Writing as Therapy

Writing to express yourself, ease pain, erase trauma and reflect and gain insight is a powerful form of therapy. This has been practice for years in the form  of journal keeping and has even been shown to positively effect the immune system. For some people dealing with certain issues, it may be too painful to try writing about them alone, without the help of  a counselor or therapist to help them deal with some of the thoughts and memories that may come rushing in, so while I encourage you to write, I want to strongly encourage you to stop writing and to seek help if it  becomes to much to deal with alone. I also want to share with you something I wrote a while ago to deal with the loss of a relationship when I didn’t really know what to do or what to feel, but I wanted to express myself in a safe place away from judgment and to ward off the feelings of depression and failure.

You told me that if I loved you, that if I believed in our love I’d let you go, knowing that someday you’d return. I didn’t want to. My heart told me not to, but I did because I wanted you to believe I was brave and confident that our love could endure both time and space apart. In reality I was petrified, afraid that letting you go would mean the end of us. Still, with trembling hands I let you go explore the world, hoping and praying that our love alone would bring you home. At first it wasn’t so bad. We emailed each other often, nothing much had seemed to change except your location, but then the emails became less frequent and our conversations seemed more distant. Eventually you stopped emailing me all together and the longer I went without communicating with you, the more it felt like I was suffocating from lack of your presence. I tried to stand strong in this growing abyss hoping that my strength in allowing you to explore would serve as a demonstration of my deep desire for you. And then you came back as promised, only this time something was different. The light in your eyes had faded along with your smile. I wasn’t going to say anything, hoping that our closeness would bring back both the light and your smile, but then you told me you met someone. I stopped breathing. I probably wouldn’t have taken another breath if you hadn’t told me to. My heart galloped inside of my chest as I saw the promise of us come to a crashing end. I wanted to remain positive, told myself that this too shall pass and somehow serve as a catalyst for what was surely to come… you and me, together forever. Somehow things didn’t workout that way. You continued to distance yourself from me, drawing closer to someone else. Months passed and I found the courage to email you again, asking simply how you were you doing. You replied with a few words I imagine, I hope were hard to type; “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m engaged to be married in June.” Time froze as I deciphered those words and allowed them to sink into my pores. I started to write you back, my words fast and angry, then I hit the delete key… thought for awhile and started again, this time my words more gentle, too gentle, too forgiving. Again I hit delete and just stared at that email for what felt like an eternity. I haven’t written you back or talked to you since, until now. Now I’ve found the words to express myself and let you know how I feel. I feel angry, disappointed, cheated and hurt, but none of those things will bring you back to me. None of those feelings will heal my heart. I love you, I probably will always love you, and when you asked me to let you go I never really did. I still hung on to a big part of you, but now I see that in order for me to heal I truly have to let you go as you have apparently let me go a long time ago. I want to be able to say I hope everything works out for you, but I can’t, at least not right now. I know that will change overtime, as soon as I fully let you go and convince myself that this too isn’t a catalyst for us to be together forever somehow, but the catalyst for me to move on with the rest of my life.

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Self-Mutilation

When I first started this post I was going to write a long detailed post about self-mutilation, and I still can if you are interested, but I decided basically to get to the point of what’s on my mind.

The other day I saw a young beautiful, 18 year old college student who came into the hospital with approximately 50 razor blade cuts to each leg and the words “I am alive” carved into her left hand. This young woman is what we call a “cutter”, she cuts to soothe her emotional pain and to feel alive as the words etched into her blooded palm stated.

There was very little I could do for this young woman in the short amount of time I had with her for numerous reasons, but most importantly because she was in denial of her issues and I probably has borderline personality disorder (a lot of cutters have this disorder). I did try to offer her something, and the reason i am writing this post is because i want to offer it to all cutters as a way of at least initially soothing the hurt.

The next time you feel like seeing blood or hurting yourself, don’t pick up a razor, instead, pick up a red marker or red finger nail polish and mark on yourself the same way you would with the razor. The red will help give the allusion of blood without actually having to cut yourself. Even better, pick up a ice cube and hold it tightly in your hand. Let that pain serve as the pain of the sting from the razor. I propose this as just temporary fixes for the immediate and sometimes impulsive need to caught, but seeking therapy is most likely the only way to truly alleviate the pain behind the cutting. And if you really want help I can put you in touch with the right people or in the least, recommend a number of self-help books that can help you stop hurting.