Writing with mental ill health

This is a blog I wrote back in August for the #WriteMentor Spark Programme. Another of Stuart White’s wonderful inclusive and encouraging iniatives, Spark is a good affordable way to get help with your writing and engage with the children’s writing and publishing community.

How to keep writing when you have mental ill health – 6 practical tips

Alongside therapy, medication, and exercise, many people find writing can help to manage their mental health.

Confused Mental Health GIF by Lisa Vertudaches

But there’s a catch: How do you write when depression means just getting out of bed is too hard? Or OCD has you stuck in a loop of some tedious behaviour? Or anxiety tells you that you’re not good enough, you’ll never be a writer, and sends your brain spiralling?

Having lived with chronic anxiety since childhood, plus depression and OCD on the side, in my experience life is always better when I’m writing. Any kind is good – non-fiction, journaling, memoir, poetry, therapeutic – but for me, fiction works best. Here, I offer some practical tips to help you keep writing on difficult days.

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Hello

Kathryn Clark – About Me

When I was very small, I could fly. I remember the feeling before take-off, like the start of a sneeze, but in my toes. I swooped up and around the hall of our tiny terraced house and looked down at the swirls in the black and green carpet. I was flying. Or perhaps, I was dreaming. Or perhaps, it was a story I told myself.

I grew up in Surrey in an ordinary family, in an ordinary town. I read lots of books and studied English at university. I went on to work in a wallpaper shop and a call-centre; as an aromatherapist, a researcher and a writer of web content. And all that time I made up stories in my head. But it wasn’t until I was really quite old that I started writing them down.

Now I write all the time. Stories for young people, usually. You can read some of them here.

I also like to help other writers with their stories. You can read more about this here.

I live in rural Gloucestershire with my husband, two teenagers, two cats, and a border terrier. I have a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and love reading, running, the sea, dark chocolate, and earl grey tea.