How writing your own story can help your emotional pain

When we experience difficult times, writing can help us establish emotional distance from our personal pain. Writing can help us on a journey to a place within, which we may otherwise struggle to access. 

We can write about our best possible selves in our own memoirs for ourselves. We are writing our own story. We write our own truth. Writing is a process. We sift through the difficult events of our lives to bring shape to our own story.

Keeping a journal is something I often recommend as a therapist. You can record events which seem confusing. Then you can ask questions as to how, what and why such things have happened. This can help cope with anxiety as it brings some order to our thoughts and a feeling of being more in control.  

You may feel unable to write a story line. That's okay. You can simply keep a list of things that have taken place. The key is to resist judging ourselves. Just record. Simple as that.  

You are doing two things here: you are writing and trying to get out of the situation you find yourself in so that you can move forward.

Time and distance gives you perspective. Both help you see things differently. You can ask yourself what changes have or will be made because of your experience. Sometimes it is good to write about how you once were, what kind of person you were before your difficulties began to overwhelm you.

Recovering these memories can bring closure. They can also bring renewed hope and motivation.

As you write you can consider what your experiences are, what they say about you and the way you have chosen to deal with them.

Do your stories tell you that you are 'always failing', 'giving it all away', 'being taken for granted' or 'never good enough'? You then have the information to consciously search for the stories which tell a different side: times when you have stood our ground, when you have made a life changing decision. You can find those times when - seemingly against all odds - you discover a greater inner strength and a new direction.

You may discover that your 'successful times' in life were less about 'luck' and more about your own determination not to give up. Or to change course. Time is the writer's friend. It allows you to let go of anger, fear, and frustrations.

More importantly perhaps, you may begin to see that despite feeling aggrieved about what has happened to you, you probably had a part to play in your own story too.  

Above all, you can start the process of implementing change and moving onto the next chapter.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Walsall, Staffordshire, WS6
Written by Lyn Reed, MA,MBACP,Pro.Adv.Dip.PC, Pgd.Cert. in Supervision
Walsall, Staffordshire, WS6

I offer a professional, confidential counselling service. I've acquired considerable expertise and knowledge having worked in the social care field for many years. I understand life's road is often rocky!

I offer a good value high quality service especially for those living with anxiety and stress.

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