I’ve been a writer and poet for many years, and have enjoyed belonging to several writing communities. I’ve met people from various places and with various writing styles, and have been mildly surprised by several who have confided that they have a history of trauma or mental health issues. I say “mildly surprised” only because it may have been astounding at first hearing, but as I met more writers with those issues in common, it made more sense.
Anyone who has written, either professionally or as an amateur, has noticed the cathartic effect of putting pen to paper. Creative writing seems to intensify that effect, writing, as it were, from another’s point of view. (Although if we are writing it, our own voice is clearly woven within, even if we prefer to distance ourselves from it.) We can work out on paper that which we have been reticent to speak aloud to any other person.
One of the best poets, writers, and speakers of our time, Dr. Maya Angelou, has gone through the transformative journey of healing through reading, writing, and finally speaking her truth through poetry and stories. Selectively mute as a child from extreme trauma, she finally found her voice six years later. What a loss for all of us if she had not made the journey to health. Watch her videos below to hear about her childhood and about how she found her voice: