Writing Myself Back to Life.


“You write because you need to write, or because you hope someone will listen or because writing will mend something broken inside you or bring something back to life.”

― Joanne Harris

I began writing basically as soon as I learned my ABC’s. Writing is one of my earliest memories of something that made me happy, something that made me feel good about myself.  I never thought about where writing may lead me, how important it would become to me, or that it may just save my life.

As I got older my writing changed and grew, from cute little poems, made up songs and stories into my thoughts and feelings.  The biggest change happened when I was ten years old and my grandmother passed away.  I was devastated, my little ten year old world was shattered, I had no idea what I was feeling or how to deal with it (talking about feelings and emotions was not something readily welcomed in my family.)  That is when I first made a connection with writing as something more than just a hobby I enjoyed.  I began pouring my little heart out pages and pages, of my thoughts, feelings, pain, confusion, fear, it was as if I was talking to someone else, someone bigger, more powerful, much wiser then I, someone who would have the answers I so desperately longed for.

As the years went on I always came back to writing.  Years of facing depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, self-hate, shame, anger, fear, pain, confusion, and my deepest darkest secrets all poured out of me onto paper. It was my way of expressing myself, releasing things I felt were not acceptable to talk about out loud, and writing allowed me to feel safe while doing so, it was like a purge of overwhelming emotions, they piled up and pored over onto paper again and again.

Jumping ahead; I am now 25 years old, and getting the help I need, my counsellor encourages me to write as much as I can. I still express myself much better on paper then I do out loud.  Anxiety is something I did not realize I had until recently, and the more I drudge through painful experiences and traumas from my past the more my anxiety is triggered, I have struggled to find tools that work for me in order to not let anxiety rule my life.

A lot of my anxiety stems from feeling as though I have no control, no control over my thoughts, my body, my environment, my emotions, reactions…etc.  The more out of control I feel the higher my anxiety gets and the higher my anxiety gets the more out of control I feel.

Dizzy yet? Yeah…me too.

Recently I was looking through my books of writing over the years, from when I was a teenager, how it started off so dark, confused and hopeless, I watched it slowly transform into understanding, hope, strength, wisdom and I realized I never once hid in my writing, never pretended to be someone I wasn’t, never pretended to being doing better then I felt.  Pure, raw, vulnerability and emotion was all I saw on those pages and in that moment I realized, that writing saved my life.

I also realized how much writing gave me a sense of control.  After trying breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, exercise to help with my anxiety, (which, don’t get me wrong all of these things are fantastic and worked to a certain extent, helping me feel calmer, healthier, etc… and I still practice them.) None of them really grounded me, none of them centered me, and none of them freed my mind from the constant stream of anxious thoughts or the feeling of falling with nothing real to hold onto.

Then I realized that is exactly what writing gave me and had given me all these years.  Writing is my control, writing is what centers me, grounds me when my world seems to be in complete chaos, writing makes that all fade away. I am free; I am in my safe place.  Writing puts me in control of my feelings, my emotions, and my thoughts, writing hands me the pen and says “here you go, you’re in control, show me what you’ve got”.  Writing has never controlled me, rejected me, shamed me, hurt me, it never told me what to say, feel or think, it never told me I wasn’t enough.  Writing listens, accepts, and loves, no exceptions, no questions, and no judgements.  Realizing this has helped deepen my connection with writing, I can feel what I write with my mind, body and soul. I can feel the anxiety rising in my chest when I bare my truths onto paper, but I can also feel the release of whatever emotions get stirred up when I am done pouring them onto paper, it is like an emotional cleanse through writing.  Writing is where I can be so honest, so vulnerable and still continue to surprise myself. Writing brought me back to life.

Photo by Rory MacLeod

21 thoughts on “Writing Myself Back to Life.”

  1. Hi Jamie,

    Hello kindred spirit!
    Thank you for writing this and please accept my best wishes and kindest regards for your future and your writing.
    I thought I was pretty robust having survived some major challenges but a legal case with a member of my own family a few years ago, nearly left me homeless.
    One of the ways I tried to cling on to my sanity was by writing short stories. At the beginning they were quite Gothic and vengeful but as the years have passed I have modified the endings to be more cheerful and redemptive!
    As you will know, by using our hands, eyes and brains, there is not much room left or opportunity for dwelling on sad or worrying thoughts. We have built our own little oasis – a structure in which to find some peace at least for a while.
    Really do wish you well.
    Blessings and kind wishes.

    1. Thank you so much!
      Glad to hear you have found a way to change the endings to your stories as well, I hope they stay cheerful. :)
      Blessings to you as well.

  2. Your way of writing that brings about healing is exactly what journaling is all about. I have always found journaling/ writing to be the space where I explore, reflect and eventually heal. Thank you so much for sharing, so beautifully, the extraordinary power of writing.

    I believe in this so strongly, that journaling is now included in a prisoner rehabilitation program that I am involved with. The prisoners use journaling throughout the 20-week program and the benefits are demonstrated over and over again with each course we run.

    1. Thank you!
      Rehabilitation journaling sounds amazing, good for you! I believe writing or journaling can be so helpful to anyone any age.

  3. This is a beautiful post. I understand completely. Writing has always been an outlet for me. I found myself frustrated with not being able to fully express myself to people around me because they would interrupt and then misunderstand me. When I wrote, I was able to get everything I had to say down in a completed thought, and then I felt better, even if the only one who heard me was my journal.

    “I write to be known. Even if only by the pages of the book. For to be known is to be loved. And I am desperate for love.”


  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences with writing. Journaling has been a bit part of my life. I started my first journal 20 years ago, and it’s been a source of comfort throughout a lot of difficult experiences.

    All the best

  5. hello jaime,
    i want to confess you that the title attracted me towards it. i found it very close to my heart. i always loved to write but you made me realize the supreme power of writing. No demand no complain…………….just accepting you as you are.
    thank you so much. i am grateful and so happy that today i got this amazing stuff to read learn and being happy.
    have a nice day..with lots of love and light.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story, Jamie. It takes a lot of courage to express intimately what writing has done for you. At a very early age, you’ve found a vehicle (writing) to express your deepest and darkest thoughts, your pains and your emotions onto paper, what a true gift!


  7. A wonderful article, Jamie! I came to realize myself the importance of writing a few days ago. Every Monday right before I sit down to write my blog post of the week I feel some nervousness and resistance inside of me. Now I know it is because I’m about to gain clarity about something inside of myself. I always write about very personal stuff and it is often not very easy for me to open up about it. For myself.
    Thanks again, for sharing your personal stuff. That’s so courageous!

    1. Thank you! I completely relate to the feelings of nervousness and resistance! The first blog post I ever posted I literally had to close my eyes and click publish, It is scary being open and vulnerable in writing but I find the more scared I am about what I’m about to share the more rewarding it feels to actually share it.
      Stay nervous! Means your writing is powerful and real!

  8. I remember when I was attending college pursuing a fine art degree and going through family turmoil, journaling, and it was mainly full of angst and expressing my feelings. Looking back on these journals, they were very dark, but, they were also very cathartic in getting my emotions out and my inner demons down on paper. I was kicked out of the program I was pursuing, even though I had met all the requirements up to that point with flying colors(A’s), and during this same time my Mother had passed away. I transferred to another school with higher tuition, but, blossomed and completed the degree. Sometimes the seed is just planted in the wrong field. While I was at the school I transferred to, I was told I had a knack for writing. I have since remembered getting an A for a story I had written in grade school about a shark. The story is long lost, but, I remember painting the character of the Shark as a sympathetic one, and from it’s perspective. Not the stereotype most of us envision when we think of a shark. Now, I am leaning towards more enlightened excursions. Thank you for sharing your own journey. ~”I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

  9. Such beautiful work, Jamie. Your article resonates with, I have a great love for writing and find it very therapeutic and “freeing”. I express myself better on paper; it’s great experiencing a flow of words without disruption as my pen glides away providing my emotions with an outlet. Keep up the great work.

  10. Beautiful article Jamie! I understand your need to write and everything it has helped you with. I transformed my life in a similar way. Thank you for sharing your amazing story!

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