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How Writing for The Mighty Empowers Me

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I’ve always liked to write. Growing up, writing was my way of escape in a world that felt too restrictive. I wrote stories, I wrote poems. I still write poems, and I write emails to friends when I am struggling. Writing helps me organize my thoughts and have a strong, clear voice.

Last year, I discovered The Mighty. I remember being inspired by Mighty articles, and printing out eight or so articles to bring to my mental illness support group. At the group, I excitedly talked about how the articles had given me hope and taught me I was not alone. I was particularly inspired by a letter to people with dissociative identity disorder (DID). I have dissociative problems, and the letter made me feel like I was a beautiful, complex person with dissociative problems, instead of a broken one.

Back in December, I submitted my first articles to The Mighty, which were published later. And since then, I’ve been writing more and more. This project has inspired me and strengthened the strong part of myself.

I write these stories from a strong, hopeful, empowered part of myself. I have other sides too, sometimes I feel weak and defeated, sometimes I look to others for support or approval, sometimes I’m afraid to share my opinions. But in these articles, I harness my strong self. I speak my truth from my life experience. I am able to raise awareness about mental illness and encourage people.

I have written about my struggle with self-harm. Since I wrote that article, whenever I feel tempted to harm myself, I think back to the article and the strong part of myself that wrote it. I can read over my article and remind myself that I can be strong against the temptation.

Often, I feel discouraged about having a second mental breakdown last year. It helped me this week to write on how a second mental breakdown doesn’t mean starting from square one. As I wrote the article, I reminded myself I am stronger now, I am more resilient and having a second mental breakdown isn’t a tragedy.

I shared a collection of self-portraits on The Mighty I had created while mentally ill, and a mental health society in another country contacted me about displaying prints of my self-portraits in a gallery to promote a community art therapy project. I shared a poem on The Mighty what it feels like to live with multiple mental illnesses, and people contacted me to say they related to how I felt. People have shared stories with me about how my articles spoke to them and encouraged them in their journeys.

I don’t think I am the best writer ever. But writing for The Mighty has given me a voice to reach a large, diverse group of people. A quiet, introspective person like me can still make a difference. I have too much social anxiety to ever be a public speaker, but I can speak through my writings.

Recently, I was fighting off a panic attack due to something someone said to me that triggered me. Instead of panicking, I sat down and started writing a potential Mighty article about how this woman’s words affected me. As I wrote, drawing from my strong self, I calmed down. I don’t think I will ever finish that article, but it helped me in that moment.

I am so appreciative to The Mighty for the platform they have given me to speak on. For the first time, I feel like my experiences of mental illness can be useful. I’ve always hoped I could inspire people by how I have battled my mental struggles. Thanks to The Mighty, I can now reach a large amount of people with my message.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via golubovy.

Originally published: May 25, 2017
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