Writing therapy. How blogging helped me…
Blogging is the best form of writing therapy! Writing therapy relieves tension and any accumulated emotions.
Unlike during conversation or even better – argument, writing gives you time to express what you feel because you have time to think about what you are going to say.
Have you ever been feeling low, depressed, or maybe just simply stressed out?
Of course, the answer is “yes”, who hasn’t!
We all fall on hard times, and we all struggle to express ourselves from time to time.
Writing therapy (also known as journal therapy) is exactly what it sounds like. I personally don’t do diaries or journals, I blog.
In my opinion, blogging has more meaning. Journals are for people’s personal mindful benefit, blogging helps you achieve that plus you help other people than yourself.
You can solve their problems, that are similar to yours and you happened to have experience in finding a solution to them.
Writing therapy helped me.
So, where do I begin…
I am writing a “writing therapy” article literally a few minutes after having a disagreement between myself and my lovely wife.
I want it to be fresh, honest and most definitely, I don’t want to miss anything as I usually would if I didn’t begin to write my thoughts straight away.
Even though it is just 18 months that passed by since I began writing, looking back in time, it seems like ages.
The reason being is that a lot has had happened since I decided to express myself in the written word.
Firstly, I began writing daily notes to capture my feelings. I never wanted my wife to know how I felt because the burden of mental illness was difficult for her to deal with already.
But I needed to do this for myself, it felt right.
My daily notes grew to the point, that after putting them together and adding necessary pages, I wrote a book titled “No amount of anxiety will push me away!”, and these words stay true today.
I wanted this book to be a guide to supporting your loved one emotionally during mental struggles.
Later on, I realized that my wife suffered from a chronic illness that caused her anxiety and depression.
I went through a lot of emotions since but I have to say that I am grateful for this experience because if it wasn’t for that, I would not have learned how to support my wife better.
My wife began to contribute to my blog and became my blogging partner. Blogging is also a good writing therapy for her.
The reality of living with an invisible illness seems impossible to describe. But there was a way – putting it in writing. Sometimes it’s easier to say it with the written word.
My wife wrote a few articles but then stopped explaining to me that each time she wrote it reminded her of the pain she goes through and the physical and mental pain is enough to deal with, and the last thing she needed is to write about it.
She stopped writing for a while but now is slowly getting back into it again.
While you can never truly understand the day-to-day struggles of a person with an invisible illness, you can show it in writing your heart out! It will help to open people’s eyes to what you are going through.
Change your life…
That is a safe place to express your thoughts, regardless of who you are because you can stay anonymous.
Besides, blogging can change your life and help you overcome your financial struggles if done right!
Also, writing is a medicine for your mind. Whenever you feel exhausted mentally or emotionally, writing things down will help you structure your thoughts and bring peace to your mind.
Many therapists recommend investing time in writing therapy every day to improve your mental well-being.
Together, we want to help people. But realizing that you can make passive income from it made us want it more. You see, you can kill two birds with one stone. And that’s amazing!
Psychologists and psychiatrists around the world are using their blogs to help each other. My wife and I are just one of a million bloggers using our Worry Head blog to give mental health a boost. We want to make a change, we want to help others and at the same time ourselves.
My wife is very passionate about spreading awareness about endometriosis. She wants to make a lasting change and help other people with this chronic condition that affects 1 in 10 women around the world. Yes, it really is that common!
Writing and sharing our knowledge through blogging is the best way to distract yourself from any negativity. It makes you focus on something else than worries. Writing therapy is simply the best medicine for your mental state.
The satisfaction you gain from helping others gives you a tremendous feeling of achievement. Writing is the best form of therapy, especially when your life seems stuck.
My wife’s experience shaped my life and I am a better man for it!
Having a partner who suffers from a severe chronic illness you notice this person’s distress. Endometriosis and fibromyalgia most definitely impact on my wife’s mental health.
Today it is extremely common for physicians not to take patients’ stories into consideration during their diagnosis.
By doing that, doctors miss out on vital clues that the patient would give them, which would help more accurately and faster diagnosis.
Just for that reason, I created quick printables that help people understand endometriosis and fibromyalgia in a simple way. Take a look and decide for yourself…
Writing therapy and CBT…
A few years back, when M was going through the most difficult part of her life – suicidal attempts – there were many reasons for her depression, which ultimately led to very dark thoughts.
I often hear on the way to work that my train is being held because of a person being taken ill. Living in London you find these situations very common.
Aside from that quite often there are hourly delays because someone jumped under the train in the tube (commonly known as metro).
Over a decade ago, I could never understand why people kill themselves. But every person has a unique situation and problems in life. Some people cannot find a solution to their problems and see these dark thoughts as the only way out.
My wife suffered a lot emotionally in the past, her chronic illness gave her additional problems to deal with. Pain can be unbearable at times and no painkiller is able to help to shut it down.
Naturally, if your life isn’t fair and you begin to wonder that you are not the person you used to be, you begin to think that you are a burden to your family and you would rather end it all to stop your painful life, and make your loved ones forget about you.
My M went through such thoughts and it was an extremely difficult time for her.
Wait, no, what?!
What about me? Was I forgotten in all this?
No, I wasn’t forgotten, despite my wife’s struggles, she really cared about me and did everything to make me happy.
I’m an optimist but no – it wasn’t easy for me. However, I have learned how to combat my thoughts and fears through blogging.
I thought my wife stopped having suicidal thoughts because she didn’t seem to show it anymore. Or did she?
Still today, most of the time I don’t know my wife’s thoughts, I see her smile but I can’t read her mind. I can’t hear her thoughts, and frankly, half of the time she doesn’t want me to know how she feels.
She hides her feelings like most people who suffer mentally. My wife doesn’t want me to focus on her but on myself.
It is very kind of her but I’d rather know so I could do something about it before her mood goes down.
Her chronic illness brings new challenges and I have to be ready. Can I be ready?
Well, I can’t predict when she will feel sad or anxious. Half of the time she doesn’t know it either.
My wife used to write a journal where she could lay out her thoughts. Quite often she used to read them to me. Her writing therapy helped both of us.
It was really good because she felt that somebody was listening to her and she wasn’t alone in all this.
Her Cognitive-Behavioural therapist gave her a task to write such daily notes. It helped her. She came out of anxiety and today she can control it on her own.
Her second CBT therapy conquered her panic disorder in the same manner. You see, writing is the best therapy that you can do by yourself. Not only at home but anywhere, even on your break at home.
Today you can use your mobile to lock there the most intimate thoughts which only you can have access to.
You can share them later on with your therapist to speed up the process of your recovery.
But what can you do if you have no access to such treatment?
Sure you can pay and skip the cue or get stuck in a cue because waiting lists are very long, and the big demand for mental health therapy is either – very costly or take a very long time before you begin your first session.
So again, what can you do?
Well, after my wife had to wait for her first session for 9 excruciatingly long months, she needed to get some advice on what to do in the meantime…
My support was crucial to her survival because my wife tried to commit suicide. But she pulled through and managed to receive her Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
I realized that if I managed to help one person, I could help many more people. I did not know how and so I began to research which led me to start this blog.
Through writing, I could reach those people who needed immediate help but had no access to CBT sessions. So, the best thing you can do is to talk to a CBT therapist.
From the verge of losing my wife and being a widower to two grown adults running a blog trying to help other people like ourselves – we turned our world around!
Because it was extremely hard for me at the time and I want you to avoid the same misery my M had to go through.
Sometimes I imagine my wife planning her own funeral whilst drying her hair…
Would I be wrong? No – she told me so!
Once she said that and it stayed in my head ever since. Such things are impossible to erase from your mind.
Sometimes I feel on edge of screaming or as if I was stepping on eggshells, but then I remind myself that anger would lead nowhere and we could both lose on an argument.
I don’t want to do or say anything wrong which would trigger her old thoughts. Because it seems like yesterday, and each time I hear her screams or see her tears, it all comes back to me.
But despite these challenges, I will never turn my back on her!
Her illness doesn’t define who she really is.
Frustrations, screams, anger, self-harm, I accept it all. I might disagree with it, but who am I to judge? I have no place to say anything here, I am not the one who suffers.
I’m a healthy man, strong and optimistic. I do not suffer.
This realization keeps me going, it keeps me strong and forgiving. Because being ill isn’t her fault.
Even before M’s diagnosis, I used to tell her to enjoy every little moment – to watch singing birds, smell flowers, enjoy a simple cup of tea.
I always had this approach to life. But my wife changed hers after the diagnosis.
Because today she cannot even enjoy her favorite meals, she had to cut on food to keep her “clean endo-diet”.
Besides, her stomach became extremely sensitive and even Omeprazole doesn’t help to ease the acid.
She enjoys life when she can, when the pain is not so excruciating, it’s still there, but not as agonizing.
I always wondered why people begin to change their habits and start to appreciate the little things that matter when something bad happens to them or their loved ones…
This is the lesson I’d like healthy people to take out of this – appreciate their life before is too late.
“You should regret only the things you haven’t done, not the ones that you did. Because we learn on our mistakes.” – Lucjan B.
People aren’t afraid of dying, people are afraid of living!
So enjoy your life when you can, before you get old and grumpy. Spend time with your loved ones and stop arguing, love instead.
It is never too late, it isn’t too late for my wife either. Despite her endo and fibro, her life did not end.
My wife asked me during the 8 years of our marriage to divorce her on two separate occasions. The first time it almost broke me, the second time I took it better.
M says that she regrets and blames herself for being ill and that she causes me a life of misery. I simply respond – I love you. I am not going anywhere.
A few years back to honor my love for M, I wrote a book titled “No amount of anxiety will push me away”. It is yet to be published…
I became mentally tough. My wife’s past suicidal attempts made me even stronger.
Writing therapy helps a lot! It plays a big part in sustaining a healthy mindset. It is my escape from reality. Besides, I can express myself better knowing that I have time to think things through and so no anger comes out of my mouth.
However judged and frustrated I may feel at the time of her being upset, I take a deep breath (literally), I take that deep breath on the front of her and take it all in.
I have a chance to express what I feel later in writing. It helps both – myself and her.
For one, it helps our marriage avoid many unnecessary escalations, because if I was to express my disagreement at that very moment, it would undoubtedly lead to arguments.
Secondly, it allows me to calm down, rethink, and lay it all down in writing.
Today I am aware of the reasons why she may be upset, I know her triggers. But back in the days, it wasn’t so obvious. It was all unknown to both of us.
However, despite my knowledge about it, there is a kind of reflex in my mind which brings my thoughts back to the darkest part of our life, every time she becomes angry I am scared for her because I don’t know what she thinks.
One day she wrote a long list, consisting of three pages of how she felt at the time. All these thoughts were negative.
I learned that day how she felt but not to give her additional emotional baggage, I keep my own thoughts and sometimes I write them down. She isn’t aware at the time of what I feel and she cannot blame herself for making me feel upset.
It seems unhealthy, but I must remind you – I don’t keep it in, I write things down and that helps me relieve the tension.
I believe many partners of those who suffer from chronic or/and mental illness, struggle to express themselves or keep their thoughts inside not to “harm” their partner.
I also find so many blog posts on the subject of chronic disease or mental illness from the perspective of those who suffer, but there is ever so little information for those who are on the other side of chronic illness – the loved ones, the supporters.
In the autumn of 2019, I came up with the idea of running my Worry Head from both points of view – supporter and sufferer.
It allows both sides to understand one another and help us to a greater extent.
It also shows those who suffer how their supporting loved ones may feel. It is not the same for everyone but similarities often occur.
I’m a man who considers himself tough to break. However, every person has a breaking point. I am no superhero. I haven’t broken down yet, but I keep that thought in mind every time I feel “judged”.
I know, I know, you may be thinking by now that my wife is very judgmental, but this is not what I am trying to say. My wife is the most caring, warm-hearted, kindest, and supportive woman.
What I feel doesn’t reflect her character!
At the time when her pain flares up and her hormones spike up, she may raise her voice or do something that is out of character that she wouldn’t normally do.
Well, my wife is Italian. She’s passionate and very feisty, I give her that! I even laughed once saying that her screams are like music and it is Italian for love. It is passion.
If she wasn’t passionate in heart, she would not be Italian. She loves with passion, but she hates the same way.
But she suffers from two of the most debilitating chronic illnesses – endometriosis and fibromyalgia.
It can’t be easy. I don’t feel what she feels.
Abdominal pain on several days every month affects her life. Fibromyalgia’s pain comes without warning and can last a while. It is not easy to deal with either, let alone both.
If this pain is caused by the above illnesses, effective relief is often unavailable to her, because she can’t take painkillers like most people. Her stomach wouldn’t accept it well.
That creates more frustrations for her but also for me feeling of being useless. I cannot even go to the shop for painkillers because she can’t take them. Paracetamol is the only “safe” pill, but it barely touches chronic and widely spread pain.
Dear men, sometimes you may find it hard to understand how your partner’s period of pain can be so bad that they regularly have to cancel plans.
Perhaps you have also found yourself wondering why your partner can’t simply cope with her period pain as other women do?
It is because such pain seems almost indescribable.
Did I try to answer this question in another article of mine – “How to explain endometriosis pain to a guy?”
Yep, I gave it a go!
The severe and unexpected pain my wife experienced forced me to make changes in my own everyday life. I had to adjust.
I slew down with the gym. Going twice a week is not the same as going for 7 days, twice per day. I used to love doing that.
How did I adapt to my new lifestyle?
I do Crossfit with a focus on heavier weightlifting. That works all the muscles which allow me to put on lean weight. Aside from that, I share a passion for dance with my wife, practicing Latin-Ballroom whenever we can.
Blogging and mental health.
Blogging is good for your mental well-being because it offers you an opportunity to help other people in similar situations to yours.
It may be either, someone affected by mental health problems, chronic illness, or both.
If you have experience and you want to help others in a similar situation, blogging allows you to pass your knowledge, so your readers can avoid unnecessary mistakes that you have made in the past.
You can also take your thoughts to a wider audience. One person who listens to you might not always be enough, especially when that person is busy.
Women who suffer from endometriosis, fibromyalgia, or other chronic illness sometimes end up having to cancel plans with friends or other appointments. If they have problems sleeping (like my wife), they might feel tired and weak too, and less able to cope with stress.
Since I remember, my wife used to worry a lot, hence the name of my blog – Worry Head.
But putting stress aside, women who regularly have to stay home from work because of their pain often feel guilty towards their colleagues. The pressure at work might increase as well and that was always the trigger for my wife.
Another possible adjustment I had to make was our sex life. One of the symptoms of endometriosis is pain during or after sex. It was hard for me to understand that at the beginning, as we both knew nothing about endometriosis and I was causing her pain.
But the very idea of pain might reduce a woman’s desire to have sex. Many women who experience pain during or after sex try to avoid it. My wife was no exception.
But in my mind sex isn’t the most important part of life.
Yes, it is important in the marriage and my wife still keeps reminding me how she doesn’t feel like “a proper wife” anymore.
Despite my reassurance of being faithful and okay with it, she misses the intimacy.
But I adjusted, other men might disagree but it is possible.
Women often feel bad about rejecting sex. Some may even say something along the lines of “okay, get on with it” despite the pain because they would like to get pregnant in order to get a year of relief from pain.
They know that endometriosis pain will come back after their estrogen kicks back again after giving birth but they are really afraid of the idea that their partner might feel rejected and even leave them if they don’t have sex.
Learning what my wife feels I do my best to help and adjust to her lifestyle.
It makes her feel guilty but my reassurance always helps. She loves me twice as much for being so supportive and I gain from it more than I lose.
As her partner, it’s easy to feel a little rejected or dissatisfied, particularly if you don’t understand why she doesn’t want to have sex.
Knowing that sex is painful for a partner makes many men feel guilty or uncomfortable. For all of these reasons, sexuality can easily become an issue within relationships.
Not being able to get pregnant often adds to the burden.
Discovering that a woman’s fertility problems are being caused by endometriosis can lead to mixed feelings. On the one hand, you know what is causing it, which means there are treatment options.
However, there is no guarantee that a woman will be able to get pregnant if she has treatment. Many of the effective treatments actually prevent pregnancy.
On that note, I’d like to finish this rather lengthy post.
I wish you all my very best and don’t forget – enjoy little moments and time spent with your loved ones. And gens – put her health above your job, one day off won’t kill you but can make her feel loved.
Clean that shower, run a bath, hoover the floor, or cook her dinner. It might not seem manly but real men are not afraid of any challenge, especially when their girl cannot do basic tasks.
Free your mind and don’t keep dark thoughts locked inside a journal or a blog, write them down.
Take care of your loved ones and yourself. Keep writing!
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…