Writing as a Therapeutic Tool

By Renee Tomasek

I sat in front of my computer as the blue background lit up my face and a tear rolled down my cheek. I watched the clock on my desktop flash, as time crept by and the room grew darker.

Age 14, alone, waiting for him to come home. Starving, unfed and anxiously awaiting his arrival. I knew, once again, he would not show. That Heineken was, once again, chosen over me.

I started writing at a young age as a way to help myself work through personal struggles. I grew up with an alcoholic; A person in my life, who I love very much, with a severe problem.

Although alcoholism is something negative—the things said to me while this person was drinking were very hurtful—I chose to cope with them in a different way.

I wrote.

I wrote letters, poems and short stories, begging this person to stop drinking, expressing the hurt I felt as a result of his drinking.

Although I never shared these written pieces with this person, the process of writing helped me express my thoughts and feelings in a safe way, to a safe listener—my computer, or notebook, or a simple piece of loose leaf paper found jammed under my bed.

I used my private struggle as a way to write in an expressive manor, ultimately teaching myself how to write creatively. As I became more comfortable writing out my thoughts, I started crafting different pieces, bigger pieces, which I am very proud of today.

Although I may have benefited from attending more traditional therapy sessions to help me cope, I decided the therapy that was most helpful to me was the kind I created through my private writing.

Writing was, and still is today, my escape from this sometimes crazy world.

For those of you out there who find it hard to open up, make WordPad, Notepad or Microsoft Word your best friend, your shoulder to cry on. I know from personal experience that a computer may be the only one to listen, the only one that will let you vent without talking back or criticizing or judging.

Use your writing as a way to vent. Tell your computer those things that are too personal or you feel uncomfortable telling others. No matter what the subject, your computer will never be reluctant to let you type, or censor what you’ve written.

You control the backspace, the delete key, the exclamation points and everything in between. You are in complete control of what is expressed.

If the idea of traditional therapy seems as scary to you as it was for me, you can use your computer to create your own therapy. You choose when to write, what to write, what to save and what to delete from your memory as soon as it’s been expressed.

You have complete power in a place, controlled only by you.

About the Author: Renee Tomasek is a writer, an undergrad at Utica College and one of the three Procrastinating Writers interns.

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