Self-Expression is a Form of Self-Care

"Empty" — a poem by Sheyna Galyan

Posted on January 21, 2022

Self-expression is a form of self-care. Especially for creatives. Expressing our feelings, our truth of the moment—even if we know it will change minutes or hours or days from now—is also a form of self-care. And the expression of our feelings has often been denied (outside of a therapist’s office) for trauma survivors.

“I can’t share that!” we think. “It will make people feel bad/guilty/angry and they won’t love me anymore.”

That’s really what it comes down to: trauma survivors know from long experience that expressing what we really think and feel will result in pain and rejection.

So we stuff it down. Some of us become experts at stuffing our thoughts and feelings. We become so good at it that we don’t even know we’re doing it…until everything we’ve stuffed explodes and results in body pain, headaches, stomachaches, insomnia, nightmares, asthma, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, depression, overwhelm, isolation, or shutdown.

I’ve had three severe fibromyalgia flares in as many weeks and while I could blame stress and the abrupt weather changes of late, part of it is certainly that I’ve not expressed what I’ve felt for fear of making others upset.

And so today I’m sharing how I feel. Not to elicit apologies in a vague, passive-aggressive manner, but to simply give expression to how I feel. Because it’s a form of self-care. And because in the expression, I can find healing.

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