Writing, therapy and positive outcomes by Jane Ayres

photo by Jane Ayres
photo by Jane Ayres

When I was younger, writing poetry which described and explored my state of mind during major depression may have saved me from a nervous breakdown.  Artists and writers can, and do,  use their art as a form of self-therapy. Reflective writing with a purpose, intentional or otherwise.

Writing is how I express myself.  I can struggle with words when I speak.  Writing everything down first provides the chance to ensure clarity.  I’ve been doing it all my life.  Fiction, non-fiction, copy-writing, blogging, emails, to do lists……So why am denying myself this proven therapeutic tool now? When I am still coming to terms with losing both my parents to pancreatic cancer in the space of 6 months. Burying the grief, the profound, deep sadness. The anger.  Why do I feel uncomfortable writing about it?

I don’t have children of my own.  Years ago, my maternal instincts found an outlet through caring for a special, adored young cat and when I lost him, I channelled my grief and helplessness into volunteering and fundraising for the Cats Protection League.  Eventually I was able to write about it. Over the past year, I’ve raised funds and tried to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.  When I lose loved ones, I have a desperate need to find a positive outcome from all the tragedy.  It’s a useful way of focussing creative energy.

There is currently a high profile media campaign running which promotes the importance of cancer research.  What it doesn’t say is that not all cancers are equal.  To quote from the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund:

“Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all cancers – just 3% of those diagnosed survive for five years. It is also the only cancer that has seen no improvement in this figure over the last 40 years.

Overall, half of all those diagnosed with a cancer now survive for five years or more. For many cancers, five year survival rates have increased hugely since the 1970s. For breast cancer – where large amounts have been spent on research – five year survival rates have increased from 50% to 80%.

Yet despite its high death rate and lack of improvement in chances of survival, pancreatic cancer attracts little research funding in comparison with many other cancers.”

Although I’m not yet ready to write about my feelings,   I’m glad that I can use what I write as a tool to raise awareness of issues that concern me which relate to my bereavement.  So if this results in even one reader making a donation to, or getting involved with, these charities, then the words have done their job.

Links:  http://pancreaticcanceraction.org/    http://www.pcrf.org.uk/

On therapeutic writing:  http://www.lapidus.org.uk/about.php

Jane’s recent e-book, Coming Home, is available from Amazon, with all author royalties going to the charity Cats Protection.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00AGZV9WM

www.janeayres.blogspot.co.uk

Leukaemia Research Charity Gig – Medway

http://www.facebook.com/events/443264375718033/

We hear all the time from charities that cancer effects 1 in 4 or us. For some of us this fact is closer to home than an appeal on TV. Would it surprise you to know that only one charity in the UK is actually fighting blood cancers? Leukaemia Research also boasts a 9 in 10 chance of survival in children because of their hard work and support from people like Andy Spring.

 In 2006 after a 2 year battle with Leukaemia Andy along with the support of his family began to raise money for the charity by cycling 35 miles from Ashford to Medway hospital. Raising £8000 along with nearly 50 other cyclist Andy managed to raise the bar again in 2008 and 2010 bringing a total of £26,000 towards the charity that is helping save lives like his. In Andy’s own words, “I wanted to give back something for the life I am so grateful to have, the whole experience has given myself and my family the chance to enjoy every moment we are together”.

Set for a fourth event, Andy unfortunately was set back when he urgently required a marrow transplant early 2011. Andy says: “I knew I could not cycle for a while but I was more determined than ever to do something, I just didn’t know what”. Next to two wheels music has always been Andy’s other passion. Picking up his bass he started to jam at practice sessions with Hesperian Wave. This gathering over the following months would bring a new outlook  and birth a new band a new style and a very new agenda.

Freshly formed and ready for their first gig The Furry Lovelickers shall be taking to the stage this Saturday September 29th alongside some of Medway’s longstanding and upcoming talents. Taking place at the charity cycle’s finishing line Medway hospital social club will be hosting from 7pm an awesome line up for a small donation of £3 entrance fee. See flyer for details. Also on the night Crybaby special and the monsters will be donating the proceeds of their EP on the night. you can check them here http://www.facebook.com/crybabyspecialandthemonsters

By Obi

Area: South East