Today I’m featuring a post from a guest writer. Please welcome Melanie from the blog Deliberate Donkey. Melanie writes about her past and ongoing experiences with domestic violence, the damages it causes a person and a family, and her continual process to rediscovering herself.
Sometimes the write therapy is the right therapy.
Writing out my story has allowed me to bare my soul without enduring the accusational cues of a therapist, the “uh huh”s, “hmmm”s, and “oh”s coupled with subtle brow wrinkles, up-turned noses, and seat-shifting. I saw them judging me, disguised as diagnoses, frantically searching their brains for the clinical term for “her life really fucking sucks right now”.
There was no manic depression, no clinical depression, no major depression, or atypical depression, and there are no pills FDA approved to cure “life is just really heavy right now and I need to lighten the weight.” Sure, physicians and clinicians will offer, push, demand, and guilt one into pharmaceuticals, but that isn’t always the right answer. It wasn’t for me. I know because I tried their pills. Dozens of them in multiple combinations.
I started an intensive program of writing therapy. This was self-prescribed. Happy pills made me sad, so I started a blog. Therapists were expensive, judgmental, and completely out of touch with the dynamics of domestic violence, so I wrote. I wrote some more. I wrote and wrote and wrote until my wrists and fingers swelled and ached with the relief of relieving the pent-up tension of the prison sentence that was my abusive marriage and high-conflict divorce. I quit the pills and continued the writing.
That’s what I needed – I needed the situation out of my head, not hidden in the high of manufactured happiness. Writing it out is giving me my life back.
By writing my story, I help myself. I take the memories and the pain out of the file boxes of my mind and onto paper – or, really, screen since it’s a blog. I don’t have to remember what has happened and what is happening for the next court date, because I have it written out, documented, and organized through categories and tags. The weight of those memories no longer rests on my shoulders. I have felt the stress lightened simply by putting it out of my head, turning it from thoughts to words.
By writing my story, I help others. I am not the only one who has experienced the horror of abuse. I am not the only one who was degraded so many times that I began to believe it. I am not the only one who couldn’t stand up for myself without getting knocked down, figuratively and literally. But until I started writing my story, I felt like I was.
Now I can share my story with others who have experienced the same thing, and together we can support each other through our recovery. Now I can share my story with others who are just beginning to realize they are experiencing the same thing, and with others who know someone who is experiencing this.
Writing it out isn’t about being a good writer or a good storyteller. It’s about transferring the pain. It’s amazing how relieving it is to write it out. I revisit the pain less because I took it out of my head and put it onto paper. I have to open that book to remember the pain, and that is a book I don’t open. I am writing to move from sadness to happiness.
I am happier now after writing for a year than I ever was while trying to seek out therapists who didn’t suck. While seeking therapists, I only ever told one part of the story over and over and over. Writing it out has allowed me to dive into the complete story. There is no repetition. The next page knows what I have already told the last page. A new piece of paper doesn’t require I repeat what I told the last piece of paper, like a new therapist required I repeat what I had told the last therapist.
Writing this on a blog has cost less than therapy, and has done more for me than talk therapy ever did. Writing this on a blog has given me a support system that is available all day, every day, from as close as down the road to as far away as the other side of the world. Writing this on a blog has helped me to organize the craziness.
Writing it out has given me everything, and more.
More Posts from Melanie:
- This is My Party
- Fight, Fighter, Fightest
- Joseph Campbell, The Monomyth, and Me
- The Little Storytelling Artist
Articles on Writing Therapy:
- Why Talk Therapy Is on the Wane and Writing Workshops Are on the Rise
- As Easy As ABC
- What You Get For The Cost of a Number Two Pencil and a Piece of Paper
- Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing