I LOVE writing

“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”

Virginia Woolf

My interest in writing was sparked early on in my life. I attribute my love for words largely because of my fourth grade teacher Mr. Fortin. It is often said that through your words and actions you can create a lasting influence on someone that stays with them for the rest of their life. Of course that influence can be either good or bad. I am thankful for Mr. Fortin’s influence. It has had a positive impact on me throughout my life. Mr. Fortin was the fourth grade teacher all of the students wanted as theirs. He told the best jokes and stories and made class fun. In his class I was introduced to the concept of creative writing. Throughout the year we were encouraged to tap into our creative side by taking the things we imagined in our minds and putting them into drawings, short stories and poetry. At the end of the year we were to compile all of our creativity into a book or binder. I come from a pretty creative family and my dad is no exception. He is an incredibly talented woodworker and has been for my entire life. He helped me to create a book out of wood. His job was to cut the front and back cover. My job was to woodburn a picture on the front. I placed all of my creative work into the binder and secured it all together in the same manner as a 3-ring binder. As I look back I realize my dad actually helped me to create my very first journal. I felt so accomplished and proud of my project. So much so that I entered it into the county fair and won a first place ribbon! One of the things I quickly discovered was how much I loved going back through my book. Even today I can feel that same happiness as I think about my book and the treasures it protected. That love has never changed as I still enjoy reading my old journals. There is something about seeing my words written on the pages in bright colors, adorned with washi tape, random doodles and stickers that brings me so much happiness. It has also become an opportunity for me to reflect on my past journal entries and gauge the status of them in my life.

Throughout my life my writing ability has grown and deepened. Journaling has become my niche. I love the freedom journaling gives me. It is just me and a blank page (preferably dot grid) and I am free to write whatever I want without the fear of judgement. As I walk through my chronic illness I have noticed that my writing has taken on a new purpose in a couple of ways. It has become a mechanism for me to navigate through the relationship I have with my illness while at the same time it has freed me from it.

Since being diagnosed, the thoughts I have about my illness have changed. In the beginning there was such a heaviness to it. My world had been turned upside down and I couldn’t see past it. I was buried under the symptoms and filled with no hope at all. My journaling, at that time, was entirely focused on the illness rather than my actual life. It felt like an overbearing relationship and I needed to figure out how to navigate my life with my illness rather than being buried underneath it. I decided I needed to be in control of this relationship and I focused my writing on what was working and what was not and making the necessary changes. On days that I was experiencing extreme fatigue, rather than pushing myself I rested without guilt. Through my journaling I have discovered a much greater peace in my life. Although not perfect, I still have my bad days, I have come to a place where I no longer feel that my illness is controlling me. I am now in control

A day doesn’t go by where I don’t wake up feeling sick. Whether I am experiencing extreme fatigue or palpitations, my chronic illness is always there. As I said earlier, after becoming sick I focused my writing on what worked and what didn’t in my day. What I quickly discovered was that when I was doing something that I really enjoyed and it was something that didn’t exacerbate my symptoms I actually had moments where I didn’t feel sick at all. Writing is something that temporarily brings me to a place where I am not ill. My mind focuses on the words and the sentences and it feels great. My goal is to be creative and divert my thoughts away from my illness, find the things that bring me joy and happiness and fill my day with the things that bring me moments where I once again feel healthy.

Personal Reflection

When did you discover your love for writing? How do you benefit by journaling about your thoughts and emotions?

Community Question

Do you currently journal about your wellness and well-being? What positive impact could journaling about your chronic illness have in your life?

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