Exploring Emotions through Writing

December 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

All my life I feel as if I have been pushed to describe how I feel. As a child I spent three years in a hospital after a toxic exposure, experiencing multiple symptoms from chest pains to sinus infections to seizures that doctors had difficulty figuring out. While I made a full recovery, my environmental sensitivities have persisted. Whenever my symptoms start to interfere with daily life, I’m back with the doctors, watching them scratch their heads and peer into my face and ask, “So, could you explain to me again how it feels?”

In mental recovery as well, I had a hard time describing my emotions. I regarded a lot of my feelings as scary, things I could hardly understand myself, never mind put into words for somebody else. I’ve found that writing can help. Here is an example of an emotion piece.

Loneliness.

When all the world pushes itself together, into a massive and mighty chain, strong and united and utterly indestructible. And there you are, but you might as well not really be standing there at all. You’re substance, but are you? This powerful force, this chain, is certainly more real than you. It is undeniably present. But you? What is there to prove that you are really standing there or two feet, swaying, the colors blurring into one, the heat rising in your face, your heart hammering in order to make itself known, screaming that it exists, fighting against the cage of your weak and pathetic body? You move against the chain, one foot in front of the other, but you’re stuck. The colors, still blurred, change in shade, from blues to reds. The wind is practically bursting your eardrums, infesting your brain with bugs of terror, that breed, multiply, hijack. You continue to try to move, but your limbs are growing heavier. The blood in your veins is turning to lead. But still your heart is screaming. It beats faster against its prison, throwing itself in the walls, rolling around your ribcage and throwing a fit. It is here. It is here. It is here. A small part of your brain, still free, hears the din from below. I am here, it thinks.

I am here.

Your mouth moves.

“I am here.”

The chain is utterly surprised. It recoils. It senses strength. It binds itself tighter together, suffocating itself, turning inward. It lashes out at you, and you fall, bleeding. But it doesn’t matter, because your brain is still firing and your mouth is still moving and your heart is jumping and running and pulsating and screaming louder than the wind, louder than the colors, louder than the ugly chain.

And now the chain is falling apart, and people, real people, are falling out, gasping for breath. They are certainly real. They are flesh and blood, but much more than that too. That is for certain. The chain does not exist. This startling thought runs through the group. It never existed in the first place. It was an invention. The reality is this: they are people, lying, seemingly beaten, on a hard, solid foundation. They are gasping for breath like fish thrown unexpectedly onto land. And their hearts are hammering, announcing their presence to one another, making themselves known.

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