Look for Me in poetry

Look for Me in poetry

I live in this state of grief, fear and anxiety from the moment I awake to falling mercifully asleep. But what do you do when terror paralyses your ability to write of these emotions, be it poetry or diary? When all your energy is focused on suppressing and containing the silent, anguished scream strangling your throat – and thoughts?

-Dear Diary reader, responding to Jennifer’s post

Feeling an immediate connection with Jennifer’s poem, our reader continues:

… I have one deep desire which I need to share and must find the courage to speak of, knowing it is a chance at making me happier than a bird with a French fry… please stay with me while I fight for the clarity to translate broken thoughts from a broken heart into words.

To help our reader, I turned to Anne, who shares her story through poetry in The Diary Healer.

How to find Your Self in poetry

Anne’s response is as follows:

Dear Hurting Friend,

Your words touch me deeply in my soul because I have felt, and still sometimes do feel, as you do — in grief, fear and anxiety. (At such times) I feel like these lines I wrote in a long ago poem:

My wings are clipped,

I cannot fly.

Sometimes I just want to curl up and die.

A silent falling tree

Screams a silent scream

That nobody can hear

Through someone else’s wall.


The time I felt the most like this was in 1998 after struggling with anorexia for many years. I was too ill to even know I was ill. I was also very angry, out of control and scared. Finally I went to a treatment center. I was belligerent and uncooperative, but I went. Just as an aside, I wouldn’t unpack my suitcase for three weeks!

Back to you…. What was one of the first things I was given upon entering treatment? A journal. Like you, I didn’t think I could write in it.

So, I didn’t! I tossed it aside for a few days, maybe more. Then, I came “out of the box” and began to write.

Here are some suggestions:

I drew a weird picture. A strange face, or a star or curly cues. They weren’t in any order either. Just random, scattered thoughts, like me.

One day I wrote someone’s name. Another day, a line from a song. Just ONE line, though. It was from Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel”.

Next I wrote a silly song, more squiggles.

Then one sentence, two, three and, one day, a whole paragraph about a crappy day. Some good days, too. Good, here?! Yep.

For me, my friend, one little thing after another. Recorded. Not every day, but as I could until I actually wanted to.

I wish you the gift from your soul…a journal. Done YOUR way. Make your journal your own.

Have fun, become, in time, profound and creative.

I send you love and peace as you grow in courage.

I sincerely hope something in this letter helps you.

Anne, March 2017

Diary writing allows Anne to “let it all out” and that’s good and necessary too, but sometimes she turns to poetry as a form of diary writing, for it allows her to more fully explore and creatively express the metaphors, the emotions, the caring, love and even anguish. For Anne, creating lyrical and narrative poems at times counteracts the voice of ED more effectively than prose:

“Expressing these things in poetry has brought out the self I really am, apart from ED. My poetry has grown and changed as I have. It has helped me to realize I am not useless and that realization has assisted my healing. Through the process of writing I stopped hating myself.”

-Anne (The Diary Healer)

Get a pen and paper, and let your thoughts flow

Here is a gem that Anne has penned especially for you:

Let It All Out!

By Anne Edwards

Feeling sad?

Feeling blue?

Feeling life is too

much for you?


Feeling happy?

Feeling free?

Feeling your life is

full of glee?


Struggling with school?

Struggling with friends?

Struggling to cope

with this life of yours?


I have a GREAT solution

for you!


Find a Diary.

Find a journal.

Find a bestest

forever friend.


Find a pen, a pencil too.

Colored ones are

more fun

and better help you

express what you’re

going through.


Let it go!

Let it all out!

Come on,

Get your Diary out!

Releasing emotions 

Anne describes writing poetry as, literally, her heart and soul coming through her pen:

“If you really want to know me, read my poems, because this is my soul.”

– Anne (The Diary Healer)

Anne provides this example of releasing a specific emotion:


By Anne Edwards

Anger is like

A fiery, red,



Burning ball,

That starts with

The clenching of a fist,

The knotting of a stomach, or

The setting of a jaw,

Then spreads like

Molten lava

Spreads throughout one’s system

Until one feels


And, so consumed,



Competition – Win a book

Poetry helps many people express how they feel. It may involve jotting down a poem now and then when feeling inspired, keeping a daily journal specifically for expressing ongoing thoughts and feelings in the form of poetry, or interspersing poetry into your regular diary. The benefits start with every word that you put on the page. The popularity of poetry as a form of narrative expression in the healing process is discussed in The Diary Healer.

The popularity of poetry as a coping and healing tool was an exciting revelation in my research for The Diary Healer.

Consequently, I am excited to announce that for our first-ever competition on www.lifestoriesdiary.com, you are invited to submit an original poem or piece of prose, exploring the theme ‘Why I like poetry’.

The word count limit is 250.

Submit your entries here. Closing date is April 20, 2017.

Start writing and explore your creativity – if writing is not your thing, perhaps you will prefer to submit a drawing, a cartoon or a picture with caption. A selection of entries will be published each week throughout the competition on lifestoriesdiary.com and the prizewinner will be announced on April 27, 2017.

For your poem or narrative to be considered for posting and for the prize, be sure when submitting your entry, to state clearly a) that you give consent for your poem or prose to be published on lifestoriesdiary.com and b) how you want your name to appear (e.g., first name, full name, pseudonym).

The prizewinner will receive a signed copy of my memoir, A Girl Called Tim. This book contains no poetry; however, it was the heartwarming readers’ response to this literary work that inspired this entire wonderful narrative, healing journey that brings me in touch with you today.

Keep well and I look forward to hearing from you!


June Alexander

About June Alexander

All articles by June Alexander

As founder of Life Stories Diary my prime motivation is to connect with people who want to share their story. Why? Because your story is important. My goal with this blog is to provide a platform for you to share your story with others. Building on the accomplishments of The Diary Healer the Life Stories Diary blog will continue to be a voice for people who have experienced an eating disorder, trauma or other mental health challenge, and provide inspiration through the narrative, to live a full and meaningful life.

My nine books about eating disorders focus on learning through story-sharing. Prior to writing books, which include my memoir, I had a long career in print journalism. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing), researching the usefulness of journaling and writing when recovering from an eating disorder or other traumatic experience.
Today I combine my writing expertise with life experience to help others self-heal. Clients receive mentoring in narrative techniques and guidance in memoir-writing. I also share my editing expertise with people who are writing their story and wish to prepare it to publication standard. I encourage everyone to write their story. Your story counts!
Contact me: Email june@junealexander.com and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

One Response

  1. Karyn Braveheart says:

    I love these poems, they say it all. …poetry can be lighthearted or very deep. There are no rules when it comes to sharing through poetry …it speaks for itself and shares feelings in a way like no other…giving a voice to them…keep writing poetry, … maybe you are, without even knowing it. Thank you for sharing, good timing.

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