Write to Recover is an approved therapy called Bibliotherapy. It is used on people with Eating Disorders, PTSD, Depression and other illnesses. They are prescribed relevant material such as certain poems, novels and encouraged to write to find their inner being. Poetry as a form of healing dates back to Egyptian times in the 4th Millennium BC. Shamans used to write words on bits of papyrus and get their patients to swallow the words on them for the most speedy effective result.
In Roman times -A greek Born physician called Soranus of Ephesus was employed to come to live in Rome (in the 1st century AD) – to treat people with mania and melancholy with words.
The word Mania originates from the Grecians. Melancholia is can be interpreted as meaning ‘black’, bile or gall. Whilst Mania is was broken down into two words Ania- is interpreted as severe mental anguish and the word Manos is attributed as meaning a relaxed state or an extreme preoccupation of the mind and soul. Soranus was the first person on historic record to suggest that mental illness of melancholia and Mania were separate independant entities – it makes sense to understand why in later years Bipolar was referred to as ‘Manic Depression. It is documented Soranus, treated people with Mania by prescribing Tragedies to read and conversely prescribed those displaying a melancholic temperament with Comic works.
During the American civil war- American poet, Walt Whitman, used poetry recitations to treat the wounded before Morphine became the popular choice for pain relief. The humanitarian poet ( author of ‘Leaves of Grass’) also wrote a poem about his experience as a nurse on the battlefields of the American Civil War,
Thus in silence, in dream’s projections,
Returning, resuming, I thread my way through the hospitals;
The hurt and the wounded I pacify with soothing hand,
I sit by the restless all the dark night — some are so young;
Some suffer so much — I recall the experience sweet and sad;
(Many a soldier’s loving arms about this neck have cross’d and rested,
Many a soldier’s kiss dwells on these bearded lips.)
Walt Whitman, “The Dresser” (1867, later titled “The Wound-Dresser”)
In modern times Poetry therapy is used to help people express themselves through self-reflection. So,the saying, ‘Words Matter’ – indeed do matter and have a powerful effect on our emotions and cognitive faculties.
Poets such as Alan Watts, Walt Whitman, William Wordsmith and Antonin Artaud works are prescribed to patients as an alternative form of therapy.
An article was written by, Igor Goldkind, called ‘Towards an Uncommon Sense: the Practice of Poetry Therapy goes into greater detail of the breakdown of the three types of the most common approaches used to help people with Mental Health issues.
Towards an Uncommon Sense: the Practice of Poetry Therapy, Igor Goldkind
I identify as a humanitarian, I’m currently doing my TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training. I think I have found my new calling. Perhaps my next career move will be to do training to become a poetry therapist.
So, I will carry on with my ‘Write to Recover’ posts because I benefit from using this creative outlet to consolidate my Emotions and feel energised and purged from the unravelled thoughts I have in one day. My thoughts have a way of discombobulating my emotions and I become ruled by my emotions and thoughts that are not necessarily based on evidence and truth. I have made an ambitious start at using self-therapy DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy)to practice emotions distress tolerance, Wise mind and many other techniques to have more moments of Emotional Wellbeing than non.
I’ve downloaded many helpful apps to help me stay focused -The DBT therapy app, Happily, The recovery app because I do live in my head a lot. Perhaps too much and too often. and in the past when I have been unwell with my Bipolar, Chronic Anorexia and Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder.
Please, can the word labellers of the world reclassify the title of this illness because I hate the Stigma and connotations conjured by the term EUPD?
A post for another day…
I’ve also begun to throw myself into reading and educating myself across the entire spectrum of the Humanity & Arts subjects- Music, I have a Music blog, Photography, Art and reading up about different philosophers -all the subjects I have a great passion for and I never thought I was intelligent enough to grasp.
Reading back on these words,I find this tragic to put myself down to the point I feel that I am not like “normal” people who can enjoy these subjects and write about them (with a degree of credibility).
Momentarily I shall blow my own trumpet to state that I have a post-graduate certificate on the humanities I worked my booty off and received high merit. I received high merit towards my first year studying my MA degree in Advanced Creative Writing focusing on stage scripts! Writing about themes I want to shine a lot on – Homelessness, eradicating the stigma attached to mental illness.
Morality plays covering historical themes- the Russian revolution being a prime example.
I am compelled to volunteer my time in my community on the therapeutic benefits of creative self-expression and the connection with Mental wellbeing being. I have done this in the past. I’ve stood in front of Social workers, schools, NHS workers doing Anti -Stigma Workshops. Co-producing them. I don’t want chuffing letters after my name. I don’t want fame. I loathe it. I’ve been asked many times what it feels like to have so much insight into my mental health issues and “suffer” from them. Sometimes, I scream in frustration, I choose Ignorance!
Perhaps this is the reason why I’ve sought out “bliss” by self-medicating or trying to take my life because I have two live in my head.
I will wrap this post up by affirming my saying
Write to Recover or die to live the day of another
I may not be anonymous
I’m predisposed to mostly white.
Paled by charming powder puffs
Under any paltry day or night.
I may not be anonymous
I may appear big, small heavy and then light.
one little line of chronic
then it’s down & up 1000s hillside slopes to cut the gluttonous lust.
It grows in fervour
Diminishes all care.
If time is money (Wutang)
then it’s wasted to card dealing chancers
who think it is fair in the twilight
to fight this addiction to an eating disorder.
Sizes me up
Rounds me in
Not time to feed but blanch Guts away to her final slaughter.
Why do I want to change my hues?
Or maybe these words are a whitewash of denial or a statement covering up a fat lie.