Writing therapy leads to poetry book

Anna Skinner with her book, “Rise” (Submitted photo)

Anna Skinner with her book, “Rise” (Submitted photo)

By Mark Ambrogi

Mired in a four-month bout of depression, Anna Skinner embraced her own form of self-help.

“Writing has always been a therapy to me,” Skinner said.

Makes sense. Skinner, 21, a Current newspaper writer and copy editor, has been dabbling in fiction writing since she was in third or fourth grade.

“Poetry just made me feel better,” the 2013 Westfield High School graduate said. “I never thought of publishing it. I have a hard time sharing my creative writing.”

Yet her close bond with younger brother, Michael, allowed her to let her guard down, and she shared her poems this spring.

“He’s kind of a creative soul,” Skinner said. “He encouraged me to publish it. I’ve been trying to finish a fiction novel, and he said, ‘Why don’t you just publish the poetry book?’”

So that’s what she has done, publishing a 60-page book of poems called “Rise” on June 14. Most of the poetry is fiction.

“But the poems are based on my depression and my struggle with it,” said Skinner, who hopes the poems might help others dealing with depression.

Depression tends to run in her family. She had struggled with it during high school but never as severe as the bout that hit her from December to early March.

Beyond her predisposition to depression, Skinner began to realize she was headed in the wrong direction for her future. She was majoring in English Education at IUPUI. She said at the time she believed it was a more practical major than creative writing or journalism.

“I’ve always had a selfless attitude,” she said. “I wanted to make other people happy before I was happy. That’s good to an extent, but I got to the point where I was completely miserable. I was going to college just because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. My older brother graduated early, and he’s a chemist. It had never been an option to not go to college.”

Skinner had wanted to go to college, too, graduating high school with a high GPA. She transferred from Indiana University to IUPUI after her freshman year.

“I was struggling financially because I didn’t expect to live alone at 20,” she said. “I was going to school and working full time (as a waitress) and going for a degree I didn’t even want.”

Skinner dropped out of IUPUI in the middle of the second semester. That’s when the depression pounded the goal-oriented Skinner harder.

“I felt I was at a standstill,” Skinner said. “I’m not a typical college dropout. And I wasn’t made for the restaurant life. So I was really miserable because I felt stuck.”

Along with poetry, Skinner said her depression disappeared as her writing workload increased with Current.

“I have something to focus on that I can put all my hard work into,” she said.

Now that she has her first published book she has been encouraged to turn back to finishing her novel.

“Holding your own book in your hands is very intoxicating,” she said.

Skinner’s book can be purchased in print for $9.99 through Amazon (amazon.com/Rise-Anna-Skinner/dp/1511957727) and CreateSpace

(createspace.com/5466472).