Using writing and filming as a tool for mental health and wellbeing

By Finlay Games, Eastbourne UK, in association with A Space 2 Be,

06 June 2020

I discovered the transformative power of writing and filming!

When it comes to looking after our mental health and wellbeing, there are many articles on practicing all kinds of self-care. Rarely though, are writing and filming featured on these lists. The act of writing down or recording our thoughts and feelings can be incredibly powerful and cathartic.

I discovered the transformative power of writing and filming many years ago. It began with writing, which I used as a tool to manage my often-problematic mental health. Having written diaries for many years, I began to put together personal essays and reflections, on my experiences with depression, anxiety, personality disorder, and addiction.

Later, in discovering myself to be transgender, I began filming my process of gender transition. I initially wanted to simply record my changes, as I progressed through hormone replacement therapy and surgery. However, I soon discovered that recording my process, helped me to adapt to my changing identity, and to grow in confidence as a man.

Writing or recording our feelings, has many helpful benefits for our mental health and wellbeing. Most importantly, it gives us a nonjudgmental space to off load how we are feeling without censorship.


We can write or speak exactly how we are feeling, without having to phrase it a certain way to avoid upsetting someone. The sense of relief, in letting go of things we might otherwise have held onto, is powerfully cathartic.

Additionally, when we write down or record our thoughts in a free-flowing way, it can also help us to make sense of things. It’s often not until I start writing or press record and start talking, that I begin to make sense of how I feel. Re-watching or re-reading, I often notice new insights about myself. It also often helps me to get a clearer idea about any action I might need to take, to look after my mental wellbeing.

You do not need to publish these pieces. Understandably, not everybody wants to host a blog or a YouTube channel about their most private thoughts. In truth, I did not set out to be as public as I now am. However, sharing my life, my thoughts, and my feelings openly, has benefited me in many wonderful ways.

My public sharing has been powerfully transformative and has greatly helped in the improvement, and management, of my mental health.

For me, publishing my early writing and reflections on my experiences, was my way of saying no to the shame I felt. I was sick and tired of the stigma which conditions such as anxiety and depression receive.

Publishing my writing on my blog was an act of defiance, my way of demonstrating that I refused to feel ashamed for something which was not my fault.

This defiant act helped me to come to terms with my mental health conditions, and to let go of the shame.

I also began to receive many messages from people, who related to my writing, which helped me to realise that I am not alone.

I took the same approach when I began sharing on YouTube. In coming out as transgender, I decided that I would just be open about who I was.

That way it left little room for people to talk behind my back because there was nothing I hadn’t already said. Just as I had experienced with sharing my writing, people commented on my videos, relating to my experience. Sharing openly helped me to feel seen and accepted, and I grew in confidence as a man. Even now, many years into sharing my life publicly, writing and filming continue to be one of my key mental health tools. I still use these to process my thoughts and to help me to acknowledge and deal with difficult feelings and situations.

I would encourage you to give it a try. Be brave. Sit in front of a camera and just open your mouth and let whatever comes out, come out!

Open a word document and thrash it all out on a keyboard. Grab a fresh white piece of paper and let the pen guide you. Even if it is just for yourself, you will be surprised at how transformative this experience can be.

Learn more about Finlay

Youtuber | Writer | Speaker

Finlay Games is a #transgender gay man with a passion for honest content that changes hearts and minds. He hosts a #YouTube channel and #blog where he shares first-hand and practical advice on topics of gender transition, LGBT+ lifestyle, and mental health. Finlay is writing a series of memoir, about his gender #transition and about his recovery from addiction. His first memoir, which shares his experiences of #phalloplasty and his journey of discovering his sexual self, is due for publication by #JessicaKingsleyPublishers, early 2021.

Contact Finlay

















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