WRITING TO HEAL FROM TRAUMA

Yes, she’s had a long history of traumatic life events, but shouldn’t those scars be completely healed by now?

Image of person writing

It is the perfect storm which seems to come out of nowhere. Yes, she’s had a long history of traumatic life events, but shouldn’t those scars be completely healed by now? The experiences that caused her so much pain now appear to be on a loop tape. How does she keep running into the same circumstances encountering the same people as the last time? It seems that the only thing that changes are the peoples’ names.

THE REARVIEW MIRROR OF THE PAST

At this point of her life, shouldn’t those memories be long in the rearview mirror of her past? Of course, it has not helped that recently life around her has seemed like one bad nightmare of a circus. She feels helpless.

NEVER BETTER?

Some days just the thought of getting out of bed takes more energy than running a marathon.  There is just no more energy to give. Weighed down, 100 lb. weights tied to her ankles. Will it never get better?

This is life dealing with trauma.  It locks you down and freezes you into place. Sandra Marinella recalls: “I learned this as I sat on the edge of the black velvet chair in the chalk-white, sterile office. My heart clenched as I waited for a doctor I did not want to meet. The door swung open, and a chalk-white radiologist entered and motioned me to sit back. I began to choke, and tears of nervous anticipation flooded my eyes. And then it seemed as if we were trapped in a black-and-white 16mm movie of my life, a scary, surreal film — the kind of strange avant-garde ones Andy Warhol used to make in the ’60s. There was no sound but the ghostly doctor mouthing the words, “You have cancer.”

IS MY STORY REPAIRABLE?

In Warhol style the film, appropriately titled Cancer, was projected onto dark walls — and it was showing my story. Then the projector clicked and sputtered and went silent. Suddenly my story seemed to have slipped off the spool and was cascading to the basement of my mind as ribbons of unwound, damaged film. Can this film — my story — be repaired?” (The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss)

Is your film, your story, repairable? Yes, oh yes!  What are some steps toward healing?

  • Experience your pain and grief
  • Break your silence and find your voice
  • Accept and piece together a difficult or broken story
  • Find meaning or make sense of your event or story
  • Rewrite your story and find ways to reconnect with your health: physical, spiritual, emotional and mental

Take a pen and begin to write. Don’t be concerned with spelling or grammar, wondering if your writing is “any good”, or succeeding or failing, I challenge you to play around with a writing prompt this week. Begin by writing one or more statements that follow this form: “I want to…but I can’t because…” Examples are: “I want to move, but I can’t because I don’t make enough money.” “I want to find a find a friend, but I can’t because I suffer from shyness.” “I want to undertake a new challenge, but I can’t because I believe I am too old.”

Connect your statement with a dilemma currently face. Then answer these questions:  What is my dream? What obstacles are making it hard to accomplish my dream? How can I face this challenge? Write from your heart. Tell yourself the truth. It may be surprising what you learn. Ernest Hemingway wrote: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down with paper and bleed” Similar, but not the same, is my earlier post “Writing Your Story and Changing the Ending”.

Try learning to write (or sing) to the Lord a new song. It could be quite refreshing. Please let me know what you learn.

Author: Jacquelin Stoner

I have had years of walking alongside of individuals, encouraging those who want to change, but need help navigating to the better place God has envisioned for their lives. I believe Christ is central to genuine lasting life change.

Delight in helping women to discover wholeness in their "New Normal".