Q&A: I'm afraid journaling will open up a "can of worms"

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I am a new member who has just started journalling. I am using the suggestions from the website Unlearn Your Pain. I have begun listing and and detailing my experiences such as illness or death in family. I feel like I could write extensively about everything on the list. But will this help me progress. I was told by a GP that if I wanted to go into counseling I could be opening a can of worms that might be best kept sealed. At the time I ignored his advice. However the thought of that can of worms came into my head as I was writing. I am worried I will feel worse, ie more pain initially and this scares me. I don't want to miss work. I am about to change jobs within my organisation which in itself could be a cause of stress but it is actually a very positive move. I don't want that ole pesky brain sending out increased pain signals. On the plus I am attempting to complete my writing with five positive statements. Did any of you hesitate before starting to write a journal? I read about journalling a year ago and it has taken me this long, umpteen migraines and another bout of sciatica to get me started finally.

Answer by Alan Gordon, LCSW

An image of Alan Gordon, LCSW
Alan Gordon, LCSW

Alan Gordon's Profile Page / Bio Page / Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA) Board Member/ Miracles of Mindbody Medicine / Website

Sealing the can of worms as the GP you saw suggested is what likely lead to PPD symptoms in the first place. It is important to explore this pain, but make sure to do it responsibly. By that I mean either

A.) with the assistance of a therapist

B.) gradually and mindfully

C.) when you aren't feeling overwhelmed by new stressors.

Often people feel worse before they feel better, as it can be more immediately painful to expose oneself to emotional pain; but be sure to take it slowly so that you're able to tolerate the pain.


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