This is Why I Have to Write Mental Health Poetry
Why do I write mental health poetry?
It didn’t start off this way.
When I started Nerve 10 last year, I had a certain vision for the site.
I knew I was tired of reading mental health content that didn’t speak to me—content that didn’t resonate with my experiences.
So I thought,
I can do this. I can create something that I want to read. And if I want to read it, maybe others will want to read it as well.
That’s how it began. I’ve always loved to write. And I know my writing emanates from love because it feels like a part of me. It feels like something I have to do.
I experimented with poetry here and there, but I never took it seriously. I never thought I was any good.
But one week about six months ago, I decided to post a poem a day on Medium, a writing platform that I love.
I didn’t think much of it. But other people did.
Readers really liked it.
It was then that I realized that I am not the judge of the quality of my writing. I am not the arbiter of how my writing makes others feel. That is for my readers to decide.
I just knew—and still know—that writing mental health poetry came naturally to me.
It flowed from my mind and shot out of the neurons in my brain, sending nerve impulses down my arms and hands until my fingers typed the words on the page.
Fast forward 14 months since its inception, and Nerve 10 gets a steady flow of traffic each month. I still find that hard to believe.
My anxiety still tells me that I’m not worthy of this attention, but because it’s something I love to do, and because I have learned that the best way past anxiety is through anxiety, I push on.
I now rank for hundreds of keywords on Google, and most of that traffic comes to read my mental health poetry.
This is the reality of building things, of sharing creativity with the world.
I thought Nerve 10 would focus on one thing—my mental health writing—but it is my mental health poetry that has become more popular.
That doesn’t mean I will no longer writer longer pieces—because I will. What it means is this:
Why would I not continue to share mental health poetry if it’s:
Something I love doing
Something that others love reading
That right there is a recipe for success and happiness.
Too often I try to complicate things. I tell myself that I need to follow a 25-step plan to be happy and successful.
But life doesn’t work that way.
Life is a maze, and we all amble aimlessly through until we glimpse an opening. The sun peaks through and soon we get better at navigating the maze. The paths that make us happy get more firmly etched in our minds. After a while, the maze isn’t so unfamiliar. We start to notice patterns and can find our way through in shorter periods of time.
Mental health poetry, for me, is a way of describing the world. It’s piercing the noise to bring out the color of life.
Why say something in five words when one will do?
Mental health poetry is an expression of my life, whatever that might be.
It’s not just shocking proclamations of mental illness. It’s vulnerable depictions of what I’m feeling, of how I perceive the world.
And as uncomfortable as I feel sharing some of my most vulnerable thoughts with the world, I draw comfort in knowing that I am most connected with others when I am most vulnerable.
We all are.