Guest Author - Kelli Deister
Journaling can be a powerful tool when processing past abuse. All you need is a book with blank paper and a pen or pencil. Any book will do, but I recommend purchasing a book that is special to you. For example, you may want to get a book from a bookstore that has pretty designs on the cover, or you may just want to get a composition book and draw on the cover yourself. Either way, it should be a book that means something special to you and that can be set aside for your journaling and nothing else.
You may also want to get markers or crayons that can be set aside specifically for your journal entries. Some days you might be in the mood to draw, instead of writing. There are days when you will not want to write. Perhaps you just donít feel safe putting certain feelings down on paper. If that is the case, draw what you are feeling. Use the colors to describe how you feel. If you are feeling especially angry at what you endured, perhaps using the color red will help to release that anger for you. If you are feeling sad, maybe the color blue will help you. You will find that there are certain colors that help you to express yourself and what you are thinking and feeling.
Journaling is about writing from deep inside of you. You can write down exactly what you are feeling. While journaling, you may want to write down words that you would normally not use in your daily life; however, when journaling, it is appropriate to fully and honestly express yourself through the use of words. Journaling is not about pleasing any person. It is about allowing yourself the freedom to express yourself through your writing. You donít need to worry about grammatical or spelling errors while journaling. Instead, just write until you feel you are done. You can write using no punctuation marks at all. Journaling isnít about penmanship or perfect English. It is about writing until you feel you are done for the moment.
Emotions can be so strong and overbearing at times. This is where journaling can be a valuable tool. You may have something that you have wanted to say to your abuser for a long time. You can do this through journaling. If you are angry, you can say, through your writing, that you are angry. Give yourself permission to express the anger. If you have wanted to write them a letter, you can do this through journaling, as well. This is a chance to vent your anger towards them, but in a safe way. Itís not something you would plan to give to them to actually read, but it can indeed help you to heal because you are allowing yourself to say something through words.
Lastly, if you are currently seeing a therapist, you may want to show them your writings during your visits with them. This is a way to tell your therapist how you are feeling, without having to speak the words out. I have done this and it really helps to open up a conversation with your therapist. Once it has been revealed, it can be easier to talk about it all.
Remember, journaling is a very powerful tool that can be used in your journey to healing.