“Writing about something that bothers us helps us come to terms even with events we don’t fully understand, and then we can go on with other things.” This comment by James Pennebaker, a well known author and expert on journaling, provides the premise for Barbara Stahura’s interest in journaling after brain injury. After her husband’s brain injury in a motorcycle crash, she turned to journaling as a means of coping, venting, and working through the emotional trauma that she was experiencing. Because she is a professional writer, this felt like a natural avenue for her at the time.
As the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” – her personal experience as a wife and caregiver redirected her professionally and personally. She is the coauthor with Susan Schuster of After Brain Injury: Telling Your Story, A Journaling Workbook. This workbook guides survivors of brain injury and blast injury through the powerful healing experience of telling their own stories with simple journaling techniques. By writing short journal entries, survivors explore the challenges, losses, changes, emotions, adjustments, stresses, and milestones as they rebuild their lives.
You never know where life will lead you. Barbara is now a certified journaling instructor and has been conducting workshops for both people with brain injury as well as for family caregivers of people with serious illness. She conducted a journaling workshop on alleviating compassion fatigue for the National Guard Bureau, for chaplains, psychologists, and other direct response staff, and conducted two workshops for the Arizona National Guard on “Journaling Towards Resilience.If you’d like to try your hand at journaling or just learn more about it, she has a great blog called Journal After Brain Injury.