Friday, September 08, 2006

TO WRITE: A story from your illness
Today I'm going to ask you to write a story. It's a story you already know well. It's the story of an episode of your depression (or mania or psychosis, if those apply to you). I'm not suggesting you write your life history here, just a single period during which you had symptoms.

Research has found that writing about difficult times in story form -- that is, with a beginning, a middle and an ending -- is one technique that can be especially helpful emotionally. First, recall how this particular episode began. Then, describe in detail how it felt. Finally, explain how it resolved, whether that was in an hour or a year. Did your symptoms lessen on their own? Did you get medical help? Social or spiritual help?

Write continuously for 20 minutes to create this short story. Research has also found that sometimes people feel sad for a short while after writing about a trauma, but that this tends to pass quickly and greater happiness and satisfaction results. However, if you feel extremely upset during or after writing, make sure you get appropriate help. (And remember the "flip out" rule described earlier -- if you think a topic is just too disturbing, write on some other topic instead.) Let me know what you discover!

No comments: