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Journaling / Journalling / Writing Therapy / Therapeutic Writing

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Nikki

Journaling has always been a good tool for me.  This morning in one of my daily readers it said 'no matter how preposterous you think a fear might be write it down on paper.  Look at it, dissect it and journal towards a possible solution.

 

So I made a list.  Fortunately I did have the time to journal and read.  It helped a great deal.

 

I get stuck inside my own head.  Why I don't know.  Is it how I am wired, does it stem from medications, is it an anxiety symptom, is it on-going stress????

 

I am suggesting this as a way to turn things around in the morning or anytime.  Or at least that is how it works for me.

 

I pray for the day when I won't need this tool on a daily basis.....

 

Journaling is a way for me to put things down in an uncensored manner.  Problem and then the Solution.  Sometimes I make a Gratitude list.

 

Hugs

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MaryKA

I get stuck inside my own head.  Why I don't know.  Is it how I am wired, does it stem from medications, is it an anxiety symptom, is it on-going stress????

 

 

 

Hi Nikki, saw on one of your threads that you have others and saw this, which made me think of generalised anxiety disorder, to which I think I have a tendency at times (curiously not at the moment in a time of stress, probably cos I've done something about it...). Journalilng is probably a good idea. :)  BUT I realised my GAD and got some info and tools through eCouch in Australia (start at https://ecouch.anu.edu.au/new_users/mhl_portal/info/depression/dep_treatments_info/cbt). It is CBT based.

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mammaP

 

I came across this site today and it is very interesting. How writing about feelings is as good as talking.

People who talk about traumas and grief recover faster than those who keep it inside, and writing can be a good outlet

too. http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2014/11/how-to-deal-with-anxiety/?utm_source="Barking+Up+The+Wrong+Tree

I wonder if posting on sites like this one is considered talking, or writing? Seems like a hybrid.

 

I think writing on here has helped me lots. I don't really think it matters where you write personally but it's the engagement that is good. It helps to put things into perspective. I kept diaries sporadically and let everything out onto the pages. I wrote letters too, to people who had hurt me but never posted them, just wrote them then burned them. I remember one to my dad, the feeling of the flames eating it up were liberating. That was when I let the abuse go. Didn't forget, you never forget, but writing that letter and burning it let it all go. I keep buying notebooks to write in but since the internet and especially since this forum I don't write on paper any more but still get it out onto the screen. 

 

As for getting off the couch, I have used a timer for years! Watching tv  I get up when the ads come on, and do something. Anything as long as I am moving. I use the timer for cleaning, it is overwhelming when there is so much to do and zero energy or motivation but setting the timer for just 5 minutes means something gets done, and often it is just what is needed to get going and the 5 minutes turns to 10 , 15 etc. I don't stop until the timer goes off but allow myself to stop once the time is up. If I'm up to it I do 5 minutes in each room, if I didn't do it this way nothing would ever get done! 

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ChessieCat

.

Journalling can be therapeutic and also an excellent way of getting your thoughts out of your head.

 

Sometimes our thoughts just seem to go around like a merry-go-round and we can't seem to stop them. At other times we are trying to make sense of something and have many different thoughts/memories in our mind but can't make any connection between them or put the pieces together. When we struggle to collect our thoughts in our head it can be very difficult especially if we need to make a decision about something.

 

This is where private or therapy journalling can be helpful. You can write your thoughts on paper, type them into a document on a computer (this has the added security of being able to password protect the document), or if you use a smart phone, a journalling diary app.

 

Journalling can also be used in addition to therapy, or combined with face to face therapy.

 

 

On the web:

 

http://www.mytherapy...com/whyjournal/

 

“Why Journaling Works

 

The benefits of journaling have been scientifically proven to:

  • Improve physical health and mental well-being
  • Diminish symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic, substance abuse, PTSD, asthma, arthritis, and many other health conditions and disorders
  • Improve cognitive functioning
  • Make therapy more effective
  • Strengthen the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses
  • Counteract many of the negative effects of stress
  • Finally, journaling is for everyone. It just 'feels good' to write”

 

Includes:  Explanation of the science.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia...Journal_therapy

 

Journal therapy is a type of writing therapy that focuses on the writer’s internal experiences, thoughts and feelings. Journal therapy uses reflective writing so that the writer can receive mental and emotional clarity, validate experiences and come to a deeper understanding of him or herself. Journal therapy can also be used to express difficult material or access previously inaccessible material.

 

Like other forms of therapy, journal therapy can be used to heal a writer’s emotional or physical problems or work through a trauma, such as illness, addiction, relationship problems etc.[1]

 

Journal therapy can be added to therapy, or can take place in group therapy or self-directed therapy.

  1. History
  2. Effects
  3. Practice
  4. Techniques
  5. Setting”

 

https://www.quora.co...s-of-journaling

 

“What are the therapeutic benefits of journaling?”

 

See:  Excellent response part way down the page by Forbes Thelma (after Related Questions links)

 

 

https://www.psycholo...ling-in-therapy

 

“Therapy is more than attending a weekly appointment. It's entering into a period of introspection that can last weeks or years. The session is a time where many of the insights and observations happen, but it need not be limited to that hour. In fact, for the best results, it shouldn't (research validating this here). Clients are allowed introspect all they want between sessions, and writing is a great way to focus and articulate their thoughts and feelings.”

 

Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for the  cartoon!

 

 

http://www.goodthera...journal-therapy

 

Journal therapy, also referred to as journal writing therapy or simply writing therapy, involves the therapeutic use of journaling exercises and prompts to bring about awareness and improve mental health conditions as a result of inner and outer conflicts. According to the Center for Journal Therapy, it is the “the purposeful and intentional use of reflective writing to further mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness.” Though there are few professionals who specialize solely in journal therapy, many psychotherapists incorporate therapeutic journal writing into their treatment.”

 

Includes:

  • What Is the Difference between Journal Therapy and Keeping a Journal?
  • How Does Journal Therapy Work?
  • Journal Therapy Exercises and Prompts
  • Tips for Therapeutic Journal Writing
  • Limitations of Journal Therapy
  • Research and Studies Related to Journal Therapy

 

https://www.urmc.roc...&ContentID=4552

 

Includes:

  • Journaling for Mental Health
  • Journaling Benefits
  • Journaling How-To

 

http://lifehacker.co...ours-1547057185

 

“Some of the most influential people in history kept detailed journals of their lives. Those journals served two purposes: a permanent record for posterity, and cathartic release for the people writing them. Even if you don't think you need either, keeping a journal has great benefits you can enjoy immediately. Here's why you might want to sit down regularly to jot down your thoughts.

 

Even if you don't think there'll ever be a documentary that uses your journal for flavor commentary, there are plenty of reasons to keep one for yourself. Maybe you want to leave something behind for your children that tells your story and what you accomplished. Maybe you're more practical, and want a way to harness your creativity. Maybe you just want the cathartic release that comes with regular writing. Whatever it is, these are all great reasons. Let's look at each one, and why they matter so much.”

 

Includes:

  • Regular Writing has Mental Health Benefits (includes links within to other information)
  • Keeping a Journal Helps Harness Your Creativity
  • Even If You Don't Do Creative Work, Regular Writing Has Practical Benefits
  • Which Medium You Should Choose, and Why (includes Journaling and Diary Apps; Blogging)

 

The Health Benefits of Journaling - Psych Central

Edited by ChessieCat
Additonal link added

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Daisy

I agree! Thank you for your thoughtfulness and hard work.

 

Daisy

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ChessieCat

Thanks Daisy.  Much appreciated.

Edited by ChessieCat
Link removed & added to Post #1

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JanCarol

I'm going to add to this, because journalling is not always about writing, it's about expression, about gaining access to those parts of yourself that you cannot get to in ordinary reality - of finding those places which are blocked off.

 

I am willing to share the journals of my "spiritual emergency" to give you a feel for what they can do, what they can be.  I am no artist, but I am an explorer.

 

I believe that it is as important to have paint and pencils and crayons and pens and magazines for collages - as it is to use words.

 

A journal is a total expression of your interior, and it may not have anything to do with words.

 

Over the next hour, I will post some beautiful pages from my "Black book."  (Jung had a Red one).  I don't know that there is any magical insight or answers here - or even that there is anything incriminating or revealing here.  It is a display of process.  

So with that said - welcome to my "Breakdown 1995" - 

6bF4MP.jpg

Edited by JanCarol
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JanCarol

Open to Beauty 1994

uYUiY0.jpg

 

 

Time for me to Fly - song lyrics, watercolour, collage - and prescription!

vf7GKP.jpg

 

Time To Fly - going deeper with collage and watercolour:

Vj0n8e.jpg

Edited by JanCarol
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JanCarol

Blue thoughts on Thanksgiving 1994:

ppuvMv.jpg

 

Storytelling:

K3f8Fh.jpg

 

1994 Baby Dream (2 pages, the 2nd page is entirely red)

VJHDje.jpg

Edited by JanCarol
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JanCarol

1994 Chamomile in Snow (was I trying to bloom in an unforgiving clime?)
G2MTu6.jpg

 

 

1995 - Separation from Husband, alone again:

KyNa1b.jpg

 

1995 - Explosions - stretched, burdened - intense:

F9VnU7.jpg

Edited by JanCarol

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JanCarol

Darker times, as I lose friends, lose my personality, lose myself.

 

Undeserving:

K86Hmg.jpg

 

Emerging (but this is a conflict)

DMoZU3.jpg

 

Emergence into full blown crisis:

 

fGUHCd.jpg

Edited by JanCarol
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JanCarol

OK just 3 more. 

 

There were pages of these colours in various arrangements - writings - divinations - trying to figure it out - still working full time, but crazy and wild in all my spare time.  

I finally organized it into a tree, which I call (from reading the writings around it):  1995 Sick:

NMGyoY.jpg

 

I did a drawing of how my body felt - looking at the colours, I can see that I felt awfully good - TOO good for all the stuff that was going on around and within me.  So I call this one:  1995 How I Feel - "Mania"  (Notice my  crown, my connection to God is grey = blind = agnosia, separation)

CqKPzY.jpg

 

It got a lot worse after this, this was one of the last coherent entries in the journal - the next book got bizarre.  I journaled like this for 5 years, and I credit this work for helping with my current sense of integration, of acceptance of all the myriad forms of myself.

In this one, I worked really hard on the colour.  I was obsessed with the colour.  It took me days and days of blending to get exactly this colour (as I remember).

I'll call this "I want to heal, I want to hope, I want to believe."

YOoSJA.jpg

 

So - there is a cursory glance at a breakdown in a journal.  It was fascinating for me to look at that - I've actually been afraid to look at it for many years, but now, older, hopefully more settled and wiser, I find it is not so dangerous, not so scary.  I can see where I was losing everything I thought I was, everyone I knew was angry with me for what was happening.  It was NOT socially acceptable.  I was struggling.

 

This condition was eventually drugged, but for the most part, I was coherent enough and able to maintain my crazy side apart from my work.  Though I lost friends, I alienated potential friends, and did manage to come out on the other side.  I was 33 years old.  By 34 I "looked" sane, but did not truly emerge from this until around 1999, when I accepted the "bipolar diagnosis."  By then, I needed the drugs to look normal.

So really, this is the seed of what I am coming out of now, as I come back to feelings, to being undrugged.  My hope to heal, is coming true.

Edited by JanCarol
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Frogie

You were so brave to share this. Mine is soooooooo ugly, words, that I wouldn't want anyone to see it!

Edited by JanCarol
deleted quote of above post, for clean scrolling

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JanCarol

 

You were so brave to share this. Mine is soooooooo ugly, words, that I wouldn't want anyone to see it!

 

 

Not so brave Frogie.  It was 20 years ago now.  I didn't share all my  ugly obsessions over men (does he love me? Will he come to see me?)  and interpreting signs (what could be called "delusions") and not sleeping and losing 40 pounds.  This is just a taste of a journey over a few months - a sliver of the "prettier bits" of a very tumultuous time.  And again, it got worse, after the redbud tree.  Then I surrendered to an abusive controlling relationship that I thought was spiritual but ended up stripping me of all meaning and purpose.

 

What I've come to, is a place of forgiveness.  I was doing the best I could, and failing miserably - but I forgive myself because I believe I have learned more about being warm, caring, listening, compassionate - characteristics that I failed at then.  I have 2 letters in that journal - one from the ex, one from a best friend - telling me how cold and judgemental and selfish I was, and that they were considering having nothing more to do with me.  That was just before the "Undeserving" picture.  

 

This is just a sample of different ways to express extreme emotional states, to work it through, using a journal.

 

Sadly, after about 1998, the computer came, and I was torn - it's easier to write on a computer - but some things fit better in a notebook (like pictures and collages and concert tickets).  So my journal got splintered into a few different places - and much of it ended up as content on forums, or letters to people.  Like all of the things I post here on SA - would normally, rightfully, go in a journal.  But I just don't have the strength to post it twice.  So a lot of what I write these days is set free, like a bird, to fly where it will.

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Frogie
You were so brave to share this. Mine is soooooooo ugly, words, that I wouldn't want anyone to see it!

 

 

Not so brave Frogie.  It was 20 years ago now.  I didn't share all my  ugly obsessions over men (does he love me? Will he come to see me?)  and interpreting signs (what could be called "delusions") and not sleeping and losing 40 pounds.  This is just a taste of a journey over a few months - a sliver of the "prettier bits" of a very tumultuous time.  And again, it got worse, after the redbud tree.  Then I surrendered to an abusive controlling relationship that I thought was spiritual but ended up stripping me of all meaning and purpose. What I've come to, is a place of forgiveness.  I was doing the best I could, and failing miserably - but I forgive myself because I believe I have learned more about being warm, caring, listening, compassionate - characteristics that I failed at then.  I have 2 letters in that journal - one from the ex, one from a best friend - telling me how cold and judgemental and selfish I was, and that they were considering having nothing more to do with me.  That was just before the "Undeserving" picture.   This is just a sample of different ways to express extreme emotional states, to work it through, using a journal.

 

Sadly, after about 1998, the computer came, and I was torn - it's easier to write on a computer - but some things fit better in a notebook (like pictures and collages and concert tickets).  So my journal got splintered into a few different places - and much of it ended up as content on forums, or letters to people.  Like all of the things I post here on SA - would normally, rightfully, go in a journal.  But I just don't have the strength to post it twice.  So a lot of what I write these days is set free, like a bird, to fly where it will.

 

Right now my journaling is a lot of screaming at people and hating what is happening to me. I don't draw I just write. It gets really ugly sometimes. I will write letters to people but never would I send them! I will probably journal after therapy today. It's my youngest sons birthday and I haven't spoken to him in almost 8 years, a very sad day today. And I'm sick to my stomach because of it :(

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JanCarol

LOL there was plenty of that in there, too.  Letters I wrote that I never sent.  Obsessive poetry trying to explain relationships to people.  Please don't abandon me letters. Efforts at divination, trying to get the answer that I wanted (which wasn't there).  "He loves me, he loves me not."  Again, this was a sample, a little view of a process.  It's not there for content, but for form, to demonstrate a different way of journalling.

 

It's easier to access, for me, those feelings when I would use a brush.  It was more pleasureable to write on a page that I had spackled or washed with paint.  

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Frogie

LOL there was plenty of that in there, too.  Letters I wrote that I never sent.  Obsessive poetry trying to explain relationships to people.  Please don't abandon me letters. Efforts at divination, trying to get the answer that I wanted (which wasn't there).  "He loves me, he loves me not."  Again, this was a sample, a little view of a process.  It's not there for content, but for form, to demonstrate a different way of journalling.

 

It's easier to access, for me, those feelings when I would use a brush.  It was more pleasureable to write on a page that I had spackled or washed with paint.

 

Today will be a good journaling day like I said. I go to therapy and I'm going to write to my youngest son. Today he is 26 and haven't spoken to him in almost 8 years. Get to write things to him he will never hear, it's a real shame. But that's how you heal. I color a lot. I colored with my neighbor yesterday and then she came over and we sat in the hottub. Nice day finally.

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BogiesGirl26

JanCarol I think your journaling is beautiful. I am very new here to this forum but I had to comment and say your work truly inspires me to journal my way through this. I have just quit Prozac cold turkey and searching for ways I can handle my anxiety without drugs. I hate the way Prozac makes me feel. But I am afraid for when it's completely out of my system that the anger and rage will start. That I don't know how to handle.

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Frogie

I'm not JanCarol obviously, but her work is beautiful. She is a beautiful person to speak with also.

I'm sorry you are having such a bad time with Prozac. I hope you feel better soon.

I did a stupid thing before I found SA and cut my Lexapro in 1/2 and I'm paying for that now.

 

Take care.

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Shep

Wow, tons of great information on this page! And Jan's artwork is an added bonus.  :)

 

I found this really great website full of people writing through their trauma:

 

How Life Unfolds - Letters of Peace

 

 

It's often the people who have been directly touched by violence or cruelty who have the most faith in humanity. We asked some of these remarkable individuals to put pen to paper and write Letters of Peace to the world so we can all be inspired by their words.

 

And if you're interested in sharing your own Letter of Peace with the world, you can do so on Twitter at #lettersofpeace

 

Some examples are shared in letter and via video on the website. Very inspirational. 

 

And there's a great article on how writing can help, as well as how to get started: 

 

Pen, Paper, Power! Five Benefits of Journal Writing

 

 

 

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Stormstrong

It's painful to journal for me, though I used to do it aplenty. I write in English and since it's not my first language and the persona I've developed to assimilate into this culture is not 100% me, I feel distant from myself. Then I switch to writing in my native language in the same monologue, and feel far away from "her" too. Scares me. Last time I enjoyed journaling was mid-journey into these drugs. Maybe they are to blame for this.

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ChessieCat

It's painful to journal for me, though I used to do it aplenty. I write in English and since it's not my first language and the persona I've developed to assimilate into this culture is not 100% me, I feel distant from myself. Then I switch to writing in my native language in the same monologue, and feel far away from "her" too. Scares me. Last time I enjoyed journaling was mid-journey into these drugs. Maybe they are to blame for this.

 

Journalling as discussed here is not for enjoyment or pleasure but as a tool for dealing with past or current issues, maybe recognising thought patterns and possible triggers, finding and learning ways to cope using non-drug techniques.

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apathetic

I find that journaling really helps me to cope and I'm journaling my whole life, I'm planning to publish a book when I organize my writings and when I'm a bit better.
Have any of you heard about bullet journal ? I started it recently.

Here is what it is --- http://bulletjournal.com/

 

You can track your habits there, write your thoughts, dreams (I'm analyzing my dreams with my psychiatrist), make to-do lists (helps me because I'm forgetting a lot), track your medication usage (that would be really useful for us who are tapering)... And the point of it isn't to look beautiful at all, but making it beautiful can be a great distraction (because most of the people make it look like it's something not everyone can do).

Here are some examples of what it looks like:
(none of these pictures are mine)

Habit tracker

Medication chart

Dream log

etc.

You can track anything there, write anything you want, draw... It's a journal just for you. Mine doesn't look that beautiful as those in those pictures, but to me - that doesn't matter, and it in general doesn't matter, that's why anyone can do it.

Wanted to share an idea, maybe someone would find it interesting.

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SkyBlue

That sounds cool! I don't do a bullet journal exactly, but I use 5X8 moleskines for my journal, carry them with me most places, and fill them up quickly. 

 

Definitely it doesn't matter if a journal is a "beautiful" bullet journal and I agree that that can be distracting to its intended purpose! 

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Gridley

I keep a daily record of how I'm doing symptom-wise (0 is great, 5 is very bad) for both AM and PM, plus any special stressors that may've affected my state, plus how many hours I sleep and how interrupted it is.  I also include other factors such as gluten intake (now are).  The literary quality doesn't matter to me; I consider myself doing well just to get it down there. It is very helpful to me.  Healing to all of you.

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SkyBlue

Cool, Gridley.

 

I find I have to be somewhat careful w/symptom tracking because the obsessive part of my brain (I originally went on Paxil for OCD) can kind of get rolling with that. Especially early on in recovery. I think I've reached a pretty good balance now. It helps that most things are the same (amount of sleep; same supplements; extremely infrequent med changes). 

 

It's cool to hear others' experiences!

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apathetic

Hello again. Searched a bit about bullet journaling for mental health, and found this: 

 

21 ways to track your mental health in a journal

Even more ideas on how to track your MH

 

They are also recommending making a "Done" instead of "To-do" list, because that makes you feel more accomplished. Personally, they used to help me but right now, to-do lists demotivate me even more than I am already demotivated to do things because I can't do much, and by writing down what have I done that day helps me more.

Planning again to start a habit tracker for some important things such as taking a daily walk for at least couple of minutes (without music), seeing my dog at least once in 2 days and playing with her, reading a self-help book, etc.

I think that now I can do those things because the dose is reduced and I am a little bit more functional than I was. It was hard for me to track my habits because all I could do whole day was lying in bed and doing nothing in general.

What I'm also using a bullet journal for is to track questions that I want to ask my doctor, because I am forgetful.

 

I need to take this all more seriously than I did. But I don't blame myself, I'm blaming the drug.

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ChessieCat
3 hours ago, apathetic said:

track questions that I want to ask my doctor, because I am forgetful

 

And then remember to take it with you ;)

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