For as long as I can remember, I have always had crippling anxiety, even as a small child. But of course, back then, I could not understand it for what it was. And in the kind of society and culture that I live in, mental health issues are still a taboo topic and widely misunderstood.
It took me many years, but finally, in 2020, I began to actually work through my problems. And while I often feel like my family refuses to see my progress, I have noticed the changes within myself, the peace that I feel now, and I know that I am coping better every day.
I have been writing in diaries since I was in second grade, but it wasn’t until I was 12 that I actually owned my very first personal diary–one where I had the privacy and safety to jot down my thoughts and deal with my feelings. I have always felt constantly misunderstood–I still do. Even now, when I am overwhelmed, my family writes it off as me being weak and overly sensitive. And it hurts to hear the people I love, the ones who know me so intimately, to only see my vulnerabilities and not the strength I have to muster to get through the day without having a breakdown.
And so, I write.
I write until the worries and fears have left me. I write until my anger becomes violence in ink and paper instead of violence in physical or verbal abuse. I write until my grief and pain become tears on pages, instead of cuts on my wrists or pills swallowed before bed. Writing has always been my outlet, and I may not be very good at it, but it is the one thing in this world that makes me feel like I have a purpose, it’s the one thing in this world that gives me joy like nothing else.
2. Art Or Doodling
I have never been a very good artist, but in the past two years, I have learned not to care. I like doing art journals because the kind of attention and focus it requires leaves no room for any other thoughts. I am still trying to get the hang of it, I am still trying to figure out the best way to express myself meaningfully through scraps of paper and glue. But at the end of the day, it is another great coping mechanism to deal with my anxieties–every time I start worrying about something, I create artwork with quotes that have inspired me, and somehow that gives me the strength to carry on.
Another hobby that requires all of my attention is handlettering. I am still quite a noob at it, but I do think I am getting better every day with practice. I love doing handlettering because it’s such a great way to pay tribute to my favorites quotes or sayings, and also there’s something so calming about flipping through the pages of a diary and seeing all these beautiful words and phrases written in an artistic way.
4. Playing The Sims 4
While I don’t exactly label myself as a gamer, I absolutely love playing The Sims. I have been playing this game since I was eight years old, starting with The Sims 2 (which, I always say, was the best generation of The Sims ever!). As an aspiring writer, I love how The Sims series let’s literally play out the stories in your head, and even build your own fictional towns, and your dream homes. Not only is this a fun pastime, but I love how immersive the game is–when I am going through a very difficult time, playing The Sims 4 is a welcome distraction that takes my mind off all the things that are bothering me.
While I started out as a book blogger, The Keysmash Blog has become something more than just a space where I ramble on about books. It’s also a sanctuary where I can be my most vulnerable and authentic self without fearing judgment. Though I am not a very active blogger, having this tiny corner of the Internet all to myself feels like a privilege; here, I can lay down my walls. Here, I can breathe. Here, I can truly be.
And what really is the purpose of writing all of these words down for the world to see? I am not quite sure yet; I don’t have the kind of traffic to expect that people will read this post and find it useful. In fact, I don’t think this particular blog post that I am writing right now is even for anybody but my future self. BUT, if you are reading this, and you feel less alone, then I think I have done something good with these words anyway.