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Journaling question

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by LindaRK, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. LindaRK

    LindaRK Well known member

    Journaling has been the hardest part of this program for me. Putting my emotions and feelings in writing is difficult. Probably because of my high expectations and the fact that I don't take time for me to do it. Doing much of anything for me is hard.

    My question is ..... when I experience an emotion, whether it be frustration, sadness, anxiety, do I Need to immediately journal about it? What if it's not convenient? I feel like if I don't address it at the time it occurs the whole thing is lost and then never gets addressed.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I know how hard it can be to set aside 20 minutes or a half hour for journaling.

    When doing housework, at work, in the car, walking, jogging,
    if an emotion that causes stress arises, just write a few words on paper to remind you about it
    and when you have time, journal about it.

    I try always to keep a note pad and pen with me. Even jotting down one word can remind you later
    of the emotion you need to reflect on. It could be the one your unconscious is waiting for you to think about.

    And Dr. Sarnos ays we don't even have to resolve the emotion or problem, just recognizing it is enough
    to heal us.
  3. Alex Bloom LCSW

    Alex Bloom LCSW TMS Therapist


    While journaling can be helpful for organizing thoughts and potentially gaining insight into the way you treat yourself, it is very important that it not become just another task and source of pressure that you use as a catalyst to make yourself feel bad. It is important to focus on exploring the emotion and letting yourself feel it, rather than rushing to write something down. This can actually turn into another form of avoidance: the sense of urgency to organize and write down the feelings and your understanding of them becomes more central to your awareness than actually sitting with and experiencing the feelings themselves. Journaling is not the end point of your journey towards understanding and dealing with TMS, it is simply a tool in your toolkit, should it prove helpful. When some of my clients become too focused on it, I will often tell them to just put down the journal for a bit and stop pressuring themselves. Instead, focus on your feelings in the moment. This fear that you will somehow lose the conceptualization of your experience is simply your bully pulling you out of the moment and projecting your fears into the future. Don't worry about how you can hold on to what you are experiencing; instead focus on that experience and try to remove the pressure and anxiety you are putting on yourself.

    This issue can extend beyond simple journaling. I often find my clients taking on their entire treatment process as just one more task that they must fulfill. It is as though the mind is saying "Look just feel this, journal that, look at this and then you will be cured and we can go back to business as usual". There are a few reasons why the symptoms will fail to respond to this kind of mindset. For one, it is putting all the pressure on you! With this mindset, any failure to find full relief or make significant progress is directly tied to the shortcomings of your efforts. The goal here is to lessen the pressure you're feeling, not add to it. Secondly, getting back to "business as usual" is not really viable. This way of treating yourself, the pressure, the anxiety about doing all the steps correctly, is what got you here in the first place.
    LindaRK, Richsimm22 and Ellen like this.
  4. Richsimm22

    Richsimm22 Well known member

    Good advice Alex. Makes sense to me as sometimes I worry through the day thinking I must do some journalling later when I get a minute to myself which is putting pressure on myself.
  5. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I felt pressured to do daily journaling, but after a few days came to look forward to doing it.
    I was excited to discover what new repressed emotions I had inside of me.
    And I only journaled for about 15 minutes a day, not longer.
    And I began to enjoy finishing each day's journaling with something happy or funny I remembered
    about my life. It left me in an upbeat mood.

    But don't feel pressured to journal every day or you will add journal guilt to your symptoms.

    Journaling is a way to heal, but do it at your own pace.
    Richsimm22 likes this.
  6. LindaRK

    LindaRK Well known member

    Thanks, Walt ...... I'm lightening up on myself about the journaling. Initially, I was feeling like a failure because I couldn't write about anything for the "required" 15-20 minutes (sometimes 30 minutes!). 15-20 minutes was and still is very hard for me. So, I've given myself permission and told myself it's okay that I only do 10-15 minutes of journaling at a time. There is no right or wrong way - as long as I express myself and get out what's bugging me.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great, Linda. You're easing up on yourself by journaling however long is comfortable for you.

    If you need help with journaling, make a few lists. One for the past, one for the present. One for things
    that worry you about for the future.

    Think about them one at a time for the 10 or 15 minutes. You can get a lot done in that time.
    Healing from TMS takes different time for different people. So does journaling to discover the
    repressed emotions that cause our pain. Stick with it. You'll get there!
    LindaRK likes this.

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