Writing to Heal

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.

Last week, I shared my story on Dropping Keys: Stories of Recovery and Hope.

It’s a similar website to Stigma Fighters and what it hopes to do: eradicate shame, shatter stigma, and create a community.

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!)

Lately, I’ve been visiting: The Invisible Scar, A2eternity, Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi, and Dropping Keys, of course.

When there is trouble within the home, we are desperate to be heard. Sometimes, we turn to family figures or anyone who can tell us that this is not normal. For many years, this was my biggest misstep—seeking comfort from the wrong people. Going to someone who will make excuses for your abuser, or worse, defend your abuser adds to the existing damage.

When I was looking for help, and experienced that kind of rejection repeatedly, I heard: ‘what you’re going through doesn’t matter’ and ‘you don’t matter.’ I pulled away and kept to myself. I was convinced for a very long time that people hated me or were waiting to humiliate me. I learned that abusers isolate their victims through manipulation and mind games. They make you feel alone and that they are the only person that should matter in your life.

For my complete Dropping Keys post click here.

Special thanks to them for creating a safe community to talk about mental health.

Have you considered sharing your story?