Writing To Heal: 6 Tips To Help You Start Journaling
When I was initially diagnosed with CANCER, a terrifying demon entered my life and my mind. This demon monopolized my thoughts for most of the day and was more than eager to stick around into the night when all hell broke loose. Fear, worry and anxiety were her specialties, and boy, did she excel at them all. Hooked me right in!
Insomnia kept me awake until the wee hours of the morning and I would tumble out of bed in sheer exhaustion. This was not the time for such antics as I had life altering decisions to make regarding my health.
I soon developed physical ailments that I believe were triggered by stress, overwhelming fear and a multitude of tests necessary to aid in my diagnosis. My body felt tattered, torn and greatly fatigued. My mind felt like it was going crazy and I couldn’t stop the incessant thoughts. It was a scary time in my life and I felt completely alone, vulnerable and helpless.
I had pills for pain, sleep, anxiety and depression. You name it. I was like a “walking pharmacy.” Felt more like a “walking zombie.” Realized pretty quick into the game that this was not going to work for ME, but what else was I to do?
A friend suggested journaling to help me gain some feeling of control in my life. Being open to a modality without side effects was appealing, so I ventured into a bookstore and bought myself the most beautiful pink journal I could find.
I didn’t know what to write at first, so I did a little research of my own and then began my cathartic process of letting go.
This is one of my initial entries:
"Take away the pain Lord. Take it away right now. Take all of my fears. My wish is to heal and be whole again. I want to trust. I want to surrender completely to you. But that fear is overwhelming at times. I need to get through this moment Lord, surround me with your love and light.
Surround me with a billion ANGELS. I need all of your support. Soothe my mind. ANGELS, I give you my worries. Send me peace. Thank you."
There I said “IT.” I was acknowledging my deepest secrets to a piece of paper, but somehow I felt better afterwards. A sense of relief took over and I felt calmer and more at peace than I had in quite some time. In a peculiar way it felt safe to write my down my worries as I was not being judged nor criticized for my thoughts. My journal and I became great confidantes and this process truly helped in my recovery.
People experiencing cancer or some other life threatening illness may have similar feelings such as anxiety, extreme worry or sleepless nights at the beginning stages of their disease. Many of us do not want to burden our family members or medical team with our concerns, so we keep the emotions bottled up inside. Not healthy to do…. believe me I know firsthand……..for I was also an oncology at the time of diagnosis.
Journaling is a fantastic way to release feelings, thoughts and pent up emotions which will then have positive effects on your body/mind/spirit. Writing can enhance your ability to cope which frees you up to make important health decisions.
Journaling did indeed alleviate my stress, sleeplessness and anxiety and helped with the pain too. Much pain we experience in our lives is related to stuck emotions that are unexpressed, at least that is my belief anyway. When I wrote my TRUTH directly from my HEART onto the paper, I came to realize how strong, resilient and powerful I truly was. I no longer felt alone and knew intuitively that one day I would be sharing my story with others, so that they too would not feel isolated, helpless or hopeless.
Journal entry four months later:
"I am alive. I am healthy. I am well. It feels so good, so great, so fantastic to feel this way. Oh, what I have conquered. Oh, what I have overcome. What a gift I have been given. I don’t think I ever would have gotten here without my cancer. YES, my cancer. I am becoming more comfortable saying the word. It hasn’t come easy for me to say it. But you know what, that’s all it is --- a word."
I still journal today and I couldn’t imagine life without my pen and notepad. Some days I express gratitude for all that is good in my life, while others days I seek solutions to life’s challenges. Quite often, I am enlightened by the wisdom and knowledge that resides within. So many of our answers are found there, if we just allow ourselves to get quiet and then take the time to get still and listen.
For novice journalists here are some tips to get you started on your journey:
- Pick out a journal that calls to YOU. And I mean speaks to you so much that you just have to get it. Remember your journal may become your new best friend!!!
- Find a quiet place, take the phone off the hook, and give yourself the time to do this exercise. Light a lovely candle, have a cup of your favorite tea and make this “ME” time. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, let go of expectations, and then just allow.
- For starters, don’t think with your head as to what to write about. Let your heart do the talking and the words will just flow. Let whatever comes, come, without judgement. If you get stuck, jot down one word that pops into your mind and the rest will follow. There are no rules here! If emotions arise, let them. Tears cleanse the heart and help you heal.
- Date all entries. You will be amazed at your progress and perhaps see how much you are growing as a spiritual being.
- Keep your journal in a safe place as it is your private life. If you want to share it, do so, but do not feel you have to. It is your safe haven, your sanctuary, your place of respite. It is for YOU and YOU alone. Remember that!
- Learning to appreciate yourself and your talents, and letting go of unwanted stuff is available through the process of journaling. Give it a try and let me know how you make out and what you discover, as there are so many gifts inside you just waiting to be revealed. Finding peace within the chaos is indeed possible too. I hope you come to understand how powerful you truly are.
So I invite you to take out your journal and begin writing, for what you say today, may just inspire someone in your shoes tomorrow.
P.S I have written and published a book regarding my journey with cancer and many more tools on how I helped myself heal. Link is below. If you are interested, feel free to share it and if you are not.. that is cool too. Keep up your great work. You are inspiring and supporting so many people. It is truly wonderful!!
Have you experienced something similar along your journey with cancer? Share your experience in the comments below.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.