowing me to speak on the topic of Writing to Heal on June 6th at their monthly meeting. The structure of their meetings is that they have a speaker that everyone sits in on for 45 minutes before dividing into groups of family members and consumers. So I will be speaking to both groups at the same time.

I feel that family members have almost as much to heal from as consumers do. Family members often take the brunt of an ill individual’s symptoms, as I know my husband does. He takes my anger, my sorrow, my fear, and my joy, sometimes all in the same day! I have emotionally abused him and manipulated him, especially in the earliest years of my illness while they were looking for the correct treatment. So when I advocate, I advocate for the whole family unit, not just the consumer.

I want to teach family members and consumers alike that they need to heal and can heal through writing. I used to communicate to my husband in writing because I couldn’t articulate my feelings verbally as he could. But there was a time when he needed a journal, too. Writing can be private or you can share it.

Here is your chance to speak up. What has helped you, family member or consumer, heal from particular episodes in your life? If it was writing related, share the nature of what prompted you to write. Did you use prompts? Did you free write? Did you do a bullet journal? Did you create art in your journal or doodle in the margins? Are you a family member or a consumer? Did you wish the other person(s) in your life journalled as well? Any information you can provide about your healing experiences, whether you are family or consumer, would be helpful. Do it in the spirit of Mental Health Awareness Month! Please and thank you!!!!

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2 thoughts on “Your Chance to Speak Up

  1. I have kept a journal at different times in my life. Sometimes just a straight forward journal of what happened that day and what I was thinking about. When in my worst depression I kept two journals: one was just to write down emotions and thoughts, the other one was made up of lists: what I had done that day, any positive thing no matter how small that had happened that day — a simple thank you from a patron while at work, even if I didn’t believe I could possibly deserve it. I also wrote letters to friends and family most of which I never mailed or shared with them. But this still gave me a chance to write out all of my thoughts and feelings; all of the things they had said or done that hurt me, as well as how I thought I had hurt or disappointed them. I did share a couple of these letters, one with my husband and one with my parents. A few months after I had started to heal a friend took me with her to a weekend women’s retreat. One activity we did was to write a letter to ourselves about how we were feeling that day, why we were important and unique and special. Then a year later the speaker mailed those letters out and mine arrived on a day when I really, really needed it. Perhaps a friend or relative could hold on to a letter for you and then mail it a few months later or even a year later if they are that organized.

  2. That is a great suggestion! I would love to use your story in my speech. I am trying to compile as many different methods as possible because I know from experience that there is no one shoe fits all solution to the problem of healing from any kind of trauma or from being the family member of the person who has experienced the trauma. Thank you for your comment!

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