“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.” ~Anne Frank
Recently, a dear friend of ours lost their little baby just a few days after her birth. In spite of a healthy pregnancy, the baby had suffered severe brain damage. She was kept under treatment in possibly the best neo-natal intensive care unit in the country, yet ironically her recovery was beyond the finest team of doctors. The family had been distraught to learn that she will not survive.
During this traumatic period, the parents had resorted to penning down their thoughts, which they subsequently shared with us. It was heart wrenching to read their account of emotions as they helplessly saw their little daughter dying in their arms. A life event of this nature can be extremely painful to deal with and their agony only unfathomable. Yet, it was heartening to know of their strength to express the flood of sentiments raging through their hearts and their courage to eventually share their reflections.
Writing about any traumatic event we face is known to have helped the healing process and lower stress hormones. Be it in the form of logs or diaries or blogs, writing down our thoughts is therapeutic. Especially to help us deal with bereavement, traumatic events and setbacks, the daily practice of maintaining a journal or a diary has proven to be cathartic. This I can vouch for with my own experience of blogging here.
Keeping a personal journal
Writing a diary or journaling is akin to having an honest conversation with our true self. It can even take the form of ranting or venting or rambling anything that comes to mind. It is the flow of words in sync with the flow of our true emotions. Writing in confidentiality knowing that this will not be read by anyone can provide great relief. There is no one to judge or question our thoughts. No what’s and why’s asked. There is no one to impress or please. No grammar or writing skills or fancy language required. It could even include drawings, scribbles, doodles or pictures. It is simply for us to know what and why we are writing.
I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say. ~Flannery O’Connor
The beauty of journaling is that it tends to say it like it is without any flair or fluff. It is a beautiful and relaxing way to connect with our self. In a way, it is time spent in listening to our inner guidance that helps express our thoughts. And as we let them out, our perspective of looking at certain things goes through changes eventually.
An aid to healing
This uninhibited dialogue with the self often unravels feelings that were hard to face or even brushed under the carpet. It helps us recognise the reality that was difficult for us to face initially. It opens up the process of acknowledging the hard feelings in the first place, thereby opening up our hearts to healing. The process of wording our feelings, coping with them and internalising them brings in clarity of thought.
Writing changes the way we think. It serves as an all-important outlet to express our feelings. The darkness that accompanied our cluttered emotions slowly gives way to light. This release is essential to organise our emotions. We are then ready to learn from them, go past them and move on gradually in peace.
Journaling acts as our own therapy session with the self. By touching upon the various intra-personal dimensions, it indirectly aids in knowing ourselves better. It is, thus, a personally empowering way to self-heal. With this handy coping mechanism tool, we can be well equipped to confront challenges that lie ahead.
Keep a diary and someday it will keep you. ~Mae West