You'll never be alone if you write like this

                                                                                           man-reading-book-about-connecting-with-mental-health

It’s lonely putting yourself out there, not knowing what kind of response you will get.

You peer into your heart until the thoughts come bubbling to the surface.

Anyone who has ever written a single creative sentence is searching for something.

Writing is a search for life. It’s a craving to be understood.

But there’s one giant problem: does anyone on the other side care enough to read what you have to say?

The distance between the writer’s pen-strokes or finger-taps and the eyes of the reader can seem endless.

I’ve often wondered, What will fill this void? You may have wondered something similar.

I have an answer for you.

Don’t run from what you’re feeling. Instead, pause and let it soak in. The answer is in your emotions.

So, ill ask you something.

Where do you feel the most pain?

I’m not asking an existential question.

I’m asking you today, here in this moment, Where do you feel the most pain?

For me, my most recent pain came in the form of a condescending remark, a statement made questioning my abilities by a person who did not know me.

I knew that what this person said was not true for me, but it still hurt. It took me a whole day to shake it off and wrestle it from my mind.

I’m prone to anxiety, and, there were times not long ago when the fixated thought would have put up more of a fight.

But what about you? What caused you pain recently?

Maybe it was, like it was for me, a comment that set you off. Or maybe it was a friend’s action — or a family member’s inaction.

Call up what that felt like. Really take a moment to let how you felt at that time sink into your mind and trickle down your body until you have a visceral reaction to the memory.

And then write about it.

Now, I’m not saying you need to write in a negative way. You just need to call up a human emotion and use that emotion as a tool, a vessel for your message.

Then start writing, let the thoughts flow, and release your truth. This is your chance to connect with your readers. You now have a choice about how to use that raw emotion.

And you must consider this:

How can you do the most good?

How can you take your emotions, the meaningful juice squeezed from the pulpy subject material of your life, and use it to help others?

Do you think you are the only one to have troublesome feelings?

The fact that you are even attempting to put words to your experience means you are already in the act of processing it.

You have already built the bridge to your readers, and all that is left for you to cross it.

You have more wisdom inside of you than you realize. You’ve just never given yourself the chance to express it.

You have a voice, and it is up to you to decide how you want to use it.

The reality is this: each one of us is alone in this world.

It’s only when we use our voices — in whatever form we choose to express them — that we have the ability to connect. To inspire. To be vulnerable. To hope that someone in this world understands.

And you know what? There are people out there who do understand.

They don’t need you to be a hero. They need you to be yourself, to feel something, to show them that the human experience is broken and intact, empty and full, dark and light.

Using my own pain

To write to connect with your readers, you have to show them what they’re connecting with.

What happened to you that made you who you are?

I once forced a family member experiencing a mental health crisis to go into a hospital against her will. I felt like I was going to die. The mental and emotional anguish of what I was doing was too much. But I did it out of love and hoped it would all work out.

Things didn’t get better for a while. But I took it day by day. I noticed details in my family members’ faces, and words, and postures that I never noticed before. It was like looking at the world through a microscope. It was new perspective emerging from tragic circumstances.

It was a horrible time, but I now know it was the right thing to do. And my family member and I, we both got through it. We’re both healthier people because of it. She helped me during my own health scare. We have a deeper connection because of what has happened between us.

These are just things that have happened to me. To reveal them is to show the experiences that have molded my identity.

Reviewing the steps

You also have something to say, and your experiences can connect you to others if you follow these steps. It won’t work all of the time, but it works more than you think.

1. Identify what has caused you the most pain

It doesn’t have to be deeply traumatic. It just needs to feel real to you.

2. Find the emotion in those experiences and narrow in on it

Sit with it for as long as it takes to connect to your basic human frailty.

3. Write about the steps you took to get through it

Write about what you learned. You don’t need to have great epiphanies. You just need to be yourself.

That’s it.

If you do that, the results will amaze you.

And the strangest thing is that to write so that you won’t be alone, you have to acknowledge how alone you actually are, how alone we all are.

When you do that, you will realize there is a great power in being alone. And it is that inner strength that will attract others and affirm your humanity.

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