I don’t know what it is, but I know no other way to heal from traumatic events, painful situations or things that piss us off than to write the pain away. Talking it out is great and it helps, but nothing takes the place of entering into the most vulnerable place: our personal story of pain and heartbreak through the written word.
Something happens during the act of writing that seems to ignite a different part of the brain which allows the emotion to flow freely and the pain to appear less controlling over our lives. I’m sure people much smarter than I have thought this through and can give some reasons why, but from anecdotal experience from my own life and the countless people I’ve worked with, it seems to work.
I’m not talking about eloquent words or checking grammar or that the writing even makes sense, but just getting the words out of your head and heart and onto paper.
The other reason I know there is something in this is that every time I talk with people about their painful situation, and I suggest they write it down and get the pain on paper, there is instant resistance. This resistance, I believe, is the pain speaking. It’s the pains way of actually holding firm and being stubborn. It’s our pains way of saying ‘it’s not that bad, we can manage, look how you’re coping‘ that stops people from wanting to write the pain away and experience the abundant life and freedom.
The other reason I feel like writing is a secret to healing is that it’s hard and messy and takes immense courage and bravery. Being willing to write the words down with how you are feeling – and in a sense read back what you’re writing – isn’t for the faint-hearted.
I suggest to people who have pain and can’t seem to shake it to just start writing…in private, in your own home and by being comfortable. Get a pen and some paper and start writing down exactly what comes to mind. No sugarcoating the words, no filter, just get the story out. Don’t dissect what you’re writing, just get the story, the emotion, the feelings out onto paper.
Do this over four to five sessions and see what happens.