HOW WRITING HELPED ME HEAL
It sounds so official.
I mean I've never actually felt like I'm good at it. Even writing these blogs is such hard work for me, it takes up so much mental energy because I'm playing by the rules. Making sure I use punctuation properly, checking my spelling and most of all worrying whether it even makes sense. I wouldn't say I enjoy writing AT ALL in this sense actually. I hate it, it makes me nervous and just doesn't come naturally. If anything, it makes me angry (but maybe that's the perfectionism in me and something I need to challenge?).......But writing a complete stream of consciousness with no rules, no restrictions and the freedom to flow however it feels right? I'm ALL about that.
The first time I did it was when I was about 13.
I needed help.
I was living with a demon in my head and it was completely out of control. It was wild and the mess it made inside my mind was a constant twist of knots tightening and spreading like wildfire whenever I had a moment alone. I was terrified of going to bed. I knew it would come out to play when I went to bed. Bedtime meant time to think (we didn't have the smartphones or easy access to such distraction kids have these days - but looking back, this was a gift - it taught me to write, it taught me how to heal..healthily.) So yeah, bedtime was my least favourite part of the day and as my head throbbed from the overflow of thoughts, I realised the only way to cope was to let these thoughts flow from my brain through to my hand and finally be released onto paper.
So I decided to write.
I think I kept a diary under my pillow and managed most nights be releasing whatever emotions I had inside into its pages. Lord, I'd hate to read it back now!!..and to be honest, I don't even know where it is. But yes, probably filled with the typical teen trauma I'm sure it was all stuff that most people experience, but trauma is trauma...we're all affected by things completely differently and no problem is bigger than another if it's causing the same amount pain internally. So yeah, I wrote and I remember the amazement I felt when I realised it helped.
It may sound petty, but being terrified of bedtime at 13 really wasn't fun. And finding a way that eased the pain of getting to sleep was such an incredible feeling back then.
Fast forward 13 more years and I'm still going. A lot happier and FAR less scared of bedtime I can assure you that!! But I'm still putting pen to paper as a way of handling what's in my head. Writing became my safe space, it was protected, secure, my secret bubble, it was a comfortable place I could return to whenever things were getting a little too much. The release you get without judgment is so therapeutic.
But then comes the next stage which is ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING (at first)...
Releasing those words into the world. The big, bad, scary, completely judgmental world.
Until 21 I'd never even told anyone about my issues. And even then it was a doctor and very VERY gradually just one or two friends. The idea of transferring this from voice to written blogs on the internet was something I thought would never ever even cross my mind. But as I found the courage to push past my resistance, and very slowly started sharing, I realised this really was another crucial step of the process. It meant being completely vulnerable and showing your truest self. And as much as that's scary, it's also incredibly liberating. And the best thing I began to realise? I became the go to person for other people to share to. I became their safe space, I'd been honest and shared the stuff that actually, we all bloody go through and feel and experience. People came to me and opened up and as I naturally do, I helped.
This process gave me an incredible gift.
Throughout this, I really began to realise how normal I was. Yet I'd felt so unbelievably isolated and stupid for such a long time. If anything, I started realising how WELL I was, compared to all of these other problems people started speaking up about. And I guess I've got addicted to this process. Speaking, sharing and consequently supporting. What drives me to share now is the fact that I know it helps others.
One thing I really took away with me after the Quarter Life Health Project retreat is "Your words may be someone else's medicine" and it's so bloody true. I've often walked away from conversations asking myself why the bloody hell I said certain things but really, who cares, much of the time it can be helping people in ways you may not ever realise.
And I reckon that's worth the risk.
So yeah, wrapping it up, the process of journalling really has been my biggest help to healing since the word go. Explroing, dissecting,