I was initially paralyzed and I felt very alone in my injury – I was so tired, but God was with me at every moment. I read the Bible as much as I could and when I began to write, I wrote about Him. I walked on my own again. He was with me in every thought, and in each stroke of my pen, and a couple of years after my accident He was with me in every sentence I constructed with a typewriter. God was ushering in writing as my purpose, to renew my sense of living. The point was to let go and trust.
I felt my PTSD calmed by writing, for though people called me lazy and were always frustrated with me for not doing what they wanted me to do, writing was my vindication and my truth. When I was afraid and filled with guilt for being so slow and tired, writing offered me a home, a meditative place to go where I could keep learning. Writing gave me hope when people were crushing me – through my characters I was raised up. Writing helped me rediscover myself, since my personality seemed to have melted away with my TBI. Writing helped me find the words to speak again. Writing was my healing, and writing was my purpose.
Somehow I knew the books I was writing would be published, and I knew that my books would be sustained through the years because I wanted to help people know that they could find recovery in purpose. The more I helped others, I knew through prayer and meditation, the more I helped myself recover. Emotionally, I suffered under false persecution but I’m not sure I would have been so open to learning about the world and writing about its truths in my fiction if I had not been so persecuted.
My purpose in writing raised me out of the darkness of my recovery and set me on a clear and productive path, specifically looking toward the greater good. As my characters in Truth be Told founded one of the first Universities in Europe, my purpose led me to accept an invitation to college, to study religiously, and to set goals and reach them. I continued to write stories in between semesters as though they were my prayers, and along with the children that my husband and I had, I realized that writing was the key to my recovery. One of these stories, which I wrote through an especially dark part of my recovery, is a novella called Truth be Told. I was so misunderstood and forced to be the scapegoat for those who believed I would never recover mentally, that I was living in the lie that other people created for me. I had to free myself through purpose and the endurance of writing, hence the title.
In the later part of my recovery I focused on facing my PTSD head-on through writing about it, and by recognizing that I had already been writing about it for years without being aware of what I was doing. Truth be Told, which took me fifteen years to write, is the story of my recovery, symbolically concealed within fictional characters, set in a different time and place. Symbolism, in dreams, prayer, and writing, took me deep inside my mind to solve its puzzle, and symbolism aided my memory with its reasoning.
The storyline and all of the characters in Truth be Told are symbolic of myself and my recovery, in a sense giving to others the recovery that God had given to me. The old man in my novella is symbolic of God, prayer, and love of my children, the inner truth I found when I searched diligently, the challenges that stretched my mind, and that I knew I had to face in order to recover. The Lady is the aspect of my recovery in which I felt lost, even to myself; she is the fear I felt with not knowing myself (only through writing did I rediscover myself). Through written prayer I learned to focus my mind, calm my thoughts, which were drowning in the guilt I felt for being disabled, and listen to God. The knight is the aspect of my recovery that was overcome by PTSD and needed armor get out from beneath it - the armor of spiritual writing. He represents the survivor’s guilt I had for living as brain-injured. I symbolized my purpose - the purpose that everyone needs to climb out of the darkness - as Jesus. My purpose was God’s rudder within me. Knowing that everyone has a god-given purpose is the hope that can change lives.
My husband and I now have seven children, with our first grandchild on the way, and I'm still writing and learning. I've earned a BLS through The University of Iowa and am now working toward a Master's Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University. I’m grateful to have written a book that I feel so strongly can help other people, in which people can recognize themselves in the characters, and know that they're not alone. My mission now is to give others hope – and that has given my writing new life. I want to show people an inclusive future, where they can see the divinity of their lives and know that creativity can give them purpose.
Has writing ever helped you recover from hardship? In what ways?
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