We are often encouraged to write out our trauma memories. As an author, I am definitely a supporter of this process and understand what it can do for the mind, body and spirit.
Often I have spoken with trauma survivors who don’t have any kind of outlet for the pain they are holding in. So it sits in their skin like weights. It becomes despair, sinking them deeper into hopelessness and the unknown.
When I ask them if they’ve ever tried writing out these moments, there is one phrase I hear the most.
“I’m not a very good writer.”
This is what has inspired me to share some things with you about the writing process.
Writing out your trauma has nothing to do with whether you deem yourself a prolific writer or not. Writing out your trauma is simply about getting it out.
In her book, “PTSD: Time To Heal”, Cathy O’Brien stresses the importance of writing by hand. I completely agree and have at least 5-6 journals going at once. For me, the reason I hand write certain things is because it makes my brain slow down. It lets me really pause to do sensory recall. I sometimes will have a crude, coinciding sketch emerge.
I also can tell who inside of me is scribing based on my handwriting. One of us writes in all caps. Another tends to use cursive. Another is messy and lazy with writing, and her wrist will start burning and become tired quickly. A couple speak telepathically and I am their scribe.
My writing out a memory may, in the beginning, look like this:
So dark in here
Smells like mold
Do demons really lurk in shadows?
Don’t want to go back there in the back part.
What if a demon gets inside of me?
Where is the boy who usually is here to help?
I hope it’s not a mean boy.
I don’t always use full sentences. I get in a first person voice so I can re-visit it in the present. I will use fragments of sentences, literally writing whatever comes to my mind. Sometimes more information about that memory will come later, and I will go back to write more on that particular page.
The point, you see, is not to feel the pressure of writing well, or to put out a novel or even a blog, unless you want to. It has nothing to do with writing skills and everything to do with Purging and Visualizing.
Have you ever had a difficult time grasping a concept until you saw it outlined for you? Our memories can work the same way. Writing out even one or two word phrases can open up our minds, expansively allowing more to emerge.
So when you are writing out your trauma, remember it’s not about the manner of your writing. It’s about the ink letting of your pain.
Remember to get through it, and not stay in it.