Writing as Therapy Misha Herwin
It’s often been said that if you want to get rid of unexpressed anger against a significant person in your life then write them a letter, don’t send it, but after due time either re-read and destroy, or just destroy. The feelings should then become manageable, just as writing about the loss of someone close helps to mitigate the pain. Or it can be a way of dealing with childhood trauma, or a difficult divorce, or to enable coming to terms with the diagnosis of terminal illness, either your own or of someone you love.
This month I was going to explore all this idea in depth. I was going to look at this genre of writing and try to understand whether there was indeed a therapeutic benefit for the writer or their readers, or whether it is simply that there is something in us that draws us to another’s pain.
The events of this past week, however, have well and truly put paid to that plan. Visiting husband in hospital, he had been admitted with a heart problem, meant that there was little time to write but even if there had been, putting down what I was feeling would actually have made things worse. The one occasion when I did note down my fears left me distraught. It was far better to talk things through with my friends who were there to comfort and support.
As things turned out, Mike is home and better than he had been, but I’m no closer to being able to write about what happened. Judging from previous experience it will take time to process and even then I suspect that it will emerge not as memoir but in my fiction.
This blog has of necessity been brief. It would be interesting to know if any fellow writers have found writing as a therapy helpful.