When I first lost my mum, which was sudden and unexpected, I was an emotional wreak. I had never lost anyone important to me so the loss of my mum in one hit was more than I knew how to cope with.
At the time I thought I was coping ok … but nothing seemed to keep my emotions in order,
In that first year after she passed, I was lost, I was emotional unstable and I was barely making it through each day.
I thought I was doing ok but deep down I really wasn’t. I was either crying all the time or angry. Angry at anyone, everyone and everything.
I really had no idea how I was going to help myself.
It wasn’t until a friend suggested that I see a counsellor before things started to change. This was about a year after she had passed. I knew I couldn’t keep crying all the time so I thought I would give it ago.
In one of the first sessions, my counsellor suggested I try journaling. She told me some of the benefits and she explained that it was more a way to write down and keep track of my emotions. And while I hadn’t written in a journal since I was 13 years old, I found myself thinking why not? What do I have to lose?
So I started and 7 years later I’m still journaling.
The day I found out my dad didn’t have much longer to live – I sat down and journalled. If my house was on fire, one of the first things I would grab would be my journals.
Journalling can be a cathartic way to help you through your grief. It can be used to write down your inner most, vulnerable feelings that you would otherwise be to scared to share with anyone else.
As Stanley Victor Paskavich said “Everyone should have a form of a diary, it’s a great release”
It can help you process through your feelings and sort out your thoughts. It doesn’t always have to be words, maybe you would like to keep pictures or images in your journal.
Here are some of the ways that writing in my journal is helping me.
Keep a Journal is like having my best friend with me all the time
Although I have plenty of friends that would drop everything to help me through my grief, most people really had no idea what it is like to lose someone you love and have to go through the grief process. They have never experienced it before so I cant blame them.
This is where my journal became my best friend. It helped me through one of the loneliest times in my life. I was able to write without being judged or having to explain myself.
Although many encourage you to talk… journaling can be just as relaxing
You can truly open up in your journal knowing that you are the only one that would ever read it. You can write about your emotions and feelings, things you might be too scared to tell others, fears for the future or even your wins for the week.
It doesn’t ALWAYS have to be about how you’re are not coping, you can keep track of accomplishments you are proud of.
Journalling is a memory and dream keeper
Writing in a journal doesn’t just have to be about feelings. It can be a way to hold special memories in one place – with pictures and all.
I would always write down what dreams I would have of my mum in my journal. Whenever I woke up I would write down the dream I had of mum. This was so they could be in one place and easy to refer back to.
Later, I was able to identify a common theme throughout most of the dreams I had of my mum.
Journalling as self-care
Whether you choose to journal first in the morning or just before going to bed, setting time aside every day will help you to start a self-care routine (if you haven’t already got one in place).
Light a candle, get comfortable and cosy in a nice chair (or in bed, on a cushion etc) away from distractions and just start writing.
The health benefits
Above all else, there are enormous health benefits to keep a journal. Research has shown keeping a journal can help to “clarify thoughts and feelings… and reduce stress”**
Writing in your journal can help you to process the events leading up to your loved ones death.
If you’re not sure where or how to start with a journal say no more. I have put together a FREE grief journal e-book that includes all of my favourite prompts and quotes about grief. It is designed for you to print it out and have it with you while you’re on your grief journey