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Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by sybilla, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. sybilla

    sybilla Peer Supporter

    I need some advice on journaling. Often the advice given on this forum to those feeling anger or not seeming to get anywhere with their TMS is "do some journaling". However, specially when I have a bad day and don't seem to be able to accept my worrying thoughts I cannot just sit down, open my journal and write. Often I am completely blank or my negative thoughts are "running wild". If I feel angry I can of course write that I am angry and why, like today, where I was dealing with this really rude shop assistant and I was asking myself why I let this get to me the way it does. I am not really getting any answers but I can feel that this has something to do with the way I was treated as a child. I have written about all these episodes from my childhood and it gave some relief because I can see a pattern. Should I write about the same things over and over again or stop journaling when it seems I have nothing to write about?
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi angel. You face a common problem and certainly one I've known. Having journaled on and off my whole life I was pretty frustrated to hit this impasse. I would suggest not journaling when you're in the state you've described. Backtracking for a moment, when we journal, we bring our higher brain to bear on lower brain problems: we can apply the balms of time-distance, wisdom, perception to woes that befuddle. Trouble is when you're in the grip of an emotion, the lower brains are in gear and won't easily hand the reins to the cognitive higher self. In my humble experience it helps to do something physical as a way of breaking state. So loud music and mad dancing or a long, ranty walk, or shaking your body out to release the tension or going somewhere private where you can scream expletives to the sky. Things like this help to discharge the fight-flight response and then you may want to try writing. You'll feel the difference in your body and until you feel calmer, don't try journaling.

    The other thing that helps is writing letters you don't send. Start with Dear Rude Shop Assistant...
    And as to why it gets to you, it's the reservoir that Sarno speaks of. You've simply had enough, tolerated too much, been polite when you'd rather say 'shut your pie-hole'. It builds up and one unhappy day, it bubbles over.

    Remember that journaling is a great tool but it's not the only one. Sometimes the job at hand requires a different instrument.
    I look forward to hearing other folks ideas.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I used the method of writing a letter to my boss and telling him all the reasons he was giving me pain.
    (not mailing it, of course).
    It must have helped. I think you can also just mentally write the letter but not actually write it.
    It seems to help let out our anger.
  4. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    I think feeling our feelings is something new--it was for me. Unfortunately most of us are not taught to feel our feelings. if you sit for a minute and think about something that causes emotion in you, feelings come up. The feelings are what need to be written out. So in this case I'd write: I am angry the shop assistant [did this]. Usually starting with a sentence or two will start a flow of feelings.

    When I am upset about something (conflicted, angry, sad, etc.) I do the journaling. I was triggered yesterday about an incident from a year ago. Obviously not a healed wound if I was suddenly so angry. So angry I did not eat! So I let it fester yesterday (instead of journaling) till I realized this a.m. that there was no point in putting it off. I needed to get it out.

    So I couldn't take it any longer and journal talked in the car while driving. So I talked about how friggin angry I was and how unfair something was, people, etc. How I FELT (feelings -- not thoughts here). Then I continued with where I am being unreasonable in my thinking and perception, and set up a new reasonable expectation. Then accepted the pain of the feelings; accepted the events--because I cannot change them. Expressed gratitude for being able to talk it out. A large sigh that felt great, and I felt better. Was no longer being plagued by this event; relieved. Will I need to do more work on it? Maybe. I'll know.

    If something continues to bother you, there is more in there that needs to come out. Something is not resolved for you. As you continue to journal, things de-layer and things come up that can then come out. Even childhood issues can come out this way.

    One thing I think people need to realize is journaling needs to end with something positive. We need to find something like a changed perspective, a new idea, or gratitude for knowing what we now know.

    Journaling requires practice and effort. And it does work.

    I think writing feelings letters (to the person) are great as well. Whether to send or rip up is up to you! :)
  5. sybilla

    sybilla Peer Supporter

    Thanks Plum. What you write makes a lot of sense and I think I leave the journaling for a while (and don't feel bad about it). Better doing it in a calm state which at the moment is not happening as often as I would like. I think I am calm but the episode with the shop assistant showed me that I was not and everything was boiling underneath (no "Dear" shop assistant here). I had to leave the place before screaming my head off but that is just the way it is at the moment, the inner bully showing its ugly face once again, making me anxious and nervous. It will pass.
  6. sybilla

    sybilla Peer Supporter

    Thanks Lori. What you wrote gave me a lot to think about.
    After an episode like the one with the shop assistant I have this self talk where I get more and more mad at this person and wish I could tell her a few (not nice) things. This goes on all day and instead of getting some closure I get more worked up and more upset. I am going to try what you did, namely feel the feelings and accept the event and even how I reacted because it did happen. Then let it go because it is one of these things. People are how they are and there is nothing I can do about it. I do know and understand that and even saying that to myself never made any difference because I was not acknowledging my feelings. Instead I blamed myself for getting so mad over such a small thing.

    I have to be in a certain calm state to journal and then it's good and as you say there should come something positive out of it, some release, getting wiser about ourselves. I am having a stressfull time at the moment (I am making it stressfull because it need not be) and I think I have been playing the perfectionist all week and being over considerate and overthinking what others might think about me. It has become like a habit.
  7. sybilla

    sybilla Peer Supporter

    Thanks Walt for the advice. I have actually done that once (to my mother who was dead). Now I do it mostly mentally also trying to practice saying things in an assertive way (which I am not very good at). But I find that when I am really angry
    and want to complain about something it helps to wait a few days, let it settle down and then write a letter.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sometimes if we wait a few days (even hours) to get angry about someone we have time to put
    ourselves in their shoes and maybe come up with a reason that caused them to give us anger or stress.
    They may be just taking their anger or stress out on the nearest person... us.

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