Journal Therapy For Fibromyalgia and Others With Chronic Or Invisible Illnesses
If memory serves me correctly, I have fibro fog so it doesn’t always, I started keeping a journal when I was about fourteen years old. I continued that practice almost daily until I was about 23 or 24 years old. Through the years I have started and stopped writing in a journal.
I do keep a medical journal at the present. But I am writing a lot lately and that sometimes over laps in journaling. There are six reasons to consider writing in a journal to help manage Fibromyalgia, chronic illness or invisible illnesses.
1. For Fun
2. A Legacy
3. Physical Therapy
4. Mental Therapy
5. Medical Journal
6. Emotional Therapy
Before we get into these six great reasons for keeping a diary, I want to emphasis that there is one rule to keep in mind. Just do it. There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you do it regularly, every day or not every day, it’s up to you.
Journal writing can be fun, at least for certain people. It’s a way to express yourself and keep track of your past. If you find writing enjoyable but you are not in a position to get serious about it, then keep an informal diary. Doing something fun is good for Fibromyalgia fighters, chronic pain patients and for those with invisible illnesses.
FOR A LEGACY
Keeping a journal about daily events or life events on a regular basis for posterity is a great reason for keeping a diary. For those with physical challenges, leaving behind a legacy or how you felt and how you coped with illness could be priceless for your descendants.
My Dad served as a U.S. Army medic in North Africa and France during World War II. I am a history buff for WWII. I wish like crazy I had a diary of his time at war.
FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY
There are two reasons I mention journal writing for physical therapy. One is for people like me who physically have a hard time writing with a pen or pencil. With Fibromyalgia I have lost a lot of hand dexterity. Writing is a way to concentrate on controlling nerves that effect your fingers and hands. The trouble with that is my hands get tired after two or three small paragraphs.
I do my writing mainly on the keyboard but I do enough note taking to keep my hand’s active.
There is another physical aspect for writing of any type. Any language art is good for the brain. It stimulates neuro pathways between both hemispheres of the brain and that helps your brains cognition which is good for failing memory or fibro fog. I learned this from a neuro-psychologist at my pain clinic. Since I have been writing almost daily, I have noticed some improvement in my memory. I still walk into a room to take pain meds because I’m hurting and I forget why I got out of my recliner and went into that room. But I really feel like my memory is better than it was five months ago, but has a long way to go.
Writing a journal also serves as a memory bank for those of us with memory issues. For a great deal of memories I am at the mercy of my wife or someone else. Had I kept a journal I could have looked up special events to retrieve my memories.
Now that I have Dragon dictation software, I am going to start keeping a regular journal.
FOR MENTAL THERAPY
I debated whether to include this “for mental therapy” as a separate category because it overlaps some of the information in Physical Therapy and Emotion Therapy. I then realized that to some extent writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal could be like going to a psychologist. They get you to talk about your feelings. Some times it feels good to talk to someone. Some people may be uncomfortable talking to a stranger with an advanced degree about their problems. Write in a journal all about your problems. The written page doesn’t know who you are.
As of this writing, I only keep a medical journal. A medical journal can be anything along the lines of keeping track of what was said at your many doctor visits to recording your daily symptoms, and keep track of taking pain pills or other medication. You can keep track of your activity level. This is a great reason to keep a journal especially for me with a bad case of fibro fog.
For most people, sharing their emotions can be difficult. But when you have the pressure of a chronic illness or are a victim of an invisible illness like personality disorders or Fibromyalgia you have a lot of pressure on your emotions.
Letting go of those emotions can help. What better way is there than to write them down on paper or computer. The paper (computer) won’t judge you and won’t reveal your secrets.
You can also track your emotional health by looking back a week ago or a month or year ago and see how you were feeling and compare it to how you’re feeling today.
There are likely more reasons for writing a journal. Tell me how you keep a journal in the comments section below. I’ve noticed over time, I’ve seen improvement in my memory by daily writing and my medical journal has been a helpful reference for my Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
Troy Wagstaff ©