Like most teenagers, my experience with those years was the worst. Most of those problems are laughable now but others still matter immensely.
For most of that time, I was just dealing with my emotions in the traditional way – screaming, yelling, obsessing over Pokémon, etc. Then I was gifted a Harry Potter branded journal and things began to change. I didn’t know it at the time but writing about my feelings was going to change my life.
From the first couple of journal entries, I immediately knew it would help. As I’ve grown older, writing about my feelings has become the main way for me to deal with them. Even still, it was only recently that I was reminded of how helpful it can be.
I read an article over at Mic digesting a 2005 study on the effects of writing on people’s wellbeing. Science has now shown that writing helps you heal physically and emotionally. My teenage self knew but it wasn’t until it was put in plain words that it really made sense.
“By writing about traumatic, stressful, or emotional events, participants were significantly more likely to have fewer illnesses and be less affected by trauma. Participants ultimately spent less time in the hospital, enjoyed lower blood pressure and had better liver functionality than their counterparts,” author Rachel Grate said.
Even more, when they tested physical healing using writing before and after a biopsy, 76 percent of people who wrote healed completely in 11 days versus 58 percent in the non-writing group.
Also, “Studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don't; AIDS patients who write have higher T-cell counts. Cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life,” Grate said.
In other words, if you’re going through some shit, write it out.
Every major event in my life over the last few years has been chronicled and analyzed in detail via journals, video scripts or blog posts. I’ve done that on purpose because I know it helps people to learn from my real-life experiences but also, because it feels good.
I can’t count the number of times I was in dire pain, began writing and, before I could finish, I felt better. Writing helps me work through my feelings because I must put thoughts in order. I must make them understandable for the reader. I, in return, am gifted a streamlined, logical and analyzable version of my twirling feelings.
Sex and relationships have this way of making our emotions go hay wire. Whether it’s butterflies, a breakup, pregnancy or a mind-blowing orgasm, your entire existence is at their whim. As an autistic, I know this better than most. Dealing with all that is tough, but writing is one effortless way to help make all that easier on yourself.
The words don’t have to be Pulitzer worthy; you don’t even have to know how to formulate proper sentences. Just pick up a pen or open a Word doc and get the feelings out of your head. Hell, even the notes app will be fine.
Although I suggest archiving all of scribbling, you can burn the sheet or delete the doc as soon as you’re done but just try it.