How writing helps me to understand myself

This time around I couldn’t finish writing a new blog post. So far, I’ve started over four different times and never got past that first paragraph. For some reason it just wasn’t happening. I got lost in sentences, got distracted far too easily and before long another day had passed.

Writing as a tool

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Sometimes the writing just doesn’t flow. Often it’s because I’m writing about the wrong subject. I really want to write about a certain topic, but something else just needs to come out. It’s only when I give in, that the words start flowing again.

Writing this blog has, at times, been almost therapeutic. As writing helps me to verbalize my feelings. I still find it difficult to feel how I feel, let alone to tell how I feel. I don’t get much further than ‘good’, ‘could be better’ or’ frustrated’. Now I certainly can argue why I should feel a certain way, but to really feel how your body reacts to events is something else entirely.

So imagine my surprise when I realized that writing can help me. Just by sitting behind a computer and writing whatever comes to your mind, until you have a page filled with sentences. The next step is to turn this into a story with a beginning, middle and end.

And that’s why I’m sitting here writing this now. What has been bothering me? Why is it bothering me? What can I change in order to feel better?

how writing helps

Missing who you were

In the past couple of weeks, I was asked one question repeatedly; “How does it feel to be back?”. And of course I had a go-to answer; I miss the freedom and mountains, but I’m happy to see everyone again, earn some money and do something.

And while all of this is true, it isn’t the whole truth. And therein lies the problem. By repeating that answer, I kept ignoring how I truly felt. Which of course didn’t help in the long run. The truth is that I truly miss the ‘me’ that I was while travelling. The ‘me’ that could be spontaneous, that felt energetic and the ‘me’ that reminded me to whom I was before my brain injury.

During my travels I didn’t need to sleep during the day and could go out for dinner, go to the movies or spend an entire day with others. I didn’t need to weigh every single activity and make responsible choices. I could just be me.

This is no longer the case. And I now recognise that this isn’t just because I have to go to work now. As even in the weeks in which I didn’t have a job, I couldn’t do these things. No, I now have come to understand how much energy it takes to maintain all your relations with others, to meet social expectations and obligations and on top of that, to stay on top of your paperwork and household chores. To be a part of a community, any community, simply requires a lot of energy. The single fact of me being home again, is also why I can’t be the ‘me’  that I want to be.

Going forward

So the next question is how do I deal with this? What are the things that I can control and which changes can I make? This question requires some more thinking and reflecting and it will take some time to find an answer. What I do know is that I have to make sure that all those (perceived) expectations and obligations are manageable. And second,  I need to keep allowing myself to take a break once in a while. To travel and let go of all those obligations and expectations. To be the ‘me’ that I want to be.

I started this post with some ideas and feeling uneasy. And now, at the end, I have a finished post and identified the problem. I now realise that I miss the feeling of freedom. The freedom to be me. And in knowing that, I can try and do something about it.

Giving writing a try

If reading this post has made you curious, I hope that you’ll give writing a try. Allow yourself space and time and just write whatever comes to mind. Try to write one page without judgement and without direction. Once you have a page filled with sentences, give it a beginning, middle and end. Make it into a story. Tell your story.

Do you use writing as a tool to discover how or why you feel a certain way? How do you deal with obligations and expectations, either your own of those of others?

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