How Writing Has Helped Change My Life
And How Powerful The Written Word Can Be
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
— Anne Frank
I used to suffer from crippling anxiety. I don’t mean worrying a little here and there. It was much, much worse. My anxiety would not allow me to sleep and led to panic attacks. I experienced it daily, and it didn’t matter what I was doing. It was there at work, at home, with my kids, and when I was alone. It was my shadow — in the light and especially in the dark.
I isolated myself for a long time because of the anxiety. The anxiety and isolation combined led to depression — which led to even more isolation. It became a merry-go-round of debilitating emotions, and there wasn’t any way to stop the ride.
However, my anxiety is nothing like it used to be because I’ve learned how to not let it control me. Now, it is rare because I’ve learned what helps me manage it — and writing is one of those things.
Like a lot of you, writing allows me to get the thoughts out of my head and onto the screen or paper. It allows me to let go of the emotions I’ve held in for so long. It’s helpful to me.
I’ll be honest, I don’t have many close friends I can tell all the stuff I write about to. Medium (along with running) is my therapist. The laptop is my confidant.
And instead of losing sleep worrying about hating my job or life, I may lose sleep over writing ideas. Or whether I clapped for that article I commented on. I used to hold everything in, and at nighttime was when most of it entered my brain and kept me awake.
Now I let my emotions go throughout the day by writing, so when I put my head down for the night, the bad stuff no longer occupies space in my head. And it leaves space for all the good stuff. Because of writing.
However, writing itself is not a magic pill. It alone has not diminished my anxiety. But along with running, changing careers, and no longer isolating myself, writing has been one of the most important aspects of changing my life — and I’m thankful I have the opportunity to share it with all of you. I’m also thankful I get to read what you have shared.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
— Anaïs Nin
The written word is a thing of beauty.
And writing, whether it’s on here, in a personal journal, or anywhere else, is important because it allows us to get rid of everything we hold inside.
We can tell stories and experiences all our own — they can be made up or true. We can be sad, happy, or angry if we want. We can rant or just let it flow without any plan.
And it all comes out in the words written. It is there for all to see.
Writing helps give us control of our thoughts and emotions. It gives you a way to share with others no matter the topic. What a powerful tool writing can be.
You see it every day on Medium and in other blogs. You can feel the pain, the hurt, the happiness, and the triumphs. You can share in the tragedies and connections between others. Every piece is written from a person’s heart — even if you don’t agree with it. Every article, poem, book, or any other written word which allows us to learn or to get lost for a while is important.
That is writing. It’s alive and pulsing. It shares heartbreak and love. It gives a voice to those who have none. And it loves to be read.
The written word doesn’t care whether you are rich, poor, black or white. Writing just wants an audience regardless of your status. It needs to be read. It is there waiting for the reader whether it is one person or one million.
Writing does not require you to be an expert. It doesn’t need you to be fit, young, old, or perfect. All it requires is that you write. Daily, weekly, monthly, it doesn’t matter. One piece of writing can have a tremendous impact on thousands — and it could have been written today or hundreds of years ago.
Because the written word is eternal. Timeless.
It’s such a wonderful thing which many take for granted. Myself included. So I will no longer take it for granted. I will appreciate what writing has done for me and everyone else.
Whether or not it provides an impact to others, I will continue to write. Because it has impacted me in ways I could not have imagined.
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