Last week, I wrote about some difficult decisions I was contemplating (044: When is it time to give up what you like?) but stopped short of answers.
- Writing Is Therapeutic
I have not found answers to all my problems yet, but I have found solace in writing at such times of emotional upheavals.
In the last ten days, I have made short entries into my diary as and when necessary. Doing so allowed the pent-up emotions in me to be released in a quiet way. It was healing for my wounded soul, without disturbing others.
I wrote about how I felt and thought. The problems seemed so insurmountable at first, but they looked less intimidating after I put them down in words. My contention is if a problem can be articulated clearly, then the solution is most possibly in sight.
The most vexing problem is one that you can find no words to describe. Being able to translate anxiety into words is therapeutic. Writing helps the mind to organise thoughts and make sense of the problem.
- Writing is introspective
Writing also helps to know thyself better. I introspect about the things that trouble me and figure out what matters most, and where I have gone wrong.
Often, I write from the first person point of view. The kind of narrative that uses the “I” . After all, I am just telling my own story. I have found it useful in overcoming the emotional inhibition of telling someone else freely.
Sometimes, I write from the third person point of view as if it is someone else’s story. It allows me to take an omniscient view and peek into the minds of others. That helps me to break free from the endless mental torture of brooding over my own troubles, and see the problem from others’ perspectives.
- Health Benefits Of Expressive Writing
Interestingly, there is a name for this kind of writing that copes with stress, trauma and emotional woes: expressive writing as they called it.
Many research studies have provided evidence of both mental and physical health benefits for people who engage in expressive writing. It has shown positive effects on people with anxiety issues as it helps to put a halt to ruminating on certain issues. Studies on the effect of expressive writing on patients with health conditions such as sleep disorders, asthma, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV, and cancer have also shown encouraging results.
- Acceptance Is Always The First Step
Nonetheless, expressive writing is not a panacea for all problems. As a matter of fact, it is possible to feel worse if the person is not ready to face the problem. For example, when I was demoted many years ago, I believed it was a mistake that would soon be rectified. As a result, it took me a much longer time to come to terms with it. For better or worse, acceptance of the situation must be the first step for healing to begin.
In life, we all experience trying times at one point or another. If you want to try writing, no harm giving it a try if you are ready to make an honest conversation with yourself. If you are not into writing, then confide in someone whom you trust. As for me, I can’t say that I am out of the woods already, but I am no longer lost. No worries.
William W. K. Tan
20 May 2018, Sunday
p.s: Thank you to friends who have shown me concern. You know who you are and I will remember.