I could easily be reclined on the couch of some therapist staring up at the wall peppered with all of his or her framed accolades, pouring from my soul. I’m sure you could confess to having the same opportunity. But I have chosen writing as my therapy instead. Writing is therapeutic in ways that cannot be touched by a simple one-dimensional dialogue between two people. This is not to play down the benefits of a good therapist in any way. Everything has its place, but the writing effect pushes you to explore deeper like no other form of communication.
Everyone who writes will not become published writers. Most choose not to display publicly at all. But that’s the beauty of it; in private you can tap at a keyboard and vent everything from your subconscious, your mind and back again. There is no one analyzing your words and opinions. What you think or feel won’t be forgotten because unlike conversations, it is inked forever.
Getting the words on paper is a way to expose our demons and give voice to those things we cannot talk to others about; there is no judgmental eye, raised brow, no opportunity for any real retaliation unless we allow it into our space. In the solitude of our thoughts we can express ourselves uninhibited.
It is the crux of the social media craze, is it not? It’s like crank calling: anonymous, secretive, seductive and satisfying. It is the opportunity to behave cowardly while disguising it as bravery. People expel their opinions and expertise while hiding behind avatars of their pet schnauzers and their cousin’s babies because as a people, we want to be liked. To be disliked forces us to either find a new group of acceptors or stand alone. We are naturally social beings and our worth is often not intrinsic but based on what others think of us. When we write or vent in private it is a way to relieve ourselves without the repercussion of being disliked, judged or shunned.
At its best writing is cleansing. It allows us to get it out, reveal truth, and express pain or pleasure, or purify by getting rid of that which is toxic, decaying or useless. And even when writing fiction and telling stories that are not our own, we see that we are all connected and in some way that story does belong to us.
Allowing our minds to explore the hidden and dark places has a way of exposing and then identifying. Sometimes putting a name or face to our pain helps us to resolve matters. Writing is therapeutic when it is for us, first.