Cassi Ellen talks about how writing helped her move on after a broken heart.

Have you ever been left broken hearted or felt like your life was spiralling out of control? I decided to put pen to paper when my life was turned upside down and here is why…

At 30 years old, I was living 10,000 miles away from my friends and family, when the man I planned to marry did the unthinkable and had an affair, leaving me alone and heartbroken. The loneliness and misery was unbearable and the first person I called was my dad. Although I don’t remember very much about our conversation, I do remember him making one vital fatherly suggestion as I wailed hysterically down the phone to him:

‘Why don’t you try writing things down? It might help you feel better.’

At the time I don’t really think he thought anything of this suggestion, he was clutching at straws, trying desperately to calm me down and do anything he could to make me feel a little less alone. But he planted the seed, and that was really the beginning.

When I started the ritual of recording my emotions and stories, I definitely was not writing a book. If you told me then that I would eventually publish a book on my experiences, I would have honestly laughed in your face.

For two years after my breakup, as I began to put my life back together and rediscover my identity, I made a note of everything that made me smile, laugh and cry, and before I knew it I had 70,000 words!

‘Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.’ — Marilyn Monroe.

Why writing helped me so much

Writing has definitely saved me thousands of dollars on actual therapy! But most importantly I found it to be very comforting during a difficult time for me. I have never written anything before in my life. I always struggled with English language and I barely passed the subject in school. Yet, I found it hugely therapeutic to write things down. I think a lot of authors will agree that putting pen to paper has a soothing effect, but I also hope that maybe some readers who haven’t thought about writing before might consider trying it too.

There were times, in the very beginning, that I would write for hours and hours and wouldn’t even notice the time. The emotions were so strong I would often frantically punch at the keyboard as the words poured out of me. Other times, I could barely see the screen for the tears that were flowing. Sometimes this would be coupled with laughing so much that my stomach would hurt. It sounds romantic: writing to heal, but there were raw emotions coming right to the surface – it was a complete roller-coaster.

At the end of the day, writing kept me sane. Every time I folded my laptop away after a ‘writing therapy session’ I would automatically feel better. It was like tiny little weights were being lifted from me each time I wrote something down.

‘Life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will, but it always does work out.’ — Unknown

What made me decide to publish my story?

Obviously, writing started out as just a way of coping; I was writing for myself and there was no coherence to it. As I said, I was never intentionally writing a book. Then one day, four years after my breakup, I was feeling a little blue and decided I needed a laugh and so read the whole thing back to myself. If I’m honest, it was confusing and frustrating to read back, and a lot of it was complete gibberish. However, it did make me both laugh and cry, and I realised how much I’d learned from the past few years. That’s what made me think about sharing my experience with others.

Now I had to turn this rambling mess into something coherent. Editing a book you’ve written in the present tense to read in the past tense, takes a lot of time and effort. Ten months of it, in fact. But finally I had it ready to be seen by the world.

I hoped, and still do hope, that my story will relate to readers and maybe even inspire those who have yet to find their inner writer. Perhaps a glimpse into the turmoil of my life, the breaking and mending of the pieces, can offer ways of overcoming difficult situations. I hope that people will relate to it and know that things do get better.

‘You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.’ — Unknown

Do I have anything else in the pipeline?

Well, although I no longer feel the need to frantically write everything down, I have started book two Story After a Secret Heart. This time I’m actually really enjoying the process of writing the whole story from scratch. Before, I was so engrossed in feelings, and writing was a way of getting it out. Whereas this time around I’m enjoying planning and plotting the structure of the book. It’s a whole new world to me and so far I love it. I just hope I can try and muster up some of the raw emotion that I believe made the first book so relatable to readers.

‘Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.’ — Unknown.

Ever been in a bad relationship? Ever discovered that you were being cheated on?

As Cassi, a 30-year old single woman, leaves a long-term, unhappy relationship, she struggles with the pain and anguish of a broken heart. When, by chance, she meets a handsome stranger, he introduces her to a world that she didn’t even know existed. As she begins to slowly forget all about her broken heart she learns to have fun again. It is then that her life starts to spiral out of control and all she can do is laugh and hang on tight. Through her trials and tribulations, Cassi has to find her inner strength and keep a smile on her face even in front of adversity.

Story of a Secret Heart is about breaking up … and breaking down. It’s about the roller-coaster ride of a breakup and all the dating and relationship stories in-between.

Cassi Ellen started writing at 30 – she was single, alone and heart broken. The book, Story of a Secret Heart, is the story of how her broken heart became the making of her.

1 comment on “Writing as Therapy”

  1. This is so well said. My mother died last year, and writing has been the best way to cope with the deafening feelings of grief. I love just having some place to put it, a notebook or a computer screen where I can just compartmentalize my crazy for the day. I’ve also found that the simple act of writing often has pushed me towards writing artfully instead of just for therapeutic reasons. And what’s even better is when I can go back and revise my journaling/poetry, as you did, to create something artful out of tragedy. Great post!

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