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just started depth journaling. is it normal for this to snowball?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Heinrich, May 7, 2013.

  1. Heinrich

    Heinrich New Member

    Enrique likes this.
  2. PeterO

    PeterO Peer Supporter

    Hi Heinrich.

    I have just completed a week of depth journaling,
    almost to the point of exhaustion.

    33 pages + associated notes.

    Like you I had one thing lead to another lead
    to another. Well last evening I came to an unexpected
    (& disturbing) adolescent memory & connection to
    ongoing dreams and unconscious conflict. I am pleased that
    I am meeting with my psychologist today.

    The upshot is that if you have to write, then write.

    The underlying intent will reveal itself in time.

    Mine did!

    Forest likes this.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    If doing depth journaling is helping you than keep at it, but it wasn't something that worked for me. The one thing to keep in mind is that if your emotions are repressed, most likely you will not be able to access them. You do not need to know the exact sources of your rage. Simply understanding that your repressed emotions create your symptoms is enough to get better.

    Understanding why you repress emotions is much more important than identifying the repressed emotion. By understanding the why you can stop your repressive behavior and communicate to your mind that you will no longer think physical. The goal of this treatment is to recondition your response to your symptoms from focusing on them to focusing on your emotions. It doesn't matter if you figure out what the exact emotion you are repressing (I never really did), only that you change your reactions.
    Stock Trader and ValVal like this.
  4. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I've had that experience and it can easily become overwhelming if you're not careful. The best suggestion I could offer you here is try to change this thought "think of several more topics I need to write about". The use of the word "need" in that one single thought put an enormous amount of pressure on you without your even knowing it. You can heal without covering every topic in great detail, just as Forest said above. The internal pressure you're putting on yourself will be dramatically reduces if you honestly change the thought to "think of several more topics I want to write about". It also doesn't mean there is a deadline for doing that writing.
    Not necessarily. My general understanding of how the brain works is that memories are stored using neural pathways. Each time a new memory occurs the brain goes through a process of identifying all the similarities between the new memory and those already stored to determine best where to catalog it. It's likely that the "flood" of memories during your journaling is just a result of the pathway where the initial one was stored.

    My other suggestion would be to take a break from journaling about the past for a little while. Remember, there is a reason that most professionally directed psychotherapy takes place in 1 hour sessions once or twice a week. Skip to the present for a while (and try not to be too surprised when the past shows up in those entries too) or take some time away from it and just let it all process and settle down. As hard as it is to resist the urge to put 150% into it (we all want the pain gone yesterday) that is actually how you're going to heal. This is one of those areas where "more" is not necessarily better.
  5. Stock Trader

    Stock Trader Peer Supporter

    Forest, I am glad I found this thread because journaling has not been that helpful to me like reading success stories and practicing mindful meditation thru the day. I only have one symptom left I am working on (gerd). I am back pain free.
    gailnyc likes this.
  6. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    It's definitely true that different things work for different people, because I'm the exact opposite. I'm just now getting to the point where success stories are beneficial to me. When I first discovered TMS and all the recovery stories, those stories made me jealous and even more angry so I had to stay away from them. Comparison criticism was a tactic that was used fairly frequently to "adjust" my behavior when I was young so my programming (which I am working to de-program) told me it was no surprise that others could do it, but that didn't mean I could, just one more area of failure.

    My hyper-analytical self has benefited a lot from journaling. My thoughts swirl and swim so quickly, with such constancy that getting them out of my head is the only way to change them. Once they're on the page I can start to see which ones are the trouble makers. And those same hyper-active thoughts kept meditation from being helpful until very recently as well because there were too many of them for my mind to even consider taking a rest, even for 5 seconds.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Taking the different approach thing a step further, it seems like people become stressed out by different things. Taking the time to simply sit down and journal was always very challenging for me. Every time I went to do it, I became more frustrated with my lack of ability to do the work. I have a tendency to procrastinate, which feeds my inner critic. Most of my frustration with my symptoms involved not knowing what it was. The stories gave me the connection that I needed. If a specific technique stresses you out, it is probably will not be helpful for you. Finding ways to reduce inner tension and increase soothing goes a long way to healing.
    Leslie likes this.

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