Do you know a person who has never faced any obstacles in life? If you can think of a name, then you probably don’t know enough of their personal story. People are torn apart between their ideas, desires, personal goals, expectations of other people, and the sad reality that never leaves enough space for complete self-accomplishment. Those struggles can easily take us to a bad point in life. I know that for a fact because I’ve been there myself.
When I finished college, I faced the inevitable existential crisis: now what? Do I start looking for a boring job? Do I go to graduate school to get the degree I had zero interest in? My head was a complete mess and I could not see a clear road to a happy future. That’s when I started writing. I thought that the only way to understand the chaos in my head was by writing how I felt and what I was thinking. This turned out to be a masterful trick that helped me find the balance in life.
When I told my friends that writing was my therapy, they thought I was kidding them. I was one of those students who always complained about writing assignments, so it was weird that I arbitrarily turned to this method. Let me tell you how writing helped me get my life back.
I clarified my thoughts by writing them down.
When you’re anxious, the unstoppable flow of thoughts can make you go crazy. When I started writing, the text turned out as a complete chaos. With time, I noticed that my thoughts started clarifying. My mind intuitively start thinking in a way that could be brought in written form – clear, short, specific thoughts and ideas that I could finally recognize and connect.
Before I started writing, I didn’t know whether I was feeling sad, angry, confused, or dull. With this writing ‘therapy’, I could finally understand the emotions I put on paper. That was the first step towards healing: understanding how angry I was.
Writing helped me grow.
I started the writing therapy with a plain notebook, but then I started using Penzu – a free online diary, which is completely private. I took the weekends to review the writing I did throughout the week, and I noted down the impression. That online diary is still the witness of the progress I made. It shows how I found the sense of my existence, step by step. I started from zero, and I wrote my way towards awareness.
Writing helped me sleep.
I spent many sleepless nights after I finished college. I couldn’t stop blaming myself for not choosing a better educational path. When I started writing before going to bed, I got rid of all those thoughts by noting them down. It was like they were passing through my mind onto the computer screen, so I could read them there like they were someone else’s words. It was important for me to get those bad thoughts out of my system before I could start seeing signs of a brighter future.
Writing made me wiser.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that writing made me wiser. It brought sense to my thoughts, and I started being more careful about the things I was saying. I also noticed that my style of expression became much clearer over time. I wasn’t writing only about my thoughts and emotions; I also noted down the impressions I got from things I read, as well as all new things I learned during the particular day. Since I was writing everything down with a conscious state of mind, my memory improved and became more aware of the things that surrounded me.
Finally, writing helped me find the balance.
The most important benefit I gained through writing was getting rid of the anger I carried inside. I felt guilty about being so angry at myself, my parents, my friends who had jobs they liked… I was angry with everyone. When I got that out of my system, I didn’t have to show the pages to anyone; I just wrote and I understood it was okay to feel that way. I stopped identifying myself with those thoughts – the momentary state did not convey the true nature of my character. When I paid attention to that anger, I realized it was the main enemy I had to defeat. And I did that. The diary shows the progress I made towards achieving balance.
If you’re at a low point in your life, take my honest recommendation: write about it. It’s the best therapy you’ll ever have.