Crazy Sexy Cancer Tip #41 is "Journaling is Self-Therapy on The Cheap."
I'm no stranger to journaling (when I was a kid we called it keeping a diary). When my sons were born, I started a book of letters to them. I regret that after a few years I didn't keep it up, but after my youngest was born, I think I suffered from an undiagnosed case of post partum depression. When my letters to the boys became maudlin, I stopped. Over the years I've kept a journal off and on. I even had a big red journal I kept during the last deployment - all that anger/fear/frustration had to go somewhere and better on the pages of book I could always burn - than bottled up inside me or spewed all over my friends and family. (Though, I do have several battle buddies who would have and have stood near with a bucket to help clean up the mess. - Rhonda, Paula, Kristel, Sue, just name a few.)
As I said journaling is something I'm very familiar with - it's the frustrated writer wannabe in me. (Who knows, there just might be a gem of a story in some of those pages). So one of the first things I did after being told I had cancer was to look for a pretty pink journal. I've always loved pink and at this point in my life it seems to be my signature color. I bought it to write down questions for the doctor (though I never seem to have it handy in the wee hours of the night when those questions pop up) and to let out those feelings and fears that I want to acknowledge, but don't want to share with anyone. Exposing myself on this blog is a big step for me - one that I hope will help me as well as others - but there are some things I'm still not ready to share.
The journal does not take the place of talking with a good therapist (an idea I'm still toying around with), but it is certainly better than ignoring what's going on in my head.
If you are new to journaling, Carr offers some tips to get you started.
"1. Using two hundred words or less, paint a self portrait with words.
2. What are your top five favorite things? What are your top five least favorite things? (Some of these sound like weekly blog memes.)
3. Write about someone who has inspired you. (I've got at least four people I could fill numerous pages about.)
4. Describe your happiest childhood memories.
5. Write a letter to yourself now and one from yourself ten years from now. Describe all the cool things that have happened in your life.
6. Write a letter you'll never send."
This is a picture of my current journal.
If you are creative, you can always make your own journal. I've been thinking of doing that. Here's some pics of a couple of journals I made for two young cousins. (No they don't have cancer, I just wanted to make them something personal.)
Jenbug's Story She is the only person I know who has more journals going than I do. (And yes, I do keep a book journal. I'm a librarian and a total book geek, so of course I have book journals dating back for the last several years.)