Writing as Escapism

This week, I returned to uni after the ridiculously long semester break. It was great to see everyone again and I was keen to get stuck into some writing exercises. And then I got THE call…

Earlier that day, I’d dropped my hubby off at hospital as a day patient for a “routine” procedure to tackle a minor heart problem. Unfortunately, he experienced serious complications and very quickly lapsed into a critical condition. It was horrendous to watch the man you love dearly suffer extreme pain and trauma. He needed a lifesaving operation and ended the day in intensive care rather than being home in time for Masterchef.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary- the scene of my family crisis


Later that night, when the Holby city style drama had subsided, I realised that the overnight bag I’d requested my son to pack in a hurry was lacking a few basic essentials. I’d forgotten to ask for my pjs, a change of clothes and my make-up bag (after a sleepless night, I was a scary sight). But what I had remembered to ask for was a book, paper and a pen. Were these essentials? Yes!

When everything around me was out of control, the one thing that I did have control over was words. I read for escapism and I write for escapism too. When my soulmate’s life was at risk, I needed my book and my scribbles. I didn’t need the pjs or clothes but anyone seeing me the next day would argue that I did need my make-up bag!



Once my hubby was stable, he was able to joke with me that the whole experience would make a great short story. I don’t know about that, and I would rather not have writing material based on his distressing ordeal. But what I do know is that words helped get me through some of the worst days of my life.  And I’ve written a morbid poem to prove it!

My precious hubby in healthier times

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8 thoughts on “Writing as Escapism

  1. Gosh Helen – so sorry to read about your husband's ordeal – it must have been such a shock for you. Sending get well soon wishes for hubby and hugs for you. Anne x

  2. These traumas are dreadful – and can haunt us for days, weeks – till it seems impossible that life will resume its familiar shape.Two months ago my stepdaughter had a brain haemorrhage. She is now beginning – slowly – to inch her way back to work. She refuses to be defined by being ill; and the rest of us have to learn not to cluck around her.These dreadful days resolve. By the time the daffodils are out you'll both be feeling better.

  3. Jo, Many thanks for having the strength to offer your kind wishes when your own family is going through a very difficult time. Your stepdaughter sounds amazingly brave and very inspiring and I wish her all the best in her recovery. x

  4. Wendy, You're so right- when I was stressed I reached for my pen to help block out reality. Thanks for your kind wishes and I'm glad to say that my hubby is doing as well as could be hoped. x

  5. Helen, I'm so glad your husband is all right now – it must have been really difficult for you. I agree that writing is great therapy. I tend to write poems too when I need to write about something close to the heart.

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