Anything worthwhile is going to cost you something – usually more than one thing (e.g. money, time, energy, emotional turmoil, and so on). When delving deep into something painful, the pain itself is the heftiest price that needs to be paid. The price is commensurate with what is ultimately gained. This became very clear to me during the writing of my autobiography a few years ago.
The focus of the book – for those who do not yet know – is the sexual abuse I experienced during my childhood. There was a time when I had to stop writing because the pain unearthed was so profound I believe it would have destroyed me if I had continued at that point – months on end of wanting to die every day (God, take me now, pleeeeeaaaase!!!). It was not the “I want to kill myself” type of dying, but the pain that is born of profound loss. In my case, I was mourning the loss of myself – the self that was the result of so much trauma. It was like grieving the death of someone near and dear to me – someone who helped me survive. To this day, I don’t know how I wrote the book without drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or any other emotional numbing agent, since I was no longer relying on my former self to cope with it. I was stripped down to my essence – the person I would have been without the trauma.
Writing the book helped me heal in the way that I needed to be healed. I realized that therapy acted more as a band-aid when I started to recall everything that happened to me. It may have been because of the number (hundreds) of incidences of abuse that were not all dealt with in therapy, or the fact that writing is like breathing for me, that I had to write it for myself, first and foremost.
I understand that not everyone is capable, or even willing to undertake such a task to heal – it does not matter. If painful experiences are not somehow faced, felt and worked through, nothing will be gained. And maybe, at least a part of what is gained, is the ability to help others navigating the same type of pain.