It doesn’t really matter if you talk a lot or you don’t like to share with others as much. Writing is a way everyone can get their thoughts out of their head and on to paper. It’s always interesting to go back to your writings and see how far you have come. I think sometimes we don’t realize how far we have come until we go back and see. Those emotions and pain are so real, and it can be helpful to know that all the work you have done is not for nothing. That you have taken steps to learn to live with your grief.
After Aria died I wrote down as many memories as I could of her. I’m so glad I did, as I put them in a memory book I made of her. And no matter how much none of us wants our memories to fade, they just do. And it’s so so painful that they do. There is no denying that. There is nothing we can do, but try to preserve what memories we have. Writing them out can be very healing and helpful with that.
Journaling takes times, but just like anything with grief it takes time and work. You need to schedule out the time for yourself to grieve. And if you want to journal as part of your grieving process, it will help to have a time that you do, so that you actually do it. If you want to get your grief out, you actually need to do the work. You could also carry your journal around with you for when things come up and you need to get them out.
Dr. Robert Niemeyer explains in his book Lessons of Loss; A Guide to Coping, “Especially when losses are traumatic, they may be difficult to discuss or even disclose to another. And yet the psychological and physical burden of harboring painful memories without the release of sharing can prove far more destructive in the long run.”
Sometimes our experiences and the events that happened can be very difficult for us to talk about. Especially if we fear being judged or sounding crazy. It’s so important to get those painful memories and your view of yourself out of your head in some way, so on to paper is an amazing way you can, if you cannot talk about it to anyone yet.
When you are writing, don’t worry about sounding crazy, don’t cross anything out, don’t reread and change things. Let whatever you are thinking flow out. Let it come and get out of your head. Don’t judge yourself, because you are not being judged. Let yourself write what you need to write. That’s the beauty of writing, because you are writing just for yourself, you can write whatever and you do not need to worry what others think.
I also saw an idea of before you begin journaling, write down three words that describe your feelings when you start, and then write down three words when you are done. This can be helpful to know what you are feeling, and what you are thinking that causes those feelings. Pay attention to if they change after you write.
Something I’ve heard for therapy sessions is to end every session with something positive. So for journaling you could also do that. When you are done with whatever you are writing, write down something that you want to do tomorrow that fuels hope for you. Or something that is good in your life, even if it’s really small. Taking those little steps of letting out your pain, and then holding on to hope, can really help you keep going every day.
I was gifted a journal that was specifically for losing a child from my therapist. It was nice to have prompts to go off of that triggered emotions, thoughts, and words to flow out on the paper. Writing can be such a powerful tool that you can use to help you work through your grief. So if you don’t like just free-thinking and writing whatever is in your head, you can get journals that help prompt you to think about things that help you write. In my weekly email, I also send out prompts for journaling about your grief. You can join that here if you want a weekly journaling prompt.
Have I encouraged you to start writing? Do you already write? I hope you can use this as another tool in your toolbelt to work through the painful and scary emotions that grief brings. I know it can be lonely and sometimes it seems like nobody feels like listening anymore because that’s all you talk about, use your journal as another outlet for your grief.