Healing Trauma Through Writing
The idea of healing trauma through writing might feel too good to be true. When I was a kid, I used to sit on my bed in the moonlight and craft fictional stories in my mind. I'd spend Friday nights with fairy lights decked across my room and draft poetry and lyrics about my current situation. I'd journal before falling asleep to release any fear or obsessive thoughts that were clouding my head. Little did I know I was healing trauma through writing.
Writing has always been a passion of mine. As an adult, I've been able to create an entire career out of it. But the most exciting part of it all is that it's helped me find my voice — a voice that was taken from me as a child. It's helped me share my own stories, shed light on my scars, and process my emotions.
My Experience with Healing Trauma Through Writing
When I was only four years old, I endured a trauma that shifted the way I saw life. I no longer felt safe; I was threatened not to speak of what happened to me. I was afraid to even open up to my parents and family and felt too ashamed to speak with friends about what I'd endured. In fact, I couldn't even understand what really happened to me. I was too young to comprehend the magnitude of the traumatic event.
Living in such extreme confusion and terror depleted me. I wanted so badly to speak my truth, but I didn't know how. Eventually, I started healing my trauma through writing. At first, it was just fiction, which provided me a way to escape the awful thoughts in my brain. Later, it was poetry and lyrics that painted a picture of my pain. Then, I began journaling, giving myself a voice — albeit confined to my many notebooks.
This practice of writing eventually turned into a passion I couldn't deny. In high school, I took creative writing classes and wrote for the school's newspaper. I pursued a creative writing degree in college, began writing my first book shortly after graduation, and joined the world of journalism. Today, I am a published author, poet, and freelance writer covering mental health. I share my stories and experiences freely and authentically. I truly believe if I hadn't found my voice, I'd still let other people speak for me — people who cannot possibly understand what I was going through. They didn't live through my trauma — I did. I knew it was time I took the pen back so I could write my own story forward. So I could start healing trauma through writing.
Using Writing as a Tool for Healing Trauma
Whenever I write, I feel a little less heavy and a lot more empowered. Giving myself a voice has been integral to my healing process. Here are some forms of writing that have helped me heal my trauma:
- Journaling about your day or a specific situation might help you sort through your thoughts, settle your emotions, and feel more connected to yourself. When I journal, I make sure to do so without any judgment, simply allowing myself to express my feelings — even if they're irrational — honestly and openly.
- Free writing is a great way to get your creative juices flowing and — in my experience — can guide you deep into your subconscious mind. Often, I will open a notebook or blank document on my laptop and just let myself "bleed," so to speak, letting the words pour out of me. You don't need to edit your work, show it to anyone, or even read it back. Look at it as a form of release.
- Creative writing is a fun way to let your mind wander and dream. Whether I'm writing fiction, poetry, or even song lyrics, the mere act of writing creatively nurtures my soul and helps me get back in touch with my artistic side.
- Prompt writing, which involves following a specific prompt that gets the creative juices flowing, can help guide you down a healing path. Often, I follow specific healing prompts (which you can find online or create your own) such as "What would you do if criticism didn't exist?" and "In which areas of life are you denying yourself a voice?"
- Blogging can give you a platform to share your unique stories and experiences, which can be empowering. When I write on my blog and share it on my social media accounts, I often feel more confident in myself and connected to those around me.
However you choose to write, make sure it's exciting and inspiring for you. Don't put any rules on yourself; just simply let your soul speak. Healing my trauma through writing has helped me get to the core of my issues and understand where my emotions and intrusive thoughts stemmed.
While writing might not act as the be-all and end-all for healing, it can make a great tool to help support your recovery. Coupled with other healing practices, like attending therapy and connecting with loved ones, it's changed my life for the better.
Caramela, S. (2023, October 2). Healing Trauma Through Writing, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/2023/10/healing-trauma-through-writing