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  • Writer's pictureSrimati

Writing Therapy For Trauma Recovery

"Lost Blaze" Abstract Art by Srimati

I encourage others to write their shadowy, angsty feelings into poetry as an act of sublimation. It's a therapeutic practice that has been foundational in helping to process my childhood and connected adult trauma. Whenever I utilize this method of self-expression, it peels layers of my emotional awareness open and helps me process and understand what exists beneath it all.

In very real ways I am still processing, witnessing, and integrating what happened to me in my life as my situation with my dysfunctional birth family went on well into last year. This is because repressed feelings inevitably need to come up to be witnessed and when there is a backlog of them, it can take time for them to make themselves known as we learn to set them free from their cage and stop repressing/oppressing ourselves and our unmet needs. This leads to self-realization and allows us to see ourselves and our bottled-up feelings.

These feelings are at the root of our shadowy behaviors, which is not the only reason to witness them, but it is helpful in understanding how to address the root cause of our patterns and to do so with candor and honesty.

Understand that while those feelings, which have a personality all their own (in IFS, these aspects are called parts), might feel a certain way, it doesn't mean that one: it is true, and two: it is all there is to us, even if our feelings are telling us it is. But nonetheless, we still can safely witness, validate, and feel them, and actually, that is why we can, because we have become safe, compassionate, and stabilizing witnesses TO them.

I'm not afraid to hear what my feelings whisper to me or to acknowledge the persona contained within them. It was shown to me in a dream that all of my feelings are like many, many personalities inside of me and, to the me who is conscious, they want my attention, witnessing, acceptance, and even counseling and ministering. They want to be held precious. Seen, validated, and even corrected when they are READY for that. This has been foundational for me in healing the bipolar depression, anxiety, and nervous system dysfunction that was a result of prolonged trauma.

Writing this type of poetry is honoring my feelings, and when I go back over and read my poems, I don't feel bad or negative. Instead, I feel deep feelings of contentment and gratitude to myself. I feel like I can truly breathe because it was finally said and finally seen by me. I wasn't pretending, denying, or hiding and I let go of all of the outer pressure and voices from other healers and transformation coaches that were telling me to change my story altogether.

Many people think that healing is just moving on with life and leaving those things behind/rewriting them, but my experience has been the opposite. It's actually holding yourself and all of those feelings precious and tending to them so they are not left behind and abandoned. This is how integration occurs. What was left behind in the darkness of the self is brought forward into the light and welcomed home. If you want to really witness yourself and know yourself truly, this is important. It's like peeling down layer by layer all that was pushed aside and then fully feeling, seeing, witnessing, and honoring those feelings and the events they are connected to. Especially so if there was trauma or soul loss associated with them. Then, it's about protecting what was communicated so we are not retraumatizing those precious aspects.

Writing poetry is such a profound way to witness what feelings have to say because each word is written with such intention and holds within it the very core/essence of what these feelings felt.

The poetry I write around my processing, feeling, and witnessing is dark, angsty, and moody. If someone were to read these poems, they would probably be concerned for me. And honestly, that is the point! We are told to appear to the world as so one-dimensional. Just be good and put on a nice face. Only allow positive emotions. Pretend everything is okay and that you are normal. Only express one side of yourself. Be the best version of yourself.

This toxic culture we have built up around fakeness and appearing to be something we aren't is repressing our wild selves and feeling and expressing fluidly, raw, deep, and innocently is the path to learning how to hold the bliss that comes with a deepening devotional and embodiment practice. Being expressive and creative with ourselves leads to a more self-expressive and fluid state and can even help our actual bodies move better as what was felt was finally acknowledged, expressed, and moved. This brings the body into deeper states of surrender and flexibility, and ultimately, it brings us into greater union with ourselves.