I was always good at writing in school but once school was over, I quit journaling. Not necessarily for a reason, but I just moved on to other things. Then, I got a chronic illness and I was filled with mixed emotions, grief, and sadness. My solution – sorting it all out on paper.
I have to say that it worked really well. It helped me to put all my feelings down on paper. Once on paper, for whatever reason, it helped me seem more in control of them. They also seemed smaller, more manageable. Don’t get me wrong – these feelings were still overwhelming but somehow writing it all down made it real in a positive way.
So, pen to paper I continued on. I wrote about my losses. I journaled about my limitations, sharing my confusion about it all. And, I grieved. Eventually I noticed that my writing started to take on a new spin. While I still wrote about many of the same topics, all of a sudden it wasn’t just about the losses, limitations, and grief. It was about what I gained from experiencing all these deep emotions. The gratitude I felt for the things I still had – the things that really mattered to me that were still very much in my life.
All in all, I guess what I’m saying is that writing became very therapeutic for me. It was an outlet for my feelings, a way for me to sort through them, organize them, and find a way through them. Now whenever I go through a new wave of emotions from my illness the first thing I do is go back to journaling. It’s my release; it helps me find my freedom from the constraints of life with a chronic illness.
My journaling journey did not end there though. I started sharing my writings on Facebook and eventually on public outlets. I was amazed at how well received my writing was. How much people appreciated my realistic optimism. This new success was a win that came from so many losses. I couldn’t help but rejoice a bit. While journaling was therapeutic and internal, blogging about my take on my illness was an external, self-created success!
Eventually I expanded my writing to go beyond writing about my illness and my realistic optimism about it. My writing transitioned to creating awareness about my illness. I wrote newspapers and publishers. I quickly went from a blogger to an advocate and there too I found success. Now I was not just helping myself, I was helping my fellow chronic illness friends. More success!
And it all started with me, this mixed-up lady who got caught up in her chronic illness. Wondering how to handle it all and how to make a life with it.
Did I take lemons and make lemonade? I think so. I also learned how journaling can be therapeutic, an internal release, and even an external success story! Like so much in life, problems can lead to opportunities. Hardships can lead to new successes. You just have to be open to the possibilities.