Write to Heal From Trauma,Illness or Loss


Write to Heal From Trauma, Illness or Loss: 7 Prompts to Explore NowIn my work with cancer and hospital patients, I found that certain qualities surface in successful writing about an illness or injury.

This kind of writing does the following:

It Accepts Our Story and Makes Sense of It

A story is, after all, a mirror of our psychological growth. We are peering into who we are and grounding ourselves as our story evolves. This is why Abigail Thomas wrote about her husband being hit by a car and ending up with a brain that no longer worked. It is why I wrote out my cancer journey. To understand it. To make sense of it. And when I opened up, I found others felt compelled to share their stories with me — and it helped.

It Explores Honest Feelings

Many well-known writers explore their honest feelings and painful experiences as they search to find themselves. Author Elizabeth Gilbert seemed to have all the hallmarks of success, with a husband, a country home, and a successful writing career — but she was miserable. After her divorce, she faced a crushing depression, and it was then she began her search for herself by writing Eat, Pray, Love.

It Uses Words to Heal

While it is important to share our stories, the way we write and talk about our illness matters, too. Remember, we control how we understand our illnesses. And the words we use to interpret an illness impact how we face it.

It Embraces the Positive

Healing, of course, is not the same as being physically cured from a disease. Nonetheless, we can choose to heal our emotional, mental, and spiritual selves [even] when faced with a terminal illness. A positive attitude shows up as an important key here.

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