Hello.... anyone out there?
Yes, I know, it's been a while since anything has been posted on this blog.
Yesterday, I was inspired by reading Anthony Heard's ITP blog. Most of us know Anthony from all the wonderful work he has done with the ITP Support Association in promoting ITP awareness across the UK.
His blog, My Purple Patch, recounts his roller coaster ride with ITP. I've known Anthony for several years (virtually) but was not aware of his experiences fighting this dreadful disease. I highly recommend clicking the link above and spending some time reading his story. As the Brits say, it's absolutely brilliant!! In American terms, it's fantastic!!!
As most of you know, I'm a freelance writer. I've been working on an article for a caregiver's magazine and ran across an interesting study that showed how writing about traumatic events can help with healing.
Here's an excerpt from my article:
The study used patients with rheumatoid arthritis and asthma and had the experimental group write about the most stressful event(s) of their lives. The participants wrote for 20 minutes over three consecutive days. They were instructed not to worry about spelling or punctuation, just get their thoughts and feelings down on paper. The control group wrote about general topics, such as things I need to do today.
The participants from both groups received medical check-ups after two week, two month, and four month intervals. After four months, the participants in the asthma experimental group showed improvements in lung function, and the ones in the RA experimental group showed improvements in overall disease activity. The control groups showed no changes at all. This study showed that writing about emotionally traumatic events (death of a loved one, family/relationship problems, major accident, etc) reduced the symptoms of the patients’ chronic illness. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Then today, a fellow author posted a link on Facebook to an article from bbc.com asking the question: Can writing about pain help boost your immune system? A psychology professor conducted an informal study where he asked students to write about the biggest trauma of their lives. At the same time, a control group wrote about neutral topics. He followed both groups for six months, and found that during that time the students who wrote about the traumatic events made fewer trips to the doctor than the control group. Coincidence?
I started thinking (dangerous, I know)...When my ITP blog was active and ITPers wrote guest posts, a number of them commented about how they felt so much better after writing about their experiences. Did we proved the studies have merit???
Here's where the epiphany comes in...
Your journey dealing with ITP or any other chronic illness can help others who are on the same path, suffering the same side effects from meds, have the same questions, or cringe from similar fears. We are a family and need to support each other. Whatever you say will be appreciated. The power of the written word will make a difference in your life and in the lives of those who read your story.
Believe in the Power of the Written Word
This article is adapted from a blog post originally written on ITP...In Our Words.