Who Journals? Cheryl Ryshpan Does

Do you have a “journal story”?

We asked people who journal to tell their story so we could share it with you.

Don’t you just love to hear people’s stories?

There is always this bit of underlying drama when listening to a first hand account. And, don’t you often learn from hearing what other people do? How they faced a challenge, or what steps they took toward a goal or why they proceed they way they do gives insight and frequently instruction for your own journey.

When Cheryl Ryshpan first emailed me, she said, “I would love to tell my story. It may even be cathartic for me and inspirational for others!” I was intrigued. I hope it was cathartic for Cheryl. I know it is inspirational! Take the floor Cheryl.

Cheryl’s Journal Story

So, a little about me. I live in Montreal, Canada. I love this city. Summer is the time of festivals. Every weekend is something else. Great opportunities to go sit under an umbrella with a sketch pad or journal or both. I found this really cute plastic portfolio that doubles as a knee desk…perfect for the season. Holds a few pencils, etc. People watching. Music listening. Lots of sunscreen and just bliss!

I started keeping a journal in 1985. A therapist felt it was an appropriate way to deal with post-partum depression. The effects, of course, as we all know are huge! Huge! And so, I just kept on keeping a journal. Not writing every day, but with an event, an extreme emotion, a something that needed to be recorded.

Like the first concert I took my son to see…his reaction, his emotion, what he was wearing. Remember, this was long before scrapbooking was so popular. I always had an envelope tucked in the cover for souvenirs. And so it went, every year a journal. Every year I would try a different type of notebook.

But then….In November 2010, I was hit by a van. Twelve days in the hospital. My entire life in chaos. Didn’t know which end was up having to deal with a traumatic brain injury. But worst of all…I couldn’t write. I’d write and there would be so many spelling mistakes, I would want to cry and I would be so frustrated, I would throw the bloody book across the room. My sister suggested a gratitude journal, at least for a few weeks to see if giving gratitude brought some peace. By the New Year, I was at least able to record in my journal in short spurts. And there was a whole heck of a lot to say!

In March 2011, a friend suggested I might enjoy keeping an art journal…fewer words but more drawing. I discovered I could draw….trees….the most beautiful ageless pieces of nature. Along with that came another round of peace. And then late last year, we finally saw rays of improvement. Slivers of hope. I could do a full day entry in one sitting!

I’m still off work for at least six more months, maybe eighteen. I folded the gratitude journal into my daily journal. I sketch borders around the page or doodle to fill a short page.

I often think, especially since the accident, if I didn’t have a journal, there would be no purpose to my days! It’s a scheduled activity that I cherish!

Cheryl adds a bit more

A day or so after I’d received Cheryl’s story she sent more information. I agree with her – this is important stuff. So read on.

I wanted to add one other thing. I meant to include it but my concentration is so poor that I quickly forgot. It think it’s important that people realize that it isn’t the book that makes journaling so valuable….it’s the content. You could write in a notebook from the dollar store. It doesn’t matter if you spell properly or not. Doesn’t matter how awful your handwriting is, it only matters that you write.

Thanks again, Yvonne! Hope this helps a person or two!

Thank you, Cheryl. Thank you for taking time to tell your story. We wish you the best on your journey to recovery. And, we are delighted to hear that your journal has played and is playing such an important roll in that journey.

Your turn

Do you have a journal story to tell? We would love to hear your story too. Just say you would like to tell your story when you write to me at yvonne@journalinabox.com


As a lover of words, pens, paper and the dictionary I'm a natural for journal writing. But, I wasn't always faithful to the task and had to learn the hard way. Some trial and error as well as input from my journal writing friends helped move me along. I have a burning desire to help people who want to use and get the most out of their journals and diaries. I see journal writing as a self improvement tool and a way to avoid costly mistakes, bad relationships and my stinky-self. Finding my kindly self is part of the journey which keeps me writing. I Journalate and so can you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>