Saturday, May 19, 2012

Turning Trauma into Something Positive through Writing

You don't have to be an author to be able to write.  That may sound silly, but it's true.  So many people tell that they don't like to write or that they don't enjoy it, yet writing is simply a physical account of things that could have easily been spoken.  We all speak everyday.  We all have ideas that populate our brains, some people just enjoy chronicling their words for others to read.  If you speak about something, you are creating words that are just as meaningful as the ones that are written.  This is why we need to be careful about what we say as well as what we write.  We can use our words to be kind to people, to influence people to do amazing things, or we can use our words to hurt others and tear them down.  You don't have to write the words down for them to upset someone. 

There is a national campaign that is actively trying to combat bullies not only in the school systems, but in everyday life.  They are trying to gain support by telling kids to talk to their parents and teachers about what is happening to them.  I have read so many heartbreaking stories about kids who have given up on life because they have been beaten down by bullies.  It's hard to believe that people can be cruel enough to cause others to consider taking their own lives, but it happens and it happens everyday.

The popular thing to do for awhile was to write your experiences and feelings down on cards and play music in the background to express sadness.  It opened up the eyes of a lot of people.  I read an article about a woman who told her story on her Facebook so that everyone she went to school with could understand what she went through and how she survived.  It takes a lot of strength to come forward to talk about your experiences. 

Every single person has experienced some form of bullying in their lives.  It could have been someone in school, or a sibling, or an adult, or an abusive parent. Regardless of who did the bullying or abusing, the worse possible thing to do is be silent.  Silence hurts more than the words that are said to us.  When we stay silent and allow ourselves to suffer, the positive things die inside of us. Confidence, Self-Esteem, Courage, Happiness, and Hope are beaten down until they are gone.  We start to believe the words that we hear and we give the bullies even more power over us. 

The longer we stay silent, the longer the words grow into fear and depression.  Why do we believe other people when they call us stupid?  Why do we care if someone doesn't like our clothes?  Why to we let the popular kids tell us that we aren't cool enough?  Why do we believe that we are worthless?  The answer is, because we need other people to believe in us because we can't believe in ourselves.  It's sad, but it's true.  Instead of looking for others to tell us if we are funny, or smart, or pretty, or talented, we need to start believing these things about ourselves.  We need to take the power away from the bullies and find our own source of confidence.

Everyone has suffered in their lives and so many people are afraid to speak out. What happens when someone does speak out and no one listens or doesn't act on it?  For years I remained silent about the abuse that I was suffering at home.   It wasn't until I was much older that I started to talk about it.  I never thought that anyone would believe what I was going through.  I didn't have bruises or scars to show anyone.  The evidence that I did have was locked away and inaccessible.  So who is going to believe a teenager over an adult?  Even when I did find the courage to speak out, my efforts were stalemated and help never came.  My source of help came when I called 911 because I finally had enough and wanted to end my life.  It was my own mother was asked me the simple question of, "Why?"  Why would I want to escape my life?  Because I confided in the wrong person and help never came.  My words were ignored and claimed to be misunderstood.  I retreated further into my depression and swore I would never speak out again.  Silence became my best friend and my worst enemy.  Looking back I realized who I should have spoken to and often wondered what would have happened if I did confide in the right people.  Maybe I would have been saved much earlier and maybe I wouldn't have had to call an ambulance to help me.

While it may seem scary to talk about your experiences, it can be quite liberating when you do and sometimes positive things can come from it.  I wrote the beginning draft of a story when I was a teenager.  It was violent and angry and allowed me to express some of my feelings even if I wasn't talking about my own problems.  I was able to vent my frustrations through writing.  I recently found the draft and it was different than how I remembered it.  When I read it I remembered that I used part of my suicide note in the story.  I felt at the time that it was the only way for me to tell my story, even if it was embedded within a fictional story.  Today I am finally working on the story that came from my original
draft and from my pain.  It has allowed me to finally work through some of the emotions that I had at the time, even if  the story has little to do with my life.  Some of the frustrations and emotions that I had are spread throughout the story.  Perhaps it's a way of finding some sort of closure, a way to deal with what happened to me.  I'm using my words to deal with the difficult things that I have endured.  I encourage you to do the same.

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