At the beginning of 2016 I destroyed all of my hand written journals. You read that right. I ripped every one of them to shreds. I had flipped through a few and decided that they just made me feel horrible. They were page after page after page of venting and complaining and whining. The same rubbish over and over and over. The same pain and disparity was scribed page after page; journal after journal. I decided that I needed to tell stories and resolved to stop regurgitating the same chewed up feelings that came out as mostly anger and frustration.
For a while I kept the shreds in a paper bag in my art loft. I would collage some of the shreds onto art journal pages. When I had to pack up for our move a year ago, I tossed it all into the recycling bin. Our new home didn't afford me a studio and I had to purge a lot.
Eventually I deleted all of my digital journaling too. Since then I have foregone the art of writing and limited myself to art journaling.
Recently, however, my friend Teresa Robinson, The Right Brain Planner, shared a book by Louise DeSalvo titled, "Writing as a Way of Healing."
In reading this book, I am learning why years and years of journal writing haven't help me and why they made me feel so horrible. I am learning why I don't feel healed, and how I may have not even begun healing...not really. I am learning how to journal more effectively, hence, I've started journaling again.
pg. 18-19 "just describing what i was doing or thinking or dumping my feelings onto the page--wasn't helping me. It was probably even making me feel worse....This was such an ah-ha! for me. My vents described what I was feeling, or rather, who I was angry with and what they did, but not why I was feeling so hurt or how it was linked to childhood abuses and other painful experiences and losses.
I was still using my writing to fight the feelings I was having....I wasn't letting myself feel them deeply, explore them, understand them, learn their source, and link them to past and present events in my life."
pg. 25 "We must write in a way that links detailed descriptions of what happened with feelings--then and now--about what happened.I've started writing, focusing on the first abuse I remember. The sexual abuse of my step father when I was 5 years old. He was only in my life for a matter of months. Many details about him are unavailable to me. A saving grace. While I remember what he said. I can't recall what he looked like. So I will take it as a blessing that his face doesn't haunt me.
pg. 57 "depressed and suicidal people....tend to be overly general and vague....Describing events and memories in a general way is neither helpful nor therapeutic; it might even be damaging.
I do intend to share some of my stories here as I read through Writing as a Way of Healing. This is a journal after all. However, it will take some time to really write them and feel as though they are complete. I think I'm still living many of them today.