Anne Woods is a 23 year old from the East coast of Australia. She runs three blogs that consist of journal entries, poetry, and current issues. After losing her job, dealing with depression, and surviving sexual harassment, she decided to dedicate this year to healing. Now Anne…
Writes to Heal
Drem: Why do you Write To Heal? Has something happened that moved you to using writing as an art form, such as an illness or traumatic experience?
Anne:I Write to Heal because I find it to be the easiest and most honest way I have to telling my stories. I’ve encountered many difficult situations in my life and had a hard time speaking about them. The first time I started to use my writing as a platform to express myself was when I was teenager. I struggled through majority of my teen years with bullying, being an outcast and having depression. Writing became a crutch that I used when I couldn’t find the appropriate words to describe what I was feeling. This is essentially where my writing style using metaphors, similes and personification as a ground for my writing came into being.
Through my later teen years and early adult years I went through many experiences that not only traumatised me but furthered my mental illness. I experienced two severe car accidents when I was 18 that ended up with my writing off both cars. At 19 I lived in an emotional abusive household for the first half of the year and spent 2 months homeless. Whilst being 20, though it was one of the quieter years of my life, I also fell in love for the first time and had my heart broken. It was also during the later end of this year that my depression began to worsen and I feared for my own safety.
My years between 21 and 23 (as I am currently) have all been about healing and due to this I spent one year with my parents going through the hardest part of my recovery. Shortly before my 21st birthday I moved back to a city and attained a job for a period of 3 months, however ended up resigning due to my mental health. From there I experienced another traumatising experience of being stalked and sexually harassed by my housemate-at-the-time’s boyfriend and ended up relying on a close friend for 2 months before being able to move to another city.
This year was when I started to truly heal and was felt able to express myself again. I started writing again only in November and this time decided to open up writing to a wider audience which led me to blogging here on WordPress. This year, whilst being one of the most therapeutic of my life, was unfortunately not free from my apparent bad luck as less than a month ago I was made redundant from my job and again found myself struggling.
However from within this community I’ve managed to find inspiration and motivation to continue my writing even though some days are more difficult than others currently. Once I began in my initial intent to heal myself through writing I found it one of the greatest reprieves from my mental illness and one of the most motivating factors to continue my journey.
D: So writing helps you digest your pain/suffering/experience and give some relief? Is it like a kind of therapy for you?
A:Writing enables me to take a step back from the incidents in my life that have caused me pain. I feel that when writing I’m able to appropriately see the narrative of my life without the harsh emotional nature that sometimes makes it difficult to see some of the better parts. Being able to write about it and having active feedback definitely relieves some of the negativity I’ve carried with regards to certain incidents and even allows me the ability to see it from an alternative viewpoint.
Writing has definitely become one of my best coping mechanisms. I feel it allows me a safe environment to express myself without always directly relating the issues I’m writing about to my own life. Whilst a lot of my writing is highly reflective in nature the ability to write about it in an active voice without fear of persecution or judgement has made it so much easier to me to share these traumatic incidents with other people in my life.
D: Why do you continue writing, writing to heal, and has your work changed/evolved over time as you’ve aged?
A:From the youngest time in my life I can always remember writing and because I find it such an easy way of expressing myself I think it is something that I will always continue to do. My writing has taken huge steps in evolution as I have grown older, not only from gaining different writing experience, but also just from my general understanding of what I’m trying to say and the best way to say it.
My original writing from what I still have from my younger years was highly fictional. I found it easier to cope with my own struggles by employing a character in a fictional world to deal with them. It allowed me distance from the issues I was dealing with and this is one of the over-arching themes of my writing in general.
Whether fictional of autobiographical, writing has always been a healing process for me and hopefully will continue to be as such for a lot longer.
D: Did you blog before this life changing event happened?
A:I’ve previously delved into blogging several times before, however never to the extent that I currently have. Majority of my blogging previously revolved around the idea of painting the best picture I could of my life as it was and in a way, actively ignoring some of the aspects of my life that I couldn’t deal with. However all of these previous attempts very quickly disintegrated and were abandoned.
D: Where do you find your most inspiration- is it through mainly a painful experience or something else?
A:I find majority of my inspiration from my ability to see the good in the world around me despite the fact that majority of my writing does focus on the more negative aspects of my life. I think it’s probably fair to say that my inspiration mostly comes from hope or to be more specific: the hope that if I can free myself from my past that the future may indeed be better.
I find it to be an odd thing in itself that whilst my focus is rather negative, the hope that I have allows me to turn the inspiration I find in my daily life into the ability to use the negative as a motivating factor. This inspiration also allows me to remove some of the negativity and look at my life from a more subjective viewpoint.
D: Did you start writing at the time of your trauma, or was there a previous attempt?
A:I’ve never been completely able to pinpoint the moment in my life when I started writing, but it’s always been a part of me. Despite having trouble with English in my younger years, writing and story-telling has always been a huge part of who I am as a person. It’s one of the parts of myself I rely on most, which is one of the biggest reasons that it is so intrinsic in my journey of recovery.
D: What type of writing or art do you mainly focus on?
A:Currently my main focus of writing is autobiographical and reflection or short poetic narrative. I do hope to further my writing into several different avenues such as non-fiction narrative or journalism in the future, however I am quite content with what I am currently producing.
D: Did it happen organically or did you say to yourself, “I need to do this to help myself”?
A:My writing has always been organic. I’d never actively tried to make my writing a healing tool as it is always been a more subconscious aspect of my writing. However, I can say that my main current writing, which is Letters to the Lost Years, is a mix of organic and active thought writing. It did originally start as an organic dialogue to myself which then turned into something that I now actively do and try to put as much honesty and information into as possible once I found it to be a great healing tool.
D: How often do you write/commit to your work?
A:I try to write something at least once a day; however there are times when none of what I write makes it to the screen. Organically, I write general three or four days out of the week and find that when I do write organically I produce a lot of work in a small timeframe.
D: When do you write and how? Like, in a journal, on a computer, and what time of day? Do you have a schedule?
A:I write during several times of the day and it is all generally done on a computer. My most active writing times are generally between 5am and 8am or 10pm and 1am as these seem to be the times when I am most emotive. Whilst I don’t have a schedule that I follow with writing I do find that it seems to create a rhythm on its own.
D: What dreams do you have for your writing/art and have those dreams changed since starting?
A:One of my biggest dreams with writing is to one day become a published author. I’m currently undecided of what content I would like to produce to such a degree however I have been delving
To view Anne’s blogs, visit
〉Letters To The Lost Years – An autobiographical, reflective work. Contains majority of my writing that talks about my depression and various life experiences. Currently half-way to completion.
〉 Of Demons And Daydreams – Poetry and narrative work.
〉 I’m Not Dead Yet- LIFE – My active-voice blog that talks about current issues in my life.
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