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keeping up journaling for the long-term?

- Tue, 21 Apr 2020 09:34:20 EST mttQWkrO No.534375
File: 1587476060843.jpg -(5064B / 4.95KB, 275x183) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size. keeping up journaling for the long-term?
Anyone else do this or have experiences with something similar? I've gotten a lot out of it over the years and now I'm really starting to realize how important to me it's become. It's a hard thing to recommend per say, since I ended up doing it completely on accident and it's kind of annoying to tell someone to start a personal development project and then wait years for it to start bearing fruit. But honestly, with journaling as a mindfulness project you can really start to get a lot out of it quick, even if you rip up the pages or delete it every time, because a huge part of the immediate therapeutic value is in sorting out your thoughts in the first place.

Back in 2012, when I was a junior in high school getting super into programming and electronics, I started doing a journal to document projects I was working on, but it quickly turned into your typical angsty teenage shit about how I was doing in general. Over time, it kind of morphed from a journal I'd write in once or twice a week to a series of these sort of "letters to myself" of much more infrequent, (generally) much longer entries. I lost the first two and a half years of entries or so in a system crash years ago because I hadn't backed it up all the way, but that was honestly around the time I consciously shifted from the journal idea to its present form so it worked out.

The really neat thing though is that at this point as a work it's almost taken on a life of its own. I can see these common patterns and trends in my thinking that I never in a million years would've observed without all this material. I can see myself radically change and develop as a person too. It's really surreal to see something YOU wrote and have it read like a total stranger wrote it, both in terms of content and prose. Some of it is kind of scary, there are entries I have no recollection of making about events I have no recollection of. Basically, all of the darkest and happiest moments of my life were for the most part recorded as they happened.

What does this do then? Well, the first thing that struck me years ago was the entries have a tendency to be very cyclical. I have these high points where I seem to have figured out all the secrets of the world, I love myself and everyone around me, everything's great and I finally "made it" and then I burn out, get jaded, start to doubt everything I had just figured out. I think being cognizant of this pattern helped me catch early on when I started to develop bipolar disorder a couple years ago and made me much quicker to accept my diagnosis.

Another interesting and I think reaffirming thing is reading about how you felt during terrible times in your life and being so far removed the experience you can't conjure up what those feelings even were. I have entries from days before suicide attempts and overdoses and every day I'm able to comprehend that state of mind less and less.

It does make me wonder though: where am I in all this? Sometimes I'll be reading older entries and really vehemently doubt something I wrote actually happened to me, and a lot of times I'll have gotten the chronology of events wrong in my head, and even though I know it's objectively much more likely I was right then and wrong now, it's still a tough pill to swallow that one's memory could be so faulty. Not only that, but when going over and rereading it, I can't help but fix tiny grammatical errors and add these little asides and clarifications. Thing is though, these are clarifications as I remember them sometimes years after the fact, and one of the biggest lessons this whole thing taught me is how faulty memory can be. I think the real question is does it matter? Usually I make a note if it's a significant edit but even then, do these changes have an effect on my character in the narrative and subsequently who I "actually" am, if I'm using this specifically as a tool to get in touch with whoever that is?
Jarvis Gongermut - Thu, 23 Apr 2020 05:00:23 EST 1SSFeKJF No.534398 Reply
I think a lot of people couldn't stomach the stupidity of younger them so you may not get many responses. However it's interesting to see you've learned stuff about memory and perspective from this if nothing else.

I think a lot of us come to see that through the change there is an "us" that learns and grows radically but still thinks in certain ways and even when we turn our values upside down it's using the same framework. I think you've just got a more stark solid proof.

The cycle of learning is also something you've noticed. We learn a thing, realise how little we know, learn more, feel an improvement as we close down on the thing we identified. Then we take another look and with our knew knowledge realise there's even more. The truth is that the universe, humanity, even one artform or science is so big we cannot fit it in our entire tiny brain. This sort of shit is something some people only realise after years, or some people tell them or observing data so it sounds like the introspection has taught you a lot.

There's two questions you should ask yourself. The first is the negative one which is are you making sure you don't get sucked up your own arse or into your own turbulence. Be careful. The second is the positive, how can this knew knowledge improve your life and how you relate to other people? To sum both us, make sure you use this to better understand people and yourself. Can having this perspective give you patience towards others and yourself and resilience to weather any future storms knowing you did before and how you recovered? Or even to recover better?
Augustus Guvingshit - Thu, 23 Apr 2020 05:21:44 EST USUZpST+ No.534399 Reply
When I was younger someone told me to start and now I wish I had. I can see the value in being able to look back at your recent and distant past though processes to be able to see what patterns you go through and how you need to mature through your own eyes, not just using what's in your head. I never felt that I'd be safe to do it though; someone would eventually find and read it.
William Bengertack - Thu, 23 Apr 2020 08:09:56 EST kK3rPTq0 No.534400 Reply
>I think a lot of people couldn't stomach the stupidity of younger them so you may not get many responses.
People have a variety of reasons for not responding to a post. What is your reason for throwing shade?
Jarvis Gongermut - Thu, 23 Apr 2020 10:50:05 EST 1SSFeKJF No.534402 Reply
It wasn't intended to be construed as throwing shade. Though I guess I was throwing shade on teenage me so I guess I fucked that up. Who isn't stupid as a teenager though?

Anyway I then took time to reply to some of OPs points anyway.
Reuben Pockville - Thu, 23 Apr 2020 15:19:37 EST mttQWkrO No.534403 Reply
1587669577484.png -(190267B / 185.81KB, 1902x825) Thumbnail displayed, click image for full size.
I get all this I think. It does seem like a ridiculously self-aggrandizing thing to do in the first place on the surface, but it really came about spontaneously and I think I was just kind of struck by how the work kind of emerged into something I to a certain extent have lost control over. I know it's not for everyone and hell it might not even turn out the way it did for me if you actually try to do it

Also your first point is the reason I'm totally ok with losing the first couple years, I was a massive piece of shit back then because of some of the things I was going through at the time. Where it starts right around when i graduated high school is when my life started to not completely suck and also around the time my prose became passable That's another minor thing I forgot, I am discernibly a much better writer than I was when I started, as one might expect. But I'm still saying basically the same shit. It doesnt feel like this vicious cycle I'm trapped in though, it feels more like a sort of dialectic of self-improvement, like I'm constantly in this state of flux dealing with all these internal contradictions and that's the only thing that's constant. In both of these I said it was "the best I've ever felt" and that was true both times. Theyre in response to resolving two completely different internal struggles, 5 years apart, but sound incredibly similar, the method is the same. Also both were written at times where I was objectively probably manic, but i dont see how that changes anything phenomenologically, mental "illness" is a social construct, that I experience incredibly intense extremes of emotion compared to the norm i dont think makes those emotions any less valid or "real"

I write these with the intention no one else reads them so theyre still kind of shit, but as an example of what I'm talking about, inb4 who gives a shit its an example
Clara Farringstock - Fri, 24 Apr 2020 05:22:11 EST l34h0xz4 No.534409 Reply
>Back in 2012, when I was a junior in high school

how many zoomers are on this antique website?
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Clara Farringstock - Fri, 24 Apr 2020 05:27:06 EST l34h0xz4 No.534410 Reply
OP, the navel gazing meandering in your post is possibly a symptom of writing "to yourself" without a critical eye

here's a thought- journaling like you do contributes to that style of writing, you become more insular without outside criticism to bring about negative or overly solipsistic thought and writing patterns they become ingrained. through this process journaling reinforces bad writing and thinking patterns.

i did some off hand version of what you describe last year and your writing doesn't remind me of my own at all, i can see how that process would play out and consciously decided to stop. probably better off. maybe u would be too
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Alice Pinkinstack - Mon, 27 Apr 2020 00:25:40 EST J6UhEGcM No.534432 Reply
OP I know that this is the drug chan and you've probably got a bunch of traumas and stuff like the rest of us but like abusing benzos and stimulants and stuff, its not good dude. If you want to know yourself, you cant be drinking and taking speed and shit. You said that you've been suicidal for a lot of your life. You shouldn't really be fucking around with this shit then if you value your life. You might kill yourself on a bad night. You've said you have cycles and the times are turbulent.
Angus Simmlefield - Mon, 27 Apr 2020 13:36:38 EST NQixksnZ No.534434 Reply
I got online way too early in life

This is too good to have been entirely a coincidence but legitimately almost immediately after making this post I accidentally deleted like the past couple years worth of entries overwriting it with an older version. I'll keep the old entries but at this point it's like fuck it, you're right, it's time for a change, because I'm legitimately doing really well now and I think that coming back to it constantly was only holding me back. Time moves on and I think if this entire endeavor taught me anything it's that. As much as I've enjoyed this project, I'm starting to think it would be hypocritical to continue it at this point.

I will say though, I think the very irritating, wandering prose needlessly sprinkled with SAT words in both the entries and my posts here comes from being fucked up and/or manic most of the time. My actual professional writing isn't affected by this though, because it's entirely technical and I use a completely different voice.
Caroline Hashford - Wed, 29 Apr 2020 21:45:42 EST bnCms6Vn No.534437 Reply
This is a descent into madness. I assume you know how to ride this shit out if you've had bipolar for a while but that second one is a little concerning. You can view it as a positive if it helps you shake off old negative thought patterns, but the same exact thing could also be seen as the first warning signs of psychosis. As someone whose also been through it, the way I see it this could just as easily be a serious, lasting breakthrough or you're dissociated AND manic, like your brain's giving you your own fix of PCP. If you're doing good, you're doing good and I'm not here to take that away from you, you seem very introspective so I'm just offering an alternative view point, just saying maybe be conscious of what's really going on here.
Phineas Blizzlestone - Sun, 03 May 2020 15:20:55 EST mttQWkrO No.534475 Reply
yeah no i was definitely just manic, I feel like dog shit now, i have to remember it's like any other drug and that it would've been way better to cut it off than ride it out and end up like i am now, i'm not even suicidal, that doesn't even feel like an option, i'm just stuck here forever

and i'm legitimately very upset that i deleted it, but like anything else it wouldn't have done me any good to jerk myself off about how i'm experiencing a great becoming when in reality i'm just psychotic

it's really easy to say you love the highs AND the lows when youre in a high, every time i'm up it's a gift, every time i'm down i wish i could just be normal
[name redacted] !h55/E7mIo6 - Thu, 07 May 2020 17:07:27 EST e4/rpFrB No.534490 Reply
I've been journaling on and off since 2015. I originally started just as a way of recording my dreams, just because they would be so impactful on me, that I'd think it would be a waste to forget them. Then about a month alter, I wanted to see how my sleep and diet could affect my dreams, so I started noting down those with them. Afterwards, I thought the more detailed I could be (what I watched on TV, interactions with people, thoughts I had), the more I could analyse what could cause me to dream about certain things.

I wouldn't say the effects take years to kick in though, and journalling is not something I hide from people, and when people ask I'll tell them of the benefits I get from it, but I don't go around actively recommending it for fear of being preachy. I had one funny story where a friend of mine was going to get kicked out of the uni residence for having a girl over past a certain time, with him saying that the day they were claiming she didn't even come over, though it was about two weeks after the event. He told me about it, and I was curious and went back through my journal, and found that we had spent pretty much that entire afternoon/night in the university library because it was the only place with heaters nearby, so they could check the camera there and realise they had wrong information, since they were basing it on one of the security guard's recollection.

In more serious ways though, I have a habit of overhyping bad things and worrying a lot. Usually when I recognise I'm getting like this, I'll go back in my journal and read from say a month or two earlier, and it would usually calm me down. I'd see a month ago I'd be freaking out about what I thought was the end of the world, and I would have forgotten all about by now. Helps me realise that what I'm freaking out over now, could possibly mean nothing to me in a week, so it's not too much to worry over. It's also good for noting progress too. I've moved my life forwards in certain ways, and it's nice to look back at days where I"d play LoL all day and eat plain pasta because it was all I could afford, which makes me feel thankful for having a job and the option to choose what I want to eat now.

I really like the second point that >>534398 brings up as well, you do have to learn from this to benefit from it. I usually read over what I've written at the end of the night, and try to see what I did well and what I didn't, to prevent it in the future. Could be something as simple as "I was feeling tired today at work, so my mind wasn't working as fast as it should. That's likely because I was up until 2am watching movies or something, so I should remember not to do that in the future or I'll keep feeling like this."

That being said, it doesn't always work, as I'm typing this instead of doing an essay that's due in about 3 hours, despite me having 5 years of daily notes about how shit I promise I'll start early next time so I don't have to rush it and feel like shit.

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