When Rosalie spoke to her sister over the phone, their conversation worried her deeply. Her sister had come down with symptoms that could very well turn out to be Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS).
Anyone would get worried if a loved one came down with severe and debilitating symptoms with an unknown cause, but for Rosalie the situation was especially peculiar. She had been sick with ME / CFS since her mid-teens and only recently gotten well for an extended period of time for the first time in her life. She knew firsthand some of what her sister was going through
Rosalie decided to move back home for a while to support her sister, even though she knew that this meant she’d have to face the ghosts from her past, the memories of her own being sick at her parents’ house. Although Rosalie’s parents were always very loving, it had been difficult for them all to navigate her unknown and, at the time, misunderstood illness.
What helped Rosalie to cope?
As Rosalie’s health coach I noticed myself getting apprehensive about how she would be able to deal with the emotional stress of living back home and her worries about her sister’s well-being. When I spoke with her this week, I anxiously—I hope it didn’t show too much—asked her how she was doing.
“Really well,” she replied. A big weight fell of my chest.
I was bursting with curiosity: “What is helping you to stay well right now?”
The technique she named was not unfamiliar to me, but it had faded from my awareness how powerful it really was: “Journaling really helps me to clear many of my worries and stories from the past, and stay in the present,” Rosalie shared with me. “Once it’s on paper, my mind feels clear and free. It’s like I’ve cleared it out of my mind and deposited it on the paper where it can no longer weigh on me.”
I was thrilled about how well journaling worked for Rosalie. I recalled that another one of my clients who I had asked to journal about her fearful thoughts about her future, had also reported just this week how much of a difference it had made.
My own experience has been similar to my clients’. In addition to the above uses, I find journaling helpful for thinking through a problem or a big decision. Sometimes, when my mind feels like an untidy room, journaling helps me clean out the cluttering thoughts and create clarity.
And how is Rosalie’s sister doing now? As of yet, she’s still unwell, unfortunately. However, she’s being well-supported by her parents and a sister whose journaling practice allows her to be more present and less burdened by her own emotions.
Over to you
I’d love to hear from you. Have you been journaling lately? If yes, in what ways has it help you? Any tips you’d like to share?
If you’ve never journaled before, would you like to give it a try?
Please share your insights, comments, and questions by leaving a comment below.
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Note: For confidentiality, actual names of clients were not used in this article.