Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Did ever mention that I wrote myself sane?

This post is going to diverge from the norm, because I thought I'd talk about how writing has impacted on my life. Which I suppose comes pretty close to rambling about my life - but it relates to writing, so I don't think I'm breaking my self imposed rules.

I've been writing since I was little girl, so it's always been something I've done. This is not about a timeline. It's about - as the title suggests - the way writing helped with a very black period in my life.

2001 was a very bad year for me. I lost my mother - aged 49 - in the January and my father - aged 54in the July - both of long term illnesses. I'd been caring for them since the early 1990s so my response was to promptly have a nervous breakdown.

It was a very black period that I don't remember much about. I remember 9/11 because it was shocking enough to pierce the haze, and I remember writing. I remember writing a lot. It was totally unpublishable crap and had nothing to do with my situation and illness, but it helped. I think that even though it apparently had nothing to do with anything it helped purge my emotions.

I honestly think that without the outlet of writing I wouldn't be coming up on five years in my current job. I might even still be on the long term sick. I mean, yes, Cognitive Behavorial Therapy helped a lot. Even the meds I was on for a while helped. But I think the writing got me to the point where I realised I had to go looking for the other help if that makes sense.

And I think it's writing that's helping keep me sane as well. When I get stressed I write frenetically and I don't feel as stressed when I'm done. Sometimes I think I could slip back into the pit even now without an outlet.

Now, as I say, I've always written. It's fun I love it. I'm not saying I write to stay sane. I've always written, and I'm sure I'd still be writing even if I hadn't had my breakdown.
I think that it's because I love it that it helps me stay sane.

On an unrelated note I'm going to buy a couple of useful looking history books when I get paid. Would people be interested in reviews of them as well as writing books and novels? If I do review them it'll be on Wednesday intersperced with the Writing Book ones, since I'll be reviewing their use as references for writers.

1 comment:

zoewhitten said...

Good post. I can't really write myself sane, but I find it is a great outlet that helps keep me emotionally balanced most of the time.

Like you, I've written most of my life, though none of my early efforts was ever completed. It wasn't until I hit a really dark part of my life (also in 2001) that I found the desire to finish a story. Since then the number of stories I have to give up on has dropped a lot.

Writing is a cross between personal therapy and mental masturbation. It helps get though each day, one page at time. It won't make me sane, but it keeps me from listening to the voices whenever they make plans involving chainsaws. O.o*