Sunday, 17 February 2013

New Therapies: Writing Life Therapy and Colours

One interesting thing I have noticed since I began writing my book is that when I first tackle a really sad event it will be extremely painful to write. I will be in floods of tears by the end of it and then I cannot bear to look at it again for days. This makes it difficult to write it well in draft one and I just do my best. I had almost decided that it was too painful to continue, I also believe that if something is painful to write it will be equally painful to read. Then some days later when I came to re-read and edit it I find that I can read it and edit it at length without any tears, or unpleasant negative emotions and with complete detachment and objectivity. At this point I can even go into far greater detail without further distress.

It is as if the process of writing everything down has removed any power the memories had to inflict pain, which is fascinating from the psychological viewpoint. I am beginning to think I have found a brilliant form of therapy. I would advise people with seriously upsetting memories to seek counselling, if that is not possible make certain you have a supply of chocolate and a good friend handy to cheer you up. I don’t think I am the first psychologist to use it or its original discoverer, I am sure I remember reading about it before. 15 years ago it helped me to write all my childhood memories when I was trying to get off speed and get over chronic fatigue, osteomyelitis and Hep C. This is how I ended up banana shaped, the spine itself is actually fine, it is the nerves inside the brain stem, which control the back muscles that are damaged. 

Another new therapy I am trying is colour therapy, it involves wearing and being surrounded by bright vibrant colours, to which we know the brain responds positively. All the time I was studying and then doing research, I had to dress suitably for a scientist, which involves wearing sober colours and conservative styles. I do not have time for shopping trips so I buy most of my clothes online. The colours on the website however, can be very different from the reality. Dark blue can actually be a lurid purple and browns often turn out to be red so as I cannot afford expensive mistakes, black was usually the safest choice. 

As this is not the real me, I found being permanently dressed for a funeral quite depressing. 
I had to force myself into that rather uncomfortable mould and now I am breaking out. As a scientist I had to show good judgement, by dressing sensibly for that role, but as a writer I am allowed to be flamboyant, it is almost expected if not compulsory. Thus I have ordered myself a fake-fur-fluffy, multi-coloured hooded, ¾ length, rainbow striped coat, which will make me look like a multi-coloured duckling. I am going to call it Orville and find somebody to teach us to fly. I expect I will look extremely silly as a 64 year old duckling BUT I don’t care. The fashion police are not allowed on Sheppey, (my writer's hideaway) and according to something I read once there is a potential for an ugly duckling to turn into a beautiful swan. We will see!