October 30, 2020

Do we risk our mental health by suppressing our creativity?

Joanne Marjoribanks

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Rediscovery, 2020

It took a poem I wrote as a teenager to tell me I was suicidal. I hadn’t realised until I wrote it. I knew I was depressed, but I didn’t know it had become life-threatening. The idea that my mind could hide things from me was a frightening concept, but writing that poem led me to understand how desperately I needed help. Poetry, like other art forms, has the incredible ability to draw out emotions we have repressed to protect ourselves, but that will harm us if we don’t confront them. Like many people, I have spent the last 8 months struggling with anxiety, isolation and uncertainty. Yet, instead of turning to poetry, I have buried my feelings under the weight of work and household responsibilities. It has taken until now for me to acknowledge how dangerous it is to suppress my creativity. Even when I am frightened of what it might reveal, I cannot deal with threats to my mental health if I don’t know they exist. Poetry forces me to see the truth. This poem represents my rediscovery of the creative form that once saved my life. I hope it can encourage others to rediscover their own.