The imagination is a powerful tool. It allows children to dream of worlds, go on adventures, gain special powers, create new things, and much more. A children’s imaginations are endless and helps them grow up to be creative, inventive, and much more. The imagination can also be a coping technique, allowing them to escape or deal with tough situations like bullying, mental illness, tragedy, bad living conditions, and so on.
During my school years when I was bullied, my imagination was a coping technique. It allowed me to escape the world that beat me down and go into one where I could be lifted up. I dreamed of being a star, of facing my bullies, of imaginary lands, and so on. I created whole new worlds in my mind, and in those worlds I was free from the pain reality caused me. The best part of my imagination was I could control it. I couldn’t stop the teasing, the pain within me, the decline into mental illness, but I could create with my mind and escape.
I also imagined bad things happening to me. This became an unhealthy coping technique. I thought if something bad happened, then people would suddenly care, or I would have an excuse not to go to school. I imagined getting hit by a car, falling, and breaking my leg, a large kid attacking me and putting me in a coma, and so on. I wanted my imaginary injuries to come true, so I didn’t have to go to school. The problem was this became a habit I couldn’t break. I continued to do this into my adulthood and sometimes I still must remind myself to stop.
In high school I began to write down my daydreams. Writing became a healthier coping technique. For a long time, I didn’t think my writing was any good. My uncle died when I was in seventh grade, and a teacher and her aide encouraged me to write about my uncle. They said it would help me deal with his death. Below is an excerpt from chapter 29 of my memoir.
I closed my eyes and pictured my uncle, and I took a deep breath. I opened my eyes and suddenly words gushed from the tip of my pencil onto the paper. Memories flowed through me and spilled out. It was like my pent-up tears were streaming out of me in words. Before I knew it, I had three pages filled. Once I was done, I read over my writings several times.
My imagination led me into writing and my writing helped me deal with what was happening in my life and inside me. Another excerpt from this chapter talks about this more in depth.
After writing about Uncle Tim, I became inspired to write more. In between studying, I would pull out some notebook paper and just let the words flow out. My words on paper were the voice I couldn’t force to part my lips. The feelings and thoughts no one knew about.
My writing became my passion. I worked hard to hone it. My writing was another thing I had control over. I could decide what happened to my characters, I could give them happy endings, shine light on their rough times, bring my imaginary worlds to life and release my inner anguish. I bared my soul in words on paper. I told people the only way you could get to know me was to read my writing, because it bared the deepest secrets of my soul.
As an adult I was hospitalized for my mental illness. My friend Jane brought me a pen and a journal. I started filling journal after journal with my feelings, thoughts, and anguish. My journal became like a safety blanket. I carried it everywhere and wrote in it every chance I could. It was the only way I could get my feelings out. I couldn’t talk about how I felt, but I could write about it.
My therapist, Linda, had me write journal entries for her. I’d bring them to therapy, and we would discuss them. Then she had me start a journal to put positive things in it. She used my writing ability to help me get better. The positive journal was hard, but I worked at it. It in time became very therapeutic and taught me a new coping technique.
For a time, I dabbled in different genres of writing trying to find a purpose for my talent. While I was at my worst, I stopped writing stories and just focused on journaling. Then I decided to write about my experiences. I think God’s purpose for me is to help others through my writing. That’s why I write this blog and why I wrote my memoir. My story can help others.
As I wrote my memoir, my writing got better and more powerful. My author friends say my writing is a good example of how to put emotion on paper. I just write what I feel. I relived my past and put it down. Writing my memoir was therapeutic and I know once it’s published, it will help others. My imagination helped me become an author.
What will your imagination lead you to? In what ways do you cope with your mental illness? Do you escape in your imagination, do you write, do you draw, or do you make crafts? The imagination is a good coping technique and can lead to other creative outlets to deal with the pain within you.
My writing is my therapy and my purpose. I write my way into the light of recovery.