The Healing Power of Writing Essay

Submitted By AnyaCummings
Words: 1317
Pages: 6

The Healing Power of Writing There have been multiple studies done demonstrating the psychological impact writing has and its benefits to the writer. Writing has been found to be especially beneficial when it concerns an emotional or traumatic experience. The process of translating an experience into tangible written language is a crucial step in healing and confronting mental illness. As seen in Silver Linings Playbook, writing performs an essential role in the recovery process as it allows the writer to provide an explanation for his or her behavior and affords the opportunity to come to terms with the illness. In the Yellow Wallpaper, writing is also necessary to the narrator as an outlet to let out her thoughts and feelings. A person who writes about their experience performs an act of disclosure which itself is a powerful agent in the healing process. Addressing deeply personal issues has been found to improve mental as well as physical health. In Silver Linings Playbook, Pat feels a vehement need to write down on paper what he has been going through and explain his actions to Nicki. In doing so, he is able to come to terms with his illness and also explain it to someone else (Nicki). This plays a critical role in his recovery, especially because in his mind he builds up the importance of the letter until it is the driving force of his actions. Pat made the deal with Tiffany to dance with her because she promised to deliver his letter to Nicki. He felt that he must show Nicki he was improving and not only wanted to write a letter, but he wanted her to read it. Writing the letter was crucial, but giving the letter to someone to read, needing an audience, was also important to Pat's recovery. Pat believed that by providing this explanation to Nicki, his behavior would be excused and they would be able to work through their issues. The original idea behind why writing provided such a benefit to the writer was based around the assumption that holding back and not talking about important psychological processes is inhibition. This inhibition in turns causes stress which could then cause or worsen illness. If the suppression of thoughts, feelings and behaviors caused by an emotional experience creates stress, then talking and writing about such experience would be stress relief. Pat finally begins to see actual improvement after giving the letter to Tiffany to give to Nicki. Expressing his ideas in a tangible and thought out way benefited his mental health and was a crucial step in his recovery. The Yellow Wallpaper is another example of how writing can relieve stress through expression. The narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper is not allowed to discuss her condition with her husband and is kept in seclusion. She is also told she is not allowed to write, but she continuous to do so in secrecy as shown on page 3, “I did write for a while in spite of them; but it DOES exhaust me a good deal—having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.” The narrator feels relief after being able to express her thoughts and feelings. She is denied any opportunity to talk about it in person with someone else, so she must rely on her writing as her only means of expression. When the narrator feels that her mental health is deteriorating she relies more and more on being able to write in her journal. Her descent into madness is exacerbated by the fact that John, her husband refuses to listen to her, but it is slowed slightly because she is able to write down how she feels. Writing is a powerful healing tool by itself, but it is often important for another person to read the writing as well. A person writes for their own benefit, but it is an added benefit when there is an audience. For example, in the Silver Linings Playbook, Pat begins writing a letter because he already has an audience in mind, Nicki. He gains self knowledge and acceptance of his illness by writing the letter, but does