Journal

Sometimes, I just need to write it out.

I fire up a laptop, open up a blank document, and I let out all of the thoughts and frustrations that are floating around in my head, but that I don’t have an outlet for most days. These documents aren’t linked to the cloud, on the off chance that someone could hack it or gain access to it, when these thoughts are just for me. These are not for public consumption, and sometimes when I don’t have a topic to write about, I open up a document, date it, and dump out the contents of my mind like it’s a cluttered purse. I don’t do it every day, or even every week, but when I run out of things to write, that’s what I turn to.

No one else will read this but me. That means I can use real names, I don’t have to worry about getting sued, and I can write things that might have consequences or ramifications if the wrong person reads them. Sometimes, I need that freedom. I’ve never been afraid to share myself with the people I know, or even with people I’ll never meet in person, but there is an absolute limit. Confidentiality is the thing I’ve always loved most about therapy. No matter what you say, unless you threaten to inflict damage to yourself or others, the words you say don’t leave that room.

Journaling is on-demand therapy. I see my therapist once a week, and sometimes I don’t end up discussing the most pressing issues in my life for whatever reason. Sure, there are days when I feel rough or run down, and those can make for great sessions, but most of the time it’s Thursday night, and my week is almost over. I’m feeling pretty amazing and looking forward to whatever plans I have that particular weekend. Whatever dark cloud that’s been hanging over me has lifted or dissipated, and I walk in there emitting rays of the purest sunshine. Sometimes those sessions aren’t even worth having. My therapist will tell me she’s already heard these things before, and I wonder why I came.

We don’t always have an outlet to vent our frustration. Some days there just isn’t the time or the appropriate forum, and you can feel yourself holding onto something like it’s a hot coal. Even though you desperately want to let go of it, you’re forced to keep it to yourself because it’ll damage anything it touches. Maybe you’re just starting a new to a job, and you aren’t as close to your coworkers as you’d like to be before divulging some heavy truth. Some people are that close to their coworkers, and I respect that. I love the people I work with, but I don’t feel like that brutal honesty is something that’s missing from our relationship. It’s an invisible line that I don’t want to cross, and maybe that’s okay. Maybe that’s how life should be.

Life isn’t always convenient, and it doesn’t always wait until before 9 am or after 5 pm to hit you with a sledgehammer. When something happens to you or to someone you love when you’re on the clock, it can be hard to find someone to turn to, and the feeling is one of utter helplessness. In these situations, I’ve opted for a good walk, and although this can do the trick, on other occasions I return roughly as stressed as when I left. Maybe the walk and the ensuing flood of endorphins helped take the edge off, but I’m still thinking about what took place. In these situations, I just can’t get my mind off whatever I’m thinking about, no how hard I try to block it out. Despite the anguish, I take solace in the fact that when the day is over, I’ll be able to unburden myself.

—-

I wrote in a journal when I studied abroad. I think I still have it somewhere on my laptop, although there isn’t much there. I wrote two or three lengthy entries, one for each of the first few days, and then I lost interest in documenting the sights and sounds, in writing down how I was feeling, opting instead for memories and disposable cameras. Had I kept it up, that journal would have been amazing to have, a record of my time in London, especially as I get older, and it’s been almost ten years since I traveled across the pond.

I came back to journaling when a hospice nurse recommended it to me. She told me that she wrote pages and pages everyday and either put them in boxes, or destroyed them, I’m not sure which. She was too busy for therapy, having several other jobs and a family, so writing in a journal or diary was a way to get rid of all that she was holding in, and her anecdote gave me the push I needed to pick it back up. At that particularly turbulent time in my life, my therapist was about to go on vacation, so I needed another way to let my emotions out. I knew that the people around me were only going to be able to handle so much.

Writing things down as helped me to make sense of my life. Several times while writing, I have stumbled upon realizations and epiphanies that I didn’t see coming, but my blog and journal entries help me to talk through, or to write through, whatever it is that I’m going through, and whatever it is I’m feeling. Writing makes everything just a little more manageable, and for someone who is chronically disorganized, it’s an incredibly useful tool. There’s something about writing your words on a page or computer screen that releases the tension in your mind, if only for a moment.

When I’m feeling that mental block, journaling is a way to keep writing. I may not always have a topic that I can expound upon at length in coherent fashion, but I always have thoughts swirling around in my head. Journaling is a way to hit my 1,000-word count without thinking too much. I just wring out the mental sponge on the page, and hope that my head feels a little lighter at the end of my session. Thanks for reading.

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