Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The Healing Power of Writing

No one ever goes into a marriage thinking that it will end in the trauma of divorce. I was no exception. I won't bore you with details except to say my spouse underwent a profound personality change soon after surviving a medical emergency. From the moment doctors brought Terry out of a medically induced coma, Terry was no longer the person I knew and loved. As time went by, he became a person I didn't want to know.

So what does this have to do with writing and healing? Twice I have written stories (both fiction and nonfiction) that have helped me through the darkness before the dawn. Granted, it's still the middle of the night in terms of reaching a settlement, but writing has helped me deal with all of the emotions so many people experience with a divorce - disappointment, betrayal, sorrow, and anger. So much unbridled anger.

I'm also on medication for depression and my therapist was actually glad to see the flare of anger and writing has helped me to express that anger by writing things I might like to do, but for legal purposes and otherwise, most probably won't. Is it cathartic? Of course it is because if I couldn't write about the divorce and being single after 25 years, those raging emotions would eat me alive.

Writing through a traumatic situation can take many forms. For me, it's been short stories based on factual events. When my father died unexpectedly in 2005, my mother found great solace in keeping a journal chronicling her anger at Dad for dying and leaving her alone. Again, as with my therapist, hers had suggested that writing would help her make the journey through grief and come out on the other side a stronger person. I am accomplishing the same goals, with the only difference being that I'm looking to write stories that are not only publishable, but contain universal themes and insights others can relate to. If I can help one other person survive, grow, and heal though the trial of divorce, I will have exceeded my wildest expectations.

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