Therapeutic Writing (Guest Blog) by dejohnsrld (Debbie)
Therapeutic Writing (Guest Blog)|
As a young girl, I loved to read and write, spending most of my free time doing so. My second grade teacher told me I would write a book someday. In high school, I worked nearly full-time, leaving little opportunity for reading and writing. Next college, marriage, motherhood and career kept me busy. Writing seemed like a thing of the past.
I was diagnosed with severe Major Depressive Disorder in my twenties, but was able to continue working as a Registered Dietitian, until 2004, when I was disabled in an auto accident. This resulted in frequent hospitalizations and surgeries over the next twenty-one months, and ended with a leg amputation. No longer able to work, I felt worthless and deeply depressed.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to take a therapeutic writing course for those with disabilities. I felt the healing potential writing had to offer, and joined a weekly writing group. I also joined an online writing community and writing became a passion. Since then, I have written well over five hundred pieces of prose and poetry. In 2012, I published a collection of writings on disabilities. I am currently putting together a second book on the subject. I write many different styles and genres, but my three goals for these books are:
1) To let others with disabilities know they are not alone.
2) To give the non-disabled a chance to see into our world.
3) To show the therapeutic value of writing in dealing with illness.
Several studies have shown the benefits of writing, especially if it becomes part of a daily routine. Mood is greatly improved and physical symptoms are reduced. What subjects and genres written have been shown to be less important than the actual activity of writing. There is much cathartic benefit in writing about difficulties and a strong feeling of success when any piece is completed. Creativity is enhanced and the inner self is explored. A writing group, whether face-to-face or online, gives a feeling of support and connectedness.
It is never too late to begin writing. I wrote my first poem four years ago, and have now been published in several journals. All that is needed is a pen and notebook. There are books and web pages of writing prompts available to provide ideas. Unless planning to publish, spelling and punctuation aren’t important.
Writing has given my life new purpose and meaning. It brought me out of pain, depression, and hopelessness. Therapeutic writing has been a great blessing to me, one I hope to share with others.
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