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Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life.”

-Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.

In June of 1999, Stephen King was walking near his home in North Lovell, Maine and was struck by a minivan. His injuries were serious and his recovery was long and difficult. He credits writing as the thing that helped him get through that difficult time. You don’t have to be a New York Time’s Best Selling author to write. All you need is a pen and paper or lap top or IPad, or whatever you choose as your instrument and a private place to gather your thoughts and write. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be a private place. I have written in the back seat of the car on vacation, on a crowded flight to Italy and in a Hospice while taking care of my mother-in-law.

Writing is something you do for you. No one has to see it unless you want them to. Writing is a safe way to purge your frustrations and can help you get some insight about your feelings. I have kept a journal of my writing for many years. I like keeping a journal because it gives me a place to look back on when I am going through a rough patch. I can look back in my journal and see how I was feeling in the past and what I did at the time to feel better or to resolve the situation.

During my mother’s illness, I didn’t know how to cope with the feelings of resentment and anger that were bottled up inside of me. Even though these feelings are common when you are a caregiver, especially if you have been a caregiver for a long time, I didn’t feel comfortable talking to family or friends about how I felt because I was embarrassed and felt ashamed. I turned to journaling and found a way to safely and effectively get those feelings out and work through them.

Studies have shown that writing your feelings down can be just as effective as talking it out and it’s a way to vent your feelings privately without hurting anyone. Being able to see on paper the cause and effect of what is going on in your life increases your ability to successfully deal with those issues.

The writing will come slow at first, like the trickle of a faucet, but then it will come faster and soon it will be like that faucet has been open full blast. It’s most effective when you can write like no one is going to see it because that is when the deepest darkest feelings come through. It’s very cathartic. You can keep your writing in a private journal or tear it up when you are finished. Some people find that writing out their thoughts and then setting them on fire ( safely of course) is a way of releasing their pain.

Writing as therapy is available 24 hours a day, you don’t need an appointment and there is no copay. Writing is another tool in our tool box for dealing with what life throws our way. Writing can be a way of finding ourselves and finding our way back to a happy life.