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Benefits of Writing

In psychology class, we briefly discussed the benefits of writing. In fact, the instructor certified these findings by the studies of a man by the name of Mr. James W. Pennebaker. Mr. Pennebaker suggests that writing about traumatic events has benefits, therefore, I encourage you to 1) write, and 2) to do research on this man and his studies as it relates to writing and possibly helping those with a mental health diagnosis.

One of my coping skills involves keeping a journal. I have written about this as a coping skill in the past that works for me and it may work for you too. Although I do not journal everyday, whenever I do journal it makes me feel good because I can reflect on what I've written in the past or at the moment. Usually, I write about everyday events and my thoughts and feelings about them. I try to stay as candid and frank as possible to answer my own doubts or to make decisions.

In fact, I started this blog initially as a diary to reflect on knowledge I acquired about schizophrenia, and to manage my symptoms and moods to later discuss with my doctor. However, this blog quickly became a resource for others living with the illness as well as family members and interested parties. And I am a big advocate on reducing stigma around mental health so I welcomed questions and suggestions from readers.

Writing about my experiences with schizophrenia 1) Enables me to remember how the illness impacted my life, 2) It is a consistent reminder of why I take my medication regularly, 3) It motivates me to continue to work on my recovery, which is an ongoing process for me.

I encourage you to write about your life and everyday stresses to help you cope. And this does not have to be a chore, write whenever you have the time or need to vent, find an answer, or just to keep a record of your life. I still journal, not everyday, but it helps me to stay on track with my recovery.

To learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind, Inc., the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).


Anonymous said…
Hi, Ashley! It's Laura from the SSNS. I look forward to meeting you at the conference next week! I find writing has been THE thing which has allowed me to reflect and find meaning in my experiences with schizophrenia. I am very impressed with all of the wonderful advocacy work you have done. Do you have skype, by any chance?
Ashley Smith said…
Hi Laura,

It's great to hear from you again! I look forward to meeting you as well. Unfortunately, I do not have skype.

See you at the conference!

Margene Morrison said…
Hi Ashley, this is Margene. I am a 50 year old mother and grandmother who has lived with schizophrenia after being diagnosed in 1989. Thank you for using your name. I think it is very important for us to come out and tell the public that we will not live in shame any more. You should be very proud of yourself and all you do to make life better for others! Thank you so much. Margene Morrison, North Carolina
Thank you for all the advocacy work you have done. I think it is very important for us to stand up and be counted. This illness is hard enough without social stigma and I will not hide. We have everything to be proud of because we strive to have good lives in the face of an illness that is very challenging every day. Margene Morrison

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