I never liked the idea of "journaling." The word always made me think of an older woman, wrapped in a shawl, drinking herbal tea with nothing else to do but reflect on her past. Definitely not for me. But "writing," now that's a different story. That can happen on my back porch, with my laptop, drinking a Diet Coke, while my two boys serenade me with Rock Band.
If you are living with or caring for someone with inflammatory bowel disease, there are at least three reasons why you should also write:
- Writing is a way to express how you feel. Sometimes having an outlet for the frustrations that can accompany IBD can be helpful. Believe me, I am a realist on the best days and a skeptic on all the others. In no way am I suggesting this simple act will make it all better. Writing may just be a part of your overall plan.
- Writing can bring clarity to a situation. Your brain is made up of many different parts, and different parts of the brain are active during various activities. Any time you are awake, the brain is continuously trying to take in a huge amount of information and make a clear picture of the world for you. Writing is one more way for our brains to help us view and make sense of situations. For those of you who are athletic, think of it as cross-training for the brain.
- Writing may expose the patterns of the disease. After a back injury, a wise physical therapist asked me to record how I felt each day. He said, "If you write down how you fell each day, you will probably be the first one to figure this injury out - I only hope you will then find a good doctor who will listen to you." He was so right. By recording your IBD symptoms, you may begin to see patterns related to your illness that no one else has discovered. The time of day, what you eat, your level of stress, may all be connected to how you feel, and breaking this code may help you and your health care provider better manage your condition.
Read how our expert Elizabeth Roberts uses her IBD journal to help manage her ulcerative colitis.
Published On: June 25, 2008