31 Day of Expressive Writing — Product Review
I was always a writer; I kept a diary from age 14 to 21, recording my innermost thoughts, hopes and fears. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis during that time and found writing to be a tool that helped to keep my mind in balance. Fast forward by almost 20 years and I still write but in a different way. Unfortunately, diary writing and journaling fell by the wayside as my life became busy with work, marriage and kids. Instead, I blog about my life on this site and, although I share my worries and feelings with you all, there is a part of me that I don’t show. The private part that I don’t share with anyone.
Enter 31 days of Expressive Writing for Chronic Illness and Pain. I have been so lucky to have the opportunity to complete this online course. It has been developed by Esther Smith, of Life in Slow Motion. Esther has an MA in Professional Counselling and a certificate in Biblical Counselling through CCEF. She is licensed as a clinical counsellor in the state of Maryland, USA. On top of this, she also has her own experiences of chronic pain.
*I was gifted this course, which normally retails for $39.99, in return for an honest review. This post also contains affiliate links. It will not cost you anything to click on them, but I will get a small referral fee from any purchase, which will be used to maintain this blog. Thank you!*
31 Days of Expressive Writing for Chronic Illness and Pain is broken down into specific chapters to help you focus on your feelings in relation to your chronic illness. The chapters are:
- Your Story
- Your Grief and Emotions
- Your Faith
- Your Relationships
- Your Joy, Strength and Hope
- Your Goals
Each ‘chapter’ has its own specific writing prompts to help you journal through your thoughts. You can choose to write every day for 31 days, or complete the course more quickly. Esther is available every step of the way if you have any problems at all.
I really enjoyed this course. Journalling through my thoughts about my chronic illness was such an eye-opener and, yes, emotional. It gave me the opportunity to really reflect on my health over the past 20+ years and how it relates to my sense of self and my relationships.
A faith element is added into the course; I follow no particular faith myself and Esther said that I can skip these areas as needed, which I did on the whole. However, I sometimes took the opportunity to reflect on the questions asked and replaced ‘God’ with a person very important to me, so I could still benefit from the prompt.
I found the course to be clear and varied; I was not always writing big streams of thought but also had the chance to draw and break down information by date. This gave me clarity and made me realise just how much I have been through in the time I have had MS. It has ultimately made me feel stronger and proud of myself, despite my chronic illness. The course was also flexible; I found that on some days I journaled through more than one prompt and other days none at all, and this helped me truly use the writing course to my own benefit.
Breaking it down into subjects helped me to think about areas that I haven’t before. I particularly liked the ‘letter to a loved one’ prompt — I found is very beneficial and ended up sharing it with my loved one, even though I could have chosen not to. Setting SMART goals has also helped me to feel in control of my illness and life at just the right time: I have been through a lot of change recently.
I feel like this course would be beneficial for anyone living with chronic illness and/or pain who would like to learn more about themselves and address any emotions that they may feel. I’d like to thank Esther because the writing prompts have really helped me to learn more about myself in relation to my illness and the course has reawakened my love of private journalling — I now do it every couple of days.
If you would like to take the opportunity to complete the 31 Days of Expressive Writing for Chronic Illness and Pain course, please click here. Esther also offers the courses What Really Helps People with Chronic Pain and A Complete Guide to Pacing for Chronic Pain.
Reviewed with honesty and full disclosure on September 10th, 2018.