Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Writing Cure

I finally started reading the book, "Emotional Intelligence" by Daniel Goleman after hearing it being referenced to so many times. I was moved by studies that showed that writing down traumatic events can cure PTSD. At first we might write some horribly negative stuff, but after some time, we start to rationalize it and work through it. This made me look back at my own life and the traumas and challenges I have suffered in the past. With all the negative things that could have messed me up, I was lucky to have parents who encouraged the love of reading and who let me read whatever I wanted. This love of reading anything, be they horror stories, banned books, comic books or classics fostered an enjoyment for literature and an enjoyment for the act of writing. So when the shit hit the fan, when I had to move several times, deal with abuse, puberty, poverty and many other things I don't feel comfortable going into detail about; my main way of dealing with it was to write.

While my friends did drugs, to self medicate, I wrote. Looking back, I remember feelings of depression, anxiety, anger and hopelessness but instead of self destruction or medication, I always turned to writing and I do believe that is what has saved my life. I wrote poems, plays and stories. I told my diary she was my best friend and used to miss her terribly if I didn't get to confide in her. She was something I could trust, something that would never judge me harshly. Through her, I could vent my anger, be nostalgic and throw out ideas good or bad. I could create worlds of escape, find solutions no one else could think of, and move through trains of thought that led me back to sanity. I could scribble till my mind went numb, write down affirmations or shout out prayers in capital letters. I could set goals, make wishes, weave dreams and learn to forgive and love myself.

My advice to anyone who wants to take up writing is to write anything, anything at all. Don't censor yourself. Let your writing be unconditional and if you know someone who is a writer, respect their boundaries. Don't be jealous of their diaries and don't read them. You wouldn't force their therapist to tell you things that was meant to be held in confidence. If you don't like what they write, understand that you will never understand some things. They might write something overtly sexual to help deal with issues of sexuality they have. They might write something disturbingly scary to help deal with a traumatic event they witnessed when they were young. They may write about an ex lover to help themselves figure out how to be a better lover  in the present or future. They may write about politics or religion to help deal with their own confusion about society or metaphysics. You can never know why they write, if its made up, an exaggeration or satire. They may write whole novels that completely befuddle you but it helped them let go of something.

There are billions of books, stories, poems, plays and all of them came from a great mind just trying to find sanity. Hopefully, as we share our creations, we'll help others find theirs.

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