Book Reviews, Mental Health, Writing

Book Review: Here Until I’m Gone (& Thoughts on Therapeutic Writing)

open book with lilac sprigs

Here Until I’m Gone

Here Until I’m Gone: 40 Poems About Trauma, Illness, And The Inevitability Of Death is a booklet of poetry by Mio Angelo of Mentally Ill in America.

The poems capture the challenges of living with chronic mental illness, including dealing with the ignorance of others. He writes about finding healing from past traumas and ongoing struggles dealing with difficult relationships. The poems cover personal territory, but also touch on broader social social issues. While it’s a book that’s largely about struggle, it also has positives, and ends on a hopeful note

Readers familiar with his blog will recognize Mio’s distinctive, defiant voice as well as his determination to keep going no matter what chronic mental illness throws at him.

Here Until I’m Gone is available free from Mentally Ill in America.

Some thoughts on therapeutic writing

I’m not poetry-minded, so I tend to be fairly short on things to say when reviewing poetry books, but I wanted to talk a bit about the different ways that have potential for therapeutic writing. I see lots of people in the blogosphere writing poetry, and I can see how that would be a great therapeutic outlet if one were so inclined. Poetry has never been my thing, though; it just doesn’t seem to fit with how my mind works.

Journalling or journal-style blogging is another obvious therapeutic writing outlet. I used to journal more, but now I have a bullet journal that I primarily use for tracking various health factors. I occasionally do some free-form writing in my journal, but that doesn’t happen much. Since I started my blog, I’ve mostly stayed away from journal-style blog posts. Partly that’s a matter of preference, but it’s also because there just isn’t a lot to talk about in my day to day life. I also find that writing about things around the time that they’re happening has less value for me than reflecting back afterwards.

Memoir-writing and semi-autobiographical novels are some other therapeutic writing options. I can see both as being powerful ways to tell one’s story. I’ve written before about being a bit hesitant on writing a memoir, and I seem to have drifted further away from the idea over the past year. I’m not sure that I would get a lot out of writing it at this stage of the game. It’s not totally off the table, but it’s not going to happen any time soon.

At this point, the kind of writing that’s most therapeutic for me is the kind of stuff I’m doing on the blog. I’m a geek who loves to learn. Depression slows my brain way down, and looking stuff up for blog posts is a great form of mental exercise. Even if I’m not working through my own thoughts and feelings in my writing (and to be honest, I don’t have much of the former, and not a lot of variability in the latter), the brain exercise is still very therapeutic.

So, those are some of my thoughts when it comes to writing. What forms of writing are most therapeutic for you?

27 thoughts on “Book Review: Here Until I’m Gone (& Thoughts on Therapeutic Writing)”

  1. We rarely look back through our writing anymore. Mostly due to fear. We could probably grieve for the rest of our life. Don’t really want to. Our writing has slowed to a trickle: blog and journal. We write some poetry. We are almost never pleased with it, but occasionally we appreciate an image or phrasing that captures something important. We used to write long-form fiction. The desire to do it exists but not the concentration or will. Research is interesting but the same barriers are there presently. Plus, inside people rarely agree on what to do so that we wind up just sitting there dissociating often. We are open to letting more wiring arise naturally at some point

  2. I love going through my older journals and poems, most recently while building the manuscript for my latest book I did just that and rediscovered some real pearls of insight and wisdom. My writing is 100% therapeutic for me and I hope for others. Great post that highlights this. I have so much gratitude in my heart for you and your blog and the many important topics you cover here. Love to you Ashleyleia ❤

  3. I’ve found so much meaning in writing my memoir, because apparently I’ve had a very eventful life in interesting and strange ways. It’s given me so much meaning that I’ve already written almost 91,000 words. For comparison, my standalone (nonseries) novels have 76,000 on average and it was a struggle to reach those word counts. (I underwrite, whereas some people, like Sonya, overwrite. She’ll write 50,000 words and call it “Chapter 1”.) And I’m still adding onto it! At this point, I researched it, and I’m way above the word count that a memoir is “supposed” to have, but oh well! Why not?

    I see what you mean about processing a daily event before blogging about it, if you were to blog diary-style. For me, it helps me process and record the event immediately after the fact, but if your brain has other plans, that wouldn’t be such a convenient outlet. Whatever works!!

    I’m not much of a poet either, but on occasion I’ll write a great one! It’s like composing piano music–I can’t force the circumstances for creative breakthroughs there.

  4. I am not sure how to label my writing. I always try to write from a personal point of view. I was never that good with poetry, reading or writing, in school. I leave that for others to do. I like to write how we were taught in school, that being you end your writing by tying it to your beginning. Sometimes it works and other times I fall flat on my face. Oh well!

  5. I can’t do poetry. I certainly don’t take after my mum, who does, until it stopped.

    Blogging has been my therapy and has been before, when I used to write a different themed blog for years on being deaf, or hearing loss.

    Based on when I used to write my deaf blog, the one here on WordPress that I am leaving up after it ends and my new one, I have always had hints of why don’t I write a book.
    One being more on my life, with what I have been through.
    That, as you know, I wasn’t keen on the idea, as I wondered whether it would be a too negative book and also revisiting possibly a painful past again, that I have kind of put away since counselling helped me in those areas. Being cautious I suppose.
    But, I am going to start writing behind the scenes of what may be my memoir. Nothing set in stone whether I will publish. I will just write and see how it goes, no pressure and just see from there.

  6. My roommate does some poetry along this genre but I don’t as much. I am however a big advocate for healthy journaling. My therapist reminds me that journaling doesn’t have to focus on day to day stuff but instead is used as an introspective tool into events and situations we’re dealing with.

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