Introduction to #Here4You Selections
by CEO, Nathan West
Over the past several months we’ve seen the world change in dramatic fashion and virtually overnight due to the overwhelming challenges and complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Our #Here4You campaign started with a simple idea to get a message out to as many people as we could letting everyone know during these uncertain times, “YOU ARE NOT ALONE…. WE ARE HERE FOR YOU.”
Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big impact. Thanks to you, our Create Change community, we were able to get this simple message out across the globe reaching all six habitable continents, crossing countless borders and more importantly into the hearts and lives of those who needed to hear it most. Your honesty, thoughtful perspectives and relatability has inspired and encouraged so many more than you may ever know. Get inspired by checking out some of our Citizen Creator submissions.
I’ve never considered myself a creative person, but I’ve always enjoyed other people’s creations. I even have a shiny new degree in it, Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Business, from a prestigious entertainment university. My classes were filled with creative people; people aspiring to be screenwriters, musicians, video game designers, filmmakers, and novelists. Me? I wanted to distribute. I wanted to take what my classmates would one day make and get it out for the world to see. I wanted others to get the opportunity to connect with the creativity that I so desperately wanted to connect to myself.
I messed up somewhere along the way, or I thought I did. The thing is I can’t pinpoint what I messed up on, I just know that I struggled a lot and it was like I was crawling on glass shards, every move causing more damage. A few mental health diagnoses thrown into the mix and life felt meaningless. I felt like I had to punish myself for being so sad all the time. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything enjoyable when my mood would violently change without warning. So while I was working towards a goal of being able to distribute others creativity, I stopped connecting to it all together. Films, books, television, music; I didn’t allow myself to slow down, enjoy, and make a connection to any of it.
But it’s funny how life works sometimes. A horrid virus. The world comes to a stop to band together and work on extinguishing this fire. This grisly, dark thing has sparked a flame of creativity, and I’ve allowed myself to be connected again.
Last week, cleaning out the pantry I realized that I was listening to music. I felt a connection to that music and with a smile, I danced my way through cleaning. Since then my playlist hasn’t stopped. I connected.
I’ve cried and laughed over three new books this month. I connected.
I’ve had therapy twice this month and I’ve engaged in conversation I normally wouldn’t engage in. I connected.
Never one for social gatherings before, now I’ve been laughing and dancing through Zoom game nights with friends. I connected.
But I’m not just connecting with other people’s creativity. I’ve realized that I, myself, am creative all the time. Learning to bake new things. Trying to make the prettiest dinner plate possible. I’m creative in the way I do my daily workouts. I’m creative in the way I organize my room. Wearing outfits that reflect my moods, even when my mood disorder causes me to swing multiple times a day I’ve allowed myself to feel and reflect those feelings creatively through dramatic outfit changes.
I’ve made a connection and I want to shout it from the rooftops.
My life may be stalled at the moment with cancelled internships and revoked job offers, but creating is not stalled. Connecting is not on hold. And as I’ve slowed down in the wake of this dark time I’ve been able to connect in a way I’ve never thought possible and you can too. Slow down, take a breath, and let yourself feel. I promise that it’s worth it.
I feel like I have lost a lot over the last few months. The turn of the year is usually meant as a fresh start, but this year I couldn’t help but bring the demons and grief of 2019 with me. At the end of the year, I had lost a man I looked to as a father and I didn’t know how to react. I had also lost a confidant, in a different ending but still equally as painful. These were two situations I didn’t think I would find myself in and if I’m honest, I shut down completely. I became a machine, worked every shift I could get my hands on and refused to acknowledge the niggling bouts of sadness I felt. It wasn’t something I would usually have done; I pride myself on being able to pick myself up and start again. It is a skill that I have perfected over time. I have already dealt with my fair share of troubles in my first twenty-one years of living, and I was good at it.
But somehow, something was different this time.
Over the course of this period I had lost myself and my ability to dust myself off. It had become harder to smile with the people I held dearest to me and even harder to laugh in situations I usually would have. I found myself hiding away from my friends and convincing myself that they would be better off, and happier, without me. It had gotten to the point where I found myself sitting, alone in my room, wondering if anyone would come looking or me if I stayed there forever. A dark caped shadow hung over me like a bad migraine, the type that you just can’t shake no matter how much water you drink or how much paracetamol you swallow.
I’ve watched from the safety of my home as our world deals with something it has never dealt with before and despite the constant ache of sadness I still feel, I feel luckier now than I ever have. Whilst a part of me argued that my own worries and troubles looked small in comparison to the global pandemic, the other part reasoned that my sense of grief made more sense now. It meant that I was human.
We have all seen the images of the canals in Venice becoming clearer now that the humans are staying indoors and there are less boats out at sea. The images of Mountain Goats gracing the streets of Llandudno in Wales in groups was also bound to make a lot of us smile in what are the hardest times we have faced as a collective. I have seen people dabble in the idea that whilst we are being told to stay at home to keep safe, “the world is healing.” I will admit that the pessimistic side of me laughed at the idea of this, but I have watched as people fight for something to believe in.
The idea of regeneration can be knowing that whilst it is difficult right now, there will be an end to the dark tunnel we are all in. Whilst the canals may be clearing and goats are reclaiming Wales, I think it is possible for us all to have our own regeneration as we stay safe by staying inside. If you think of it as a Pokemon character, say right now you are “Bulbasaur” but through our growth and ability to remain strong we grow to become “Venusuar.”
I have seen neighbours as they stand in the street to clap for our key workers, conversing for the first time I could recall. I have smiled as my family hosts weekly quizzes and laughed uncontrollably as my cousin inevitably, accidentally gives away an answer. Even though I watch as my university attempts to paper over the cracks of the system’s fundamental problems, I still enjoy the weekly pet update from our Vice Chancellor.
I have also pondered, whether in a period such as this is when you find the person you truly are inside. Whilst we are all going through a great deal in different ways, we know that we share the burden with those who are close to us. Whether it is through a window, a screen, via WhatsApp or Messenger. We may be apart, but we are connected as a community and as a family.
While many of us are locked in the house with said family, we are reminded of those who are not. That is why it is important in times such as these, to reach out to people. If there is a person you have been meaning to text, go ahead and do it. They would probably appreciate the thought right about now. If you see a mutual on Twitter hasn’t been as active as usually, check in and see if they are ok. We have all got to do our part, whether it is by staying at home or going to do essential jobs; we all have a part in this world.
I may still have to work on me, and recognise that it’s ok to feel pain, and grief and sadness in a time like this. I might have demons big enough to house a haunted mansion, but those demons are what drive me to make someone else smile by turning them into a positive, in the hope that they can do the same for someone else. Do this and remember that no haunted mansion is scary in the light, or with friends who stick together.
The world felt like it stopped
Safe places closed
Even God was cancelled
House is all there is
But we ain’t alone
For the first time
Regardless of our differences
We all affected
Not all of us have
A safe place called home
We reminded tho
We ain’t alone
I’m here for you
You are here for us
We are here for you
The world hasn’t stopped
There are safe places
Faith isn’t cancelled
There’s more than an house
You are not alone
This doesn’t discriminate
All the colors of the rainbow
We in this together
Find that place
Find the headspace
We are there with you.
I’m here for you
You are here for us
We are here for you
We are all survivors
Survivors of something
And we will be
Survivors of this too
We’ve been thru worse
We have more ways to communicate
We can give so much more
In ways we are only imagining
We will see the day
We can hug each other
The day we can eat out
The new normal
I know it’s rough
Uncertainty always is
You’re not alone
Hope Is Not Lost
You only live once. I have heard that phrase many times in my life. I think most of us have. However, the phrase that I heard one day was something that really stuck in my brain. It was said by Snoopy from Charlie Brown. See, the things that stick with us are interesting, they can come when you aren’t paying attention, or are barely listening. It’s odd how our brains work, it’s almost like, all the bad moments are on replay in your head. Every embarrassing, humiliating, sad feeling is like a slideshow in our brains. But the happy moments, we tend to remember a lot less vividly. I do, at least. Anyway, the quote that I was previously referring to is as follows, “we only die once, we live everyday.” This quote represents second chances. It represents a chance to rebuild ourselves, to better ourselves, to right our wrongs, to remind our loved ones that we love them, and to love ourselves. Everyday is a new beginning, everyday we get to decide who we want to be.
Sitting here, in quarantine has given me the opportunity to sit back and look at my life and everything that I am and want to be. It has helped me to see all the beauty in the world and to appreciate the moments of happiness. I have found out more about myself and have been able to reflect on my choices in life and the people I choose to surround myself with. However, I will not sit here and lie by saying that everyday has been sunshine and rainbows. It hasn’t. Sitting at home has taken an extreme toll on my already hard to deal with mental illnesses. I have fallen back into habits that are bad for my health and physical and mental well-being. A lot of times, I have trouble finding joy. Some days it feels like one big dark and gloomy rain cloud is hanging over my head. Like nighttime all day, or like I am stuck in the eye of the storm. I let myself feel these feelings, no matter how hard it is.
Many of us feel the need to cover up and act our way through life. Every morning, we pick up our masks and we put them on, just waiting for someone to ask what we are, or who we are, under that facade. We are waiting for someone to notice, because we want help, even if we are too ashamed or scared to ask for it. We all want help and we all want love and we all want to be noticed. That is just human nature. When I ask my friends how they are, I am not looking for a lie. I am not looking for an easy answer. I am not asking the question just to be polite, or make small talk, I am looking for the truth. Whether that truth be good, bad, or indifferent, I want to know about it. When I ask how my friends are, I am really interested in knowing how they are. However, when asked how I am, most of the time I answer with a lie, because I don’t want to be a burden on anyone. I am sure many others do that same thing as well. I have been trying to provide more honest answers because I know I would want the same from my friends. Somedays, my answer to the question “how are you,” is “not great.” I have noticed that just by saying that, by being able to take that mask off for even just a second of courage, I am able to feel a little release.
Of course, we have established that self-care is extremely important during this time. It is also important to care for others. Make sure you check in on your loved ones, just as you want people to check in on you. Let them know you love them and let them know that you are there for them. Do something kind for your neighborhood, bring light during this dark and scary time. Remember to be mindful of all the beautiful, brave people who are essential workers and attend work everyday to help keep us all safe. One thing you can do for these wonderful people is stay home. I know it is hard, but I am here for you. We are all here for you. Things are tough right now, but they will get better.
To wrap up, I want to visit what has lifted my spirits during this time. There have been many different things that have given me many different moments of happiness. I have a neighbor who is seven years old. She brings light to me when I am struggling and is able to make me smile. We have conversed over the fence about her new bike, her rollerblading skills, and her feelings about the current situation. Her young energy and laughter has really been a help to me. I have also been able to group facetime with my family members, and friends, that I don’t currently have the privilege of seeing in person. Seeing all of their faces and hearing their voices has been very wonderful.
My dad and I were finally able to clear a path in the woods in our backyard. It is a very beautiful and quiet place to hang out. I have also been able to do things that I haven’t had the time to do in the past. For example, I have begun to write a screenplay. This is something I wanted to do for a while, but I had been so busy with all of my activities, I never had the time. I have been able to build on my relationship with my older sister as well. It has been really nice to have her back from college. These are just a few things that give me moments of happiness and joy each and every day. The moments that give me reason to stay here. A lot of my days have been hard; But, everyday I wake up. I am still here. So although the fight is hard, the journey has been beautiful in so many ways, and it still is.
I bet you have heard this question a million times by now, and with being stuck in our current situation it’s not always easy to answer.
At least if you want to answer honestly.
I’m sure that most of you are surrounded with positivity on social media, and that a lot of brilliant CC Community members have come up with amazing works of art. And while I support it 100% and am very grateful for it, all I really wanted to do was check in with you guys.
While some are maybe enjoying their time in self-isolation, or don’t have a hard time keeping themselves busy, I know that a lot of people are really struggling. Me included.
I want you all to know that it’s okay. That you are not alone. And that even though staying hopeful and keeping your heads up is important, it’s okay to not feel it all the time. Don’t let yourself feel invalidated by all the smiles around you. None of us knows what it’s like behind closed doors. As Meredith Grey once said “Not everybody has to be happy all the time. That’s not mental health. That’s crap.“
So here I am, a stranger to many, a friend to some asking you.
How are you doing?
How are your eating habits? Did you drink enough water today? Do you get enough sleep and have you taken your medication regularly? What have you been up to these past days? Are you keeping in touch with your friends? Can you tell me three good things that have happened today, and all days before that that you can remember?
I’d love to hear it! Feel free to message me on my socials, write a comment in the Forum or share it whatever way you feel comfortable.
Our world, our home, is facing a crisis we cannot ignore. And we need each other to fight this virus and our home. We rise, by lifting each other up.
To all my fellow fighters out there – don’t give up.
This too shall pass.
I, myself, have been feeling the impact all this can have on our mental state, and thank the lord for the friends I have found a few years ago in this community, because without them I would be lost.
I do admit that I’ve been struggling, that I had to go back taking different medication and that my coping mechanisms aren’t the healthiest all the time. But I know I’m not alone. This is not a setback in my journey and neither is it in yours.
You got this.
You got this, you got this, you got this.
You are so much stronger than you think, so much more worth than you can imagine and loved by many.
I know that getting out of bed can be hard, but you’ve been doing it every day so far! Be proud of that!
Reach out to people. It just takes 20 seconds of courage, 20 seconds of ridiculous bravery.
You are not alone, okay?
Speak after me : “I am not alone.“
We can all use this time for some self discovery. Pick up new hobbies, challenge yourself or your friends, do the thing you’ve been procrastinating for so long and declutter that damn wardrobe ; )
We can make this very hard and sad time fun, we just have to allow ourselves to smile at the sun.
Keep checking Create Change accounts, follow baby animal hashtags on insta (this can work wonders I promise), learn TikTok dances (gotta get quarantoned huh) and keep your head above the waves.
We’re all in this together and once this is over it’s time for the biggest group hug.
So much love,
Jenny (Twitter & Instagram – @jennysobiella)
During this difficult time a lot of us experience a new sense of loneliness that hits deeper than ever. We all deal with this crisis in our own way. Some of us sleep all day, some of us work on our hobbies, some of us do chores around the house, some of us are constantly online, etc… For me personally, I’ve just been doing a bit of everything. Some days I sleep, some days I watch TV and scroll on social media all day long, some days I clean around the house and I try out yoga and meditation to help me relax.
But all this extra time can also trigger certain thoughts to resurface. You have so much time and so many thoughts and nothing to really do to distract yourself so it really has all the space to creep up on you and make you think back to a time you want to remember or maybe even not remember at all.
For me personally, I’ve been having those kinds of thoughts and I haven’t really had them in for the past eight years. I’m turning 24 this month, so I was maybe 15 or 16 at the time when I first had them and back then I was so confused and I didn’t know what to do about it. I talked to my best friend at the time and she was very supportive about everything but that was about it. We never discussed it ever again and I never talked about it to anyone else either. I just kept it to myself for years but still doing research about it online. I was reading up on articles, looking for online talk groups, watched youtube videos to help me understand what I was feeling. Just looking for an answer anywhere or anyone who could help me understand.
It took up so much of my time and then I eventually slowly pushed it down and tried to forget about it. In a way I did, because I hadn’t really bothered with it anymore until in 2016 a certain opportunity came along and I went with it. It only lasted for a few hours but it made me happy and made me feel alive and so comfortable in my skin. I was who I was supposed to be. But then I returned home and I was back to my old ‘self’. Again, I didn’t talk about it nor did I want to think about it anymore. My life went on pretty smoothly and with just a few days here and there thinking about it, but not diving back into it, I had put it to the side. It’s been years of me living my life the way other people see me and want me to be, not the way I want to live.
Due to this quarantine I’ve done some much needed self-reflecting and the thoughts keep coming back to me. I’ve discovered a few new things and I did my research. It’s just a matter of time for me to put everything in order now and I guess I know what this all means to me and what I want to do about it. Depending on what road I decide to take it will be a big change in my life but it will be something that I want for myself, not worrying about what others may want. It will be a difficult adjustment period that will take up a lot of time and will be mentally challenging but I am strong enough to do it.
Many thanks for the dozens of online communities for having my back and always being here when I’m in need of a talk. Many thanks for being open-minded and accepting and not questioning anything and just taking it as it comes. It’s a day by day struggle and some days are harder than others but knowing I have a safety net to fall back on when I need one makes it easier. So…Here I am.
Hi, it’s nice meeting you. My name is Nathaniel Roy but you can call me Nate. I was born as Shelly and have lived my life as Shelly for nearly 24 years. As of now, I am a girl, I am also a boy, but most importantly I am a human being. My gender identity does not erase the person that I was, have been and will continue to be until I feel I am in a safe environment to be the person I am meant to be and hope to fully be one day.
Make sure you check up on your friends and family in these times and ask how they are. Who knows what thoughts they are struggling with right now. Be there for them, even from a distance.
How are you staying positive while physical distancing?
Honestly it’s been crazy and it doesn’t seem to be getting that much better. The news I hear every day about the virus continuing to spread and just the other day I heard that the virus is able to mutate itself which will result in waiting longer for a working vaccine. I’m trying to stay positive the best I can. My routine has changed, but I’m keeping myself busy. I listen to music, paint, draw, watch tv, clean the house…….nothing seems to be enough. I feel like I’m wasting perfectly good time I can’t get back. This past week has been more positive because of multiple things that’s been happening like watching the create change/East of Eli live video, finishing my painting, realizing I’m taller than I used to be (I’ve been trying to get taller for awhile) finishing up an annoying math assignment and doing great on it, catching up with my doctor through telehealth, joining Create Change, listening to music, writing in my journal, meditation, the list goes on and on. I’m grateful for all the good things in life and I’m here for all of you.
As someone who suffers a variety of mental disorders it’s certainly no easy task to stay mentally stable in any given situation. One of the main concepts I’ve learned over the years through therapy is to have a constant routine and so I have done that. It’s when those routines are disrupted that it adds a different perspective and you’re left in chaos and constant wonder of what to do next or how to handle the next curve or the next downfall. You have to relearn what you knew, only on a new path.
Given the physical distancing and all that is currently going on in our world with COVID-19, I have had my struggles like anyone else. I have lost my job and like everyone my plans change by the hour rather than on a daily or weekly basis. It’s that new question that’s more to the forefront that goes “what’s next” or “what happens now” or “what do I do”?
In this new way of life however, I’ve come to find new routines. Many of those routines are things I have done in the past but are now more crucial to my wellbeing. I’ve always been a reader, I’ve always been a writer but now I am forced to implement those aspects of my life in a way I never have before. I continue to write fanfiction, I continue to read nonfiction. Now, with the way things have changed however, I have come to have a deeper appreciation for both. I’ve always enjoyed the two but this situation has given me a different perspective. I look back at my past in regards to both and I am in awe of how they have shaped who I am.
It’s taking the time to grasp those little moments, however fleeting, that make the most difference.
Another routine I have come to implement in my new life is coloring. I used to color as a kid and I continue to love it especially with the adult coloring books which have so much more detail. I can spend maybe an hour or so on a piece, wanting to get the details and the colors just right. I might take a break every now and then to do something else but still come back to it at some point in the day.
I guess it’s not so much that I’ve lost my old routines, it’s that now they are becoming more frequent and more of a necessity rather than just when I’m in the mood kind of thing.
On a much more personal note, my therapist always encouraged my reading, writing, and coloring. They are good coping mechanisms for when my mental health is at risk and it feels like I’m spiraling. Only now they have become the focal point of my life and help to keep things at bay.
It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to break down, both of which I have done several times since this whole thing started. For some it may be hard to break those routines but ultimately some new ones can be developed and they can be just as good as before if not better.
We’re all struggling with this new reality but it’s how we cope that makes a difference.
While looking for something to keep me occupied, I decided to color the quote in my picture because it stood out to me for many reasons.
The entire world is going through this unforeseen health crisis. This uncertain time comes with its challenges. Just like so many of you out there, I’m an essential worker. For those of you who don’t know I’m a cashier at a grocery store. I’m one of the many heroes working on the frontline during this pandemic.
I know how lonely social distancing can be. Though we are unable to see each other now, soon we’ll be together again. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. I believe once this is over amazing things are going to happen. I can foresee those reunions we are all anticipating taking place soon.
I have so much love for the Create Change team and community. I want to send my heartfelt gratitude to you all. You are loved and you are not alone. We’re in this together. Together hand in hand we will get through this. My name is Clarissa I’m from NJ and I’m #Here4You no matter what. I believe in you.
Some thoughts on quarantine.
I’ve been slowly trying to put these words down to try and give some perspective on all that is going on from a disabled person’s point of view. As we don’t have kids, I know this won’t necessarily be of much use to some, but it might help.
I am immunosuppressed due to autoimmune disease. It means my immune system has decided it needs to attack my body’s otherwise healthy cells, as it’s got its wires crossed. So I need pretty hefty drugs to lower my immune system. The downside is that leaves me more susceptible to other infections.
It also means, as the years went on, I slowly but surely lost parts of my life. I used to hill walk our dogs a minimum of two miles each day. Weather and time permitting, I did four miles. We were fortunate to live with hills immediately available for me to hike up and down. I loved it as much as the dogs did.
So I began to struggle with my chronic illness. I slowly lost the ability to even get out of the door most days, let alone walk the dogs anywhere. Despite this, I enjoyed pottering out in the garden, growing a few vegetables out of pots, that sort of thing. But then not only did my illness worsen, I was suddenly struck down with something called trigeminal neuralgia (TN). TN meant even being outside became an agonising experience.
Not only was I facing days stuck inside, it meant loss of freedom that, however small it was, I had maintained until then. It means I often go weeks without going outside unless I have to. So in many ways, what has been going on isn’t any different to what I face on a daily basis.
So, how did I cope with this sudden loss of freedom? How do I still cope? (The following is only my experience and others have different experiences).
I grieved. I know that seems a strange thing to say, but I had to allow myself to grieve for what I had lost. I had to cry, then rage, then finally accept it wasn’t going to change, (or at least as far as anyone can accept something that life altering.) The stages of grief are something I realised I had to allow myself to feel. However, it isn’t linear. It isn’t black and white. There are jagged edges that even over 2 decades later, I find I catch myself on, and it feels as if I’ve been torn open and I’m raw all over again. But I heal again, with time. You don’t necessarily need to grieve, but allow yourself any feelings you might have. They’re valid.
Here are my coping mechanisms.
- Look at the positives, because they are there. First and most importantly – You know this will end at some point. You know you’re protecting the most vulnerable in society. You can still open a door, even if you don’t step through, to take in a breath of fresh air. To feel the sun on your face, or wind in your hair.
- Look at what you enjoy. Be it reading, music, TV, movies, puzzles, board games, video games etc. They’re still available for you.
- Think about something you might have wanted to learn. Maybe it was learning to cook, or cooking a specific dish, playing a musical instrument, photography (even inside using your phone), writing, art work, growing some herbs in a pot. Whatever it might be, see if you can do it using online tutorials (YouTube is to your friend here,) and free resources are there (like e-libraries) and where practical, buy online things to try and help you achieve this.
- Remember you can still smile and laugh. Look up silly fun animals videos (seriously they really help).
- If you need structure (my propensity to use lists is well known by those around me), use structure. Timetables, lists, whatever gets you through. Or if you are more of an impulsive person (which I can also be, I’m an enigma like that), that is also fine. Go with what fits for you.
- Boredom will become part of your new normal, but that doesn’t have to mean long periods of it. If you can video call someone, do so. Phone calls are a thing. Chat systems (individual or groups) can become a great way to get out of a funk. Social media can also help (but don’t use it if you feel too overwhelmed or upset by all the news).
- Most of all, know you are not alone, even if you feel you are.
You can adjust. I did. It isn’t always sunshine and roses, but it can be managed. You can get through this.
Allow yourself to just breath.
Qui est mon héroïne ? Elle ne me voit pas
Je me suis souvent endormie avec l’esprit vif
J’allais rejoindre des personnes imaginaires
Mon âme abîmée, mon coeur déchiré me dit
Rejoins les, tu souris, tu es libre comme l’air
Les larmes coulent , personnes ne m’entends.
Je laisse paraître une personnalité souriante,
Je reste en vie par le biais de mon inspiration.
Tu es souriante, réel mais tu ne m’entends
Je suis peut être folle, mais tu me hantes.
La nuit je vais bien, la journée aucune sensation.
L’heure tourne dans la nuit,
Je vis ma double vie
Je ne veux pas que ça cesse
Stop à cette tristesse
Je me cache, j’écris, je suis là
Brisée mais je sauve
Un peu comme une héroïne…
Le soleil se lève et la même question revient
Mon héroïne me vois tu ?
Mon héroïne me connais tu ?
Je sors de mon lit et j’espère qu’un jour tu viendras.
Who is my heroine? She doesn’t see me
I always fell asleep with a quick mind
I was going to join imaginary people
My damaged soul, my torn heart tells me
Join them, you smile, you are free as the air
Tears flow, no one hears me.
a smiling personality appears,
I stay alive through my inspiration.
You’re smiling, real but you can’t hear me
I may be crazy, but you haunt me.
At night I am fine, during the day no sensation.
The hour turns in the night,
Live my double life
I don’t want it to stop
Stop this sadness
I hide, I write, I’m here
Broken but I save
A bit like a heroine …
The sun rises and the same question returns
My heroine, can you see me?
My heroine, do you know me?
I get out of my bed and hope that one day you will come.
Staying positive during these trying times can be challenging, and as someone who struggles with a mental illness, it can be especially challenging to stay positive right now. Take time each day to do something you enjoy because it will make you feel good on the inside. We all know that when you are doing something you enjoy, you are less likely to worry about other things.
Each day, I take at least one walk around my neighborhood so I can clear my head of what is happening and what I am thinking. I also try to talk to my friends and just by doing those two simple things, it really goes a long way in keeping my energy and happiness up.
I think it is super important to realize that some of us don’t have the ability to just take a walk, and talk to friends because maybe they are healthcare workers. Maybe they are essential workers who still have to work each day to keep the nation running. So although it might be hard, try listening to music, or even taking a nap.
Grab a notebook and pen or your computer and start with a fresh page. For at least three minutes just write whatever comes into your head. It doesn’t need to make sense spelling doesn’t matter and nobody else is going to read it so it doesn’t matter what comes out. Just write. If you’re struggling to get started, use this prompt – ‘I spend a lot of time thinking about…’, and just carry on from there.
Exercise 1 –
A. Ask a friend or family member to play a game of Scrabble, either online or with a real board. Concentrate more on creating words than winning the game.
B. After you’ve finished the game photograph or screenshot the board before the cat ruins it or your battery runs out and write down the words that both players have created. You might find it helpful to write the words out on paper and then cut them out individually. It’s more fun if both players join in. You can both write separately and share your writing with each other afterwards or you can write together.
C. Read the words to yourself/each other and see if you can see any common themes or links between any of the words. Can you imagine a story that could use those words? Can you imagine a character that you could describe with those words? Perhaps you can imagine a feeling from those words or a place, or even a moment from your own life.
D. There are no wrong answers so don’t worry if you imagine something not listed above. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar. You’re doing great.
E. Now it’s time to start writing your poem or story. You might find it helpful at this point to set out your cut-out words in front of you so that you can arrange and rearrange them as you like.
F. You can use any form of poetry including free form/your own created form. Again, there are no wrong ways to do this, just have fun seeing what you can create with your words. You can repeat words and lines as many times as you like.
G. You can add in extra words to make your poem or story longer and to shape it into what you want it to be. Your poem doesn’t have to rhyme but you can include rhyme if you want.
H. Once you have your poem/story try to cut out any unnecessary words to sharpen it up.
I. Finally share your writing and enjoy reading what other people have come up with.
Exercise 2 –
Write a positive letter to either your younger or older self. Don’t say anything bad about yourself in the letter. Pick an age and just write to yourself. If you’re doing this exercise with someone else give each other an age to write to.
If you want to, share the letter.
Exercise 3 –
For this exercise you’re going to be someone else. Pick someone you like and try to imagine their thoughts and feelings. The person could be a family member, a friend, an interesting acquaintance, a celebrity, a beloved character from a book or television show, or even a pet. Begin your writing with one of these prompts or a line of your own –
‘Lately I’ve been wondering…’
‘This year I hope to…’
‘I would be so happy if…’
‘I can’t stop thinking about…’
Share your writing if you want to.
Exercise 4 –
This exercise is only for the truly committed! Over the next week compile a list of words you have seen or heard around your home, or even on your lone quarantine walks. Keep your notebook/phone close by so that you can jot down interesting words from books you read, conversations you have, television shows you watch and anywhere else. If a random word pops into your head, add it to the list! Once the week is over follow the steps in the Scrabble poem exercise and see what you come up with.
As always, share your writing if you want to!
The most important thing when doing these exercises is to have fun so please don’t worry about things being perfect. Spelling and grammar are not important but if you can’t stop yourself from worrying about them you could ask a friend or family member to check your writing or help you with the exercises.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Create Change or its affiliates.