Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Writing - A Coping Strategy

“At the age of five, my parents divorced and a writer was born,” said Rayda Jacobs in her 2011 article in Writers Weekly. The article is titled Writing as a Coping Mechanism and in it Jacobs talks about growing up in apartheid South Africa and how writing helped her cope through her difficulties. This is something I can closely relate to because not only did my parents divorce when I was seven years old, but writing is something that has been an important aspect of my life for as long as I can remember. “Expressive writing is a powerful technique used successfully to confront traumatic life events. Beneficial effects of expressive writing include understanding why feelings occur,” stated professor Barlow Soper in an article titled Employment Counseling and Life Stressors: Coping Through expressive writing.

The beautiful thing about writing is that is has no rules and can be something very personal. I have used writing as a coping mechanism for various issues that have arisen in my life; most of the time I don’t have a plan for what I’m going to write but I just start putting words onto the paper. Sometimes those words turn into a poem, sometimes into a short story, and sometimes into a jumbled mess of disconnected words that wouldn’t make sense to anybody else but me.
Writing is something that we can all do, something that we can share if we want to, or something that we can stuff into our pillowcases and make sure that no ones ever sees. One of the reasons writing can be so powerful is that it can help you identify and express your feelings. We don’t all have outlets in our lives that allow us to talk openly about our feelings – and writing can be that outlet.
When I was at summer camp one year, I was in a cabin with three other girls. We all have these girls in our lives, in one form or another. The girls that stick together in a bubble that you seem to never be able to break. The girls that make you feel like trash and just when you think you might have become their friend, their bubble bounces you right back to the garbage dump. Camp was awful that year and the only way I got thought it was writing. Every night in bed I would write a letter to myself. I would tell myself that I didn’t want to be friends with these girls anyways and that I had real friends back home. I would tell myself that I wasn’t trash and that I was strong.

I suggest that you try writing. It is something that not only helps you cope through the hard times, but something that helps you celebrate through the good. Writing might not be for everyone, but it sure was a life-changer for me.

If you ever want to share your thoughts with someone or feel that writing would be a better way to talk through things you are struggling with, Teen Link has an online chat service that allows for this other side of expression. The online chat is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday every week from 6-10pm. It is easy to access. You just go to the website,, and click on the chat option in the bottom right hand corner. When the chat is not open it will let you know the next time it will open up.