For a long time, I’ve promoted the act/discipline/therapy of journaling. Life journals, and particularly thanks journals. Because I maintain that getting something out, something that’s churning inside you, isn’t as big or scary or impossible when it’s outside of you and you can look at it and see it for what it is.
This was confirmed recently when talking with a friend who had gone through a debilitating mental breakdown. In the process of healing, which included the strong support of her family, and a Christian counsellor, she said with a little grimace, “And I had to write alot.” It was obvious that the therapy helped, and she admitted it even though it hadn’t been fun at the time.
Not everyone can write easily or well, but in a journal, that doesn’t matter. You should still write. Even in single words punctuated by dashes and not complete sentences and paragraphs, if that makes it easier for you.
Not long ago, I was processing some issues by journalling. There were things roiling inside me, and I wasn’t able to verbalize them, let alone make sense of them, but suddenly, as I wrote, my current deepest fears went spilling on onto the page, and then I thought “That’s it! That’s what’s bothering me.” I felt so relieved to have a name for it.
Sometimes the truth of the words doesn’t compute with me until I re-read them a week later. But often it happens as they tumble out. You hear yourself say it, it’s a form of self-talk, and it helps. A lot.
And no, you didn’t really think I was going to tell the cyber world about my deepest fears, did you?