Aside from the several gazillion studies that describe how writing improves psychological health, I can personally vouch for the fact that writing is one of the best therapeutic tools you actually have control over. Expressing how you feel or how you perceived a traumatic and emotional experience won’t rid the incident from your system but somehow being able to voice your deepest thoughts helps you move forward; even if it’s just a millimetre and that too at snail speed, you will move forward.
I can’t say I write every single day; the unhappier the days are the more I remember to need to pull myself together, which just happens to be through writing. You don’t need to be missing a strong support system to turn to yourself through writing; you could have the closest friends and people to turn to but there are still times when I don’t even know how I feel until I actually jot it down. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a closed book; I’m just scared of what the other person might think of what I feel or the things that are ‘real’ to me. As sad as that seems I just don’t open up to everyone but if at some level I manage to connect with you, then trust me you’re in for a ride because I will attach myself to you like a leech and refuse to let go. That also just happens to be why people like me end up feeling more isolated than normal, because if that one person you want to talk to is no longer available, then you no longer know what to do with yourself. This is where writing for you takes on a critical role.
It doesn’t have to be a diary or some structured blog; you could scribble on a sticky note and very well just tear it up immediately after. It’s not supposed to be a piece of literary art, it’s supposed to be for your eyes only, no one is going to check your grammar or the use of flowery language and no one is going to judge you for what you write. That’s the entire purpose of this tiny action, you discover the underlying emotional expression you’re feeling, you can scream and shout without the associated guilt of what the subject of your anger or hurt or even envy might think of you for saying those things. This form of self-reflection unburdens you, if only by a little from the stress of holding on to your feelings.
If you’ve lost someone, write to them, whether that’s someone who unfortunately passed away or a relationship that ended. Say anything and everything you want, whether that’s a confessional of sorts, an apology or a justification for what you may have done, an emotional outburst of the hurt you’re feeling or just a list of questions surrounding your very real existential crisis, and then just tuck it away somewhere safe for yourself. Trust me when I say you’ll be able to let go of some of the things you’re feeling easier than you have ever been able to before. By giving a sanctuary to the writer within you, you help yourself achieve whatever level of catharsis you can, whether that’s a mountain or a mole hill, it’ll still be therapeutic and there’s no undermining that.