Our quote of the day is from Sean Whalen; reminding us that no matter how messy things get in life, there are many creative outlets to help us process what we’re going through and cope.
“Your mess is your message.”-Sean Whalen
By eliciting the courage to share our “mess” with others, not only are we able to get it off our chest, but we also give others an outlet to do the same.
While this may be counter-intuitive at times, it can be extremely therapeutic.
For me personally, there are days when, due to my mental health struggles and emotional volatility, all I can do is lock myself away and write. For me, the creative medium of writing is a TRUE God send!
These Aren’t Blank Pages They’re Wound Dressings!
When I sit down at the blank page, some times it’s intimidating. Then, there are other times that it’s nothing short of triage, because, in doing so, I find a safe place to bleed. On those days, these blank pages become my “paper” towels and wound dressings.
On those days, and there have been MANY of them, my mess truly is my message.
Sometimes, I bleed on my keyboard. Other days, I bleed on my journal. When the vibe is right, I may throw on a beat and freestyle rap over it. By the time I’m done, I feel less stressed and more accomplished.
The Power of Literary Abstraction
Recently, after watching the movie Collateral Beauty staring Will Smith, I started using a literary abstraction technique similiar to what Will Smith’s character in the movie does. In the movie, Will Smith’s character loses his family and in his grieving, starts writing letters to 3 abstractions – in the form of love, time, and death.
This type of literary abstraction technique allows you to turn your feelings into characters or concepts (abstractions) outside yourself so you can create an emotional buffer between how you feel and who you are.
When we’re struggling, this is really important, because when we experience certain emotions for long enough they can become toxic because the buffer between how we feel and who we are, OUTSIDE of the way we’re feeling has been breached.
Using Abstraction to Avert an Identity Crisis
As someone that lives with combat related PTSD and bipolar disorder, the lines between what I go through and who I am can get really blurry at times, so having creative outlets that allow me to distance myself from these toxic emotions and avoid an impending identity crisis is vital.
So far, this literary abstraction technique has been really helpful because, Rather than simply submitting to the negative feelings and allowing them to hijack/drive my thought patterns, I’ve been able to reroute that energy through a creative medium.
- My anger becomes an old furnace that needs to be repaired.
- My sadness becomes a sunflower that is sloutching over and needs water.
- My wounded confidence becomes a malnourished puppy that needs a good home.
By the time the old furnance is repaired, the sunflower’s been watered, and the puppy fed, my emotional mess magically seems less messy.
Abstraction can be a powerful tool in your emotional alchemy toolshed. Try it!
Let me know what creative outlets you use when your life gets messy in the comments below, and subscribe so you can receive more QOTD’s like this!
I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions or would like to share content recommendations/constructive feedback, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
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A Little Bit About Me…
Hi, my name is Daniel Fortune. I’m a husband to 1, dad to 5, U.S. Army combat veteran, mental health advocate, writer, and public speaker currently residing in the central valley of the sunny state of California. I started the Minding My Own Madness Blog as with a vision to become one of the best personal development and mental health resource blogs. As someone who has battled with combat related PTSD and Bipolar 1 Disorder for 2 decades now, I intimately know the unique struggles people living with a mental illness face. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you find yourself in crisis or would just like to say hi. I’m always just a message away.
“You can’t fail if you refuse to quit. Keep fighting the good fight and NEVER lose hope. You’re not alone. There are other people feeling the same way you feel right now. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of wisdom.”
I had the honor of serving with Fortune overseas. He is a solid guy and our relationship has lasted long after us both leaving the Army. He has helped me get out of dark places multiple times. I’m extremely grateful for his friendship and ability to sense when others are in need. Read his content, ask him questions, and journey well!
— Eric (Friend/Army veteran)
So glad I found this blog! It helped me find the mental health resources I needed and get out of a rough patch. Doesn’t hurt to shoot Daniel a message. He was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to respond to me. You won’t regret it. He’s a really cool, down to earth, and knowledgable guy who knows what it’s like to struggle. So grateful for this blog!
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