Digging Deep With Sharon Brisson

Journaling Your Way To Better Asthma Control

Digging Deep
Digging Deep. Sharon Brisson

I recently read the book Digging Deep-- a new journal for kids with chronic illness like asthma. I also recently had the opportunity to interview one of the co-authors-- Sherri Brisson. I believe this is a powerful book that can assist a pre or young adolescent in expressing feelings about their asthma. Likewise, this is an opportunity to explore how asthma impacts their child's asthma from their perspective.

Take a look at the the questions I had for Sherri and her really inciteful answers. After reading the questions and answers let me know if you think journaling could help your child's asthma control.

I have tried journaling several times in the past. I always seemed to fail because I was waiting for the right time or when the inspiration came, I either did not have inspiration or never made the time. Do you have any suggestions for beginning journaling and making it a habit. Any specific suggestions for the young adolescent?

As I have said, a young person does not need to start in the beginning and work to the end.  They can take the journal out and find something that “speaks to them” and start there.  Because there are so many ideas to write about, it becomes easier than just trying to write in a blank journal.

Kids and teens can bring their journal to their doctor’s appointments or the hospital visits when there is inevitably times when they are just sitting and waiting.

Digging Deep can serve as a helpful distraction, but a distraction that is serving a higher purpose.

Still, some kids may find it useful to write at the same time every day—like just before bed at night. Writing can clear their thoughts so they fall asleep at peace. Or just getting in the habit of writing for 10 minutes at the same time each day gets the creative juices flowing.

Some may even turn into professional writers!

I suggest kids both write when they feel like writing, but also encourage them to pick up the journal and try finding a question to write about even if they don’t feel like writing.  Many young people are surprised that they actually have a lot inside wanting to come out, and realize how easy it is once they get started. Sometimes when they don’t feel like writing is exactly when they should.

I also tell kids to make a mistake as quickly as possible and get it over with.  They laugh and do just that, so they no longer feel as intimidated.  The exercises that include creating pockets and envelopes to store precious memories or discard negative thoughts or feelings can also be a fun to start with.  This makes our style of journal writing fun and more engaging than your typical journal.

It seems that much of the power in Digging Deep comes from the powerful reflections that are brought out in the prompts. Do you think there are any benefits about reflecting on a future state over looking in the past?

Absolutely.  Our journal was specifically designed in a progressive way so that kids in fact move through their experience.  By the time they work through to the end of the journal, young people have answered questions like Blessings After the Storm, Sharing My Wisdom, 100 Dreams and Desires, and the Power of Peace—all forward thinking.  These questions help kids both integrate and honor their experiences as well as move forward from them.  Moving on, whether continuing on their journey with their illness or moving beyond illness, is the ultimate goal of Digging Deep.

What next? What do you recommend after a child goes through the journal?

They can get another copy of Digging Deep and do the journal again! As young people mature emotionally, their relationship with their illness grows and changes over time.  Even if they have completed the journal, future situations may arise or their own emotions around their experiences may change, making it a valuable experience to repeat some of the exercises in the journal.

Both Rose and I hope to teach kids the process of journal keeping. By no means is Digging Deep the end.  We hope Digging Deep will be a launching point that will inspire kids to create their own journals—developing their own questions and using their own art as borders or backgrounds for their writing.  Having completed Digging Deep, they already know what sorts of profound questions to ask themselves for the rest of their lives.

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