When feeling ‘stuck’ in a situation, try writing your way out
Have you felt stuck in a situation and not known how to get out? Not known who to call on for help? Have you felt desperate for a solution, but too fearful or ashamed to reach out?
Your pen can help you find your way.
Sometimes I am stuck in a line of shoppers waiting to get through a supermarket check-out, and I really don’t want to spend my life this way, so I start to write. If I don’t have pen and paper handy in my shoulder-bag, or access to my iPhone note app, I start to write a story in my mind. It works every time. Words are our friends and we can make them do anything we want them to do. By the time my goods are going through the register, I’m stress-free, happy, thinking about the next line in my story. I’m not frazzled or angry or tense.
Sometimes we find ourselves in more dire and serious situations, and our pen, real or imaginary, can help us then, too.
I’ve written my way out of many a dark hole of depression and despair.
I’ve written my way out of a well of chronic anxiety.
I’ve written my way to cope and come to terms with serious road and other traumas.
I’ve written my way out of isolation and loneliness.
Sometimes we do not know the answers. We may not even trust ourselves to think straight, and to know which is a helpful thought and which is destined to make my situation more dire than it is already. I’ve been swamped with self-doubt plenty of times.
However, when we pick up our pen and start to write, we are taking the first step to find answers.
And when we share our writing with supportive others, we are taking a second step to find a positive solution.
Sarah, a mother of three young children, recently found herself stuck in a hospital due to a relapse of her eating disorder.
Adults living with an eating disorder often need to be their own caregivers. They struggle daily, part functioning, living a part-life dominated by their eating disorder bully. They are often mothers of young children, and they need more support in their home, to avoid the crises that otherwise occur.
Forty years ago, I was one of these women. My diaries and my memoir, A Girl Called Tim, are a testimony to my inner battles and the effect of these mental health struggles on my partner and my children. Sarah’s story, which you will find here, reveals that things are not much better for women in 2018. Sarah finds solace, as I did, in writing.
When feeling stuck it’s time to create some imaginative and innovative solutions. Sarah found it helpful to explore with her pen the recruiting, training and dispatching of a SWAT team –that is, a Safe With Accessible Treatment team.
Just thinking about, and picturing, a SWAT team arriving at Sarah’s home or your home, coming at a moment’s notice to keep you and other family members safe and secure, while a current crisis for whatever reason is attended to and peace is restored, is empowering. The SWAT team thought acts like a ‘stop’ sign; it puts a hold on the scary, angry, confused or angry thoughts that may be banging around in your head.
The SWAT team thought affects a truce of sorts. It allows time to gain a fresh perspective and replenish rational traction. Yes, you suddenly see there is a way out of this mess.
Of course, it would be wonderful to have the support of a real SWAT team – peer support workers and health practitioner, or whatever expertise is required right here and now to ease the pressure of the moment – but the image itself of this happening also carries power, and has the ability to strengthen self and instil that crucial element of survival and healing, hope.