1. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Writing as Therapy

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Justin Rocket 2, Jun 18, 2013.

    I've got a spinal injury which causes chronic pain and one of the experts I see is a mental healthy counselor to deal with the depression associated with that chronic pain (chronic pain usually occurs with depression). I don't say that for sympathy, but so that you've got a context for the following.

    My counselor gave me a new trick to try to kind of stop a pain spiral (ie. when an increase in pain leads to an increase in depression and stress which leads to an increase in pain, etc.).

    He said to try to name as many X as possible within a minute. "X" can be 'flowers', 'states west of the Mississippi', 'countries east of Germany', etc. As I try to come up with the next item on the list, my brain becomes more and more focused on trying to think of that item. It shifts my brain away from my pain.

    I told him I'd try to use it in coming up with charater traits or plot points or something else in one of my stories and he said that was a great idea.

    So, that's what I'm offering. If you suffer from chronic pain or anxiety or something else that ends up distracting you, try to take a minute and come up with items on a list related to your story (ex. character traits). You'll find it's very helpful.

    Are there other writing exercises you've found help you deal with something in your life?
     
  2. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    I have a small, perhaps 3 inch x 3 inch, book with blank pages that was given to me as a gift. From time to time, I find myself deeply considering certain issues in my life, or stressors, and stumble upon some pithy phrase that captures the problems I'm facing. That phrase goes into the book. It's my title book. I reference it later for inspiration or ideas for writing, titles for my pieces, etc.
     
  3. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    I write to keep my own world on an even keel. Severe heart problems have put a damper on what, until just a few years ago, had been a normal life. (I haven't seen 30 yet, so yeah, this hit me hard...). I've learned to focus my emotions through my writing, into my characters and plots, so needless to say, I always have several projects running. Rage, anger, pain...These all end up on the page, not festering in my chest. It reduces my stress, my blood pressure, and the strain on my heart.

    It has become a constructive, addictive outlet for me because it isn't just the negative I pull out. The joy of little triumphs, humorous observations, the deep satisfaction of a perfect afternoon, dancing badly to a favorite song just for the hell of it...These also find their way into my writing, also. It gives me a reason to keep going, even when the road gets rough...
     
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  4. Rimuel
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    Rimuel Member

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    When that happens,
    I write poetry.
     
  5. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I had personal issues that was taking a toll on my mental health, and then one day I decided to blog about it. Pouring out bottled up feelings was the first part of the good things about it, slowly but steadily people who have similar problems started trickling in. They shared, show support, and I felt so much better. I am so glad I wrote that blog.
     
  6. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    For me writing doesn't work as a therapy because I only seem to have inspiration when I'm feeling relatively good. When I'm depressed or suicidal, I simply loose all inspiration. On those days I have zero self-esteem and zero trust in my writing. However it may be that writing regularly(for the past weeks, I have made a rule to write even a little bit every day) is a pre-emptive form of therapy. I haven't been feeling awfully low lately. Writing also works better when you don't lose momentum.
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^ I feel exactly the same. When I am upset my energy levels are low and I can't focus, so the writing I do is terrible. I like writing when I'm on a high, and then I can continue for hours and days until I finish something. Also, writing about bad experiences just makes me re-live and brood on them in a really negative way, so for me I wouldn't say it was good emotional therapy.
     
  8. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    My life's always been really eventful, I could write several soap operas with the material. So once I started writing, I started using all the experiences, people I met, all the situations, in crafting my own fiction. I don't write so much about the painful stuff, although I've done it twice in a blog as well, but I infuse my novels with personal experiences which make the most outlandish scenario ring true, because there's a real human drama in it. Plus, there's no greater satisfaction than making some a***ole who hurt me into a villain character and giving them their comeuppance :)
     
  9. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Writing as therapy does NOT mean writing about (focusing on) the negative.
     
  10. Rimuel
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    Rimuel Member

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    I am the opposite; when I am depressed, my inspiration increases. I start speaking in a poetical/philosohical/melodramatic manner in everyday life if I don't get my fix.
     

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