Have you ever felt like Alice in Wonderland when you approach sensitive topics for your journal or memoir? Or wonder if answering painful questions when interviewed is worth the effort? When I lose sleep over painful issues in my life, I see Alice’s rabbit hole and fear falling down into the labyrinth of memories. Will I risk getting stuck in the quagmire of thoughts unspooling from the dark recesses of my soul? As memories stir I can feel the rough edges and instinctively rear back, startled, backpedaling to safer places in my psyche. The minute of revelation is poised on a pinprick of time, holding some strange power over me as I resist being submerged in a snarled tangle of unresolved issues.
So what good could possibly come from entertaining memories of pain, what good from assigning words to the mess? You can’t change the past!
Studies have shown there are actually health benefits from writing or talking, such as lowered blood pressure, and increased immune and cardio-vascular function. Some people have even experienced relief of symptoms like asthma or arthritis pain. Emotional health benefits are touted too, like relief from depression or enhanced happiness as memories are put into words. Stress reduction, both emotional and physical is another benefit. A good book that reiterates these truths is Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives by Louise Desalvo if you’re interested in reading more about why and how you should write a journal or memoir!
Writing down your feelings can actually be your ladder out of that rabbit hole. The dangers of being stuck in the quagmire all but vanish as you find words for your story. Tangled cobwebs of thought are freed, thoughts that had been spiraling into themselves wreaking havoc on your soul clarify until they can enjoy the light of day. Seeing your thoughts and feelings on paper can make your experience more real and can lead to a final resolution of issues. May peace reign!
Take charge by writing about an emotional upheaval in your life. Your thoughts will become coherent and you’ll have a story that will enrich your memoir. Or tear those pages up, burn them, and you’ll reap the benefits of calm and peace.