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Benefits of Journaling

Confession: I am claustrophobic, any small enclosed space makes me panicky. It is a characteristic I inherited from my otherwise fearless mom.

A few years ago my doctor recommended a MRI. Lloyd took me to the appointment. Although he had undergone two or three of them, neither he nor the doctor described what the procedure was like.

The moment I saw the MRI machine, I said, “Oh, no! I don’t think I can do this!”

The technician said, “Do you want to try?”

“Okay.” I reluctantly agreed.

I lay down and the minute it slid closed, I screamed,”Get me out of here!”

She opened it. I sat up and realized my fright had sapped all the strength from my legs. Lloyd came and half carried me to the waiting room. It took several minutes for me to regain enough strength to talk. Realizing I still needed the test, we rescheduled it for the next morning.

After I was home, I started preparing myself mentally for the re-test, by praying for courage and by journaling. I analyzed my fears and then over and over wrote “I can do this!” The next day, I tolerated the test by closing my eyes and taking myself mentally to a calm relaxing beach, listening to the waves!

As a therapist, I frequently recommend journaling. My analysis as to why it works: by writing down our fears, indecision, anger, etc. a person makes them concrete, rather than nebulous, objectifies them, and, hence, it becomes easier to deal with them rationally.

Wilma Gundy

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