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It's not about whether anyone thinks it's good or not

Thank goodness there are now signs of spring more evident. Daffodils are emerging and the sun, when it shines, feels warmer. Having disclosed my ambivalence about the medical profession in my last piece I thought I'd share with you where I have got to in my reflection following that experience.

I went to the GP with all the classic symptoms of depression that I had been ignoring for some considerable time. I realised my reluctance to make an appointment was just as much to do with my frustration with myself as with my uncertainty about what could be achieved by seeing my GP in the first place. I was frustrated because I really thought that writing and poetry would prevent me having depression again, but it didn't. What I have learned from this experience is that sometimes we have to be much more compassionate with ourselves, and be more forgiving about our emotional and psychological fragility.

I met one of my writing friends for a coffee last week and we discussed these issues. She is as passionate about the benefits of writing as I am, but in her wisdom she did point out that writing my poems and essays for academic scrutiny on the MA (Creative Writing) may have been the tipping point for my wellbeing. After all, one of the arguments we use in writing and wellbeing is that it is about what you write, not how it is written, and whether anyone thinks it is any good or not.

Having my poems assessed at the university has been more stressful than I realised. It is quite possible to do writing for both, but at the same time be kinder to myself and remember what it is all about. This meeting was coupled by a session on professional development on the MA, which helped us explore where we wanted to be as writers over the next three years.

Given that I hadn't thought of myself as a writer until that point it was a really interesting exercise. The session was really useful in exploring how I had got to this point and where I wanted to be. We do not very often give ourselves space and time to do these things and it can feel self-indulgent. I was able to identify how difficult I find it working on my own and having enough inner motivation to keep going. I need to build a community of fellow travellers who I can meet with and discuss issues around writing and wellbeing to keep me going.

My friend who I met for coffee last week is in the position to do that for me, having set up a wonderful organisation that promotes and delivers writing and wellbeing.(1) I am now very much more hopeful and enthusiastic about what I want to achieve and that, coupled with the sight of daffodils, makes it all seem much better.

See you in Glasgow next week for the next NiP Event.

1. Pen & Tonic