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My Biggest Fear

Today I bought a journal.

Now I know that’s probably not a big deal to anybody else, but for me, it’s monumental. It actually scares the crap out of me. I used to journal all the time, documenting the angst and agony of the teenage life. I journaled through my twenties and then I stopped at 29.  I was broken and I could no longer find the words to express my pain and I closed it all off.

So now I have been stuck for 6 years with lots of walls that I’ve erected against myself. In the past, I would read my journal entries and see the path of my growth and discovery. Obviously, it was awesome to see the journey, but it also was difficult to read about my struggles. When the rug was pulled out from under me, I tried to express everything on paper and found that I could not. I hid from myself. I didn’t want to see the pain, the brokenness, the fears, the insecurities reflected back to me. Ever. I still don’t. I was safe in my survival mode and focused on getting up each day and going to bed at night. I suppressed the bad feelings and focused on breathing.

My friends have encouraged me to journal and I know I need to in this journey of self discovery. I know there is a lot of emotional damage that needs to be dealt with to make me a better person and I know it’s time to fix them before I can go any further on the path.

But I’m scared. I am paralyzed by the fear of what I might find and the work it’s going to take to fix it. I’m not sure I am brave enough for this. In fact, I want to put the journal in a drawer and never look at it again. I know, I know. It will be good for me, but like going to the dentist, you know it’s good for you but you know it’s gonna hurt and so you dread it and you put it off and you hope that the pain will go away and that you will be miraculously healed. But it doesn’t. The pain gets worse, it gets infected and festers and throbs until you can’t ignore it anymore and have to face the fear.

Well, I can’t ignore it anymore. It’s time to face the fear and break down some of these walls I’ve built to protect myself. Let’s do this.

 

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Janet Waite (Hubbart) - August 25, 2012 - 8:23 pm

I understand how you feel too, Hanssie. Depression is horrible. Journaling is a good thing. You will understand yourself better. As you journey through this remember the verse, “Come unto me all ye that are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I truly believe that only God can give us real peace. But realizing and understanding Him is a journey too.

michelle carrillo - August 23, 2012 - 3:41 pm

I’m happy for you, and proud of you, too. Yes, writing can be cathartic, but it can also be incredibly painful to read back through it and relive it all again. I’ve kept journals off and on my whole life. I liked looking back at the person I WAS in comparison to the person I’d become. But some of it was incredibly rough to live through again, and I actually ripped out some pages and hid some books away, too. And I think that’s okay. Because expressing those words were detrimental to me at the moment. But not anymore. Sometimes it DOESN’T help to feel the old heartache again. Knowing what we went though is enough without reliving the actual pain.

I’ve been keeping a 5-year journal for the past few years now. Each page allows only a FEW lines of text to be written, as each page contains lines for 5 years. (It’s like the original TWITTER… short & sweet!) But it can be difficult. Because sometimes I write of pain, and it’s right there for me to read again. My wounds… open and exposed and oozing.

But then there are the good moments. The ones that I would’ve forgotten about, had I not taken a moment to write them down.

One last thought… if you find that it becomes TOO difficult to write, or you want to hide from your journal, you might try what I did once and keep TWO separate ones. (I used to do this with kids I worked with, as well.) ONE would be for you to write it ALL down as you wanted. Free-flowing, no rules, just let it flow. Good and bad, whatever came through. But since we tend to express ourselves in writing more when it comes to the BAD stuff, if you were to read back through your journal it might look like you were ALWAYS unhappy and struggling. (This was especially true in my high school and early college years.) My old diaries made me look like I should’ve been on suicide-watch. Which was nowhere near the truth. So the OTHER journal would be for GOOD THINGS only. Like your one happy thought of the day, or something like that. Just so that your life (and thoughts) don’t get bogged down with JUST the bad stuff. And this can be good if you decide to journal right before going to BED, too, so you’re not stuck with all the heavy, negative thoughts swirling around.

Okay, sorry I’ve rambled. ; )

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