“You’re going to need to find a way to exercise your mind. Pain is zapping all your mental and emotional energy and you’re going to need to work at keeping your mind sharp.” These were the words of my pain management doctor when I was first diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) four years ago.
I Lost My Ability To Read
I was used to reading 3–5 books a week. Now I was unable to read at all and this lasted nearly three years, primarily due to an inability to focus and concentrate. In addition, I had comprehension issues. I spent hours in a recliner watching TV when I had never been a TV watcher. Reading books was my life and now I felt lost.
In the words of J. Hudson Taylor,
“When I cannot read, when I cannot think,
when I cannot even pray, I can trust.”
I trusted God and waited.
Journaling and Blogging
I had been journaling for nearly seventeen years and I continued to attempt to do so every day. My journal entries were different now and often short. “Pain level too high today to write.” Or, “God, only you can get me through this day.”
Since I had always wanted to write I decided to give blogging a try. With the help of a Virtual Assistant I was up and running and learning how to be a blogger.
In the physical condition I was in the learning curve felt steep. I had trouble focusing and concentrating. Some days I wondered what I had gotten myself into. Maybe I should have waited until I felt better. But feeling better was not to be. So I stuck with it. With the help of my VA and some online writing courses I began to notice miniscule improvement in my writing ever so slowly over several months.
I realized something else. I was seeing some positive changes in my emotional and cognitive health.
Writing didn’t start out being therapeutic. I had to drag myself to my desk every morning, hoping I could sit still for 10–15 minutes. With practice and pain medication it got easier with perseverance.
10 Reasons Why Writing Is Therapeutic
- My day started to have purpose. I made the commitment to write 250–500 words a day.
2. I believe a good reader is a good writer. I made the decision to read a minimum of one hour a day.
3. Words make me happy! When I’m sitting at my desk I’m surrounded by all the things I love, especially my books.
4. I get to interact with other writers on Facebook and Medium.
5. I get to enjoy what others are writing.
6. I can write at my own pace.
7. I can write about whatever tickles my fancy.
8. Writing forces me to go beyond my physical limitations.
9. When asked what I’ve done all day I no longer have to say “nothing.”
10. When I reach the end of the day I feel satisfied that I was productive.
Writing is becoming a part of my regular routine now. I’m working on regaining the kind of structure to my day I have been accustomed to before RSD entered the picture. Until that happens I will continue to press on.