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Dear Teresa, Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. Every bit of support helps!
I neglected to add one more positive about journaling. It can take emotional weight off the family. Here's how:
Various family members stayed with me around the clock in the ICU. They experienced my frightening ups and downs — the crazy lab values, the coma that was slow to end, the respiratory failure, etc.
Plus they had to face the frightening reality that I might not survive, and if I did I might be seriously brain damaged.
Of course I knew none this. And once home I was full of questions about what I'd been through. It didn't dawn on me that asking about my hospitalization — and asking the same questions repeatedly because I couldn't remember their answers — continuously re-exposed them to their own ICU trauma. It was an awful thing to do to my loved ones.
Once I figured this out, I asked each person if I could ask them one final time about what I they saw me go through and what they themselves went through. It was pretty wrenching, yet all but one agreed. I wrote everything down in my new journal.
Since then I've made a concerted effort to not bring up our shared ordeal and only discuss it if they want to. Instead I'll reread my journal entries. As I learned more and more about PICS those entries became puzzle pieces I could put together to gain more understanding.
I also use my journal to write down thoughts, feelings, frustrations and observations I don't want to burden my family with. They went through so much for me. I owe them the kindness of letting them put my illness in their past.
As for me, the experience remains with me, in no small part because my docs say I could have a repeat of the core issues that hospitalized me initially.
Bottom line: Journaling is definitely helping me cope, both emotionally and cognitively. Hopefully writing this here will encourage others to journal, and they'll see benefits, too.

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Replies to "Dear Teresa, Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. Every bit of support helps! I..."

I’m so happy that you had loved ones during this journey. It sounds like journaling helped you a lot.

Unfortunately, I had no one to support me. I was alone. It’s hard for me to put pieces of the puzzle 🧩 together without someone being there too.

Maybe I will get my hospital records and see if that helps.