I found myself slipping away.
I was in a relationship with a woman struggling with bipolar depression, and she was adamant that no one should know what was going on. I was keeping everything locked inside myself, until I realized that my fiancée’s illness had become my illness.
Bottling everything up was taking a physical and mental toll on me. I needed an outlet desperately. I was on the brink of a physical and nervous breakdown when something pulled me back from the ledge: writing.
Along with therapy and meditation, writing saved me. I feel fortunate that a strong urge to write is deeply ingrained in me and that I had writing to turn to, like a trusted and nonjudgmental friend, during a tumultuous time in my life.
Writing out my fears, frustrations and desires helped release some of the pent up emotions that were stuck inside me. Since I did not want to betray my fiancée’s trust by sharing our reality with another person, I put my heart down on paper, purging myself from some of the toxins I had been ingesting.
Right away, the story seemed to write itself. Words and emotions poured out of me. I felt others might benefit from what I wrote, that people could relate to at least some of what I was going through: living with chronic pain, anxiety and depression, heartbreaks, frustration.
What started as a personal diary evolved into something I wanted to share with others. When my relationship with the young woman ended, I took a leap of faith and published my story as a book on Amazon.
And the response was wonderful.
I underestimated how many others were fighting their own battles. Many people appreciated hearing from someone who finally saw some light after having lived so long in darkness.
I found that sharing my weaknesses made many of my relationships stronger. My first book also led to new relationships and opened doors. One such opportunity was a spur-of-the-moment road trip around the southeastern United States, which led to my second book. A friend and I combined a desire for fun, travel and philanthropy into one amazing adventure. We gave money to deserving people along the way, with the understanding that those people had to choose someone else to whom to give the money.
Through writing both of those books, I came to feel stronger than I had in years—and less alone. People I met or reconnected with reminded me that everyone is going through something. There’s always a struggle, yet many people choose (or feel forced) to keep them private.
If you are struggling in some way—especially if you internalize the pain—I urge you to write out your feelings. You don’t have to share this with anyone, but you will exorcise the demons, so to speak.
These days, my writing is meant to inspire others and to provide an antidote to the negativity and sensationalism we see in the news and on social media. In my third book, I looked for people who are lighthouses for the rest of us, and they were not hard to find. Extraordinary people are all around us!
I’m thankful to know that, and to know them. And I’m thankful for the life-saving gift of writing.
Writing has taken me out of myself and connected me to people in new ways. I’ve discovered more about who I was, who I am and who I want to be, all while learning about others in the process. Writing gave my life a renewed purpose. Writing saved me.