Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Journal Series: An Introduction

This blog is supposed to be about a number of things, but primarily it's about a journey of healing. I'm not quite sure where I'm going on this journey, other than towards wellness, but so far it's been a very interesting trip. And in the end, I think that the journey itself is far more important than the final destination.

I've had some interesting companions on my travels. Bipolar disorder was one. A driving need to write my thoughts is another. And a need to "make stuff", to create, to use my hands, has also been with me for a long time.

The companion that has been the most influential, however, has been my journal. It has been there for me through all the years of teenage angst, through my breakup with The A$$hole, whom I almost married, through my finding my soul-mate in the Chief, much to my parents' consternation (the long hair and leather jacket didn't make a stellar first impression on my Proper British Father), through my not-always-thrilling foray into Mommyhood, through my bipolar odyssey, and now, through my recovery and healing.

The journal has been a huge part of my healing process, just as important, I think, as the healthy eating and the yoga and meditation. So I wanted to write a series on journaling, because I think it's a technique that others might find useful on their own healing journeys.

Those of us who are blogging about our journeys already know that writing can play an important role in the healing process. But I'm not sure that this is common knowledge. And the response I get from a lot of people when I suggest they try to journal their way through one of life's rough patches is often a look of bewilderment: But I wouldn't know where to start, they tell me. I wouldn't know what to write.

So in this series I'll talk about how to start a journal, what to write, and how to make the journal a treasured companion on your own healing journey.

11 comments:

Gianna said...

Hi Jazz,
Good post...
I'd like to suggest to bloggers who don't keep private journals that there is much to be said for PRIVATE. We simply don't say everything on a blog. We can say anything in our own private journal. No one is listening but us and the paper...there is a lot to be said for that freedom.

You very well may be saying as much as you continue this theme...it's just what came to my mind now.

Jazz said...

Hi, Gianna. I like the new name for your blog! Beyond Meds...it definitely feels right.

Privacy is one of the topics I'm planning to post about. I think it is a big stumbling block for a lot of would-be journalers even if they are doing it in a notebook rather than online (what if someone finds it and reads it? eeeeeep!).

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Dear Jazz,
Great idea to post on this topic. I kept journals on-and-off for 20 years. It was particularly helpful when I was very ill.

When my son was born (almost 19 years ago), I burned every journal I'd written up to that point. I was so afraid that if something happened to me someday, and he read how sick I'd been, and how negatively I felt about my illness and my life (during those oh-so-difficult periods) he would be devastated.

Now, I'm really sorry I did it. Alas...it was a truly personal history that I can never recreate in the same way.

Susan

Jazz said...

Susan--
I have journals going back to when I was 13, and I've frequently thought about burning the lot. What I did instead was to write a disclaimer that I taped into the front of each journal, explaining that what was contained within was a snapshot, and not the whole picture, and that life is a process, that reading one volume would only give you a picture of where I was at that one moment in time, not a complete picture of who I am. I felt a bit better about the prospect of someone reading them after doing that!

Gianna said...

I threw away a certain era of my writing and I'm glad I did. It was a purging...no one, including me needs to see how much of a mess I was in my journals during that time. I hardly made sense, certainly there were no insights to glean from that stuff...and I would say the same things over and over again...I was troubled at one time, most certainly.

I would not burn or get rid of anything I write now...

Gianna said...

oh, on the other hand I threw away all my college papers and THAT I think is a great shame. I never got less than and A- on those papers, but I hated them.

Those I know I would appreciate now.

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
I should have thought to do that, but I've thrown away things before in a manic moment--including six huge trash bags of bipolar research--when I decided never to write on this topic again! Alas...

Susan

Jazz said...

It's terrible how much we can destroy in a thoughtless/manic moment, isn't it?

Jazz said...

Gianna, it took me years to throw away my college notes. All I kept was my calculus and physics notes, because I thought they might be helpful when my kids get into that sort of thing. And I kept a lot of my research notes from grad school. You never know...

Shiv said...

Great idea for a series! I'll definately be reading each article as it comes :)
~Shiv

Jazz said...

Hi, Shiv, good to see you back. Hope you're feeling better!