Depression drains you of life force. You feel like you have no energy to do the simplest things. You feel hopeless and helpless. For women, depression can be caused by many factors, from stress to reproductive hormones.
According to the information from the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a real medical condition that’s more common among women than men. Have you ever wondered why? It’s likely due to the unique biological and hormonal factors you get solely by being a woman, but it’s also due to social pressure.
In fact, certain types of depression are unique to women. Men don’t get perinatal and perimenopausal depression. The important thing to remember is that depression is a treatable condition. However, you’ll have to make huge efforts to get out of that state. The journey will be long and bumpy.
Today, we’ll focus on a specific method that can support the healing process: writing.
How Writing Helps You Overcome Depression
Why writing? It was something most people like to avoid. Students, in particular, are stressed out by the mere thought of writing. Now, we’re telling you to write. We’re telling you to turn writing into a daily practice.
It can help you fight depression in many different ways.
1. Through writing, you observe your thoughts and feelings
Professor Mark Williams from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre defined mindfulness as “knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment.” It’s easy to stop in a moment and notice what it’s like. Staying mindful all the time, however, is harder than you would expect.
When you’re trying to be mindful of your own thoughts and feelings, the mind has a tendency to get carried away. When you’re depressed, the negative thinking patterns have a life of their own. If you write, you structure to your thoughts and emotions. You’re trying to achieve a logical flow, so you’re not letting your mind wander away.
2. You’ll dig deep
Journaling allows you to awaken things you’ve hidden deep inside. Sometimes you’re not completely aware of the reason that’s causing depression.
Write. When you put words on paper, you feel like these things are happening to someone else. You get detached. You can dig deep and admit that you’re not the superhero you thought you were. When you recognize the cause, you’ll be on your way to healing.
3. You’ll notice the progress
When you’re doing something to overcome depression, its effects are strong at the beginning. Let’s say you started practicing yoga. You feel more energized after the first session. With time, you lose that initial enthusiasm.
If you write about your experiences, you’ll know how they affect your state. You’ll go back through the entries and you’ll see that something made you feel better. You’ll notice the progress and you’ll appreciate it. Those pages will encourage you to keep going.
4. Journaling forces you to be honest
How are you? When someone asks you that question, you’re not honest. You don’t want to share your grief with them. You learn how to put a smiley face on and play your act. That’s making you more depressed. It’s even worse when you start lying to yourself.
The moment of healing begins when you decide to be completely honest about the way you think and feel. Writing gives you that opportunity. No one will read this but you. There’s no reason to keep lying to yourself.
How to Use Writing as a Remedy Against Depression
Keep this in mind: writing will not replace therapy. Do not avoid visiting a therapist and following their advice. Depression can be treateds, but you have a responsibility to take action. Writing is just a tool that supports the process of healing.
Here’s how you can start using it:
● Write every day. This should become your ritual. Journaling doesn’t take a long time. 10 minutes a day is more than enough.
● Don’t create outlines; this is not academic writing. Be free. Explore your thoughts and feelings.
● Try to find something positive. Try hard! It’s important to be honest with yourself, so you won’t avoid writing about the bad stuff. However, you should still force yourself to find something nice to live for. Be mindful of those special moments in the day and let the journal witness them.
It doesn’t matter how well you can write. Maybe you’re a great writer and you can turn your journal into published memoirs. Maybe you won’t be that good at it. It doesn’t matter. You’re doing this for yourself. Don’t worry about the quality of the writing. It’s not necessary to edit the content. Just start writing.