Therapy Through Memoir Writing

I’m halfway through the grind. Cult Child took its toll. Seven years of digging through caves, days of uncontrollable crying, illness and so much more came like waves. All of them were unexpected.

As I now write the sequel, I am still digging. There’s even more to sift through as I continue to tell my story through Sila Caprin’s character.

In December I came to a place where I had to write a body shaming memory. I was sixty pages in, and I’ve been avoiding it since. I finally spit it out today; then painted those ghosts away on a canvas. I feel self congratulatory. I got that one out.

This time around I have no timelines or deadlines set for myself. There’s just me, time, being, accepting and writing as the strength comes. As I survey what I am writing now, Cult Child feels like the vertebrae upon which I have built this outlet. There is so much, so much more to tell.

Sila will stand alone in this second book, as sequels must do, and I am remembering teenage experiences with raw reality, accepting that whatever comes up is coming up.

A physical bi-product of this particular emotional memory purge this week has been extreme nausea and headache as well. Sunday I cried all day. Yesterday I headed to the forest to find my strength again. Today I made it through writing the memory that has had me frozen for so many days.

Now I feel ready for the next writing section. Sometimes I can pre-determine which sections of writing might bring emotional setbacks or shutdown. Other times they hit like an unpredicted earthquake.

Either way, I always come out okay.

2 thoughts on “Therapy Through Memoir Writing

  1. HI Vennie,

    I just read this post and must tell you how much I admire your tenacity and your — some other quality I find hard to define. You seem to get a real emotional positive payback for the work you put into both the writing and the painting, which is wonderful. I have come to find, for myself purely, that the more I paint and draw my trauma, the more l re-traumatize myself. Despite art work after art work, nothing has gotten any better.

    Writing is indeed cathartic, and can be in some sense more communicative, if people will read it. I do not find myself quite as traumatized by rewriting a memory as I do in making art of it. Dunno why… perhaps because art is so visual and the images that I create so literally “memorializing” trauma and re-depicting it realistically. Not that I do not do this in writing, but i feel more at a distance when writing and less so when doing art.

    Perhaps this is different for you. We are all different in how we respond to and can heal from trauma, though some times I feel that healing is an ongoing process, but one that has no end…A dreadful thought.

    Best Wishes to you, and BE well.

    Pam Wagner


    1. Hi Pam. 😊

      I really understand everything you say. I do a lot of rejuvenating my spirit. I take walks in nature. I jog. I eat extremely clean. I get rest. If I don’t do those things I will be crippled. So while I’m writing especially I up my vitamin intake, watch who I’m connecting to, what my environments are and take special care to make sure my associations and environments are clean of all negative influences. I sequester my spirit. Im also an Empath, absorbing what others carry, so I’m very picky about things like listening to too much of other people’s sadness or drama, things like that. I simply just steer clear.

      So it’s definitely a balancing act. Art – it just comes out. I’m not an artist, per-say. Definitely a writer and poet. Art is a funny process for me. It happens on its own and seems to be pure emotion letting. I always end up saying “that’s what I created?”

      Where writing, for instance, is intentional for me, art is not.

      I feel the trauma as I’m writing too. I’ve written memories that have crippled me for days. I just really work hard at utilizing my own balancing tools every day. Positive affirmations, congratulating myself, crying if I need to no matter how long, baths, walks in the woods, music – I have a long list of soothers depending on the level of trigger I’ve experienced. I work actively every day to stay balanced just because I can at time easily and quickly spiral downward.


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