Have a Talk with Yourself on Paper

Dear friends,

Often in the comments, people tell me they are so depressed, so sad, so confused they don’t know what to do. I’ll bet you feel that way sometimes, as if what you’re going through now or facing in the future is just unbearable. You want children so badly, but you might never have them. You love this man or woman with all your heart, but if you stay with them, you have to give up your dream. It hurts. Right?

And what do I tell you? Talk to somebody. Talk to your partner, your family, your friends, a minister or a shrink. Easy to say, not so easy to do. I know. People are always telling me to call them when I feel depressed, but I can’t. It’s just too hard to pull out of my funk long enough to dump it all over my friends and relatives. If I do call, they either don’t understand or they offer solutions that just make me feel worse. But there’s something I can do that really helps: I can write. As a lifelong professional writer, I naturally turn to words, but writing is a great outlet for anyone.

Writing is great therapy. It allows you to get your feelings out of your head and onto paper, to work through problems and to figure out exactly what’s bothering you. It doesn’t have to be perfect or professional. Who cares if you spell all the words right? You don’t have to share it with anyone. It’s just for you. So get out some paper or boot up the computer and give it a shot. Here are some suggestions.

1) Journal: Write about what’s going on, about how you feel, about why you think you feel that way, what you would change in your life if you could.

2) Make a list: What’s bugging you? Put it all down. Feeling hurt, resentful, sad or scared? Write it down. Don’t know what to do? Try a list of pros and cons. Feel guilty or hurt or resentful? Write it down. List every last little thing that’s bothering you, no matter how trivial. Get it all out.

3)Write a letter: Is there someone you’d really like to talk to but can’t because they’re not alive or not around or you don’t dare say what you’d like to say? Write it out. You don’t have to mail it, but just putting it down will help.

4) Fantasize: If all your dreams came true, if your partner changed his mind, if her infertility suddenly disappeared, if you got pregnant or met the perfect person who can’t wait to have kids with you, what would it be like? Just write it down and let yourself enjoy the dreams. What would you have to do to make those dreams come true?

5) Count blessings: Yes, you do have blessings, and if you can find a few, it will help you feel better. It doesn’t have to be big. A perfect hamburger. A dog who loves you. A favorite pair of shoes. Maybe your partner’s hugs make you feel safe and warm. Maybe you have a wonderful job. Maybe the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue or the rain feels good on your face. Writing down your blessings can help you see it’s not all bad.

6) Get creative: Try making up a story about someone else. Give them lots of troubles, then find ways to solve them. Or try writing a poem or song. Some of the world’s greatest songs have come from composers who were feeling bad. Remember “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”?

You could just go to Facebook or Twitter and tell the world you feel bad. But that will just bring a flurry of pity responses and then everyone will forget about it. That doesn’t help much. Try writing something that only you and God will see.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, and I have considerable experience with various types of therapy, but for me, the best therapy is writing. Most people I meet don’t know about my “blue days.” I don’t call them. I write.

When that doesn’t work, I go out and eat a massive sandwich and a ton of French fries. I look forward to your comments.


8 thoughts on “Have a Talk with Yourself on Paper

  1. Sue,

    I can see where writing would be good therapy. I too am reluctant to talk to family or friends about being childless, Mainly because invariably they will say a lot of things I already know and don’t want to hear. I’ve come to the conclusion in the time I’ve been on this blog, that if having children is that important and your partner isn’t on board with it, then you must roll the dice, leave and find someone willing to have them with you. If not, you will be forever resentful. I believe staying, especially when your partner has had his or her kids, exacerbates things. IMO it’s best to gut it up and get through the hurt and pursue your dreams. Otherwise, you’ll be forever angry, depressed and resentful. That’s no way to be, But I also know this won’t work for everyone.


  2. I love the idea of keeping a journal. I use a journal and I find it so relaxing. It helps to get all of these feelings out on paper even if no one else will ever see it. I find that at stressful times in my life I use my journal a lot and at other times I might not use it all, but I always come back to it.


  3. I’ve never really been a journal type person. I’m more of a list person. Pros on one side, cons on the other. Being a financial person in my career, it’s always been about the numbers. Type A and logical is how my brain works. I have never made decisions solely based on emotions. Well, maybe except marrying my husband. I was young (very) and in love. But when it came to the reality of not having children, I had to make the list, and the pros of staying far out weighed the cons. That’s not saying I don’t have emotions over not having children. I still hurt. But in reality, I have a husband who loves me, and to me that’s an awesome blessing all in itself.


    • Candy,

      You are blessed indeed. I’m in sales and marketing and I deal with numbers daily. However, I can be too emotional for my own good. My being childless runs the spectrum. One way or another, I’m going to decide what’s best. At this juncture, I don’t know.


  4. Thank you, Sue, for this blog and for its honesty. I have recently started admitting to myself that the possibility that I will never have children is a big deal. I am not yet married to my partner, and I am only 29, but he has made it clear that if we do marry, the marriage will be childless. Like all the women posting here, I love him immensely – but I also want to be a mother. For a long time, I tried to make this problem disappear by ignoring it. That only led to depression and crippling anxiety. Now I am finally addressing that anxiety. Part of it has been opening up to others – to my mother, my friends – and part of it has been having an honest conversation with myself. I write, I think, I journal – and as I do, I find that my emotions scare me less. Decisions will have to be made, yes – but fear is not going to make anything easier.

    Again, thank you.


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