A friend recently told me that she had to call the pharmacy because the instructions for her medicine were wrong. She was worried abut calling because she was afraid she wouldn’t or couldn’t explain the problem properly.

“I know I’ll get all confused. I  never seem to say what I mean so I end up saying too much or all the wrong things.”

I had one piece of advice for her.

“Write it down,” I said. “Write down exactly what you want to say, what points you want to make and then call the pharmacy and read it; read exactly what you’ve written.”

This is a method I use all the time.  Did someone hurt my feelings, make a mistake, say or do something I thought was wrong?  I write down what I want to say; sometimes just the act of writing is enough and I don’t  have to actually confront the person.  Other times, I do have to act and at those times  my thoughts are organized and I say exactly what I want to say. Sometimes I even anticipate their answers and prepare a reply or rebuttal.

The pharmacy says, “the instructions on the bottle came from your doctor.”

I say, “they are not the instructions I received in the past.  Please check your records.”

The person I’ m confronting  says “oh, don’t be so sensitive, I didn’t mean it”

I say, “my being sensitive isn’t the point, the point is that I think what you said (or did) was wrong  and I wanted you to know.”

Writing,venting on paper or on the computer is a great release; it’s my therapy.What I do is write  everything I feel or think as fast as I can.  I just let the words pour out;  I don’t worry about spelling or punctuation or complete sentences.  I just write and write until I’ve said everything I want to say, until I get that “wow, that felt great” feeling.That’s when I  go back to  use spell- check, to  punctuate and make corrections, Then, I either delete it or file it away under a code name so I can read it another day. This is important.   Never send an angry letter over the internet; it will be there forever and you can never take it back.

Writing can even solve problems for me.  I had a situation with two friends and I wrote a short play about it.  I wrote it from all three viewpoints and when I finished the situation didn’t bother me so much anymore.  Seeing the problem on paper reduced it to  (almost) nothing, made me see that it really wasn’t much of a problem after all.

I wrote a whole book of memories when my mother died  and another,  Widowpedia,  when i lost my husband.  Writing about them softened my grief, made it (a little) more  manageable.

One of my best gifts ever came from a friend who wrote a “this is your life” poem for our twenty-fifth anniversary.  She summed up our whole marriage, children, jobs, vacations, places we lived, in thirty lines of poetry. It was and is one of my favorite possessions and it gave me the idea to try writing life poems myself, maybe for senior citizens who want to leave a remembrance of themselves to their families  without  writing a whole autobiography.

Writing is the best thing I can do for myself. I was feeling headachy and sneezy when i started  this article but, somehow, I feel much better now.  Writing can even cure a potential cold!

 

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