A Year of Coping by Writing

Keeping with the writing theme today, on August 9th, I celebrated my write-a-versary. What is that? That day had been one year since I started keeping a journal again. I’ve gone through 13 journals in that time and am on number 14, as pictured above. I write enough that it takes between 2-3 weeks to fill up a journal, although I originally started out at a much slower pace. My first journal, for instance, spanned from August 9th-December 31st. After that, I really picked up the pace and tend to write every day, multiple times a day. Not coincidentally, that was at the same time my health took a nosedive.

I initially started writing again because I wanted to write down my whole story thus far concerning my endometriosis, as a catharsis. It took me about 12 days to get the whole story written down in as detailed a fashion as I could remember a year after the fact. I’m thankful I did that, because it helped tremendously in getting this blog started; I was able to look back at what I had written and transfer a lot of it to the blog. If you’re a new follower of mine and aren’t familiar with my endometriosis journey, you can check it out in my three-post series, You have what in your where?, Know Your Enemy, and The Gold Standard.

I’ve already talked about why I blog in my post #iblogbecause. Those same reasons are pretty much applicable to why I hand write things as well, although my journals obviously afford much more privacy than a blog. So why do I do it? That’s an awful lot of writing. Yes, yes it is. But I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember.

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Writing attempt thwarted

Writing is mainly a catharsis for me. There were days when I’d be so frustrated and upset with everything that was going on in my life that I’d fill up 20 pages with my thoughts in a single day. It really helped me to focus my thoughts and get to the bottom of what was really bothering me, what I was really feeling, and why, which helped a little bit during the worst of my depression. It was also a good way to record all the symptoms I was experiencing, since I would usually have months to wait between making an appointment and actually having the appointment.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been keeping a journal again for a year now. I can’t believe how much has happened to me…I never would have foreseen any of this. I never would have thought I’d still be without a child, or even at least without one on the way. I feel like I’ve lost so much. It’s painful to think about. Who could have guessed I’d need another surgery in Atlanta? Or that I’d develop a brain tumor and need brain surgery? This year has been a hell of mammoth proportions and I still can’t believe I’ve gotten through it. It’s only because of Jesus. I don’t know that I’d even still be here without Him. It makes everything I’ve been through worth it to get my faith back. I’m sad that it took all of this mess to do it, but grateful that it even happened. I’m a better person now than I was a year ago, that’s for sure. Health aside, I like the person I am now, for the most part. A woman of God. Or at least I try to be. That’s all I can really do.

Ok, that was a bit of a deviation from the topic at hand, but that’s what writing does for me. It enables me to examine my life from almost an outsider’s perspective, but at the same time to reflect on what’s going on inside me that no one else knows about. The things I keep hidden because I don’t want to burden anyone else with my issues or because I don’t want to ask for help (I’ve always been horrible at asking for help.)

So what have I learned over this past year from my writings?

  1. Infertility is hard. So hard. Especially when you are surrounded by fertile mamas. And it was so traumatizing to me that I coped in very unhealthy ways, including self harm. I’m afraid of what I’ll do in the event I have a miscarriage, which I’m at higher risk for due to my adenomyosis.
  2. Having a support system in place is so important when you’re struggling with mental health issues. My husband David and one of my coworkers always tried to make sure I was safe.
  3. If you think there’s something wrong with you, there is. I’ve learned to advocate for my own health ever since I was diagnosed with endometriosis. It definitely came in handy this year when I listened to the pain my body was screaming at me and took the huge leap of faith to go to Atlanta to have surgery when we weren’t even entirely sure what was wrong. But my instincts were right and now I’ve been fixed. Check out The Day Before the Day Of and Always A Zebra for that story. Not to mention the whole thing with the brain tumor. I knew there was something causing the migraines and they couldn’t have just come out of nowhere without a reason. Check out Zero to Migraine and Hell in my Head for that story.
  4. A journal is good company. When I was at my lowest, I picked up my journal and poured my soul into it, hoping to find some relief from the ache in my heart. When I felt useless and worthless as a pharmacist and as a human being, my journal would be the receptacle at which I could throw my feelings. And it helped. That’s why I wrote so much, and still do.

I’m so glad I have these journals. If anything, they act as a time capsule, too. I love looking back on my journals from when I was growing up. It’s a fascinating look at who you were then contrasted to who you’ve become now. And I think that’s a healthy thing for everyone to be able to have. Reminds me of a quote from my favorite TV show, Doctor Who…

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