May 15, 2015

Journals For Mental Health - Tracy Krauss

I have kept a journal off and on for most of my life. In the early days these 'diaries' were full of childish angst, long laments about a current crush, or more often than not, mundane lists about the weather and what I ate that day for dinner. At one point in my teenage years I destroyed all of my diaries for fear someone would find and read them. What I didn't understand then was that writing down one's personal thoughts and feelings is a powerful way of processing and subsequently dealing with those feelings.

Since becoming an adult, I've kept most of my journals and I now have a banker's box full. I still vent in my journals and I even dare to write down my dreams, no matter how unrealistic or extravagant they might sound. I've also found journaling to be an indispensable prayer tool. Not only is the writing process itself therapeutic, but it is very encouraging to go back and reread what I wrote years before and see the fruition of those dreams or the answers to those prayers. While some of the ranting may be humbling, even those entries are useful in that they help me to put life in perspective. It is interesting to see how each of these issues played out. What seemed like an impossible situation has usually worked out in some unexpected way.

Expressing myself in this manner has been a hugely important way for me to maintain my mental health. Others have expressed this same sentiment this month. Writing from such a personal place may not be for everyone, but for me it continues to be my primary way to make sense of my world.

Besides journals, Tracy Krauss writes other stuff, too, from her home in Tumbler Ridge, BC. For a list of her stage plays, novels, short stories and non-fiction, check out her website: tracykrauss.com

14 comments:

  1. You burned them? How very sad. My journals have been the basis for 3 books: 1 published, one completed, and one in the works. Without my journals, I would have lost those details that make them so personal. And yes, they've been a God-send when it comes to preserving sanity! Good reminders, Tracy.

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  2. I've had good intentions about journaling, but always fall so far behind that it seems pointless to try catching up. And I know I could start from where I am, but I feel too busy for this extra activity. Also contemplate shredding my teenage/young adult journals. If something happens to me, do I really want these to fall into the hands of the next generation? :P

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    1. I don't try to keep a chronological record, so there is no catching up to do. Somedays I write poetry, some days I vent , some days I make lists ... and sometimes I talk about what is happening. I suppose that is the difference between a 'journal' and a 'diary'

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  3. For some reason I don't always give myself permission to journal! But I do remember feeling 'clear-headed' when I did journal regularly. Lately I am feeling not very focused, and my non-stop brains keeps looping causing procrastination. Thank you for the reminder that journaling can be a major part of the writing process!

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  4. I don't have a number of my journals either, Tracy. I destroyed some of mine after my first marriage ended. For me, at the time, it was wanting to rid myself of the pain. I figured if I destroyed them, I could bury my past but it doesn't quite work that way. I wish I hadn't have done that but we do a lot of things when we are angry or grieving or just trying to let go. But I have added many more just in the last decade. I would be lost without my journals. Glad to know I'm not alone.

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  5. Tracy, once again you wrote my thoughts. Your last line said it all,"but for me it continues to be my primary way to make sense of my world." I would be lost without my journal :)

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  6. I can totally relate to your post Tracy! So many similarities to my writing/journaling history. Thank you!

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  7. I too can relate and appreciate what you are saying about journalling, Tracy. I have written articles/essays about a journal I lost or had stolen and about the use of journal writing to help a person keep mentally healthy. Yes, it does help a person make sense of daily events, news, what I read, and what people say and do. I keep a day book that says what I did that day. I don't write in my journal every day. Sometimes I neglect it, which is like neglecting a good friend.

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  8. "to maintain my mental health." I never thought of journalling in those words but you are exactly right. Journalling is "hugely important"l for me too.

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  9. Tracy, I so agree with the importance of journalling, to help make sense of the world, and as you noted the importance to look back at times to see how God's been faithful in the process. Keep writing! What you have encouraged me to do more of is to "even dare to write down my dreams, no matter how unrealistic or extravagant they might sound." Thank-you!

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  10. Thank you Tracy - journalling has helped me make sense of my world too. I haven't been faithful at it but there have been times like when I miscarried that I did a lot of journalling and it sure helped me line up everything in my mind and then release it. I also find that journalling on my ipad has been easier because then I can actually read the writing! lol
    Pam

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  11. Tracy, I find it amazing how hard we are on ourselves. How does God react to the things we wrote in our journals (and still write)? I am sure that He is delighted when we have the courage to dream, even if we feel like there's no point to our hopes. And I'm sure that he grieves with us when we struggle, and when we feel negative toward ourselves. I pray that we will all be able to be "ourselves" more and more, because when we write with honesty, we touch hearts for the better.

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