Thursday, November 11, 2010
The Breaking Silences Project held its first writing workshop on Saturday October 30th 2010. The purpose of the workshops is to provide a safe space to talk and begin writing about issues of mental health and our personal experiences. Given that intent, we started with talking about confidentiality and the importance of creating a safe space to share our thoughts and writing. (This is critical because we are talking about a taboo subject and there is still significant sigma for those of us who experience mental illness).
After talking about confidentiality, we did initial introductions. We then proceeded to do a reflection on the word “depression.” In this exercise, we wrote our associations, definitions, images and stories related to the word. We then shared our writing (although participants were not obligated to share, just invited). In my experience doing this exercise in a variety of contexts, it is always interesting the different ways that people approach their reflections. This workshop was no different and each woman wrote about “depression” in her own way. For example, one woman wrote images, another wrote a story, and another wrote a list of associations. There is no one “right” way to do the exercise and all the different takes on the word provide a richness of experience and expression.
We discussed the themes that emerged from the exercise and then we were guided by Christina in a visualization about adolescence. After we went back to the experience of being fifteen, we wrote about what came up for us and how depression affected our adolescence. We had a chance to discuss our writing and the issues that surfaced. We then talked about expanding our writing and the support we might need to do that.
From my and Christina’s perspective, the workshop was a success. I felt that we had rich discussions about the issues and had the chance to start the writing process.
As a writing instructor, tutor, and coach, I am more than willing to assist people in their writing process individually as well as in the workshops. We will be having other “beginning” workshops (meaning they are meant to kick start people in the writing process and get their ideas flowing). We also plan, in the beginning of 2011, to organize drop-in writing support workshops for women who are at different stages of the writing process.
Our next writing workshop is December 9th, 6 to 7:30 at Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, 8 Ash Street, Boston, MA. Registration is required as ID is needed at entrance. Please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For announcements of upcoming workshops you can check in with this blog from time to time, or write us at email@example.com to get on our e-mail list.