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How journaling became my Therapy.



I recently shared a post about how one Friday morning I had to take a few minutes, that actually turned into an hour of quiet time to get my thoughts and emotions out of my head and onto paper. I think it ended up being like 3 or 4 pages, but man it felt great!!


In 2005 after a battle with Multiple Myeloma cancer my Dad passed away. I was 25 years old, had a 3-month-old baby boy, beautiful 5-year-old daughter, an amazing husband, at the top of my career and we had just bought our 1st house. I HAD it ALL!! If you ask most people what they want out of life they would tell you all of those things, and I had it... THEN, HOW COULD I BE SO SAD???


I am human, that's why. I was young, that's why. I had a family I wanted my Dad to see grow, that's why. I could go on and on. Just because one part of your life is going perfectly, doesn't mean that you can't be sad that another part of your life is over after a loss. Yes, I did still have many blessings to be grateful for. But I had a loss worth mourning. You don't have to justify your sadness or grief to anyone, and you get to live in that grief for as long as it takes to move forward. It's not simple, in fact it is the most complex thing I've ever been through.


Thankfully I had people in my life that knew how to help. I will forever be grateful to the woman who asked me if I'd ever considered therapy. I instantly laughed and said sternly "NO". I had a mindset that we all face hard times, and you need to just suck it up and get over it. Therapy to me was for weak; pathetic individuals and that surely was NOT me.

It didn't take but just a few days for me to ponder on this idea before I called and scheduled my 1st appointment. I mean what could it hurt, right. I was a total skeptic, knowing this was not going to be for me.


The day came of my 1st therapy appointment, Elizabeth was my therapist. After a short explanation as to why I was there, she said to me. Tell me everything and don't leave anything out. She taught me that when we express our feelings or thoughts with our friends or family, we leave out some detailed emotions/thoughts because those who are close to us know a lot of our story already, so we don't have to admit or describe everything. She wanted EVERYTHING!!


Over the next few months, I went to therapy routinely. Elizabeth listened, she never tried to tell me how to feel, she never tried to relate, she just listened and taught me how to deal with me. For an hour a week, it got to be about me. I confided in her how I felt about my job, my children, my family, my guilt, my anger, my sadness. With every word, I was healing myself from the inside out.


During one visit, Elizabeth suggested that I write a letter to those individuals I was so angry with. I didn't have to mail them, but the point was to get it all out. Unfortunately, death doesn't always bring a family together. Often it breaks them apart. When someone dies it leaves a whole in the life of so many people, and all of those people feel as if what they have lost is the most painful. Loss is loss, and your connection to that person is no less or more than the other people that loved them. This is very hard and takes a long time to understand, but it's true. My dad was absolutely loved by so many; his death was heartbreaking to all who knew him. The days leading up to, during and after were hard, harder than what they needed to be and because of that. I was angry.


I started writing, obviously I didn't send the letters. That really wasn't the point. An easy therapeutic way to express anger, sadness, thoughts and emotions, that was the point. Over time I realized I could use this writing/journaling in my everyday life. Now, if someone picked up my journal and started reading it, you'd be lost and probably think I was totally nuts. I write basically the exact same way I think, all over the place. One minute I'm writing out my prayers, the next expressing my frustration, followed by a little self - pep talk. The beauty of it is, I don't bury things down deep anymore. I don't have to; I have an outlet. An outlet that is safe, private and personal. I can 100% be myself, no one will judge me on what I write.


It took years for me to heal, if I'm being honest, I'm still working on it today 17 years later. I've also realized I might never heal; I was robbed of many years with a person I loved dearly. How do you ever get over that?? You don't, but you don't have to live in sadness or anger either. If you are in this dark place now, know that you will make it. It will be better, you'll be better. Reach out and get help, I realized very quickly that therapy was RIGHT for me, and I did need it. In dark times it is very easy to shut everyone and everything out and live in that darkness, it's self-protection from your own feelings. It feels safe. I was and still am a private person, seeking therapy can seem very vulnerable to people like me. .... THERAPY WAS THE BEST GIFT I EVER GAVE MYSELF!!! So many things I learned I use in my daily life, including journaling. I hope you can find a way heal and maybe journaling will work for you too!


Thanks for letting me share this with you!

XOXO,

Jill





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