I write about my health because… Reflect on why you write about your health for 15-20 minutes without stopping.

The smart ass answer is that I write about my health because it’s what consumes me at the moment.  But of course, there’s more to it than that.

I write in general because it’s good for me. Writing helps me organize my thoughts, it helps me think through problems, and create associations in my head, thus strengthening those associations. Writing is therapy – writing something out – even if the topic is upsetting – helps me to deal with it, lining up my thoughts and ideas, giving  me a chance to organize those thoughts and ideas. By nature I am not an organized person. My brain works in a seriously non-linear fashion, and I don’t go from point A to B to C. My working memory is wonderfully  funky. Indeed, it was funky before I got breast cancer and now it’s a little funkier after stress and chemo and probably menopause. And who knows what these meds I take do to my working memory- meds that stop the production of estrogen in my body to reduce my risk of a breast cancer recurrence.  As much as I love the erratic funkiness of my working memory, sometimes I do need to get to the point.  So I write for selfish reasons. I also write because I love word play – and I like to see what I can do with the absurdity of life. My life, and the lives around me.

Sometimes I’m angry and writing helps me work through my anger. Sometimes I’m anxious – writing helps there too.

I write about breast cancer because I’ve had my own personal experience  and it flows easily.  There’s so much to say about it – how we get through the medical bits, how we feel, how we frame cancer in daily life.  We are dependent on philanthropy, governments and researchers to cure and improve treatments for this and other cancers. We need to raise our voices to direct how those resources will be used. I feel strongly about other topics too –  I feel very strongly about bullying people based on size, treating people of size as though they are not quite human, stupid, unable to make decisions for themselves and some pox upon humanity. So I will speak up about attempts to make fun of, denigrate or provide useless diet advice to people based on size. This is not funny, it’s mean, and the scientific basis doesn’t hold. I don’t like it when people with mental illnesses are treated pretty much the same way.I also write about mental illnesses too – they are poorly understood and stigmatized. I have a lot to say about anxiety. And variations in learning – I have what we call Attention Deficit, and it’s a major player in my wonderfully funky working memory.  I write about things that are close to me because writing flows, and well, it’s fast and easy. But I suppose I also have something to say in this regard.

Even if you are well organized, I think writing can help you too. You don’t have to write well, you just have to write down what you’re feeling. We all face stressors – health, family, financial, occupational – writing –  in private – can help you sort your feelings and your options. To write publicly and to share your thoughts is also pretty great – who knows, you might help someone.  And someone might help you – new ideas! Writing is probably the most inexpensive, and yet most personally tailored therapy you’ll ever find. Especially if, for some reason, you lack a good therapist, don’t believe in one, or don’t have coverage. Which brings us back to health, the need for universal coverage, including mental illnesses.

In the meantime, though, there is writing. ;-p