I’m excited to introduce one of my favorite bloggers, WIL, of Write Into The Light, who accepted my request to be a guest blogger today.
I ran into the bedroom and slammed the door behind me; falling to the bed, I screamed into my pillow.
He’s being unreasonable! He doesn’t understand. I can’t take this anymore! I thought.
My husband and I just had a major fight, and my first instinct was to run away, literally – like from home, but I stifled that urge by going to the bedroom only. My next urge was to run away mentally by drinking or cutting, but I had come so far in my recovery I knew these were not options for me. So, I called a friend instead, but got her voice mail.
Ugh! The emotions were boiling out of me; I had to give them release. They were drowning me, sucking me into an abyss of anger, sadness, fear, and pain. So, I picked up my pen and journal and began to write.
I wrote in a frenzy anything that came to mind. The pen ripped through parts of the pages, my hand started to cramp, and I couldn’t see the words through my tears, but I kept writing until I could breathe again.
Writing has always provided me with this type of emotional release. It helps me to sort through my thoughts and feelings, increases my focus, allows me to get to know myself better, and helps me to solve my problems by seeing them more objectively, literally in black and white.
Dr. James Pennebaker, a researcher in Texas, has conducted studies that show that when people write about emotionally difficult events or feelings for just 20 minutes over three or four days, their immune system functioning increases. Dr. Pennebaker’s studies indicate that the release writing offers directly impacts the body’s ability to withstand stress and fight off infection and disease.
Other experts say that journaling can help people to manage anxiety, reduce stress and cope with depression by helping them prioritize their problems, fears and concerns; track symptoms day-to-day so they can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them, and identify negative thought and behavior patterns over time. All of this is definitely true for me.
I believe in the mental health benefits of journaling so much that it is the premise for my entire blog, Write into the Light. In addition to writing on my blog, I also keep a private journal notebook at home. No audience, no edits, no rules.
Moreover, I don’t just journal during times of emotional turmoil. I also write to process through my days’ events, to list things for which I am grateful, to write letters that never get sent, and to pen poems.
If you are interesting in journaling, but are not sure how to get started, I invite you to visit me at Write into the Light where I write about all things mental health, including a Weekend Mental Health Writing Prompt to help get you writing.
Wil is a mental health writer, wife, and mother and a recovered alcoholic with Bipolar Type II and Anxiety Disorders and BPD traits. She is the founder and editor of Turtle Way, an online literary art journal for those with mental illness. She blogs at Write into the Light. Find her on Facebook and Twitter @writen2thelight