“Stories are weapons against disease,” wrote Swiss writer VM Diggelmann. He hoped to counteract the lethal effects of cancer by writing stories. When doctors and nurses tell stories, they demonstrate sympathy and understanding of your pain and anxiety. When you as a patient begin to tell your own story, you derive even greater benefits, and emerge as an individual and giving purpose to your life. Language is more than mere communication when it turns into your refuge, and helps you in coping with breast cancer.
Creating a written account of your emotions is journaling. A journal does not have to be polished and edited; it can be random thoughts that flow easily.
Scientific Evidence of benefits of journaling
Scientific studies conducted by researchers show the compelling evidence that expressive writing was associated with a higher satisfaction with emotional support. Clinicians suggest that journaling may be a cost effective accessible form of treatment that can be incorporated into the ongoing care of breast cancer patients. Journaling may be even more beneficial to the subset of patients with low levels of emotional support or to those who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Journaling has been shown to reduce cancer-related morbidities and recurring hospital visits.
Benefits of journaling and expressive writing
Apart from scientific evidence of benefits of journaling, here are some other reasons you should consider journaling:
· It helps clarifying your goals as you examine your thoughts.
· It may give you a new perspective on your treatment experience – when you look back at your journal you will be amazed at how much progress you made.
· Journaling can begin a process of self-discovery and/or spiritual development.
· It is safe to express anger and hurt using pen and paper without hurting or accusing anyone.
· A sense of calmness settles in when you put down your feelings of pain, despair, and frustration. It provides a distraction.
· If you do not want to write down your emotions, you can sketch or draw images that portray your message loud and clear.
· Journaling is a positive, helpful intervention for cancer patients who are attempting to reintegrate their experiences into life.
Several websites encourage breast cancer and cancer patients to create their own blogs and express their feelings and emotions. You can write about your treatment, recovery, and remission. You can create your own personal memory blog on your profile page, where you can post pictures and talk about your journey battling breast cancer. This will become a community support group for you to exchange your experiences.
Breast Cancer Stories
Where Breast Cancer Patients and Care Givers can write about their experiences, share their progress with loved ones, and read stories and connect with others.
Free, personal and private websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier.
A nonprofit organization that encourages cancer patients and caregivers to create free customized websites to build an online support community.
Think About Your Life
A website to help you think about your life along your journey with cancer or a chronic health condition.