One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year. Receiving a diagnosis can be shocking and disconcerting. While you might find thousands of informational articles about your treatment, prognosis, and what to expect through a quick google search, you might find little to no advice about your emotional state and ways to get you through the process.
Journaling your breast cancer journey can be an excellent form of expressive therapy that can ease feelings of emotional trauma and is a powerful form of self-reflection. Privately processing the way you feel about your diagnosis, your day-to-day mood, the road ahead, doubts, concerns, and tensions can help you come to terms with your diagnosis. After treatment, looking back at your journal and reading the excerpts of your daily posts will help you realize how far you’ve come and the process it took you to get where you are.
Research shows that taking as little as 20 minutes a month for 3 months, to write will produce long-lasting benefits to your physical and emotional health. Furthermore, it can help combat feelings of sadness, help you sleep better, and adjust psychologically. Here are some tips to get started.
Do it for yourself
These are your private thoughts so there is no wrong way to begin. Whether you decide to blog, draw, doodle, physically write with a pen and paper journal or keep an online journal for your friends and family to view, the choice is yours. Try to set time aside to write but if you’re not feeling well or can only muster up a sentence or two do not be hard on yourself. Journal only when it feels right for you and never feel pressured to do it.
Try to remain positive and grateful
Let’s face it, you are not going to feel physically and emotionally great all the time but trying to find something positive about each day will help boost your spirits and appreciate the little things. It can be as simple as getting coffee with a friend, seeing a movie, or receiving a card in the mail. You can also think beyond the words and include photos, handwritten cards from friends, x-rays and other medical images, and other mementos that visually tell the story of your journey.
Focus on what you can control
A cancer diagnosis might make you feel helpless so learning to journal on the things you do have control over, such as your sleep schedule, things that make you feel happy, your support system, and lifestyle can greatly help.
Find the perfect space
Journalling is personal and so is the space in which you choose to write. Whether you find solace in a crowded cafe, outdoors in the woods, or a newly created nook in your home. Find an area that inspires you, makes you feel secure and is comfortable.
Throw the rules out the window
Journaling is not the time to worry about being grammatically correct, having perfect sentence structures, penmanship, or spelling. Instead, focus on the words and your story, write about events, thoughts, and things you want to remember about your journey. If you are sharing your thoughts online to a small group of people nobody is going to care if you misused a word or forgot a comma, they will be happy that you included them in your journey. If writing for yourself, let go of the notion to be perfect and just write!
Pink Ribbons Mastectomy and Lymphedema Boutique will strive to assist each woman who comes through our doors to regain or maintain her self-esteem and good body image that was altered during and after her breast cancer treatment. For information about our Post-Op care, please visit our website or give us a call today at 901-417-6060.