Writing: My Therapy

heal3THE idea to write about this came after a few weeks of better clarity, pouring creative writing ideas and overall calmness.

It was a world apart from that fateful Sunday morning in late September, when I was a sobbing mess while talking to Jeffrey. I was feeling frustrated, sad, angry and hurt beyond description. I felt incapacitated that day due to my situation. And I couldn’t find the way out of the mess. So bleak and hopeless.

Sadly, I have been having this crying episodes a lot since last year. I would like to believe that God will not test you beyond your endurance but seriously, there were times when I was just wanted to give up. Be damn with everything. But there’s Adam…

Since I left my job in KL, I have been through some rough emotional and psychological roller coaster rides. Through it all, Jeffrey and another friend, Daniel, have been there like great friends they are, listening to me when I cried my heart out in the quietness of my room. Telling me to be strong, for myself and Adam, when all I felt then was emotionally paralysed and broken inside.

In that incoherent conversation I had with Jeff, it dawned upon me that may be, just may be, I should start writing, venting out my frustration. And may be, just may be, it would help me escape from this emotional mess even for a few minutes. That I would be able to breathe easy from this suffocating hell hole situation that I am in — even for a few minutes.

Jeff, who himself owns several websites, agreed to help me setting up my website. I have registered my domain last year, thinking that I will use it to feature my works/articles to help me with potential freelance projects… Hence, this website was born.

So we worked together for a few days with him being in Australia and myself here. But it all made possible with the Internet. Free and easy. That’s how this website was born. This website is all about me. Everything about me. Jeff is helping out with the technical difficulties cropping up every now and then. He left me alone to fiddle, try out with the layout and what to write.

write-to-heal

I was embarrassed to show him my posts. I was nervous. All my life I have never done any writing like this. I was a journalist for 20 years but all the subject written then was pretty serious stuff.

Despite the fact that I am more comfortable writing in English than my native language Malay, I have doubts too. Plenty of them.

Will it be good enough? Will the reader cringe reading my posts due to its horrible command of English. Basically, I was as the lowest point of my life when I started this website. Level of confident? Nil.

Despite the fact that Jeff have been helping me with the blog, I kept my posts hidden from him. And I also kept this website a secret from Danny too. Why? Because I was scared what Jeff and Danny would say if they read my posts. An Australian and an American respectively… I cringed inside…

As I put down my thoughts, I tried to stay true to the reality but at the same time not to put all the blame on others and (not) to picture them in bad light.

This website is not about blaming others but it is all about sharing my inner turmoil, things that I couldn’t say in spoken words.

Followed my hunch, I did start writing, conjuring such upbeat and lively stories. Nothing interesting. But simply writing. Something. Though deep down I knew the real stories would be lot darker and depressing. A bit disturbing even.

Then I came up with something more negative and depressing but closer to truth. I refined it again. I don’t want to appear as if I was begging for sympathy because I don’t and never will. I am writing because I realise it is keeping me sane… As Danny puts it, it is a cathartic experience.

As I continued writing, I gained more confident to write about issues that hurt me most. And I started putting the words down, on my difficult relationship with my mom and heartbreaking fights with my siblings as these issues were the ones that sent me to crippling mess times and again.

Then I slowly dealt with broken friendship and betrayal — this were the poisonous issues which eating me inside out too…

But I guess, the readers could feel the intensity and heavy heart pouring out through my words. It’s not just the first cathartic outpouring that matters, it’s the redrafting. I came to understand what had happened to me only through doing this.

heal5Eventually, putting up brave front, I let Jeff and Danny read my posts. Their reaction was beautiful and priceless and did a world of wonder to my battered soul. And they are more than happy to keep an eye with my technical/grammatical part such as some silly spelling and spacing mistakes, it was definitely self-confidence boost. Six eyes are better than two.

This writing has also made me see things in different light. Especially about my mother. I used to be at loggerhead with her all my life. After writing a piece about our difficult relationship, I am seeing my mom in different light now. I used to blame her for being annoying when in fact it was me and my stubbornness coupled with selfishness which clouded my thinking all along.

My girlfriend Sham in Adelaide cried reading my posts because she was there, witnessing all the things I went through in some of my posts.

It was endearing and really touching to hear all that. I teared up. And more motivated to keep writing. And through it all I thank the technology for making my friendship with these three exceptional individuals — Jeff, Danny and Sham — possible. Despite living in three different continents, I feel so close to them, more than any physical proximity could ever do.

As I am writing this, there is one post which I have been and still struggling to write. A post tentatively titled Living With Alzheimer’s Disease: John’s Story. I knew it would be hard and painful but I didn’t realise that it would be this hard and (this) painful. Writing about the dreaded disease was hard enough but it also a re-visit to those dark painful series of events leading to me losing him completely and leaving me utterly devastated.

As I rediscover my new passion in writing, also the story about John. It is, in a way, a reflection of what I am going through inside. This is an ongoing healing process no doubt.

And yes therapeutic writing can also unlock creative writing. I have also discovered, after seeing how I did the impossible by writing (and publishing) daily posts, while having a 9-5 (day) job.

And today, 30 days and 36 posts since that fateful Sunday, writing, has by far, undoubtedly one of the most powerful and cathartic forms of therapy that there is for me — and all of it freely available at my very own fingertips… Wish me luck! Aheal4

2 comments

  • norhasiyati taharin

    I just loves reading your posts. There were simple yet enchanting to read. Just go with the flow and see where you will go… it is like letting destiny decides our future…it is good sometime just to let go dan nature does the rest….that was what I did for the past 20 years after leaving The Star. Leading a quite life in Kuala Tahan, Taman Negara, and now back in my own kampung in Ipoh, Perak, raising my three school-going kids with my hubby… and truly, I am now leaving a kampung life just like my mom and dad, although they are no longer around. So, Azhariah, keep up with your good works on writing more stuff about life. I will be watching you from far….

    • Aza

      What an honour to have you here Yatie and giving me such a wonderful reaction and kind words. I remember how jealous I was then (in a good way!) when you told us about your new life in Taman Negara! Good on you Yatie! I am living in kampung too and I love every minute of it! Dear, you can’t possibly know what your presence and comments here meant to me! Thank you!!