How Writing Helped Me Heal – by Julie Guirgis

How Writing Helped Me Heal – by Julie Guirgis

Writing about stressful times in my life is my catharsis. I never regret sharing personal stories because doing so helps me cope with the aftermath of an emotional trauma. Below are two stressful life events that I wrote about for publication…and for healing.

For many years I have been a caregiver for my brother, who has an intellectual disability, and my father, who had dementia. And, although caregiving can be very rewarding, it can also bring with it some tough times.

A few years ago, when my brother was at his day group, he nearly drowned when he had an epileptic fit in the swimming pool. One of the care workers gave him CPR while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. He was the taken to the Intensive Care Unit and put in an induced coma. After a long wait, I finally able to see the doctor.

“Is he going to be OK?”I asked her with anxiety, yet hoping for a good report. She said she didn’t know at this stage.

When I arrived home, I felt my world was falling apart, and could no longer hold it together. The next couple of weeks consisted of regular visits to the hospital from family, friends, and care workers. Condolences, prayers, and support followed. I made many phone calls over the next couple of days to see if there was any progress. They said he was stable but there were no significant changes. Hours passed, yet my brother remained comatose.

The next time I went to see him, there was more color in his face and the swelling had reduced. He was then transferred to a ward. I was excited about the progress and, a few days later, we received the incredible news my brother was coming home. I was ecstatic!

A few years later, my dad, who had dementia, wandered from home. Mum had only turned her back for a few moments, and had forgotten to lock the front door. Dad usually walked slowly, and slightly hunching over. But, on this day, he was like lightning. Tearing through the streets, mum and I called out for dad but he had vanished. I checked the creek across the road, praying that he wasn’t caught up in the bushes or, worse still, fallen on the rocks. I remembered reading that when people with dementia have wandered, about half of them suffered serious injury or death if not found within 24 hours.

We kept searching the streets for what felt like an hour, but he was nowhere to be found. The next step was to call the police. While they were asking me questions I heard mum yell out, “He’s home!”

Some neighbors had seen him looking lost, and drove him home. The anguish and turmoil had ended. The search was over. My heart beat with happiness beyond understanding.

I knew expressive writing can be a cathartic experience and that my stories could inspire and fill people with hope, so I penned the stories about my brother and dad, and had them published in several online and print publications, as well as an upcoming anthology.

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Julie Guirgis is an international freelance writer. Her writing has been published in several publications. Some of these include Transition,Majellan, Madonna, Eureka St, The Nathaniel Report, Signs of the Times, Adventist Review, Unity, Significant Living, Caring Times,Vibrant Life, Alive Now, Now What?, Insight, Guide, The Aquarian, The Edge, Creation Illustrated, Kaleidoscope, Insights, The Compass, Writer’s Weekly, Coffee House for Writers, Author’s Publish Magazine, Woman Alive, Spotlight on Recovery, Narcissist’s Playbook Anthology and Splendry.



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