How Writing Can Heal Psychological Trauma?

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Mahatma Gandhi, during his childhood wanted to confess his guilt to his father. He had stolen money from his house and indulged in wayward things in his teenage and ultimately he was blamed and tortured by his own conscience. As a result he made up his mind to commit suicide, but his moral courage failed him to do so. He wrote a letter to his father narrating the things he had done. His father burst in to tears as he read it. As both wept, embracing each other, Mahatma felt his inner guilt was removed for good and this perhaps laid the first stone in his highly principled living and  Philosophy on truth.

A young boy suffered from heavy frustration in life because he got lesser marks in his final examination than his expectation. He was so possessed by his failure that he decided to take revenge on whosoever responsible. He broke the hell loose on his family; beating his siblings and taking on his protesting parents doing furious arguments. He broke the plates on the dining table and called the names of his neighbors. At length his parents decided to send him to the mental asylum. But the boy was lucky for he befriended a fakir before such plight who came to his house begging for alms.

The wise Muslim saint just asked the boy to do one exercise. He asked the latter to write down the thoughts whenever the boy woke up in every morning. Usually the boy was feeling extreme resentments in the early hours of morning after waking up. But he had faith in the mystic and scripted his thoughts everyday morning. After fifteen days the wise man came back and both sat together and started reading the dairy of thoughts.

The boy was simply surprised as both of them read through the pessimistic prose of failure. On the first day, he had blamed his father as the sole reason for his failure to fetch decent marks and the next day he thought his mother was also responsible. The next morning brought him the same blues against his siblings who were also parts of his not doing well in the examination. Well the next day he thought his college teaching faculty was at fault and so it veered around the house, society and neighbors in his locality. On the fifteenth day of his observation of his own thoughts, he wrote that no one but his own self was at fault for his inability to get excellent grades in the examinations.

The enlightened fakir asked the boy if the latter could understand what was happening with him. The boy broke into loud sobs and cried uncontrollably. They sat looking at the sky and saw the clouds darkening the Sun. Both were in silence. After a while the sky was lucidly sparkling after the clouds went fleeting. The boy learned the lesson. He woke up and went inside his house to bring breads and vegetables for the fakir. As both parted company the boy was blessed by the mystic. The boy realized that the transient dark clouds of thoughts can not shadow his illuminated inner self. He began improving soon.

The efficacy of writing to one’s beloved people is proven beyond doubt. The gripping tale of a General serving in allied forces during the Second World War still inspires us. His mother kept him writing in the worst days of war while his forces suffered severe setbacks in the conflict against the Axis powers. Only silver lining in those days was the letters from her mother; her inspiring words provided zeal to fight on. Finally when the war ended and he went home, he found out that his mother had expired long back. Well she post-dated her letters and ensured that those reach her son in time.

Writing perhaps is the biggest source of sharing; the best way to inspire and transform any body whom one loves deeply. In India before this prevalent culture of SMS and email, there was the unique culture of sending messages by the pigeons. The modus operandi was simple; the message was written and paper was tied to the foot of the pigeon and then it was flown in the sky till it reached the destination with the message. Incredibly this service was used by the Indian Police till the late eighties. It is also said such service was used by the royal princes to convey love messages to the duck diamonds in the ancient age.

In the contemporary times nothing can stand as a comparison to a well-written letter as a means of courtship. One can feel this while composing a message through a cell-phone where words are shortened as if failing in expression to match the noble feelings of heart. The ubiquitous emails and cell-phone messages are poor county cousins to a well-expressed letter in one’s own handwriting.

A girl in India who appeared a topper in the civil services examination once had acute depression because she could not qualify in her first attempt. She was pondering over suicide and one day she was about to take a handful of sleeping pills while her eyes caught the sight of an old letter. The letter dated back to the days when she was in the school and was written by her father. Her father expressed his feelings about the ways he doted on her. In one of the paragraphs, he described her as his heart and her brother as his life. He wrote that both his offspring were like pupils of his eyes and he would be blind if he lost them. Such remembrance of intense emotions burned her eyes, choked her heart and next moment she found all pent-up heart-burns were getting drained out through her eyes as she sat crying. Reading of an old letter saved her life and inspired her to continue through failures.

One has to regret the fact that in the world today, where messages are shortest in sizes-probably measured in bytes and bits, young generations have begun to live inside the ghetto of competitions and pressure of deadlines. Sharing thoughts at intervals in the distance of close relationship is getting outdated day-by-day. There is no time for them to share the thoughts and heal the time inflicted wounds of the heart.

Srikant Mohanty,

HIG-1/60, BDA Colony,

Kapila Prasad, Old Town,




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