There is not greater agony than bearing an untold story within you. – Maya Angelou
I started writing when I was a kid. I loved to write songs, poems, and plays. I sensed there was an amazing power in writing. Then something happened that stopped my writing dead in its tracks. My parents joined a cult.
I was only10 years old. The next six years of life were spent working 60 hours a week on a 100-acre farm. The leader forced kids to stay awake during four-hour meetings several nights a week. Punishment was frequent and severe. It was a tragic experience that had longterm effects on me. I struggled with anxiety and paranoia through much of my 20s. Then I rediscovered the amazing power of writing.
Writing serves many functions. For many, it’s an art. For some, it’s a profession. Writing saved my life. I was borderline suicidal. In the midst of the hardest times dealing with the aftermath of an abusive cult, I picked up a pen. I began to release pent-up emotions through songwriting. Songs led to stories. Stories led to a book. All the while, I was getting healed.
Writing is More than Art, It’s Therapy
We write to communicate. We write to inspire others. If we work hard, we can make a living from our writing. Writing is also intensely personal. For anyone who has suffered an abusive past, writing can be our best form of therapy. If that’s you, here’s how you can start the healing in three steps:
1. Accept Your Past
When bad things happen to us, it’s natural to want to block them out. But blocking will backfire. I spent 12 years avoiding my hard past. Instead of letting it out, I bottled it up. My anxiety only got worse. But one day, in the midst of my angst, I wrote a song called, I Hate This Town, about my childhood memories. I was beginning to accept my past.
If you’ve struggled with any kind of abuse in your past, the first step is to accept it. It’s done. Now you need to process it. Get out a blank sheet of paper. Write anything, even if it’s just one word. Once you start, the amazing power can begin.
2. Share Your Writing
Telling others about our own demons is never easy. Although writing about our personal trauma is good therapy in itself, sharing what you’ve written will take you to the next level.
When I started this blog back in 2010, I decided to share my story. I wrote what would later become my first book, A Train Called Forgiveness, in short daily increments. I started getting positive feedback. That feedback motivated me to keep writing. My therapy had just risen a notch. And I wasn’t even paying a therapist.
Now I teach others how to blog. I’ve had several students write about their own past experiences. Whether they were victims of abuse, addiction, or bullying, sharing their stories on their blogs has helped each one of them to heal.
3. Move On and Keep Writing
You don’t have to dwell on your past. Write about it and move on. You’ll discover that as you write your story, you’ll feel a sense of freedom. You’ll let go of those pent-up emotions you’ve held onto for years. There’s an amazing power in writing as a form of catharsis.
That time you spent using writing as therapy has a fringe benefit. You just became a better writer. Hold onto that skill and keep writing.
After I finished writing my first book, I thought I was done. But there was more. A trilogy grew out of the original story. I started Hip Diggs, a blog about simple living. Now I’ve written several ebooks on simple living that include lessons I’ve learned through writing. I don’t plan to stop writing anytime soon.
The Amazing Power of Writing Is Waiting
Here’s the deal. This amazing power I’ve been discussing is available to you. Even better, it’s free. You don’t have to pay a therapist. You don’t have to sign up for a program. Just write. If someone who was the child victim of an extreme cult can use writing as healing therapy, anybody can. I encourage you to get started today.
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