I was never a writer, and certainly never a reader. Books were normally used to keep the room door open and that was about it. I was always too busy to pick up a book, the interest simply wasn’t there. So, over the past few years I found the urge to put pen to paper very strange – and all in the midst of being diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
Whilst sitting on a shore lost, searching but not knowing what I was looking for, tears began to run down my face as they returned to join the sea. I had all this built up emotion and I had no idea of how to cope with it! As with everything, the unhealthy ways started to rear their heads first such as over eating and self harm and, at that time, it was all I knew. I wanted someone to hold me and say “I’m going to take all this pain and fix it” but at the same time I was withdrawing from everyone that cared about me. Survival is a funny thing. You do things you would have never done before. Look at Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway and his ‘survival’ character of Mr Wilson! It seems to me that we will always do what needs doing to save ourselves whether we are aware of this survival instinct or not. As humans we are fascinating creatures.
Many days were spent on those local shores sitting in silence simply trying to just “be.” However, we are never really taught how to simply “be”! Often, as seagulls swooped up and down so did my mood. In a bid to feel better I’d pick up seaweed engorged with oils and rub it into my face as the fresh breeze massaged it in. Most of the time unaware of my attraction to the same spot.
Day after day I continued to soul search and after some time words and inspiration began to seep through. At first they appeared as random words which made NO sense whatsoever, followed by a sentence of inspiration. Then, weeks later, 4 lines of a poem and then gradually a desire to blog/write arose. Me? Poetry? What? What would I write? Why do I want to write? What is this?
Now I often look at poems I’ve written and I have no idea how I put them together. They seemed to write themselves. One word fell onto the page after the other slotting together like a well-pieced together jigsaw. Me, the same woman that slept through English in school can now write poems. Who would have thought? Rather than question the words as they flowed I jotted them down and trusted in a final result. After that I never again left home without pen and paper. Don’t forget your shovel if you want to go to work, right?
My shovel was my pen and my work was discovering my own existence. For the first time in my life I was starting from scratch. I was not Caitriona the Manager or Caitriona the athlete. I was just Caitriona. Getting to know Caitriona was a slow and bumpy journey. As each bump appeared so did the desire to write and to this day my love for writing is dear.
We have an uncontrollable urge to critize and question ourselves day after day instead of trusting in our abilities and ourselves. Perhaps our path is written for us only waiting to be discovered? I refuse to question why things/events happen now because I believe they are happening to teach us something we need to know to allow us to grow. Without soul searching on the shore I would never have dated and romanced the Caitriona I now know.
They say don’t ever judge a book by its cover well that’s exactly what I had been doing prior to this change in my life. I was judging myself on labels I had branded myself with. Now as I write this I am free of labels. I am still discovering and I am excited about what lies ahead.
There’s a great friend of mine and her saying is “ok, let’s strip it back” and that’s what I am asking you to do. Take a moment to look at what labels you have put on yourself whether it be mammy, daddy, teacher, captain etc and strip everything back to see who lies beneath them.
They say we all have a book in us, maybe it’s time we all dive in and see for ourselves.
*This was an invited Blog from Caitriona. The Clinic supports mental health and wellness initiatives.
BIO: Caitriona Mc Mahon is a community mental health worker and motivational speaker. As a suicide survivor living with depression and acute anxiety disorder she has found writing to be a creative outlet. Creator and co host of Mental Health Hour, which takes place every Sunday from 9-10pm on Twitter and one of the founders of Community Crisis Response Team Ireland. Find out more about Caitriona through her website www.caitrionamac.com her Twitter @Caitriona_Mac