"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow." ~ Helen Keller

Monday, February 22, 2010

Writing The Storm Out

I have been in a total funk lately...no question about it. I don't know if it is the crummy winter weather, the never ending laundry and dishes, or just a lack of interest in all things fun, but whatever it is or was, thank the Lord, it is over now.

Sometimes we just have to ride things out. Waiting can be really hard when you are miserable so I want to tell you another thing I did that helped me lift my mood. I wrote it out.

Writing can be a wonderful form of therapy. It is no secret that keeping a journal is a tried and true method for getting your thoughts and feelings on paper so you can sort them out. When you write things down in the middle of whatever cruddy thing you are going through, you can look back later, with a healthier perspective and gain a depth of understanding. Writing is a valuable tool.

Psychologists and counselors who treat trauma victims and people suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety, often encourage their clients to write out their feelings. This is especially effective for victims of traumatic events such as violent crime, war, or childhood abuse.

They have you write and write and write uncensored about the traumatizing event. They instruct you to write everything you feel, complete with curse words and whatever you feel you need to say to the person who hurt you or to yourself. They have you repeat this over and over and over until you are sick of it. Why? Because writing gets it out of your system. When you talk and especially write about the matter so much to the point where it just gets boring and tedious, then it loses the grip it has held you in.

If you have suffered a trauma or been through a difficult time, you know what I mean. The event becomes so all consuming that it has control over you and you can't seem to get past it. Writing about it, puts it in to perspective and allows you to accept it and let go of it. I am not saying you can write about it one time and poof, it is all better. You will know when it is better because it won't constantly have that hold on you anymore. You will be able to think or write about it without it upsetting you or making you anxious.

I really believe this is why things like email, blogs, and Facebook are so very popular. People want to communicate their feelings. Maybe not their deepest feelings to everyone on their Facebook list, but they just want and need to share their thoughts with someone.

I have been a writer for a long time so I personally know the value and the satisfaction that comes from not only therapeutic writing, but just from writing in general.

I've found it is especially helpful to write down the things we are thankful for. Gratitude is such a powerful force and counting your blessings is a sure fire way to pull you out of a funk. Just seeing listed on paper all the many, many good things you have in your life can turn your whole attitude around.

Writing letters to loved ones is great as well. Even though most of us do our "letter writing" in the form of email now, I can't express how much I enjoy both writing and receiving emails from trusted friends and dear family members. There is just something about writing that is very healing, cathartic, and positive.

Of course, as a writer myself, I am biased. I love to write and I enjoy it. Some people say, "but I don't know how to write," or "I'm a terrible speller." It doesn't matter...your writing can be just for your eyes only.

I encourage you to start small with a list of the things you have to be thankful for. From there, just start jotting things down, whether they make you happy, angry, sad, frustrated...write it out. Write about your dreams, your ideas, the places you would like to go and the things you would like to do.

You will feel better for it and you can come back especially to the positive stuff again and again when you need encouragement. Writing has helped to pull me out of a funk on many occasions. It is a way to share your pain, your frustration, or your joy, even if it is only with yourself. Hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great Monday, and God bless.