Meet My New Therapist
How Writing Helped Save Us
Throughout my life, I have had many struggles and low points. No more than the average person I’m sure. More often than not, I turn to writing to help me through the hard times and rough patches. When there’s no one to talk to, I can write. When no one can or will listen, I can write. I believe writing is therapy, much less expensive therapy.
During this past year my mom who has Alzheimer’s forgot who I was. Her illness has slowly robbed her of her memories, and she missed many events in our lives. So during my two week summer class with GMWP, I wrote her a letter telling her all the things I would have liked to tell her during the past five years that I couldn’t because she couldn’t understand. It was therapeutic for me to write that letter.
Five years ago when my daughter Katie was in 7th grade, she hit an extremely rough time where she was cutting and even was hospitalized for suicide ideation. I journaled a great deal during that time period, and I know it helped me keep my head above water. Writing was also a lifeline for her as she struggled to figure out her life. She wrote beautiful poems, dark yet beautiful. She discovered her gift with figurative language and words. She wrote volumes of heart felt, exquisite poems. Writing helped to save her life. She also journaled and made art journals. Her pain turned into something we could all appreciate because of the written words she used.
When my son Mitch went off to Marine Boot Camp last year, I wrote him a letter every single day. I never missed a day, and poured my heart out to him in those letters. I got to tell him things I didn’t have the courage to when he was home. I gave him all the advice and encouragement I could think of and copied out my favorite quotes and poems. I’m not sure if he read them all because they were so long, and he was short on time, but they were just the therapy I needed to keep him close in my heart.
And he did write thirteen of his own letters back to me. He was so homesick at first, and it broke my heart, but I just kept writing to him every day. I encouraged him to hang in there and tried to lift his spirits with each note. I have to believe that the letters he wrote home to me were also a therapy for him. I’ll treasure those letters for as long as I live. In them he wrote that he missed me and he loved me — something he has rarely voiced to me in his nineteen years.
Writing was a bridge that connected mother to son, a comforting lifejacket that saved my daughter’s life, and a memory cache that allowed me to share sorrows with my missing mom.
This I believe!