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Switch to Forum Live View Old Journals - Do you keep them? Read them? Toss them?
5 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2010 - 6:00PM #1
Jamom
Posts: 8

I am trying to decide what to do with my old journals.  These would be the ones full of horrible depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.  I've been feeling better for awhile - or at least better than crying everyday and wanting to crash my car into a tree.  I don't think I would want to read them again, but I feel funny about throwing them out.


What do you think?

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2010 - 6:37PM #2
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

I think you should keep them.


When I was at my darkest depression, I didn't journal. And I don't remember anything from that time. I didn't realize, as I was coming out of it, just how bad it was. I went to dig up bank statements from that time, to prove to this creditor that I had paid my bill... and guess what I found - I hadn't paid my bills. For several months in a row. My bank account was overdrawn. I had shutoff notices on every utility bill. I thought, "What the heck, this really happened?!"


It showed me how far I had come. It gave me resolve never to go there again (even though I'm now slipping into a life situation where I'm afraid I will go there again, and it petrifies me). Sometimes when I'd have good days for a while, I'd start forgetting about the worst days, the days when I couldn't function... and I'd start thinking maybe I don't really need therapy and meds and SSD and all this... and then I'd crash again (it's cyclical for me) and think, "Ah yes, that's why I need them." And then I'm glad I didn't get rid of them.


Sometimes people look at me and think the same way. They see me doing okay, acting normal, and they wonder if there's really anything so wrong with me. Even doctors sometimes. They don't see those worst moments, the times that would more than prove to them why I need their help. Sometimes I think, "If only I had a camera recording on those days, I could just show them..." I'm not saying you'll ever want or need to use your journals for such reasons, I don't know if you would... but just saying why I wish I'd had some from then.


I do have most of them from earlier in my life though. Starting with my first one when I was 11. Sometimes it's fun to read them, just to see how different I was. I start remembering some of the things that happened, that I'd forgotten about. Or other times I still don't remember it, and I'm reading it going, "what the heck, that happened?! ha! wow!" So yeah I've made it a policy never to get rid of journals.

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2010 - 8:49PM #3
Rofl
Posts: 38

I've kept a journal for over a decade now, myself.  I find that the entries from my darkest hour give me perspective on how far I've come.


So how long have you been journaling?  Do you find it helpful to process thoughts and make decisions like I have?

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 15, 2010 - 8:16PM #4
lapatosu
Posts: 2,874

I destroyed mine, since I didn't want anyone else reading them.  I have kept copies of correspondence, however, since that was all in the public domain, anyways....

Lynne
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 16, 2010 - 1:53PM #5
joycon
Posts: 2,788

I've kept mine. There are some things I would rather others didn't see although I have also destroyed a ton of correspondence.

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 16, 2010 - 9:02PM #6
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

Huh... I never thought about other people seeing mine. Well I guess I did back when I lived at home, having a sometimes over-involved mother, but not since then... Who do you guys fear might read them? Anyone in particular?

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2010 - 2:11PM #7
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

Heh I thought about this thread last night when I was reading an old journal of mine. It had a lot of space left in it so I was going to start using it again, figured I'd read what was already there first... But then I regretted reading it right before sleep because I was afraid I would have nightmares. It was from some of the worst times of my life, when I was enduring abuse, experiences that ended up driving me down to a horrible place. I knew about that time, but I had forgotten a lot of details. I didn't realize how bad it really was. Because I forgot most of the specific things that were said and done, I had started to think I was just oversensitive, and people never really treated me that badly... Then I read this, and it was like, "Holy crap, this really did happen. People really said these things? No wonder I got like I did..." I also saw aspects of some of my depression and disorder that I hadn't been completely conscious of before, but now that I know more about it, I can look back and identify them. It was really hard to read, sometimes I had to stop for a minute and take a deep breath before I could continue, but I'm REALLY glad I read it because it was so insightful. I'm probably going to take it to my therapist; I actually think it will be useful in my getting stronger.


It also helped me fit some pieces of a puzzle together in my mind. I had sort of scrambled a lot of memories together - the few I had left, that is. My timeline was confused. It was like each memory stood alone in its own little reality, with no context. Now that I have dates and sequences and context, I can make sense of the whole picture.


I just wanted to share that with you, so you can consider that as a possible reason for keeping your journals. You never know how much they might help you in the future, unexpectedly.

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2010 - 3:40PM #8
Jamom
Posts: 8

That'a why I really don't want to keep the old stuff around.  I don't want to re-live memories that I have already dealt with.  My goal is to be healthy for the present and future.  Reading about past pain brings part of me back there and it can be hard to pull that part back into the present.  Does that make sense?

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5 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2010 - 4:38PM #9
Intotheblue
Posts: 265

Well it's a completely personal choice. What you're saying does make sense. For me, I was going up for a while, and if I'd even thought about my journals, I probably would've said I didn't need them either, but then I started going back down, and now they're helping me tremendously. What I mean is, just because things are looking better right now doesn't mean things will always be great, that you won't fall again at some point in the future and they might be useful. If you don't want to read them, you don't find it helpful, then that's fine, you can choose not to read them. But if you throw them out, they're gone forever, and if you do ever want to read them in the future, you won't be able to. So I think it's better to leave that option available, at least for a while. That's just my perspective, but like I said, it's a personal choice only you can make after careful thought. :)

Namaste.

.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~.~*~

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

"It is not our differences that divide us, but our inability to accept and celebrate those differences."
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 17, 2010 - 9:05PM #10
lapatosu
Posts: 2,874

I'm glad the journals are helping you put your past into perspective, Intotheblue.


I have kids and great nephews and nieces, nephews and nieces, friends of my kids, etc. running through the house, and I wouldn't want any of them to be reading my thoughts when I was seriously depressed and borderline/sometimes outright psychotic.


However, my depression wasn't triggerred by abuse, so much as by extreme stress of family of origin issues, a miscarriage, an unexpected pregnancy, undiagnosed post-partum depression, and resulting hormone imbalances.  Oh, and SAD, which was getting worse, the further south I moved.

Lynne
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