Hello everyone! I’m really excited, a good friend of mine is guest blogging for me! Grace is a wonderful woman, sweet and incredibly talented. I have been lucky enough to hear a lot of her writing and she is the bomb! As I was reading over what she had written for this blog entry I admit I cried and I smiled. I have personally done two of the things she mentions and they have helped me greatly. Grace has some great input on how writing can help anyone heal and cope. I highly recommend reading her blog and as soon as their published-her novels! Here is the link to her WordPress blog: http://storytellergirlgrace.wordpress.com/ So I will stop flapping my gums…er fingers! Here is Grace!
I am not really qualified to talk about therapy. I have no degree or background in psychology or counseling. Nor can I even relate on an experiential level to someone who has dealt with genuine mental illness or trauma. But I believe that writing can be therapeutic for anyone, no matter your writing skill level or what kind of valley your life is in right now. These are some tips that I believe can help you – and several of these I have used myself when I was struggling with things in the past.
-Write down everything that’s troubling you. Write it on a piece of paper with pen – this exercise will not be nearly as effective if you type a digital note. Make a list of all the negative habits you want to be rid of, all the dark thoughts, everything you hate about yourself or the person who mistreated you. Be as detailed as you can, and don’t hesitate to be nasty and insulting. Put all those fears and dark thoughts on the paper.
Then tear it up. Burn the paper. Bury it in the woods, or flush it down the toilet. This is a symbolic way of getting rid of your troubles. I did this a few years ago during a time of struggling with low self-esteem; today I can’t even remember what I put on the paper. Why? Because I shredded it and flushed the scraps down the toilet. It’s completely gone from my life.
-Write a letter to yourself. Imagine how you want your life to be. Write a letter from your future self, detailing the victories and successes you’ve seen realized, the dreams and goals you’re pursuing, and how you accomplished it all. It doesn’t matter if you can’t actually see how you could achieve that victory or realize that dream right now – just imagine it.
Imagination is the key to making anything happen in life – big or small. If you write down a clear picture of where you’d like your life to be, that can help keep you on track when you’re faced with decisions later. And an encouraging note from your future self can serve as a tangible reminder of your dreams.
-Write your troubles as a story and change the ending. If you’re struggling with the repercussions – mental or otherwise – of an event from the past, you’ve probably gone over it in your mind more than a few times. The ending – whether it was an act against you as a victim, or just your own poor decisions working against you – is likely what’s still hanging on in your mind. What if things had ended differently?
Tell the story on paper. You can be accurate with every detail, or fictionalize the names and scenario. Write the ending the way you wish it had happened. This of course doesn’t change the past or the people involved, but this exercise can give you a sense a closure and triumph about the incident. Being the writer of a story puts you in control.
-Write down what you’ve learned and share it with others who still need help. That’s what Ashley is doing with this amazing blog. She writes about painful experiences that she now has personal victory over, and shows others who are still struggling a way up and a way out. Whether you start a public blog, publish a memoir, or just write a letter to a suffering friend, any struggle-victory story of yours is worth writing down and sharing.
I hope these ideas can help you. What are some other ways that you have used writing as a form of self-therapy?