Writing Wrongs

“Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear that is inherent in the human situation.” -Graham Greene

A traumatic event in your life will activate the visual cortex and limbic system in your brain- the areas which control emotions and the bodily manifestations of emotions. In turn, this deactivates your brain’s speech-production centers. So an image of the trauma is imprinted into your brain, and the memory of the trauma will seem to be incompatible with language. “There are no words to describe what I’ve experienced,” is a common lament of people with posttraumatic stress disorder or depression. By forcing a connection between the traumatic event and language, the memory of the event is encoded differently in the brain. This language-centered encoding is often the first step to healing trauma and depression.

Writing therapy is the recording of words for the purpose of emotional healing.

Write a poem                                                            expressing your phobia 

Keep a journal                                                             about your crappy job

Start a book                                                            addressing past abuse

Try some free-association                                                            exploring anxiety

Commit to a diary                                                            to vent at the end of a day

Write a letter                                                             about a failed relationship

It doesn’t matter much what form the writing takes, or if anyone else ever sees the writing. It’s the act of writing itself that is healing. Some people prefer a free-form approach to writing therapy. Others prefer a structured approach:

“Writers can treat their mental illnesses every day.” -Kurt Vonnegut

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  1. I like the lead in quote. I have a good friend who’s a cartoonist, and had he not been able to draw when he was younger, I’m guessing a lot of people would have been hurt.

    While I don’t work out problems in my writing, I write to force myself to question what I believe and if it holds up, reinforce those beliefs. I definitely write certain things to remember, and a few times I’ve written things in personal journals to get it out and let things go.

    Creating art is good stuff, and while I know many “normal” people who think artists are all mad, I think people who create often look that way to others because they have the courage to go deeper than just scratching the surface of things.

    • Several years ago I went through a period where I ranted via scribbled notes on scraps of paper no one ever saw but me (mercifully). And I did send a few well-edited letters to a few people. But all the purging freed me to focus on other things- like living my life for me. After I got all the blocks out of the way, I was able to focus on my love- fiction writing.

      The photo illustration is a Q/A satire I wrote last year in response to a falling out with a former close friend. (I did not send this one.) Writing it was extremely therapeutic. Luckily, it’s not legible in the post. It’s pretty cruel and mean-spirited, but I love every word of it.

      ” . . while I know many “normal” people who think artists are all mad, I think people who create often look that way to others because they have the courage to go deeper than just scratching the surface of things.” YES I agree. The courage and, perhaps, the responsibility.

  2. Dead on. Writing is the core of my being. It is how I get rid of my unneeded and unwanted baggage, the things I wish I had done, the things that I wish I hadn’t done. If I can do all that and tell a story that people will like at the same time, then there is no downside.



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