Randi Kreger has brought the concerns of people who have a family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) to an international forefront through her best-selling books, informative website, and popular online family support community Welcome to Oz.
Write Your Healing Story
According to Rochelle Melander, an author, speaker, and certified professional coach, many psychological and medical studies have shown that writing about difficulties and dreams helps people experience increased happiness, health, and productivity.
She says, "Psychologist James Pennebaker conducted multiple research studies on the transformative power of writing. He discovered that people who use writing to make sense of their traumatic life experiences felt happier and less anxious. "Through the studies, Pennebaker found that those who made meaning out of their difficulty or gained insight from writing were healthier than those who simply wrote about the details of their day.
"In another study by psychologists Sonja Lyubomirsky and K. M. Sheldon, subjects who wrote about their best possible future selves experienced health benefits as well as an increased ability to set and achieve goals."
Rochelle says, "No matter where you are in your journey through difficulty (in the muddle, emerging, healing, or living a new life), writing will help you cope. You may want to craft your story into a memoir that can inform, entertain and encourage others. Or you may simply want to record your story for yourself, so that you can examine, understand, and grow from the difficult events you have encountered. That has enormous value as well."
In the book Writing As A Way of Healing, author Louise DeSalvo offers these tips for confronting trauma in writing:
- Write 20 minutes a day over a period of four days.
- Write about joys and pleasures, too.
- Write about not only what happened, but your feelings about it. Link events with feelings.
- Be detailed, vivid and emotionally compelling. But don't worry about grammar or punctuation. This is about you and for you.
- Remember to keep your writing in a safe place.
- Expect your emotions to be overwhelming at first, and get support.
Here are some don'ts:
- Don't use writing as a substitute for taking action.
- Don't be too intellectual. Remember this is about healing.
- Don't use writing as a way of just complaining. That may not produce the benefits you want it to and may make you feel worse. Write to discover how and why you feel the way you do.
- Don't use writing as a substitute for therapy or medical care.
Rachel Reiland's notes eventually became a book, Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder. She says:
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Journaling for me was more than a way to delve into self-reflection—it was an outlet for me in the grips of irrational rage to avoid self-destructive behavior. It was a very healing thing. Like reviewing a semester of learning to prepare for a final, it brought back into clear focus the lessons that I learned.
I would write my raw emotions unedited, as I was feeling them at the time. When I'd get done, I'd toss the pages in a box underneath my bed. All in all, there were over 1,000 pages.
One of the first things I had to do in writing the book was to go through all of those pages and put them in some sort of a timeline order. This meant I had to read them. Yes, they were painful, but what they also showed me is that my way of looking at the world and coping with life had been fundamentally changed. I could see the anger in my chicken scratch handwriting and in the words I used. I could see it in the distorted thinking patterns that were so painfully obvious in hindsight.
Most important of all, I could look back on them and honestly say, "I can't believe I was like that!" Having those documents proved to me how far along I had come in my journey.
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