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
Tell me what you want to know.
Rainy days included, storms do pass
Under the bridge the homeless huddle around a fire trying not to cause too much trouble.
Together their eyes vacant, some stumble some stutter.
Hoping society will give them a second glance, a second chance.
Most of us are aware that suicide attempts are on the rise at an explosive rate.
We all don’t want to see or hear someone who thinks the only way out of life is taking their own life.
We are told to talk about our feelings. Get it all out & call for a chat if we need anything.
People have to get on with their lives.
What if the help they are advised to seek out isn’t there or doesn’t help?
What about our ethical stance or views about people who want to end their lives?
Can we become open to challenging our views and reasons for helping people without being able to have a lasting impact on those people who still have to live with the aftermath of wanting to die?
Of course ,we are humans with complex emotions & at times deep compassion & empathy. We want to help or fix other people.
How do you feel about
Someone with a degenerative disease such as MS who has lost her soulmate & wants to end Life?
Or a man with a family to protect who is struggling financially & can’t see a way out either through shame or pride to seek out help or because they refuse to live in poverty so takes his life so his family can live on his Life insurance?
What can you do to make a positive long lasting change in their mind set or circumstances?
Does it soothe our conscience
We can admonish we have done the right thing
Acts of Altruism?
What about a teenager with body issues, relationship problems, a person.
Who sees no way out?
What if the places we signpost him to get help can’t or doesn’t help?
Well.. at least we tried to be a good person..
Instinctively we feel that it would be wrong to not want to help.
We live in a society where we are bound by outdated traditions, people who believe rhat by giving a person a poster can guide a person to change their perspective .
I believe the quality of life should matter more than the quantity.
I also believe that a teenager or a man in serious debt may be able to find guidance and be able to deal with the desire to die.
When it comes to illnesses I watched my own grandmother become an entity merely existing because that is what. society says we should do. Keep her alive.
Keep people alive even if that life is in a care home, unable to speak, move.
We don’t have enough resources to help people in state care homes to signpost these people to places where they can have a chance to rethink how they can live with a sense of purpose.
I’ve seen people I love live on a “leash” tied to life for what? other peoples peace of mind?
If we can’t get the resources to help people see a way out must they suffer their entire mortal life in mental anguish & physical torture?
What gives life meaning?
Finding a way to grow, achieve happiness – evolve as we have been designed to as humans?
We were born to live in our physical bodies and create a life worth living. To be able to say at the end of our lives that we died knowing for what purpose we had lived.