EVERYONE has had a secret way of getting through lockdown: a daily walk, revisiting a good book, Zooming with friends or baking another banana bread.

Hope Through Poetry

Hope Through Poetry

For me, the release has been poetry.

The act of writing down my swirling thoughts, committing them to paper, and somehow organising them into verse has allowed me to acknowledge how I'm feeling and, to a certain extent, make sense of everything that has been going on.

Sometimes I have woken up in the night, my subconscious working overtime, and felt compelled to grab my laptop from under the bed and bash out some lines that I can add to and build on when the sun sheds some clarity on my whirling emotions.

Writing allows me to pause the mad state that the world seems to be in right now. It gives me a break from the chaos, a place of calm where I can be alone with my thoughts.

I should make it clear that I'm not your stereotypical poet, if such a thing exists. I don't have a literary background or work from an arty studio. I'm just a normal girl who left school at 18 and who found her love of the arts through an acting degree, who is trying to make sense of the world around her. I feel so lucky to have found poetry; my go-to sanctuary when times get tough.

It first helped me through my difficult teenage years. From the age of 13, I battled anorexia nervosa, giving in to this dangerous imposter who invaded my mind and body. Writing was one of the routes back to finding my old self, along with the unstinting love of my family.

Then as my recovery took a terrifying detour through obsessive compulsive disorder, poetry was there again, like a dependable friend I could turn to for comfort.

As I pushed myself towards getting better, writing kept step with me, absorbing my thoughts and observations about myself and the messed-up, beautiful world around me. The result is 50 poems telling the story of my illness, recovery and many other experiences along the way with the ultimate aim of giving the reader HOPE as they face their own challenges .

With the pandemic, in common with other difficult times in our history, many thousands across the world have found solace through writing and reading poetry. I am proud to be part of that crowd.

* Hope Through Poetry, by Samantha Crilly is published by Hammersmith Health Books.