Writing as a form of therapy

Sometimes it stinks being a writer. You can’t take a day off (well, of course, in reality you can, but you won’t get paid) and you have to write your articles even if you don’t feel like writing.

I recently felt that way. I didn’t feel like writing – so I relied on my favorite form of personal therapy when things are not going the way I had hoped.

Photo credit: Curtfleenor

I wrote. But I wrote the stuff I wanted to write.

It sounds odd but writing to me is like a form of therapy to another. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t “see” things. When a friend of mine feels down and goes to a fabric store, she talks about how a bolt of fabric would look great as a vintage A-line dress, I just don’t see it.

What I see is a bolt of cloth.

When another friend takes her blue mood into her studio and comes out with a wave-washed beach scene that just screams overcast, I don’t know how she does it.

What I see is a bunch of paints.

I don’t understand how they get from here to there.

But when I’m in pain, when I’m low – just lead me to a keyboard. I seem to be able to channel thoughts and ideas that I didn’t even know I had.

This past weekend I had such a mood. I’ve mentioned it before, we have Lyme in the house and as a result we have some sick kids. Really sick kids. The problem with Lyme is that like the holes in a dyke, once you get one leak patched up, another one pops up.

It’s never-ending.

It’s exhausting.

So I did what I do best. I sat down at my laptop and did some writing. It was the kind of writing I felt compelled to do (not the kind of writing that will get me a paycheck.) I started a blog (yeah, I really need to be involved in another blog right now, she said sarcastically) on what it looked like to have chronic Lyme in the family.

The blog is here: What it looks like to have Chronic Lyme and in it I used the language I had to explain what couldn’t be explained to anyone who hasn’t been there and who doesn’t “get it.”

While I don’t know where the blog will go and I don’t even know how long it will last, like my friend’s dress or painted scene, for now, it fills a need that I am able to very clearly see.

***

Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (www.simplethrift.wordpress.com)

And, trust me, I’ll keep writing about Lyme disease until everyone understands how important it is to know about it. 

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17 thoughts on “Writing as a form of therapy

  1. I am following you on your new blog, Wendy and copied and passed the link onto a few friends who have been directly affected by Lyme. My daughter was bitten by a tick last fall and we went to the ER to have it removed, and they immediately treated her with a double-dose of doxycycline. She has been having rhumatoid-like symptoms and although she has been tested twice is coming up negative. It may or may not be Lyme related but I have scheduled an appointment with a rheumatoid doctor.
    I am a member of NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) because I am a caregiver for my daughter with Bipolar Disorder. NAMI has had several guest lecturers speaking about the issue of Lyme Disease as it relates to mental health.
    Glad you are taking your “therapy” in positive directions.
    I agree. It’s needed. Blog away!

  2. Wendy, I am praying for your family coping with Lyme disease! I have had a couple of friends with this disease and know a little about how difficult and LONG it can be! I applaud you for starting that Lyme Disease info blog! Yes, writing what one WANTS to write is often an absolute necessity, regardless of the paycheck issues!

  3. Good luck as you and your family battle Lyme disease. I agree, writing is my only therapy – it helps to clear all that stuff inside that cannot be spoken. It must be written to be wrestled to the ground and to alleviate the soul.

  4. I think why writing feels so good is that enables us to reach out and connect with others. Writing and photography are both necessities for me. Maybe that’s why blogging feels so good. Wishing you better health.

  5. I know EXACTLY what you mean about not being able to “see” things. I don’t have a creative bone in my body. But I did just recently discover how freeing it felt to write without fear. It’s nice to write for yourself and your own expression without worrying about other people. I can appreciate your bravery to write for yourself and then share it with the world.

  6. Oh, I feel so much better now. I always feel so much “less than” when others can envision things that I cannot: plans and rooms of a house on a vacant lot, how colors will look in a room or on a face; even hairstyles. You mean, I am not alone! Hallelujah!

    But give me a keyboard and/or something to read… then I’m off to the races!

    Best to you, and remember you can’t take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. :>

  7. Good luck handling those nasty health issues – sounds very worrying. But you are right, that writing is so often a refuge. I used to say that what cannot be written about doesn’t exist. And to me that has often been the case – if it’s too painful, I cannot mention it at all (yet), and if I find words to describe it, then the pain is nearly over, it’s started to heal.

  8. Thinking of you as your family deals with Lyme. So exhausting and frustrating. I am not a crafty person, but I MUST write. I can’t not write.

  9. Hi, Wendy. As a caregiver for an adult who has almost died from Lyme a number of times, this post resonated strongly with me. Bless Cathy G for sending me the links to your blog. It’s always good to share, isn’t it? I’ll be reblogging this on my blog at http://chrisdonnermysterywriter.wordpress.com/

    I’m going to be writing a book about dealing with chronic illness. I don’t think there is enough encouragement out there for families. In addition to being a writer, I’m also a grief counselor, which gives me the unique perspective of being able to analyze the loss and grief that comes from the trauma of Lyme, so I hope to be able to pass on words of advice to families. Perhaps you’ll let me interview you sometime?

    My partner’s Lyme blog is at http://ceeslife.wordpress.com/

    We were just dealing with a couple of days of hot weather, which is always a challenge. That on top of another round of doctor visits to deal with a weeping leg condition, yet another unusual complication of Lyme that we hadn’t dealt with before.

    If you ever need someone to talk to, drop me a line. I’m a great listener.

    Hugs and blessings to you and your family.

  10. Pingback: Reblog: “Writing as a form of therapy” by Wendy Thomas « Chris Donner, Mystery Writer

  11. I started writing again after my breast cancer surgery. I had written my own story and my sister suggested that I add other women’s stories. I interviewed 29 other women. It was great therapy. I realized my problems were very small compared to some of theirs. Barbara on my blog is a great example.

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