Writing helps me take care of myself, practically and emotionally. In this blog post, I’d like to tell you about 3 things I write and how they help me.
1. Guidance for dyslexic adults
I share good practice with other dyslexic adults by writing blog posts, magazine articles and tips guides. I find helping my peers exhilarating, confidence-boosting and emotionally healing. The guidance I write also lets me identify and harness things I can do to self-manage my own dyslexia.
2. Letters I don’t send
– To people who have been important to me but whom I’m no longer in touch with
This lets me ‘check in’ with people at different junctures. It helps me to cope with their loss and absence. But it also helps me to celebrate things I would have liked to share with them.
– To people whom I never met
…such as family members who have passed on. This lets me express things that I did not have the chance to say to them.
– To people I’m angry with
This lets me express my anger safely. It often lets me see aspects of the situation that I haven’t seen before, and makes me feel calmer about it.
In each of these cases, imagining the other person as the audience helps me crystallise my thoughts and express my feelings. Even though I know the people I’m writing to are not going to read any of what I write, it still helps me to articulate it.
Writing poetry helps me recover emotionally from my negative experiences. It does this in two ways. Firstly, it lets me feel that I am gaining control of my experiences by:
– reducing them
Poetry is very distilled. So describing my experiences in a poem contains them and makes them feel more manageable. The distilled nature of poetry also gives you a lot of choice in what you say and don’t say. If there is something that you don’t want to share, you can just leave it out.
– expressing any of them I wish in an indirect way
For example through imagery or metaphor.
– giving them some order
My memories of these experiences are patchy and not in chronological order. By contrast, poetry has structure, which lets me put my experiences in a certain order. It doesn’t matter that the order I put them in is not the order they happened in; what matters is that they are now ordered and it’s me who has put them in that order.
Secondly, writing poetry lets me feel that I am distancing myself from my negative experiences by:
– creating something new and beautiful out of them
This transforms them into something else, which gives me an alternative reference point for them.
– engaging my mind
Crafting a poem – for example teasing out ideas, playing with words and searching for rhymes – takes my mind off everything else. I find this complete absorption in a creative activity very therapeutic.
I find the editing process very satisfying because it lets me articulate myself fully. Each poem I write gives me a sense of achievement, especially as I never know I have it in me until I’ve written it.
If you are interested in finding out more about how writing can help your wellbeing or other people’s, whether you are dyslexic or not, I recommend a book called ‘The Writer’s Key’ by Gillie Bolton. You can find out about it here.
By an anonymous adult member of Dyslexia Scotland