I have found a great way of dealing with my mental health without feeling too vulnerable is to deal in metaphors and I think using creative writing is a great way to do this so here is a story I wrote as a sort of cathartic exercise.
There once was a boy named Hugo. One of Hugo’s toys was a little black ball. He would spend hours alone in his room bouncing it around his room, throwing it up and catching it but he only ever played with it alone, in fact none of his friends even knew he had it. Hugo always kept it a secret because there were some strange things he had noticed about it. First of all, Hugo had no idea where it came from but he’d had it for as long as he could remember, second, he thought about it almost all of the time but never talked about it to anyone and he wasn’t sure why and third it seemed to grow sometimes. Sometimes it grew when his dad was drunk and shouting, sometimes it grew because his teacher ignored him in class and sometimes it grew because she didn’t.
When Hugo tried to play with his friends something stopped him playing with his ball but he was happy to play with their toys. His friends toys always seemed to be lighter and brighter than his little black ball so it was much easier to forget about it but when he would get home his ball would be there waiting for him and he would go back to his room and bounce the ball off the walls for hours.
Hugo always knew there was something different about his little black ball than his friends toys but he never tried very hard to get his friends to play ball with him because he thought it was too heavy and might hurt someone so he kept it to himself.
As the years went by Hugo’s little black ball grew and grew, sometimes it would get a little smaller but this never seemed to last. He would squeeze past the ball which got tougher and tougher until one day he couldn’t leave his room because it blocked the door, it had gotten so big and so heavy he couldn’t even get out the door to go and play with his friends. He tried and tried to move it but he ended up just getting hurt so he gave up. He had asked his Dad for his help but he had just been told to grow up and come out of his room, his Dad never really got it.
Hugo’s friends would call to his house and ask to see him but because the ball was in his way he couldn’t leave his room, it just seemed too hard to move the ball out of the way to get outside. Hugo knew he should have got some of his friends to help him move it a long time ago but now it just seemed too big to ask anyone for help because he didn’t want anyone to get hurt and he definitely didn’t want anyone seeing how much he had gotten hurt when he tried to move it alone.
Luckily for Hugo he had a friend named Valerie, she never gave up trying to get Hugo out to play until one day she came right up the stairs to his door and opened it to see the now big black ball in his way. It was so big she couldn’t even see Hugo from the door so she called out to him. When Hugo heard Valerie call out he noticed the ball shrank a little bit, not much but enough so he could see her at the door. Valerie asked him why he never came out anymore, that his friends hadn’t forgotten him and they missed him. He told her he couldn’t leave because the ball was in the way.
She offered to help move it but Hugo said no, he said he wanted to stay in anyway but actually he was just scared she would get hurt too. She told him she didn’t care and wanted to help him anyway. Hugo refused, he was too scared of his friend getting hurt. Valerie left but started coming back everyday and asking again if she could help move the ball. Hugo would always say no but he started to notice the more she came and offered to help the smaller the ball got.
One day Valerie came back with some more friends, they all begged Hugo to help move the ball and he realised maybe with this many friends the weight of the ball wouldn’t be that much. Hugo was the first to grab it and soon as he did he got scared it would be too much but as soon as Valerie and the others put their hands on the ball it shrank so much and so quickly Hugo was shocked, all he could think was why had he never let anyone help before, he realised that even if it was just him and Valerie they could have moved the ball, it might not have been easy but they could have done it with a bit of time and effort.
Eventually Hugo, Valerie and all his friends managed to get the ball clear enough so that he could get out. That was a long time ago now and Hugo never forgets that day. He still has the ball but its smaller now, sometimes it does still get bigger but mostly he can even fit it in his backpack or pockets and he knows that if it ever gets too big to deal with he has his friends to help him pick it up. Sometimes he even brings it out to play with his friends, it’s not as fun as playing with the other lighter brighter toys that some of his friends have but it helps keep it small and since then he has even found out a lot of them have nearly got stuck in their rooms too because some of them have toys like his at home.