Writing for Pain Relief

how writing helps me

Writing helps me deal with my trigeminal neuralgia. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t write. To me, life would be empty without words. Without writing. Yesterday, I took part in IndieReview Behind the Scenes Internet Radio, and I was interviewed and read an excerpt from Meet Me In the Garden. (You can listen to the interview by clicking here.) This got me thinking of writing as pain relief.

The pain from trigeminal neuralgia is intense, some of the worst pain a person can possibly imagine. In November, I got through a bad flare-up by spending several weeks in bed. When I was able to, I wrote. When I could read without pain, I read. Because it was all I could think about at the time, trigeminal neuralgia once again made it into my fiction. The main character in Orion Cross My Sky, a book I am working on for the Sunshine Press Clearwater Series, suffers from trigeminal neuralgia as well.

At this point, my only thought is to get the word out and raise awareness. There are so many people who suffer from TN, and we need help. Not just me, but many, many others. We raise awareness through various wonderful online groups. The Facial Pain Association is a huge advocate for TN patients.

Sometimes, living feels like surviving. Taking one step at a time is the only answer. We have to live for today, because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

I write to live, and I live to write. I don’t know how I would make it through my pain attacks otherwise. I get comfort from knowing that, when I am well, I will write. Words are a good friend. Obviously, when the pain is too great, I can’t do anything except bear it until it’s over. But then–I write.

Here, I will share the excerpt I read during the show last night. This is an excerpt from Meet Me In the Garden, just before the main character, Amalie, is diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.


Having requested off from work in order to go to her dental appointment, Amalie was relieved she wouldn’t have to go to the office feeling this way. But she still had to drive while she was in pain, and she was frightened it would worsen.

She sat down in her Honda without opening the windows, her car key in her hand. Bright sunlight beat in through the windshield. In front of her, a squirrel scurried up the trunk of a tree. Amalie watched it for a moment, and tried to breathe. It was difficult in the stifling car, but somehow the heavy heat was almost relieving, as if it soothed her skin, comforting the pain away.

She turned the key in the ignition, then rolled down the window. Her aging little car had no air conditioning. On a day like today, the wind rushing in the driver’s side window would have refreshed her, but for some reason, the farther she went the worse she felt. The wind annoyed her, and even her sunglasses perching harmlessly on her face felt like an enemy. She couldn’t understand why. The pain in her neck was new and the sudden increased sensitivity in her face frightened her.

The dentist’s waiting room smelled too clean, and she guessed it was regularly wiped down with Lysol. The scent made her uncomfortable as she fidgeted on the polished wooden chair, flipping through an old copy of a health magazine. The front cover read in bold lettering, Do You Have Migraines? There was a photo on the cover of a woman clutching her head.

“I don’t know,” Amalie mumbled, then tossed the issue back on the end table. It was almost time for her nine-thirty appointment. She’d filled out all the necessary paperwork and handed it to the blonde, double-chinned receptionist.

With each moment, she grew more antsy, more agitated. The pounding in her head and face was increasing, and she was terrified she wouldn’t be able to handle it. A moment flashed back to her, a day in her childhood when she’d been riding her bicycle and a sudden shocking pain had made her stop, double over, and collapse on the grass at the side of the dirt road. She remembered exactly how warm it was that day, the position of the sun in the sky, and the way the foliage on the trees wavered in a sea breeze. She hadn’t thought about that in years. And when she did, it occurred to her she might be dealing with something much worse than a toothache.


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