Blog

Aug27
2018

Healing Through Words and Pages

By Debora Hellinga

I believe in the power of words. I believe in the power of words as much as I believe in the gentle whisper and the screaming roar of the wind; the wind which can guide ships and carry birds, the same wind which can move storm clouds and lift balloons. I believe in the power of words like the air I need to survive.

Books are where I live, where I can close my eyes and rest and be myself—fully, completely, without judgement. Between the lines, I find comfort, amidst the pages I find inspiration for my next day. To read the stories of people, to quietly be involved in their struggles and their victories reminds me that it’s OK to be human, in all its flaws and all its glory. The magical lands, the cosy friend groups, the brave adventures, and the deep losses—I need all of it, and I ravish page after page after page to see how the character deals with their challenge. I watch and observe, and hope to learn something from it.

When the night is dark and my own shadows scratch my walls and haunt my every move, a gentle light arises from the pages. When the day is lonely and the colours are dull and sounds carry no tone, the chapters remind me what colour looks like and what joy sounds bring. When all of my feelings and emotions are buried deep, deep down under a layer of locks and security, the paragraphs wriggle between them and open the vault up.

It’s been two years since I last hurt myself. In those two years, I have read about two libraries worth of books. Before that, I read even more whilst hurting myself. The books didn’t stop the whispers and urges for self-inflicted pain. But at all times, the books were there, understanding and welcoming. When the whispers became louder and more draining, the books were there to accept my struggle and to remind me that death is inevitable, but the ride can and should be adventurous, wild, and enjoyable.

Books handed me the letters to form the word I so desperately needed to speak: help. Books showed me characters using the word and the response to the word. Books showed me how to describe what I did and did not feel. They didn’t stop the whispers, or my hand from harming—they don’t stop me from thinking about reliving that pain. But with every turning page, there’s another day for me. And another day means another adventure, another quest, another friendship, another mystery, another discovery, another day alive.

Books give me the tools to make words flow and the ability to keep some safely closed and secret, but in the end the words are black letters on white paper, no hiding. Sometimes I still believe I need pain to feel. Sometimes I wonder if death would be a good solution. There are days when I feel shame for that; when I feel like a disappointment because of it. But the characters in my books show me it’s OK; that I’m OK.

Stories are thousands and thousands of years old. Thousands of years old! And all of them show people. People in their purest form with their fights and struggles and hopes and dreams and wondering and failures and successes. I am not the first one to fail and I am not the first one to struggle. If it’s OK for the characters, if I can accept them from them, it also means I am OK, with all my struggles and mistakes, with my dreams and successes.

I believe in the power of words. I believe in the power of words as much as I believe in the gentle whisper and the screaming roar of the wind; the wind which can guide ships and carry birds, the same wind which can move storm clouds and lift balloons. I believe in the power of words like the air I need to survive.

Hear it in the whisper and hear it in the roar. Look at the words and lines and paragraphs and chapters of all those who have gone before you. Hear it in their whisper and hear it in their roar: You are needed in the story of our world.

Debora is a published British author. You can purchase her debut novel: Red Dawn Rising here.

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Comments (8)

  1. Madi

    Books (along with music) are my safe place. They can take me places and into stories. They wisk me away from life for a moment. I find comfort and hope in their pages. I am often very suicidal, and struggle with self-harm. And often books can be my refuge… You are a great writer and thank you for sharing.

    Reply  |  
    1. Halie W

      yes i agree books are everything

      Reply  |  
  2. Cathy

    Wow! This is so beautifully written! Wish I could express my feelings this way. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    Reply  |  
  3. Eve

    I needed that right now. Thank you for your words. <3

    Reply  |  
  4. Elizabeth

    How could I help a depressed suicidal person?

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Elizabeth,

      We are inspired that you care about and are looking to help someone that you know. There are lots of ways to help people, but most importantly your love and friendship can make a world of difference If you would like to email us at info@twloha.com with a little more about the situation and your location, we can help you find some resources for you friend

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  5. Halie W

    people dont see what you struggle with they just assume. And it hurts sometimes even though you know that they think ur ok.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Halie,

      We are sorry that you are hurting. We know that it can be hard to open up to the people around us, but we also know that you don’t deserve to go through this alone. Your life is valuable and you are worth fighting for. If you ever need a place to share your thoughts and feelings or would like to receive additional resources, feel free to email us at info@twloha.com.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
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