They say a picture is worth a thousand words — Well, how many emojis does it take to describe lupus?
It can be hard to explain lupus to friends and family. But, research is beginning to look at the value of writing as a new therapy. Writing therapy, similar to art and music therapy, can help people better understand and share feelings as well as deal with emotional trauma.
A study published in 2016 by the Official Journal of the American Art Therapy Association explored whether writing interventions could be beneficial for people with lupus and with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 75 adults participated in 4 sessions. There were three groups, broken up by writing topic. Participants wrote about:
- benefit finding (focusing on the positive aspects of adverse experiences),
- standard expressive (creative) writing, or
- did not write and were control subjects
Questionnaires were completed at month 1 and at month 3. Fascinatingly, participants in both writing cohorts reported less fatigue at month 3. The writing cohorts also reported lower pain levels. Writing about benefit finding significantly helped high trait anxiety people (people more likely to rate situations/experiences as negative or threatening), and expressive writing most benefitted those with low trait anxiety.
While more research is needed, creative thinking and taking the time to write about personal experiences seem to offer positive outcomes to people with lupus and RA.
This week, people attempted to use emojis to describe living with lupus — a creative endeavor. Thank you to all that participated! We’ve selected some to share with you below.