How Writing Became a Creative Healing Strategy for One Former Victim of Abuse
I found true emotional healing after years of journal writing and purging myself through fiction.
Sometimes, life deals people a really crappy hand, and all you can do is play the cards that you’re dealt. This was true for me as a kid, just like it was for lots of other unfortunate children who grow up in foster care. Kids like us were no strangers to abuse, both before and after entering the system.
Physical, and even verbal abuse can both have side effects, but sexual abuse can often do the most emotional damage; damage that no one can see with the naked eye. This is especially true if the victim never confided or told anyone; thus was never really able to find healing.
Seeking Survival Strategies
Sufferers from abuse must have effective survival strategies, in order to cope with the emotional aftermath. These “survival strategies” amount to finding different ways just to live with yourself. For me personally, writing is one of the best and most effective ways.
No matter who the abuser was and how long the abuse lasted, just because you were able to move on doesn’t mean that you’re truly okay. In fact, in many ways, you may never be okay. The best that most survivors can ever dare hope for is a healthy coping mechanism. For a lot of us survivors, that coping mechanism is (or can be) writing.
Sometimes, adults who were victims of abuse can find the true healing they need, by articulating their pain through writing. I found this to be true in my own case, and I firmly believe that others can do the same. It’s really liberating, expressing yourself and your pain, through some form of creativity. Even though it doesn’t necessarily have to be writing, and some other creative activity might do, writing is an excellent way to purge yourself.
Journal Writing Fear
When I first started journal writing, I was timid and too afraid to write what I was really feeling. Even though I knew I had absolutely no plans for anyone else to read what I wrote, I still censored myself for a long time. It took months for me to finally get comfortable with the idea of jotting down precisely what was on my mind.
Eventually, journal writing allowed me to clear my head of private thoughts that made me anxious or full of negative energy. I began regurgitating all those bad memories that secretly haunted my subconscious, just like demons in my sleep.
Before I knew it, I was writing about things buried so deep in my mind that I never even knew they were there. I guess you could say I kind of underwent a form of hypnosis through my writing. It would still take several years before I really started sharing my truth, but thanks to journaling, the healing process had begun.
Fiction Brings Freedom
My love for words and books has always been evident; in school when I was young, and also when I got older and became a journalism major. But none of the writing that I did back then ever compared to the eventual freedom I felt after publishing my second novel, “Skipping Childhood: From Abused Foster Child to Adolescent Serial Killer.”
While using my creativity and writing a work of fiction, I took the opportunity to inject some actual childhood events. This helped add authenticity to the type of story I was crafting. Gradually, I was able to open up about quite a few painful and very personal experiences. Since releasing my book in 2014, more and more, I’ve been able to write about difficult topics, and not even hiding behind fiction to do it.
Revealing my truth through fiction finally brought me a sense of freedom from the past. It propelled me down the road to recovery and true healing. But you don’t have to have a painful past of child abuse to be in need of some kind of healing. Your pain may stem from someone or something else, that you haven’t been able to totally recover from. Perhaps writing about it can help.
Give Writing a Try
If you’re intimidated by the idea of putting your deepest and darkest secrets down on paper (or a computer screen), why not start off simple. First get used to writing your thoughts and ideas that are not so dark or secret, merely just private thoughts. Try hard not to censor yourself. It’s won’t be easy, but you have got to get used to the idea of writing like no one will read what you write (because after all, no one really has to).
The more you write, the easier it will start to get. Don’t bother trying to go over what you write, at least not anytime soon. You should not allow yourself to get stuck on going over your words and editing your “freestyle” work. The whole point of this type of therapeutic writing is to get it out, not to read it; not even to share it, but simply to get it out.
There’s no better time than the present to start writing to emancipate yourself. Don’t plan what you will say or think about it, just write. Don’t underestimate the power of writing. It might just be the type of creative healing you need.