I write poems the same way I breathe

tyler zeanah


Writing about my mental health has saved my life. I know most writers say that, and it sounds cliche, but it's the truth. Struggling with anxiety, depression, and PTSD became who I was. I was scared. Overwhelmed. Confused. And paralyzed by the thought that I was going to continue to struggle with this for the rest of my life. Honestly, I still get scared at that idea. But what has always helped me understand myself, is my writing. I try to write poems the same way I breathe: without thinking too much about it. I'm not one to sit with a poem for too long, picking it apart or trying to find better descriptive words. I try to write what I feel and what comes naturally, and only that. I don’t like to force a poem into something it's not, so if it isn't working for me, I'll put it down and move on. It's been a great practice in self love and understanding, for me to let the metaphors come as they please without me interfering with my negative self talk or perfectionist attitude. I just try to let all that critiquing shit go and let myself write whatever I need to get out in that moment. Writing poetry without constantly judging myself has taught me so much about myself and my mind. I've always felt disassociated from myself, like my brain and I weren't friends. And that destructive relationship I had with my own mind started to physically make me sick. It's only now that I can write something, go back and read it, and see something about myself in clearer light that maybe I didn’t understand before. I notice my patterns of thought and feelings more easily by having my poems to go through when I wrote them at different points in my life. It's like I'm writing a memoir about myself, but somehow, the girl who is me still feels so far away, like a character in someone else's story that I have to get to know better. And that's what I'm doing when I write, I’m getting to know myself for all that I am and all that I am not.