The other week my daughter, a soccer goalie, got kicked in the head. She took a cleat right to the face as she blocked a goal.
A minor concussion.
Since then she has been struggling with a headache, nausea and dizziness, especially if she tries to do too much. She took a week off from school and then tried going back for part-time days. But even the limited hours increased her headache. When I talked with her doctor, he told me that in the past they tried to get kids back to school quickly. Now they realize it is necessary to take things more slowly. Kids need to stay in the calm and quiet of home and get back to activities gradually. Yesterday she and I both worked at home. She got more work done in that one day than she did during the whole past week. And she looked better—less grumpy, less in pain, less dizzy.
So how does this relate to writing?
We all have situations in life that feel like a kick to the head. We need to understand how to deal with them. Sometimes our recovery will take a long time. We need to learn to be patient.
• What has happened in your life that has felt like a kick to the head? Write about what happened and how you felt about it. It has been shown that when writing about traumas, it is helpful to write a description of the trauma—what happened—and to include your feelings about it.
• Write about what you gained from the situation. Challenges can help us grow. We can discover more strength than we knew that we had. We can discover our resiliency. We can discover a new perspective on life.
• If you are still struggling, write about what you need. My daughter needed more rest. She needed quiet. What steps do you need to get through what’s going on? What do you need to heal? Write about the “ideal” of what would help get you through. Now look at your list and see how you can include some of your needs. Maybe you need to ask for help. That can be difficult to do. Another friend was recently in the ER. I know that she has a hard time asking for help, but that’s what friends and family are for. Write down what you need. Then write out a way to ask for that help.
• Write about what helps you relax. Write a list of a hundred—everything that helps you relax. Repeat things if you have to. Now look back over the list—what popped up frequently. Are you including that in your life? If not, then find a way to make it happen. Does quiet help you? Walking? Meditation? Finding a way to celebrate your spirituality? Reading? Writing? See—I think I’ve started my list.
• Write down some affirmations or words of advice that help you. There is a proverb—Fall down 7 times, get up 8. I like that reminder to get myself back up even if I have been kicked hard by something. First I might have to give myself some recovery time. That’s okay. As long as I get back up. What quotes inspire you? Consider keeping a list as you find things that motivate you. Consider putting quotes in places that you can see them—reminders that keep you going. At the Clinic where I work, we have signs and posters that remind everyone of their true beauty. I smile many days when I pass those signs. They keep me centered. What can help keep you centered and smiling?
Go, Write On!
Martha Peaslee Levine, MD