Writing is a Form of Therapy

I’ve had some feelings of loneliness and anxiousness the past couple of weeks. I’ve been inside my head a lot — a phrase Tyler and I use when I’m quiet around the house. I’ve felt afraid of the future and a little uneasy about several things happening in life — without words to articulate those thoughts or feelings.

I’ve been combatting these feelings with all of my tricks. I’ve gone on walks. I’ve done some yoga. I’ve cut down on sugar. I stopped drinking afternoon coffee. I took social apps off of my phone. I read more. I paid the second round of monthly bills and updated the budget (sometimes avoiding the budget makes me anxious, so I avoid it more. What can I say? I’m an enigma).

I think I found the problem: I haven’t been writing this week.

How do you process your thoughts? My Tyler is a verbal processor. I make time in my day to be a good listener for him, and I try to make sure that I am available and attentive when he needs to talk. Sometimes, he follows me around the house while I attend to laundry and picking up and cooking dinner and he talks and talks and talks. The man has a lot of words stuffed in his brain, and he needs to get them out in the open to straighten out the wires.

I have other friends who process their thoughts by running? (I’m not sure why we are friends, really.) They run and think, and their thoughts come together. I joke, but this sort of processing is fascinating to me. How do you come back from a run with your problem solved? Don’t you now have two problems? A collapsed lung AND a situation with your boss? I’m teasing runners. I admire you. Long walkers or swimmers or other sportsball people seem to find the same sorts of processing time. The forced physical focus of the brain to what the body is doing allows people time to sort out the issues going on. It makes sense.

Even when I don’t publish things on my blog, I’m almost always writing. It’s how I process and think about what’s going on in life. I have volumes of journals in the attic, under my bed, in my purse, on my laptop. I’m always writing somewhere.

This quote from Graham Greene has been sitting in my Drafting File for months, and I pulled it open today and read it like I haven’t read it ever before:

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear, which is inherent in a human situation.”

I’m aware that many people on earth go about living life without one thought about our existence. There are people who just do the things you are supposed to do without having feelings of fear or anxiousness about the future. They just seem to power through life, blasting a smile, and, you know, get their life together.

I am not one of those people. Yes, overall, I am a positive person. I love finding “the funny” in everyday things. In fact, I enjoy my life most days. I’m incredibly lucky to have what I have. I know all of these things, but I am also someone who finds life to be incredibly sad. And I’m usually okay with sad. In fact, I find that books or movies are more beautiful when they have a little sadness in them.

But when I leave my thoughts and feelings and emotions all stuffed inside my brain, my wires get crossed, and I can’t seem to process life like I normally do. I need to write about those things instead.

Therapy is an excellent form of therapy — don’t get me wrong. But writing is a daily maintenance form of therapy that is incredibly helpful to me. I need to write for my sanity, not just as a professional skill. In fact, this little blog post is already helping me start my day in a better place. I need to remember that.

Kelly WiggainsComment