Journaling confessions

Therapists are obsessed With journaling. At first, I had no intentions of being sucked into this dubious practice, but — well, that’s the topic of another post.

A friend of mine journals like this:
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Yes, exactly like this since — being a true “trophy wife” rather than some bimbo or mere ordinary mortal — her entire life tends to look like a painting.

On the other hand, this was my journal this morning:
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Obviously I am not a trophy wife. (Oh, and by the way, that’s my granddaughter’s “biting toy”. Not mine. In case anyone wondered. And I had just finished eating “refrigerator oatmeal” in my nifty new glass storage container. Perhaps I’ll post the recipe some day. For the oatmeal, not the storage container.)

Now, on to the confessions…

I have a love/hate thing with journaling. Come to think of it, that is hardly a confession. I think that’s pretty much universal among therapy clients who journal.

Even though some therapists say that it’s far more effective to handwrite — and not edit — journal entries, I’ve done a lot of my journaling on my laptop or iPad. Sometimes my slow handwriting gets in the way of letting my thoughts really flow. Other times, editing what I’ve written helps me process things.

Sometimes I think that maybe I’ve done a crazy lot of journaling in the past five years.

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While I try to write as “uncensored” as possible in my paper journals, I almost always edit/censor when reading anything out loud to my therapist. I don’t recommend this. Besides, he caught on to my tricks early on, and usually calls me on it. “What did you leave out?” he will ask, even when I thought I was being so smooth and clever while skipping over words and sentences.

There have been things I couldn’t bring myself to read out loud. Sometimes I’ve handed my journal to Donny to read out loud. Sometimes even that was too much for me, and I insisted he read it silently.

One of the most difficult, but empowering, things I’ve ever done is read a detailed account of my rape out loud to my therapist. It took me the entire session, and I was a wreck at the end. Donny cancelled his next session so that we could get me grounded enough to walk out the door and drive home, where I collapsed in bed for the rest of the day. But it was powerful and freeing in a way that I still can’t explain or describe.

This past year, I have done way less journaling. I no longer feel the desperate need to “get it out”.

When I have journaled, I’ve tended to use my iPad or iPhone, and I have mixed feelings about it. There are some wonderful apps for keeping diaries and journals, and they offer features, like being indexable and searchable, or being available on my iPhone which is almost always with me, that paper journals don’t. But there is something about paper and pen…

Recently I’ve decided to take an entirely new approach. Although I’m completely lacking in artistic talents or abilities, I’ve found myself gathering art supplies and reading about art therapy and art journaling. Maybe I’m just trying to reconnect with my “Inner Child”…I don’t know. But I’ve found my journaling taking a radical departure from my usual “words only” approach. (I’ve already posted a few pictures of some of my latest “journaling” efforts.)

One thing that I read suggested using art or five minutes of writing — or both – to answer the question, “What is my hidden secret?” for 37 days in a row. I don’t think I’ll repeat it that many times, but I have done it twice already, last night and this morning.

Last night, I didn’t even have to think of it because an image immediately popped into my head. What was really exciting is that I knew it was something that I could actually draw. I was very tempted to just post the picture, and not what I wrote about it…but therapy is all about facing fears and no longer hiding, so…

My first real attempt at "art therapy".

My first real attempt at “art therapy”.

What is your journal like?

7 thoughts on “Journaling confessions

  1. I used to journal a lot but have found lately that God is allowing my recovery to progress through my blog. Since I have fought my way through Calvary, I find that being on the other side is more about sharing my testimony with others. For some reason I love typing now, because as you said it allows the thoughts to flow more freely. I did try an app called “Diario” and made one entry but that was about it. I bought a google chrome which is super fast and easy to use and it lets my words flow so quickly, I just love it. Thanks for sharing the post I loved it!

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  2. You have a real talent for writing…..I am so sorry for what you have been through but am so encouraged reading your blog. You are a real testimony as to what Jesus can do ! I am not great at getting my heart on paper, but know that you are loved! I respect you so much for being able to tell your story of being an overcomer! I know this will be a help to so many people!

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  3. Pingback: More hidden secrets | Prone to wander…

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