To me, processing or working through difficult emotions such as grief, anger, frustration and confusion, is in a sense, breaking down the walls of why I feel a certain way. Once I think I have figured out a pretty good reason why I think this is happening, I try to either get rid of as much of the feeling as I can or I try to readjust or “rebuild” my way of looking at the situation.
During the “figuring out” stage (which can be hours or months), my mind is usually a jumble of thoughts and emotions. I may be feeling powerless in a situation that keeps repeating itself or getting worse. Sometimes I grab a pad of paper and start writing down what’s in my head — even if it doesn’t make any sense.
Writing can be an effective way of sorting through a problem or trying to find a new way to deal with life after the loss of a loved one. Just seeing the partial thoughts or beginnings of ideas on paper has helped me get through whatever is going on. In the beginning, you may only be able to think of a phrase or a few unrelated words but the act of writing it on paper feels positive. It’s also a safe and confidential way of dealing with your emotions because it’s only on a piece of paper that you can later rip up.
Psychological studies have found that writing about stressful, traumatic or emotional events, like caring for a dying person or grieving their loss, helps people recover faster, both psychologically and physically.
Jotting down thoughts, almost in stream of consciousness style, helps me move forward because it’s a lot like doodling.
In the beginning, your pen is just moving around and doesn’t seem to be following any pattern. Then, after awhile when you’re just fooling around, a design or complete thoughts start to form. In this case, if you allow your mind to wander and you keep trying to work through the conflicting emotions eventually things start to click and a kind of healing may start.
Of course it’s hard to put your sorrow or your loneliness into words. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Perhaps you can pretend you are talking to a friend or even talking to the person you lost as you search for the words that make sense. Describe what you are feeling. Write it down and think about what it really means to you in relation to your changed life; your life without your loved one.
Writing may help you feel more connected and supported and less like you are outside of yourself.
Writing is a resource that’s available to you any time you need it.