There’s no shame in struggling with mental health. Anxiety and depression are just some mental health elements that are rife in our society, especially since hard lockdown has seen the loss of jobs and salary cuts. But very few are willing to work through the trauma, much less scream from the rooftops that “no, I am not okay today.”
As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, Cape Town Psychologist Musawenkosi Khanyile explores how finding catharsis through poetry can help deal with trauma, anxiety or depression, as per Good Things Guy.
Writing is a lens through which you can make sense of your trauma, states Khanyile.
“If a client is already writing, I might invite them to share their writing with me, so that the therapeutic process extends to reflections occurring outside the therapeutic space.”
Humans are complex creatures with complex emotions. Khanyile helps clients explore the depths of these emotions, taking them on a journey of self-expression and recovery through creative expression.
“Poetry is a literal and metaphoric tool for self-reflection and self-healing. It can be a passageway to the parts of ourselves that have been long [been] buried deep within us, most often by trauma and shame.”
Unfortunately, expressing and exploring your trauma through writing is a great start, but having someone work with you as you navigate these traumas can help you adequately process them.
“Writing has, over the years, helped me sit with uncomfortable negative emotions. It still helps me process emotionally traumatic experiences. But it has its limits, which is understandable because in poetry I am alone with my trauma and with my blind spots.”
Deciding to explore the depths of yourself can be a daunting task that’s undoubtedly filled with obstacles. It’s hard work, but it helps you look beneath the surface. It allows you to have a better understanding of your inner world. There’s no greater pleasure than taking a deeper look within yourself and learning to understand your trauma.
“… poetry helps me look beneath the surface. I am more aware of what goes on inside me and outside in the world. It has enriched my life by teaching me to keep searching. We miss a lot when we do not stop to look,” states Khanyile.
If you’re looking to dabble in poetry and express yourself creatively, the AVBOB Poetry Competition is inviting poets to submit poetry in all 11 official languages. The competition opens on August 1, so make you select a few of your favourite pieces. For more information, visit their website.