Sunday, December 29, 2013
Writing as a Way to Connect
I recently read an article about a program that encourages both the caregiver and the ill partner to use writing (and other art forms) as a means not just of self expression, but of connection. Both people are, separately, helped to find a way to bring their deeper truths and emotions into their art. In doing so, they reconnect with inner meaning and use that to bridge to each other in deeper ways.
One caregiver support program coordinator said:
"Writing may prove one of the most cost-effective means of providing that support. Researchers have long touted the benefits of journaling for cognitive and psychological health. Wilson explains: "If you think about what you have to do, you've got the fine motor skills of either typing or picking up a pen or pencil, and then there's the organizational work that has to take place within the brain, and there's the picking the right word and creating the right description. Writing is a very cognitively intensive process. The more you write, the more you use your brain; the more you use it, the better it works; the better it works, the longer it will continue to be intact. It's one aspect of a lot that go into maintaining cognitive strength, plasticity, and well-being."
There is also a hefty psychological benefit to writing. 'People engaging in writing feel better connected,' says Wilson. 'They are less likely to experience the onset of depression, and if they are in depression, writing and journaling can blunt the effects. It can make people feel more connected even when they are in isolation.'"
A recent study found that expressive writing can have not just a psychological impact but also a biological one. The study found that expressive writing can actually improve wound healing in older adults and women.
At first, before we found any treatment, when my pain condition was at its worst (a level 12 on the 1-10 scale), I wrote every day. This was not my practice before I got sick; I just felt compelled to find an outlet for what would have otherwise been a prolonged silent scream. When I wrote, I felt no pain. And when I shared my writing with my husband, he could understand the layers of what I was experiencing but was unable to discuss in conversation.
How About You?
Have you found any art form that has helped you convey the depth of your experience to yourself, and also to your partner? How do you do that?