Don’t Forget To Write When You Are In Pain

Anne Bard
Anne Bard
Jun 19 · 6 min read

Time is a healer. If you wait too much, every feeling will become plain and ordinary. Stop dwelling and start writing with your blood! Now!

We Write Better When We Die.

I mean not literally dying, but close. When we are in pain curled on the floor of the bathroom, sobbing and swallowing snot and tears, clawing our fingers in our arms, scratching our skin, refusing to stand, never, ever again, we have finally access to our deepest resources, and we better not miss them.

It is when we are in this exact place, that writing is the most obvious thing to do, and no one is thinking about it.

I know it sounds like it doesn’t make any sense, I hear you saying: Seriously? Why would I do that?

You would do it because it is when you are in this place that you will find this unique connection with yourself and with your reader.

It is only when you open your veins and bleed onto the page a little that you establish contact with your reader.

Paul Gallico.

A couple of months ago, maybe one year, I was in this bathroom. And I wrote. I wrote instinctively, in between two sobs. I just wrote everything, from the most mundane detail to the deepest anatomical description of my own torture.

Was it in winter, maybe in autumn?

It was raining, and it was dark outside.

Was it a phone call, or a text or a look? Was it about words or the sudden absence of words? The sudden blackout. The wrong spot touched at the wrong time, the wrong word said. Was it me or was it him?

When you are sniffing and snorting, it doesn’t matter anymore.

The other day I was scrolling my notes, going far back into time.

I found this stuff, some old dried blood, and tears, hidden in a box, ready to get out. Carefully I opened it. It was like doing a post mortem on a living body. The body was mine.

Here’s what I found.

In this rewind exercise, I first needed to re-picture the scene, re-connect back to the torment. Where do I start? I said to myself. As I had quickly identified the Who and the What, the next natural step was obviously: the Where?

Time to start with the obvious first step of the forensics: scanning the crime scene. Our pain took place in these three dimensions, so they are going to play a significant role in our connection with ourselves, and eventually our writing.

The bathroom.

The first fall back position in the house, where we all retreat. Why?

We do that for three reasons.

The First: Hiding The Shame.

I am talking about the shame of feeling sorry for ourselves. Even alone in our house, we prefer the passive look of the tiles and the bathtub to the uptight stare of the sofa. Even the coffee table sometimes seems to frown. At least a tub is less judgmental.

The self hurting holds a prominent place in our mind while everything in our body is hurting anyway, every organ, every piece of our shrinking soul is pouring bitterness. So we better crawl to a place we associate with. Cold, tiny, wet, narrow. In short, a place our poor self-esteem can easily relate to.

The Second: Lie To Others

If we are not alone in the house, the bathroom offers a safe made up last defense. I mean a place where we can comfortably lie. Pretending to be sick keeps the embarrassing questions away. Nobody wants to know the details of your stomach bug; nobody will ask the question about who or what put you in such a state. We are preserving our intimacy. Yeah, yeah I’m fine. No, No, I don’t need help!

In your head, the real words are Leave me alone!

The Third: Contain The Filth

Last but not least, in a self reflex of liquid containment, (should I say waste) we prefer to be in a room we can easily wash, adequately connected to water supply and sewers. We never know what we are going to expel.

So here we are, head and feet stuck between the tub and the wall, faking our voice to tell everything is ok if anyone knocks the door while gaging ourselves with a bunch of towels to scream in a semi-silence.

I was there.

Embrace the beast

In reality, the bathroom didn’t matter. I was in a retreat inside me, falling in the abyss of my mind, of my own body, facing all my darkest thoughts finally free, liberated, naked.

There is no softness down there, no subtleties. Everything is gross, raw, real and should I say… pure.

The beast is out, and I can finally see it, I can talk to it, hysterically petting it, and watching myself falling in some dementia. Oblivious to my surroundings.

You better not be around when I am down there. I don’t need any help; I don’t want any help. I want to stay there, stay with the beast.

Writing starts down there

It is where my writing comes into play.

I have not forgotten my phone. The object of the self-inflicted harm. Sharper than the razor blade I wish to shove in my wrists. More poisonous than any pill I want to hold in my hands. A window opened on my stupidity through where I could ask the entire world:

Why me, why now? Am I going to die? Tell me my sentence now, I deserve everything all of it, now harm me. I’m waiting.

This phone is the knife you can twist in every wound for badness against yourself, the salt you can rub on your open wounds, the shit in which you can bury yourself.

Pain to annihilate the pain. Wound to offset the wound.

The weapon you can hold yourself. Not against the perpetrator who put you there, you have forgotten him or her long ago, but against yourself.

In this fabricated reality, the entire world tragedy is your fault.

But in these deepest place, where all the distracting reality has disappeared, where you are finally with yourself without any filter; you reconnect to the source, back to this womb where you come from.

In this tiny place, you have enough space to open the note App. So, open it. Open it and write.

Write everything. Down there you are harvesting raw ore, don’t refine it take it as gross as it is. Blood is writing gold.

Because you know you will get out. You know you will not die. You have been there already; you know this place. So you know you will stand again, even though your will seems gone. It will come back. And you know it.

So when I am down there, I don’t forget to write. I write the horrible details, the frightening things but damn authentic.

Stop dwelling and write with your blood. Now!

Waiting is a mistake because time makes everything plain.

It is not about feeling sorry for yourself; what is essential is to know that you are going to get out.

Therefore you are not talking about your pain, you are telling a story. To you, and to your reader. And this is this connection that will get you out.

Writing heals. Writing through your pain is not only a token of the depth of your story, but it also changes you in the process.

It is how we establish contact with ourselves, and with the other humans.

Ancients called it catharsis.

So, stop dwelling and start writing with your blood! Now!

The Post-Grad Survival Guide

We're confused twenty-somethings, but we know the 9–5 isn't for us. Tips on blogging, freelancing, and building your side hustle. A good bit of life lessons and travel tips thrown in, too. Living life on our own terms.

Anne Bard

Written by

Anne Bard

Traveling and working Mum. Visual thinker, Storyteller, Social alchemist at work... and after. I have a plan: write more and make people smile! 🌟🌱🌸

The Post-Grad Survival Guide

We're confused twenty-somethings, but we know the 9–5 isn't for us. Tips on blogging, freelancing, and building your side hustle. A good bit of life lessons and travel tips thrown in, too. Living life on our own terms.