Writing Out My Problems

As I’ve been adjusting to the added labor of composing (and frequently rewriting) a blog post for every day of the week, I’ve felt tired and worn out more frequently than usual. Which makes sense. I’ve added two daily tasks to my day-to-day workload: writing a new blog post and editing the one that will go up the next morning. It’s not an insignificant amount of labor, even if sometimes it takes me only half an hour. Usually, it takes more than that.

Despite that, I think this experiment is working. It might be another month or two before I’m ready to handle everything I’m doing and another new task like doing some daily book writing, but I will defintely be ready by November to ramp up to NaNoWriMo writing levels and then hopefully stay there after the end of the month. I’m hoping to avoid my post-November creative burnout by not shocking my system with a new influx of writing and creativity.

I’m also definitely avoiding the tendency for me to process things happening in my life more rapidly during NaNoWriMo and further stress myself out by working through something traumatic and stressful so that I have to learn to deal with whatever new thing comes up, whatever new thoughts and feelings I now have as a result of processing whatever latent trauma emerged while I was writing about magic, mayhem, and murder most foul. I know this part is working because that happened this week. Got myself right up to the day of my therapy appointment as I held the floodgates closed on everything from the past few months, and then it all burst out two hours before I was scheduled to call my therapist.

I am not joking when I say the timing was perfect. I had just enough time to process the big things, emotional energy to feel everything a little, and the impetuous to hold it together long enough to work through all of it before it kicked me in the emotional nuts.

I’m doing better today, thankfully, and the day this goes up is a the day before a follow-up visit with my therapist to talk about everything that came out of that call and the incredibly difficult emotions I uncovered and felt yesterday. And still feel today, since they’re reasonable, valid, and worth being felt. So I’ll be fine.

But it just proves my point, really, for doing all this. For finding ways to work this stuff in gradually so I can become an emotional wreck and STILL write blog posts. It’s almost like writing stuff down can help you process it, even if it never actually gets posted (aka, every single post I’ve written and deleted). It doesn’t fix anything, of course, but it does help me process it and bring the tools I’ve developed in therapy to bear. And doing it now means I can hopefully break my habit for having uncomfortable and difficult realizations around the winter holiday season or early new year.

Creating in general, but writing especially, helps me process stuff that even normal therapy can’t. A lot of what I need to deal with is stuff I’ve hidden from myself because I recognized that I wasn’t equipped to handle it whenever it happened. Or that I’m not ready to know something. Not like repressed memories, exactly, but the sort of unique feeling that is knowing you have a thought but being unable to think it because your mind bounces off it like someone running into a clear glass door (or mirror, if you’re young and moving fast enough at your dad’s office’s holiday party).

I used to get frustrated with myself for creating all these blocks and barriers, but I’ve come to recognize them for what they are: protection. I’ve been through a lot, more than I could ever really write in an entire series of blog posts, and I was too young to do anything but survive it. Now, as an adult, I have to work to uncover and process it all, and do what I can now to hold people accountable. Writing helps that process, not because I’m secretly writing about what happened to me and uncovering it as it plays out in my writing (I stopped doing that in college, c’mon), but because it stimulates and grows the interpretative parts of my mind. It encourages different modes of thinking, openness to new ideas, and a certain elasticity of thought that makes challenging my understanding of the world (and sometimes myself or my relationships) easier to handle without getting defensive or reactive.

Thanks to therapy and countless hours of work on my part, I’m more ready than ever to break down these barriers, process emotions and thoughts I couldn’t handle before, and finally work through everything that’s happened to me. Because that’s what therapy is. It doesn’t make you better or somehow fix you. You’re not broken, just hurt. It gives you the tools and resources you need to heal and handle whatever comes your way. Like a week without good sleep or suddenly realizing why you think the way you do about certain things (yeah, I’m being vague here, but I can’t actually put it into words yet, even in the safety of my own mind, without getting more angry than I’ve ever been before).

It’s kinda like physical therapy or working out. Things you do to help your body heal once the worst of the injury is past and you want to help things get back to proper working order and maybe prevent a similar injury in the future. I’d call it mental therapy, but we already have that, and writing therapy is also a specific thing as well, that I do not want to conflate with this. So maybe I’ll call it writing out. Like working out, but writing.

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