I love writing. I always have.
Journalism is my trade and that involves lots of writing. Crafting articles for my employer’s website, scripting eye and ear catching TV reports, and coming up with killer questions that will either capture a feeling or wrong foot an evasive interviewee are all reasons why putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, can be such a joy.
But this year has been difference.
Since January I have not been able to work a full day. As much as that has been frustrating and upsetting and all the things you’d expect when your body gives up on you, I have discovered a different kind of pleasure in writing.
Writing was previously a means to an end. I had a story to tell, and I wanted ITV News viewers, users of the website, and readers of the local newspaper where I have a regular column, to be challenged, inspired or feel intellectually nourished by my work.
Now though, in addition to all of that, I have truly discovered the pleasure writing gives me.
The breakthrough was back in July when I wrote my first blog about my symptoms, before I had received any kind of diagnosis.
I wrote the piece because I was finding it difficult to explain the nuances of my symptoms. Those people who thought I was “just tired” didn’t get it, but that wasn’t their fault. It’s not easy to communicate in a short sentence.
What I didn’t expect was how much of an impact writing it would have on me.
It felt like the feelings, the emotions, the times people don’t see, had been let loose into the world. They were no longer a weight sitting solely on my shoulders.
Additionally, hearing back from friends, family and colleagues with their newfound understanding and empathy made me feel better, and frankly helped them too.
My frustration at them, and their misunderstanding of me, had lifted. A win-win.
That then got the ball rolling for me.
I’ve started blogging more, for a number of reasons.
The altruistic me wanted to share my experiences with others in a similar position. If I knew a year ago what I know now, it would have been a great help. If I can make that happen in some small way for other people, great!
But there was another aspect to all this.
This year has been all about being constantly reminded of what I can’t do, what I used to be able to do, what I wished I was still able to do.
Writing and blogging, I realised, was something I could do because I could do it at any time of day, in any location, and on any subject. Suddenly this was about me realising I could utilise a skill I had.
Whether I’m writing at 5am on the sofa, or 3pm in bed, it really doesn’t matter. When it’s written down, nobody knows.
Whether I manage a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole article doesn’t matter. Every letter, every word, is progress. It’s all something that I have been able to do.
My writing might be your painting or singing. My blogs might be your poetry or doodling. The point is that it has benefits beyond what you might imagine.
Writing is my catharsis. What is yours? Let me and other Zonked Club readers know so we can all share and grow together.