I first moved away from home when I was 16 years old and unfortunately no one had taught me that being in a new country, with new people would cause me some sort of discomfort. I wasn’t aware of cultural shock or the mental consequences that are often associated with it – so little old me, was just excited to move and start new memories.

A few months into the move, I found myself feeling overly anxious and isolating myself from people. I found myself sad on some days without a genuine explanation and I had no knowledge of what mental health really was. I thought I was running a little mad at some point. I started writing to explain my emotions to myself, as a way to kind of understand them. I found myself writing every day for almost three months. Some days it was just a journal entry of how my day had gone. Other days it was fiction stories of how I would have wanted my days to go and other times it was a poem to cover some of the dark thoughts I was having. Writing was my first form of therapy; it’s what helped me find peace and probably saved me.

When I reached the age of 18 and moving to even further place that was freezing with an 8-hour difference from home, I started writing from the start of the move to prevent myself from falling into that dark place. I fell in love with the wordplay and the poetry, so even when I was happy and adjusted to a different country, I was writing about it and raving about the good times. This small hobby saved me and I ended up doing a minor in English during my undergrad just so I could perfect my therapy. 

 

Vanessa; sharing an insight into how writing became a form of therapy for her after moving away from home and ultimately saved her from her darkest thoughts