Why I Write

It’s an unusually warm, long and beautiful Autumn here in the Midwest, which has afforded me precious time to sit on my deck and reflect over the whirlwind of the past year. Releasing Untangled, emerging from the shadows of silence, a year of blogging, speaking to groups and now preparing to collaborate on an exciting project has me asking myself, Why do I write?

When I speak to groups and open it up for questions, I’m almost always asked, what made you write a book, or have you always been a writer? The answer to both is, “no!” I never wrote anything beyond copy for ads, or random newsletter articles for my jobs before 2011. I didn’t keep a journal, never was a huge letter writer, I really never gave writing a thought.

When I began therapy my therapist suggested that I journal. Most of us have been told by our therapist’s to journal our thoughts and feelings. I despised journaling. I would become so emotional, because often, the pages looked like one big opus for wanting to end my life. I would literally tear up the pages after I wrote them, despondent because I couldn’t separate my feelings from what I wanted to write about. It was all emotion and no substance, no thoughts, no depth and it felt destructive. So I refused to continue to journal.

But, I found myself writing emails to my therapist and we would talk about them at our next session. It was becoming evident that I was looking for a way to write down my thoughts. My therapist went to a conference on PTSD. At the conference, he learned that when clients journaled on a keyboard, (not pen and paper) that it was easier for them to keep journaling. The act of using a keyboard was incorporating bilateral stimulation which helped put some distance between the terrible trauma and intense feelings and they were able to keep writing longer. That made perfect sense to me, so I began to use writing as a healing tool.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. At first, I strictly used it for bilateral stimulation. I would write and send what I wrote off to my therapist. I started to find that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud.  At first, I think it provided distance from having to use my voice, but then I found it actually gave me a voice.  When I still couldn’t speak a truth, I found if I read it out loud to my therapist, that I was speaking the truth. 

The courage to share my writing with others happened because a friend wanted to understand what was happening to me. She knew I had just been diagnosed with PTSD and wanted to know what it felt like, so she could understand and be supportive. I had always been the master of wearing many masks, and deflecting any conversation away from me, all with a supportive smile for everyone else. But when I couldn’t hide my illness any longer my friends reached out. They wanted to be there, but I couldn’t verbalize it. I was confused, ashamed, scared and thought everyone who loved me would run away if they knew the real me. Since I couldn’t really explain it,  I wrote a poem (My PTSD) and began sharing it with people who asked what it felt like to have PTSD.

Seven years after that first assignment to journal on a keyboard, I have written four books, had a number of published articles and just celebrated a year on my wonderful blog. I reflect on writing from a different perspective. Now, I write because I love to share what I’m thinking, feeling or musing over. I write because I’ve had feedback from others, to help give them a voice, to put feelings into words that they may be unable to describe. Writing is a way to be seen and heard, especially by a group who suffers from mental illness and are often marginalized.

I write because I will no longer be shamed into silence. But, I also control the volume of my voice. I want to be effective in destigmatizing mental illness, invisible illness, for me, PTSD. I know that I’m a quiet word of mouth writer. It fits my personality. I love the writers who are more vocal, and speak with confidence and often, they know the volume of their voice and can reach a much wider audience.

I write because it fills my cup, it satisfies my creativity and it keeps me connected to the world. I care deeply about what I write and share, hoping that the connection between us continues to grow. Sometimes that starts with a simple written word.

Why do you write?

 

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Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

 

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49 thoughts on “Why I Write

  1. Alexis Rose February 23, 2017 / 10:46 am

    Thank You Sam. Im so sorry for your loss. I will definitely stop over to your blog. 😊

    Like

  2. samba2017 February 23, 2017 / 9:05 am

    I really loved this blog post – thank you very much for sharing. I lost my Father just over a year ago and started writing poetry on an almost daily basis from that point onwards. Poems are my therapy. I have just started a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you have time to have a look. Thanks again and have a good day! Sam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alexis Rose November 18, 2016 / 3:20 am

    Thank You! Im glad this resonated with you. Im looking forward to reading your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shruti Bakshi November 18, 2016 / 2:43 am

    Great post echoes my feelings about writing too. Sometimes poems come out easier and more authentic than a verbal response in a conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alexis Rose November 14, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    This is wonderful insight. Writing is such a wonderful way speak our truth. I love the 3rd persona way of thinking. It’s a great way to engage to bring out your strength and confidence. Thank You for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. therollsblog November 14, 2016 / 10:45 am

    I think I write simply because I have neither the nerve or confidence to talk out loud. Whether it’s meeting new people or addressing issues. I’ve always created a 3rd persona. If you like myself but in a parallel universe. A more confident and stronger me. I completely get it. Good work btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Alexis Rose November 14, 2016 / 5:10 am

    Thank You! Im so glad that this is relateable. Helps keep me writing too. Happy we’ve connected. Have a good night! 🙂

    Like

  8. keabop November 14, 2016 / 4:48 am

    It makes me feel relieved to know that I am not the only writer who believes in speaking up. I can completely relate you your need to speak to mental Illness and it’s stigmatization. I am greatful to you for your blog and openness.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Alexis Rose November 12, 2016 / 4:58 pm

    Thank You! Isnt it interesting what are brains help us do?! I hope you have a wonderful weekend 💕💕

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Rebel Recovery November 12, 2016 / 4:41 pm

    This is a really strong piece of writing. Interesting about the keyboard and bilateral stimulation — it makes sense but I’d never thought about it before. Excited to hear more about your new collaborative project! Sending you my best. A.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alexis Rose November 12, 2016 / 3:45 pm

    Thank You SO much for reblogging this post. I really appreciate it! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  12. PatchworkKat November 12, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    Reblogged this on The Patchwork Diaries and commented:
    “The act of using a keyboard was incorporating bilateral stimulation which helped put some distance between the terrible trauma and intense feelings and they were able to keep writing longer. That made perfect sense to me, so I began to use writing as a healing tool.”

    That, among other reasons, is why blogging worked to premote my own personal healing where scribbling in paper journals for so many years failed. It’s all a part of the process. This post is a wonderful read, click through and check it out!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Alexis Rose November 12, 2016 / 1:40 am

    Thank You Ruth-Anne. Its so awesome how you feel lighter after writing. Thank You so much for your kind words. Its been wonderful connecting through our blogs. Have a great weekend! 😀 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ruth-Anne West November 12, 2016 / 1:11 am

    That’s amazing! Never thought of keyboard typing as bilateral stimulation but it makes so much sense why I feel 1000 lbs lighter after a writing session 🙂 I’m so inspired by how you turned your trauma into gifts and wisdom. Thank you for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Alexis Rose November 12, 2016 / 12:48 am

    Thank You! I love hearing the reasons why you write. I look forward to reading your poetry. Take good care this weekend! Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Alexis Rose November 12, 2016 / 12:46 am

    Thank You! Wow, I love your insight. I have found how healing writing is for so many people today, a natural support in our collective healing. Keep writing, you’re so awesome! Have a wonderful weekend. 💜 Alexis

    Liked by 2 people

  17. flashlight batteries November 12, 2016 / 12:45 am

    I found your evolution as a writer very interesting to read about, especially the part about keyboarding versus hand written. I have found typing to be far less restrictive when I am writing poetry.
    I write because I want to give something to others, to connect with others, but mostly because the words just pour out of me.
    I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. no face woman November 11, 2016 / 11:58 pm

    What a beautiful message to share. I’m so glad I read this because since I’ve been writing it’s become so apparent just how much I hold inside. I’ve questioned whether anyone in my life really knows anything about me… but it’s clear I need to write down my thoughts or they’ll drive me insane. The point you made about reading your writing to your therapist and realising you were speaking the truth has given me the hope that I might be able to use this approach to begin sharing a little myself, if I can bring myself to see a therapist. Anyway, I ramble, but thank you for writing this, it’s really touched me 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Singledust November 11, 2016 / 11:27 pm

    Aww this is the sweetest compliment anyone has ever given me and I am blushing, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. We have a symbiotic relationship then as I also feed off your words and emotions that come through your personal sharing. Each one of us a gift we share willingly and happily I suppose then. Happy weekend to you too Alexis!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Alexis Rose November 11, 2016 / 11:15 pm

    I love hearing how you heal through your fiction writing. It gives you such a wide canvas to paint with your words. And you do it so well. I still think about the letter that never made it into the mailbox…that is just one of my favorites. You are a huge inspiration to me, I dont have the ability to write like that. Its a gift for sure! Have a great weekend my friend. 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Alexis Rose November 11, 2016 / 11:11 pm

    This gives me chills! I love that you found a way to care for your tender heart and find refuge at a young age with writing. You’re such an inspiration. Healing together through our blogs is a wonderful gift. Have a great weekend! 💕 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Singledust November 11, 2016 / 11:02 pm

    what an amazing journey Alexis! Each time I read your words I am in awe that you went through so much and yet the real you was always under the surface and waiting to break free. You are an inspiration to many! I write because it also gives me a chance to release the sadness I have inside but I am a long way from writing a lot of the facts that surround the sadness, one day maybe, for now its all mixed up with the fiction! Thank you for such a lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. emergingfromthedarknight November 11, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    Ive written since I was very small. I felt alone as if i could only tell the blank page. I dont think I could have survived without a place to put my real thoughts and self. Some days its still hard to share it, my blog only has a small following but its my dearest treasure in my healing from neglect and Complx PTSD. I loved this post. 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Christy B November 11, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    Thank you for being so vulnerable in this post xx

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Alexis Rose November 11, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    Thank You so much for reblogging this Jason! You made my day!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. summerstartstoshine November 11, 2016 / 4:49 pm

    You will have to tell me about your collaboration by email if it isn’t hush hush 😁 Sounds exciting!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Alexis Rose November 11, 2016 / 4:47 pm

    Thank You my friend! I LOVE blogging. If it wasnt for blogging we would never have met…just the thought of that makes me sad! So lets keep bl/vlogging. 😃❤️👊🏼💜👭

    Like

  28. summerstartstoshine November 11, 2016 / 4:45 pm

    Fascinating! I also find typing is less emotional than writing and never knew why so I’m so glad you told me that!!! About the bilateral stimulation! That makes sense. I am so glad you write. I will never forget your book and hope you will keep blogging. You were born to write 😊😁😘

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Alexis Rose November 11, 2016 / 4:08 pm

    I love this Esther! I love how its natural for you to write. A great gift that you get to share. And I totally understand that fear of someone getting hold if a private journal. Have a great weekend! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Alexis Rose November 11, 2016 / 4:06 pm

    Thank You! You gotta love those days where something tangible comes from reflection 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Alexis Rose November 11, 2016 / 4:05 pm

    Thank You! Im so glad we’ve connected! 😃

    Like

  32. Esther November 11, 2016 / 3:57 pm

    I write because I love it. I have never really questioned the reason why I write. It is a natural thing. However, Writing emotions isn’t as easy. Several times, I have tried keeping a journal but I end up tearing it and trashing it. Mostly because I don’t even like reading it, plus the fear of someone getting hold of it.

    Liked by 2 people

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