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Health Journaling: How To Decide What to Share

By Sona Mehring

Sona Mehring is the founder and CEO of CaringBridge, a nonprofit providing free, personal websites that connect people experiencing a health challenge to their family and friends, making each health journey easier. CaringBridge sites offer a personal and private space to communicate and show support when health matters most. Follow Sona on Twitter – @gogosona.

The benefits of journaling about your health journey include stress relief, understanding how far you’ve come and finding an outlet for your emotions. Some people choose to keep a private journal and many are now taking to the Internet to share their story using social media.

Keeping an online journal can:

  • Serve as a reminder of how you reacted to procedures, medications, etc.
  • Give your friends and family a better understanding of your situation and how they can help.
  • Give you an outlet to share your story and emotions, and then move on.

If you share your story online for other people to read, it can sometimes be difficult to decide how much to write. Should I describe everything I’m going through? Should I keep it strictly to health events? Do people want to know detailed medical information?

There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. The information that is shared will differ from person to person depending on comfort levels and can also differ depending on the tool you’re using as your journal. For example, you may post more personal information if you know exactly who is reading your journal because it is password protected or invitation only. Or, you may want your site to be open to everyone so that others going through a similar situation can find you and learn from your experience.

Just remember, the journal is ultimately for you. Do what feels right for you and your situation. If you are uncomfortable or struggling to decide what to write, take a break. You can also read someone else’s journal for inspiration.

Take care to choose an online tool that is appropriate for you and provides the options you’re looking for. When sharing your health journey, you deserve privacy and respect; that’s why at CaringBridge we’ve outlined our unique approach to privacy, which may be different from many other online sharing tools.

I welcome any comments about your experience with journaling. Do you keep a private journal or share it online? Have you experienced any of these benefits? Do you have advice for others on how they can get started? Share your thoughts in the comments below or in the Chronic Conditions community.

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