Journaling 101 // A Tool to Cope

By Emily Smith

As many of you know, my husband is a United States Navy Veteran. When I was 6 months pregnant with Little A, he went out to sea for work ups and preparing for a long deployment that lay ahead. We were apart for the last 3 months of my pregnancy and he was out to sea during Aiden’s birth. He was able to visit for 10 days, four days after the delivery, left us again and returned for Christmas, two months later for another 10 days. After the holidays, he left for a 6 1/2 month deployment to the Middle East. All in all, we didn’t actually live together for over a year.  
It was a very difficult time in my life and if I didn’t have our beautiful son to share everyday with, it would have been pretty grim. I missed my husband every single day, cried myself to sleep and longed for his safe return. While he was on deployment, I had a total of maybe six, 10 minute phone calls - and sporadic emails. Communication just wasn’t available.

I wrote him letters every other day and hoped that they would find him. It drove me crazy that we couldn’t talk to each other. I had so much to say and share. Writing him letters was one way to communicate, but I needed something additional. I needed another outlet to release how I was feeling. I was overwhelmed. 

I began to journal consistently. If I was having a hard day without him, I took to writing it out. I wrote about missing him, over and over again. I wrote about what I was thankful for in the midst of our tough situation. I used journaling as a way to process my emotions and as a tool to cope. I also filled Aiden’s baby book with photos, documentation and notes on his development, so that his dad wouldn’t miss a thing. By writing, I found that I could get through our separation and it carried me from day to day – until alas, my husband finally came home to us for good.
From my experience, whether it’s stress, sadness, or grief – journaling is a tool that can help you get through and manage a tough time.  It can be as simple as jotting down a few sentences for the day that releases some of the weight of carrying those sentiments within you.  
No1. When I woke up this morning, I felt…
No2. I’m avoiding this, because it’s…
No3.  I haven’t been doing much lately, because…
No4. In the midst of sadness, I’m still thankful for…
No5. I wish this was different…
This post is Part 4 of Journaling 101. Click here for Part 1 & Part 2 & Part 3.

Emily Smith

Emily Smith is the founder and editor of The Best of this Life. She has two littles, a darling husband, and dreams of owning a new puppy. A gluten-free connoisseur, social media maven and reigning fashionista (in her own rights). She loves writing and shares her three core values with her readers – love life, live well, share the beauty.

3 Comments on Journaling 101 // A Tool to Cope

  1. Sherbie Kent
    January 28, 2013 at 8:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Your story brought me to tears. So happy that you are with your hubby now and that you were able to do the long-distance thing ;)

  2. jessica {creative index}
    January 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm (2 years ago)

    Reading this totally took me back to when my hubby and I spent nearly a year apart when he went to police academy in NC. :( I had so many of the same feelings… We got to talk and Skype at least… but the distance was still so hard! I can’t even imagine having a newborn and not having the hubby there!

    So glad this long-distance thing is over for both of us! :)

  3. Lara
    March 17, 2014 at 11:19 am (9 months ago)

    Your story is heart breaking! I’m so sorry that you and your husband had to be away, and especially when you gave birth! On a slightly lighter note, journaling is a great way to let out all of your thoughts and emotions. You can’t hold all of that in forever!

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