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Topic: Morning pages to clear your mind and process emotions

Forum: Mental Health: Because Cancer Doesn't Just Affect Your Breasts —

Meet and support others who are affected by these issues around anxiety, depression & other emotional effects.

Posted on: May 8, 2021 11:44AM

ScotBird wrote:

I’m a person who has struggled with anxiety on and off throughout my life. I am finding it hard to let go and to move on, despite being nearly 5 years ‘“cancer free”. So I’m going to commit here to trying the technique called morning pages (google it). Starting tomorrow, I’m going to write 3 pages every morning for the next month. I’ll post here each week to let you know how it goes. If anyone else would like to join me in this experiment it would be great to hear from you. And if anyone out there is already doing this or has tried it in the past, I’d also love to know how it works outfor you.

ScotBird Dx 1/18/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 6/8/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Radiation Therapy 7/25/2016 Breast
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May 16, 2021 04:48PM ScotBird wrote:

So I have got to the end of my first week. I set myself the task of writing 3 pages with pen and paper each morning, before I looking at my phone or any other screen or doing anything else except making a cup of tea. I managed to do it on 4 days, missing Weds, Thurs and Fri because I had late nights and didn’t get up in time to write my pages before work. But I didn’t stress about not doing it. The thing that surprised me was how long it took to do, The first time took me nearly an hour, but I’m down to about 30 minutes now with practice. It is very easy to fill 3 pages with my stream of consciousness and have definitely been lighter in spirits on the days that I did the pages, having got all the thoughts out of my mind and onto the page and letting them go. So the first week has been successful: I’m feeling calm and happy and I’d recommend it. I haven’t read any of the things I have written, and don’t intend to. I might even start shredding my pages straight after writing them before I start my day.

ScotBird Dx 1/18/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 6/8/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Radiation Therapy 7/25/2016 Breast
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May 16, 2021 05:49PM moth wrote:

scotbird, yay you!

I did morning pages for a while when I did Julia Cameron's the artists way. I should go find those notebooks and shred them lol.

But hmmm, now I'm thinking maybe I should start up again.

I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/14/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/19/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/26/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 12/9/2020 External Hormonal Therapy 12/16/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/3/2021 External: Bone
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May 16, 2021 05:56PM Chicagoan wrote:

Scotbird-I found doing morning pages very helpful when I was younger. It cleared my head and gave me some "me time" before heading off to work. I still do stream of conscious journaling but now I don't do it first thing in the morning or even every day. I can tell when I need to do it-something is bothering me and I don't know what it is. It will emerge by the end of page 3. I keep all my journals in a big box. I will probably burn them if I know I am going to die soon but for now I sometimes enjoy going back and seeing what I was experiencing at certain points of my life. I wouldn't want anyone else to read them because they are totally uncensored-I sometimes write mean things about people and hope that if I die suddenly my executor will just destroy them. I don't want anyone's feelings to be hurt but it's really helpful for me to get my feelings out on paper, even when they embarrass me. Good luck to you with this project.

Dx 9/21/2016, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Radiation Therapy 9/26/2016 Hormonal Therapy 10/5/2016 Femara (letrozole) Targeted Therapy 10/26/2016 Ibrance (palbociclib)
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May 17, 2021 04:18PM buttonsmachine wrote:

I've never heard of this, but I like the idea.

I have done some handwritten journaling at different points in my life.

Thanks for sharing and please keep us posted!

Diagnosed at 32. Local recurrences one year later, probably due to needle seeding at inital biopsy. Now dealing with MBC. Dx 8/2016, IDC, Right, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/1/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 10/31/2016 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/31/2017 Whole-breast Hormonal Therapy 3/31/2017 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Dx 10/2017, IDC, Right, Grade 3, 2/12 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/1/2017 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Right Chemotherapy 11/30/2017 AC Surgery 3/31/2018 Lymph node removal; Mastectomy: Right Radiation Therapy 4/30/2018 External: Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy 6/30/2018 Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy 7/30/2018 Zoladex (goserelin) Hormonal Therapy 2/1/2019 Aromasin (exemestane) Hormonal Therapy 9/30/2019 Faslodex (fulvestrant) Dx 8/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/other, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Targeted Therapy 8/30/2020 Ibrance (palbociclib) Dx 1/2021, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs Chemotherapy 1/14/2021 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Gemzar (gemcitabine)
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May 19, 2021 04:14PM julesAI wrote:

This is great ScotBird! I haven't done morning pages regularly in a while, but want to support you in doing them. For me, the exercise was just to write stream of consciousness for fifteen minutes. Longer if there was more to dump.

Dx 3/17/2017, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/28/2017 Mastectomy Hormonal Therapy 4/17/2017 Femara (letrozole)
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May 23, 2021 10:02AM ScotBird wrote:

Thanks so much for all the encouragement! This was my second week and I did my pages every day except for one day when I had a really early meeting and didn’t get up in time to do pages first. So six days of pages, 3 pages every day (exactly 3). Chicagoan I think I’ll eventually get to where you are. Not doing it every day, but when I feel I need to. I know what you mean about not wanting anyone to read it. I will definitely shred my pages at the end of the month. Can’t quite decide whether I will read anything back yet (I have not done so far). We all have embarrassing, mean or scary thoughts and it’s been liberating to write those thoughts down with no self censorship. Acknowledging them, owning them and letting them be. Buttons machine if you are still thinking about trying it I’d say just do it. All you need is a pen and paper. The 30-45 minutes it takes has been a fantastic investment of time for me at the start of each day. I can honestly say I’m finding it life changing so far in a very positive way. Much happier and calmer. Will report back next week. I’m planning to keep writing my morning pages every day until 9th June. That day is the fifth anniversary from my cancer surgery, and will be a major milestone for me which has been giving me anxiety. I’ve hardly thought about it at allover the last couple of weeks.

ScotBird Dx 1/18/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 6/8/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Radiation Therapy 7/25/2016 Breast
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May 30, 2021 03:31PM - edited May 30, 2021 03:32PM by ScotBird

My third week has gone well, I did my pages on 5 days out of seven, and am still finding it really useful and therapeutic. Still have not read anything back, and interestingly I find myself writing mostly about work related stuff more than almost anything else. Not sure why that is. Even on a Sunday. Maybe I am a bit too work obsessed

ScotBird Dx 1/18/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 6/8/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Radiation Therapy 7/25/2016 Breast
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Jul 7, 2021 04:43PM ScotBird wrote:

I’m reporting back here as I’ve now completed my morning pages 30 times. Originally I said I would try it for a month, but I did not manage to do it every day, it’s taken me until now, nearly 2 months, to complete the task I set myself. I just cannot express in words how much this practice has helped me to become a calmer, happier, less anxious and less stressed person. The process of writing 3 pages in the morning and then letting those thoughts go has had an absolutely profound and life changing impact. I can only say, please please try it. Write down everything in your head, including gratitude, uncomfortable thoughts, mundane thoughts and even terrible thoughts, that you wish you were not thinking, first thing in the morning, before getting dressed, eating or looking at a screen, fill up 3 sheets of A4 paper, and then leave it on the page. I’ve trul found this practice to be absolutely incredible. It took me a while to get into it at first, and I quite often find myself staring into space or getting distracted by other things, but I’m learning to focus better, and the discipline is a great exercise for me as I have a short attention span. I know that Julia Cameron first came up with this idea, and wrote a book about it, designed for creative people. I have not read the book, and am not a creative person, but this technique is completely fabulous. Please try it and let me know how you get on.

ScotBird Dx 1/18/2016, IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/28/2016 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 6/8/2016 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right Radiation Therapy 7/25/2016 Breast

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