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  • Barbara Elk

Let Me Tell You What I've Been Doing...and Happy New Year!

I've been working on my notes for my book. No, not the thriller/homicidal maniac/otherworldly story...my autobiography.

I've been prompted to write my life story for the majority of my life. I thought it was a cool idea and readily agreed whenever people would encourage me to do that. But I would start, put it aside...start again, put it aside.... start a whole new angle, put it aside...you get the picture. Each time promising myself that I would get it done. With all the different versions, I probably have written over 100,000 words, easily.

In between all these start and stops, I would be frustrated with myself. I'd beat myself up...wondering, "What's wrong with me?" Or, I would give myself a million and one excuses as to why it wasn't getting done, all of which sounded valid to me.

And in between all of these starts and stops, I would research different methods on "How to finish writing a book". I read online articles, paid for online classes, and purchased books by "best-selling authors". All of that is good. I'm not dissing the steps I took. It sometimes takes a lot of stumbling around in the dark until you find the door to get to where you want.

I finally found an article (fortunately it was free!) on a writing method that I could easily grasp. The instructions are simple...get a notebook, a pen and write down your life, starting from the beginning. To be honest, when I read and reread those words, I saw a huge mountain form in front of me. I instantly felt pain, fear and hesitancy. The mountain before me was dark and threatening because I knew what was there. I knew that I was going to fall against sharp rocks, plunge down ravines and I was going to have to poke dangerous animals until I got the truth. The truth about my past would evolve as I put pen to paper and wrote about the decisions that others made for me and the ones I made for myself. I would have to write out each and every sticky and dire childhood situation that inevitably formed the person I turned out to be.

So, where am I in this endeavor? Well, I've already written all my memories from my childhood and I'm now jotting down memories from when I was 9 years old and having just been placed in a second adoption home. This is one of the most painful areas to go back and visit, but I'm doing it. The memories are painful to look back on and I find myself feeling like that scared nine year old, so I drop my pen and I allow myself to cry. It's not the first time I've cried from stuff from my past but I see crying as a release. It's akin to a pressure cooker where you turn the valve on top to release the trapped, hot air. After a good cry, I do a mental check on how I'm feeling and from there, I can ascertain why I'm feeling that way. I pick up the pen and write down what I experienced. I know all this sounds arduous but it has worked for me. I'm being patient with myself. It's part of learning to love myself.

I have a deadline for the completion of my notes. I see a psychologist who specializes in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy and the next time I see her, we have an agreement that she will look over what I've written as part of the process and we'll talk about what comes next.

I will get this book published and the reason I want to get it published is simple...I want to help others who struggle with PTSD due to childhood trauma. On a daily basis, my heart goes to those who are suffering and especially for those who are still trying to cope with the ill-effects of the Sixties Scoop. I'm not claiming I have all the answers, no one does, but I think the way I have coped may be enough to offer to a few who will read my story.

So I'm curious, have you done something like this for your own healing? Would you consider doing it?

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