Writing about a traumatic or stressful event can help improve mental health.
When I started therapy in 2013, letter writing was a suggested therapeutic tool brought up in session. I did the exercise six months into therapy but unfortunately, it wasn’t really helpful at that point. I had only begun to scratch the surface and was still too enmeshed in toxic relationships.
I tried the exercise again (at the suggestion of my shrink) a year and a half later, and I understood the point. For awhile, I felt that heaviness in my chest disappear. An internal weight lifted. Temporary but still nice. I was also at a more advanced point in therapy and was becoming more independent and less fearful.
But about the letter–you write the letter as if you’re going to give it to that person, but you don’t have to by any means. (I didn’t. It would have caused more trouble for me.) Ideally, the letter is another step that helps release your emotions, frustrations, and more importantly–your hurt.
Writing on the Internet has also helped me tremendously. I aim for my posts to be observant, honest, and meaningful. Sometimes, there are guest posts. Sometimes, just mental health book excerpts, but I always strive to include new information that someone else may find useful.
This awareness has helped me become more productive, because personal diary journaling is not always as helpful as it could be. That notebook is where I really let it fly, mostly because there is no chance of an audience. Regardless, writing in all its forms, and in all its places, is where I notice behavior patterns, mistakes, and boundaries that I have regretfully broken.
But even more so, a coherent post helps me to think like a grownup and get outside of my standard cycle of thought.
Reading mental health blogs is a support tool. And though these past couple of years have been tiring, blogs remind me that I’m not alone, battling alone. (That isolation, sadly, is where mental illness loves to live!)