February 16 – A Doctor’s Prescription to Write

 

© Anatoly Tiplyashin | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Anatoly Tiplyashin | Dreamstime Stock Photos

by Mary Jo Doig

A member of our Circle of Memories Writing Group in Crozet, VA shared a story recently that delighted my heart and I thought you might like it, too.

Carolyn started her story by reading to us that her 24-year medical condition required a doctor’s visit every six months. As she and her doctor talked during her recent scheduled visit, the doctor asked what activities she participated in on a regular basis.

Carolyn told her about her three weekly exercise sessions, as well as her membership in two women’s life writing circles, one that she leads that is comprised of women of varied ages. The other is an Older Women’s Legacy writing group for women over sixty who seek to record the histories (actually herstories) of their lives and leave them as a legacy for those who follow. The Story Circle Network’s OWL Memoir Project tells us that the richest source for an accurate history of our world is its ordinary citizens, and the least documented lives have been the lives of women in our society.

“I told her that for each gathering I prepared a personal narrative, a story from my life, based either on a thematic prompt for the group, or another life story I wanted to write about,” Carolyn continued.

“Writing was not new to me; I’d been a newsletter editor in my past life. Yet now I was learning to be more candid by writing about my own life since I was also into genealogy and wanted to write to pass my stories on to my family,” Carolyn said.

“Then my doctor asked if there was any reason why I couldn’t write every day. I told her sometimes there are other things more pressing that I needed to get done before I became tired or pain took over.”

“She replied by asking, ‘Would half-an-hour be a reasonable goal?'”

Carolyn told her she thought she could manage 30 minutes a day and that, actually, it would be a good New Year’s Resolution. “We finished up our conversation and planned to review everything again in six months. As I left, she handed the Visit Summary Sheet to me and when I got it home I saw that under Doctor’s Orders she had prescribed that I write for half-an-hour every day.”

Carolyn looked up from reading the story on her laptop and said, “The doctor had asked me, ‘Percentage-wise, how close do you think you can come to meeting your goal?'”

Her eyes twinkled. “I told her one-hundred per cent.”

We all cheered our writing partner.

***

For more information on the physical and mental health benefits of writing, this link gives a good overview: http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/jul00/why-writing-is-good-for-your-health-7007

And for some unexpected health benefits of writing, here’s a Huffington Post article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/writing-health-benefits-journal_n_4242456.html

Mary Jo Doig, a Story Circle Network member for fifteen years, is an avid reader, writer, quilter, knitter, gardener, cook, editor, and blogger. She lives in a small, eclectic town in Albemarle County, Virginia where she has an exquisite mountain view from her writing room window.

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4 responses to “February 16 – A Doctor’s Prescription to Write

  1. What a great post and only validates what I, myself, have heard from medical practitioners. During my own recovery for post-concussion syndrome and damage to my central nervous system I have been encouraged to write each-and-every day as a way of self-understanding and self-inquiry in not only my healing journey but my relationship to pain and illness.

  2. I’ve been aware of your experience, Debra, but not the integral part that writing brought to your healing! I hope you’ll write your story and share it far and wide. Thanks for your wonderful comment!

  3. After dealing with the trauma in my family, when my mom died, writing has helped me understand why my family interacted the way it did, and above all the writing helped me work the pain out of my system. Writing is VERY cathartic.

    I’m glad you shared this story Mary Jo.

  4. Thanks, Gwynn! As Linda Hoye said earlier, this topic is dear to my heart and well-being!

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