This post was originally published on Stigmama last week. It was my answer to Stigmama’s founder Dr. Walker Karraa’s question, “Why do you write?” For some silly reason I wasn’t able to reblog it, so I’m doing the old copy & paste instead!
Each time time my writing is featured on Stigmama.com, I’m honored. I witnessed this website’s “birth”, so to speak. Stigmama’s thriving Facebook page now has a whopping 9000 likes, & there are many talented contributors!
I’m including Dr. Karraa’s comment to my piece at the end because it’s an incredible, insightful comment – it really moved me. If you’re interested in contributing to Stigmama, please visit Stigmama.com and check it out. Have a wonderful week & see you Friday!
Writing Heals My Brain
I write because I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was nine-years-old.
I write because my mother gave me wonderful books to read as a child, and
she always believed in my writing ability – she still does at age 80!
I write because it grounds me.
I write because the act of writing restores me to the self I was
before a mental illness almost destroyed me.
I write to prove to myself that all the soul-sucking medications I’ve
taken didn’t kill my creativity after all.
I write because writing has given me the opportunity to interview extraordinary people. Before I was diagnosed with bipolar, I interviewed Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, author of “An Unquiet Mind”. My topic was about women, depression and exercise. Thanks to her input, I sold my first magazine article. (Little did I know I would share the same diagnosis with Dr. Jamison a few years later – at least I was in good company!)
I write because I can write, even after I had electricity pulse through my brain over fifty times during electroconvulsive treatments (ECT). My long-term memory is still intact. I write because it stimulates some mysterious part of my brain and makes me feel better.
I write because it’s free therapy.
I write to share and connect with other people worldwide who have suffered like me.
I write to help other moms know they aren’t alone with their postpartum mood disorders.
I write because no one, not even bipolar disorder, can take away the fact that I’m a Writer.
*Photo: Dyane with the Newbery Award-winning author Madeleine L’Engle at her writing workshop in 1997. L’Engle wrote “A Wrinkle In Time” and over sixty other books. Madeleine L’Engle is one of Dyane’s all-time favorite
authors, and Dyane counts spending time with this amazing writer as one of the most meaningful highlights of her life.
Your piece here speaks to I write something so hard to get at. But you get there…the mystery of writing. You write, “because it stimulates some mysterious part of my brain and makes me feel better.” This is so true. Writing does activate a part of ourselves that we can’t identify, but we know like the back of our hand. That is the mystery, the paradox.
Through the #WhyDoIWrite Series, I am growing in my understanding of how writing resets us. And how women in particular write as an action in the world. Not a reaction, not a reflection as much as an action like walking, blinking, moving. Less an activity, more an action. I am reading Virginia Woolf’s diary (at least the parts her a-hole DH Leonard would allow published) and she gets to this as well. It is a verb for women. Writing is an “ing”. I have been thinking a lot about my maternal grandmother as well–who had the psychic skill of automatic writing. She could sit and channel others and it flowed through her pen–or jury rigged Smith Corona type writer! She too suffered from depression and mania, as did her mother who was bipolar and a Quaker minister, and I am told spoke in tongues. Their gifts were their channels to the automatic. The mysterious part of the brain that free flows higher consciousness. No matter WHAT is done to it. ECT, brain injury, stroke, death–it is still there. That part. That part that automatically channels Spirit.
Thank you for being one who does just that. I too am overwhelmed by the growth of this community. But I am not surprised. Women are wonders. And with a pen in our hand?
We are free.
Dr. Walker Karraa