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Liberation through a Stack of Words, Pen, and Paper

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

                                                                                                          – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

TW- Mention of Abuse and Body-Shaming

I find the word ‘trauma’ to be one of the most atrocious words in the dictionary because the trail it leaves haunts a person for a very long time. When we talk about trauma – we bring along the negative impact it has on a person’s mental and physical health. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), trauma is “an emotional response to a terrible event.” The so-called ‘terrible event’ can be anything that can harm your physical and mental equilibrium. The definition in reality is different for every individual. It can be best described as an umbrella term that carries with itself a wide range of atrocities.

While interviewing a person ( Swati- name changed for anonymity) who suffered abuse at the hands of her parents, I came across some statements which made a lot of sense. Swati said that “you cannot escape from the trauma inflicted upon you, you can simply find a gateway or a channel to help reduce the after-effects of the said trauma. Moving on or disassociating from the negative memories is the only option. Accepting the traumatic experience is liberation from the respective strife and the channel is the liberating force.” Swati found her peace in writing; her shelf was lined neatly with leather-bound journals and pens were neatly stacked in a pen-stand on her empty desk. Those journals were her calm amidst the chaos. You need to start somewhere, take some rough paper, pick up a pen and start writing whenever your trigger clicks.

After talking to another person ( Lehr- name changed for anonymity) whose trauma was related to her body as she was shamed for being ‘chubby’ in her early teens, I came across similar statements. Lehr emphasized finding a channel to ‘let go’ of the traumatic past too. At 13, she was mocked for being overweight but this mockery was illustrated as a sermon for Lehr’s ‘well-being’. Due to this, she had a negative body image issue, and Lehr’s self-esteem and confidence dropped drastically. For her, writing was an escape from the negative, deep-rooted memories that triggered her for many years. Talking about her traumatic past without tearing up is like achievement and accepting the trauma helped Lehr to free herself from the ugly grip of her repugnant past. Lehr highlighted that flashbacks are a part of life and with the help of ‘writing’, she was able to combat it and keep anxiety under control. Today confidence runs through her veins and she has accepted her body. You will always find a journal in Lehr’s hand and her jolly old self has returned. “It took time, but I am happy to report that I don’t get anxious or conscious nowadays. The nightmares have stopped and I am the best version of myself”.

Certain crystals have healing powers. Well, writing truly has healing powers and your journal can be your crystal. I am mainly focusing on how “writing” liberates someone from their traumatic experience because I have seen people getting better with time while journaling their way through. Though many would disagree that keeping a journal and writing alone cannot cure a person of their trauma, it’s my personal belief that it can help to some extent if not completely. If not writing, find a channel that will help with the acceptance because acceptance leads to liberation, and liberation will lead to the utmost happiness that you want to achieve. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Vol. 66, No. 1) suggests that “writing does make a difference, though the degree of difference depends on the population being studied and the form that writing takes.” You see, the piece of paper in front of you acts as a cathartic source where you can pen down everything that is making you iffy, that is triggering you and making you anxious. The lonely piece of paper acts as your get-away from the negativity, where you can just jot down the unsettling experiences that are harming your peace. 

Healing takes time and one must be patient, wounds take time to heal and scars don’t go away. They stay to remind you of the pain you went through but this pain will only make you stronger with each passing day. You will get flashbacks, you will get triggered, you will feel like giving up but your journal will always wait for you and your thoughts. As Anne Frank has said that “ paper is more patient than people”– the paper will soak in your words and tears, it will listen to you and your healing process will start. The clock won’t stop ticking but with time the scars will heal, the smile that left your face will return and everything will be alright… 

Lekha Nath

Delhi South '23

Lekha is a student of literature at Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. She is at an age where she is free to explore any arena, and she likes to record her experiences in her trusty ol' journal. She goes by the tagline- "Just keep swimming". She is just another human with a journal trying to keep up with the ever-changing world. :)
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