About   |  Books  |  Media

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Writing as Therapy

This week marks the anniversary of one of the worst days of my life and it got me thinking about how writing could help me cope with what I experienced. I thought I'd start with this post and see where it takes me.

Almost a year ago, I lost someone who I'd known for some time. I can't tell you a lot about how I knew this person, other than that I worked with him (I want to keep my day job concealed.) but I can say that his death was very unexpected and very untimely. It was also a terrible, terrible shock. I'd just been talking to him the day before and he'd made some comments to me - seeking reassurances about some plans he had for the future and then the next day he was dead. No future. No plans. Just dead.

He was a vibrant person and I when I saw him ( and I would see him every day) he would always be smiling and he would always take the time to stop and chat with me, even if it was only for a few moments. His death left a huge hole at my work - it was such devastating loss.That day there were so many tears shed - the weight of sorrow palpable.

I've had a difficult time making sense of his passing. I've never had to mourn someone who hadn't died of old age. I've been very lucky that way. When I think about what happened, what the world lost when he died, I feel like someone is kicking me in the gut - like someone is taking my breath away. I still have the occasional dream about that day and I wake up sobbing. I'm told that it's normal to grieve in this way. That the mourning process has it's ups and downs - that there aren't neat and orderly stages to go through and then you're done. It is getting better. I am moving on - it's just taking more time than I thought it would.

Now that a year has passed, I find myself wondering if I should document what happened - use it as a kind of catharsis for me - maybe it would help me to stop dwelling and perhaps could help other people who may be experiencing the same thing. Or maybe I'd just write it for me, to get it out of my head. Either way, I know that at some point I will have to write it down - it's in my nature to write. It's what I've always done to purge my feelings.

So I ask all of you out there - do you use writing as therapy? Has writing your thoughts down ever helped you cope with a difficult situation?


  1. Hi Angie,
    I'd have to agree with Ian, yes document it, write it down or write a letter to your friend. Anything that helps you find a way to help channel your emotions I think you have to do.

    Just let it flow, if the tears come, let them, just remember that its your chance to give yourself some closure.

  2. Absolutely. Writing has always been my therapy.

  3. I write for love, I write poetry for emotional outletting. But getting it down onto paper is always good therapy. Plus a nice gift to show the world how much of an impact he made in his all too short life.

  4. Yes - it's therapy, even when it's painful and raw. It's also a way of keeping his spirit alive, sharing your joy and pain.

  5. I definitely have used writing as therapy in the past (my angsty teenage years are well-documented in my journal), and though I've never been through something as difficult as it sounds like you've experienced, I would definitely recommend writing. Blog what you can share, journal the rest, those prickly hard thoughts that you just couldn't let anybody else see. It definitely helps.