How diary writing helps overcome trauma
Experiencing traumatic events is difficult for anyone. They can be caused by many things such as the death of a loved one, accidents or abuse. Healthline writes that common trauma responses include having nightmares, going into isolation, experiencing anxiety, and undergoing depression.
While coping with trauma's aftereffects is difficult, overcoming it is a whole different story. Healing from trauma is a long and tedious process — but an essential one. One tool that can help is writing in a diary. Many mental health professionals encourage journaling as it has its benefits for dealing with one's emotions. For overcoming trauma, here is how diary writing may be of use:
It combats anxiety
As mentioned above, experiencing traumatic events can result in anxiety and suffering from panic attacks. Our past article titled Why should I keep my journal by my bed? explains that writing in a diary can help combat these episodes as they help slow down the brain, giving a calming effect. When your mind is racing, take a moment to write down what is bothering you and read through it. Over time, you will realize that these are all things you can deal with and you should ease yourself from worrying about them. Being able to visualize your anxieties through words will help remind you that they are only in your head — hurdles you can overcome over time.
It promotes better introspection
Since diaries are a place where you write your innermost thoughts, using them regularly will promote introspection. As Roxane Gay explains in Writing into the Wound, understanding what happened and how you are responding to it is one of the first steps when it comes to healing. You will be able to learn that you are not at fault for your trauma. You can make sense of your pain without dismissing how it affects you. Moreover, exploring your psyche will help you understand how to better cope with the aftermath and foster an easier road to overcoming the challenges it brings. This will help you heal your mental scars and come to terms with your trauma.
It helps track growth
Though traumatic events are a negative experience, one way to look on the bright side is to use them for personal growth. Those who suffer from trauma become stronger and more resilient because of what they have gone through. This might not be evident, especially in the early days, but writing in a diary will help you better track your progress and see for yourself how much you are growing from the experience. Journaling will help you track how far you have come on your recovery journey and give you the motivation to overcome the pain and the hurt. While healing does not happen overnight, being able to visually analyze how much better you are in the long run will give you the push you need to know that you are on the right track.
It provides a safe space
There is a certain stigma associated with trauma. Many of those who suffer from it may feel guilty or, as mentioned earlier, feel like their experience is their fault. This might deter you from opening up about how you feel and how it has affected you. The book PTSD: What Everyone Needs to Know highlights how those experiencing this condition need a judgment-free environment— where they feel safe to talk about what happened. When paired with psychological help like therapy, diary writing can become a haven for you as it is a private place to express yourself. You will be able to get the weight off your chest little by little until you have fully overcome it.
At the end of the day, diary writing helps those with trauma come to terms with their experiences— putting them on the path to recovery. Having a journal with you will give you a place to write your thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment. Our digital app Diarly allows you to write anytime and anywhere so you can cope with and eventually overcome your trauma.