Have you ever felt ready to reset your priorities? I was feeling this way and now I am excited to share details of an upcoming change with you.
The Diary Healer has shared personal stories of hope and awareness about eating disorders with many readers around the world since its inception in January 2017. Over the course of its life, lifestoriesdiary.com has undergone several facelifts and this forthcoming update is another of those, but this time, The Diary Healer will transition to a new site.
I hasten to add that all the posts and conversations shared on The Diary Healer will be on the new site; they will always be available online for you to read and reflect upon.
Collaborative sharing in the narrative has epitomized the essence and purpose of The Diary Healer. Its blog has provided a platform for readers around the world to share their stories and, in so doing, has encouraged others to share their stories. This opportunity for story sharing will continue in the new site, which will have a new name to reflect its focus.
The Diary Healer and its stories, that you have helped to provide and enrich, is not going away. Rather, it is transitioning to a new level.
Anyone who has had an eating disorder, or who has cared for someone with an eating disorder, knows that recovering and healing from this illness is ongoing. There is no quick fix. Our dedicated researchers continue to search for answers to improve treatment outcomes. Story-sharing is helping to find these elusive answers, and The Diary Healer blog advocates this message.
Excitingly, researchers are increasingly understanding that the answers are within the patients, and people with lived experience of an eating disorder are now recognised as having a vital contribution to make in improving care for people with the illness. The shame and stigma of sharing one’s experience of living with an eating disorder has largely dissipated. The Diary Healer is a strong proponent of story-sharing, believing that the more we share our stories openly in a safe environment, the more we raise awareness, and the more the eating disorder voice is silenced.
The process of reconnecting with our healthy self is a Mt Everest-sized challenge, but ultimately the healing journey is as fulfilling and rewarding as we choose to make it. Writing, from the inside out, is an amazing self-help healing tool. Through The Diary Healer, I’ve learnt that many of you feel the same way.
For me, words have been a lifelong constant companion.
The Diary Healer has fulfilled my dream of providing opportunities for reader interaction and contribution through narrative forms of expression. Safe and supportive, this online environment has encouraged sharing with like-minded others through the medium of writing and particularly, diary writing.
Diary writing is important because, while we can benefit from engagement with and guidance from others, we also need to work privately within, and develop a loving relationship with our self.
Above all, www.lifestoriesdiary.com has aimed to assist this quest, through encouragement of person-centred, self-healing and promotion of self-fulfilment and wellbeing. The catalyst for the site stemmed from my extensive eating disorder and diary writing experience, my memoir A Girl Called Tim, and my PhD in which the creative work is Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders – The Diary Healer.
Keeping a diary contributed greatly to my healing from a long-term eating disorder and co-morbidities including trauma, chronic anxiety, and chronic depression. Writing a memoir, in my 50s, accelerated my process of self-renewal. Building on this base my PhD, undertaken in my 60s, enabled me to study the diary’s usefulness more widely. My investigation found scant reference in the literature on the effect of diary writing in the specific area of eating disorders and little evidence-based literature on the diary’s influence during the process of disconnection and reconnection between body and identity.
These gaps in the eating disorder literature inspired Using Writing as a Therapy for Eating Disorders – The Diary Healer (2016), the creative work in my PhD. Seventy diarists, sourced through my blog in 2014, became my research participants, generously sharing candid excerpts from their personal diaries to help me explain the pitfalls and benefits of diary writing and, specifically, to explore the ambivalent relationship with body and identity that can occur when experiencing an eating disorder. The diarists, backed by insights from researchers and health practitioners, became my book’s voice in describing the role of the diary in self-healing and renewal.
This collaborative sharing in the narrative was my catalyst for creating The Diary Healer website. Story sharing through the blog has epitomized the essence and purpose of this online home. I hope you have gained fulfilment from this site as much as me over the past six years.
It helps to pause and reflect, to put one’s life in context. Mine reads like this:
I continue to keep a diary. I loved the written word before an eating disorder swooped in to shape and influence my life, and beyond my eating disorder I continue to love the written word. Words are my friends and if they are your friends too, I know you will enjoy my new website.