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I'm learning to smile again

Kat interviews Dinah, a member of our Mona Community

Dinah's Story

Dinah first discovered a love of writing as a child in primary school. Since then she has always been inspired to write as a form of self love, expression and therapy.

Dinah decided to submit her work to Mona after a friend encourgared her to share. We got in touch and chatted with her over the phone to learn more about her.

Why do you write Dinah?

“I find it's really therapeutic to write things down. I write nearly every day whether it’s just journaling or writing poetry. I have Bipolar and my mind usually works really fast so I find trying to put that into a more positive channel I’m able to really express myself.”

She spoke of the joy in finding the rhythm to words and how they can flow together. She writes mostly poetry and 'optimistic ramblings' as she calls them.

“I think optimism is a really beneficial tool to use. For me personally, being optimistic helps me feel good inside myself. If you are calm and level then the world around you follows suit.

“It might sound a little ‘airy fairy’ but I do think it’s beneficial to focus on the good in life. We all have ups and downs but if you can remain optimistic, I think your exterior world follows.”

I'm learning to smile again

By Dinah

I cried myself to sleep last night with all good reasons why,

It seemed to be a comforting, yet mournful, lullaby.

I could swim out through the ocean, where I would not be seen,

Or, instead, evolve, and become much more than what I’ve been.

If I’m feeling mortified and do not quite know why,

I’ll drown my pillows and my eyes with this mournful lullaby.

And when it’s out and over, and the tears are good and gone,

I’ll pick this heart back up and smile,

I’m strong

so I’ll go on.

Dinah was diagnosed as Bipolar as a teenager after an extended period of being unwell and says she knew a little bit of what Bipolar was, recognising the periods of high energy and excitement followed at some point by paralysing lows and depression.

“I have my ‘ups and downs’ but I find writing really helps me to be able to deal with those times. I find that when my mind gets a little bit ‘racey’ it helps to write down what I’m thinking and feeling. I find meditation and yoga really help me too.

"I think there is still a lot of stigma around mental illness and it’s still not very understood but a lot people deal with some form of mental illness throughout their lives. But I really believe an illness doesn’t define someone. It’s just like if someone has diabetes or high blood pressure. They have to take medication for it. Well mental illness is no different. It’s just like any other illness.”

What is clear speaking to Dinah is her unshakable hope for the future. Despite her personal battles raising five children as a young mum, relationship and mental health struggles, she swears by writing as a way of coping and keeping her feeling connected to herself.

“I’ve battled a lot through life just like many other people and I think a good way of dealing with it, is to express it through art or writing. It’s been really helpful for me at least.”

Any advice for other women?

"You really have to appreciate yourself. It’s not selfish to be kind and loving to yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You really have to look after yourself doing things that help you feel whole and complete. Then you will have more to give.”

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