How often do we find ourselves feeling limited by our own issues because we can’t properly communicate them? The answer may vary depending on the individual, but ultimately we have to assess these issues and try to understand them ourselves before anything.
If you have any intent on breaking free from traumatic experiences or just everyday woes, there will oftentimes be the urge to release the anguish. Reaching out might make the most sense when everything you could possibly have to say is bottled up within. However, those around me who were available couldn’t truly help me find a way out because they were all in some way tied to my own personal troubles. I didn’t know what my outlet would be growing up, but after going through the things I’d experienced as a child, I figured I’d better find one… fast.
At age 11, I had already witnessed the effects of gun violence after losing loved ones to police brutality and gang wars, domestic violence after watching my father put his hands on my mother, and hate crimes after one horrible bullying incident (out of many) left me concussed from enduring a several blows to my skull. In addition to the above, I watched my older sister’s mental health morph as it took her body along the journey with it. Her dramatic weight loss and gains as a side effect of medication for schizophrenia was alarming to witness in real time.
“The single most important aspect of journaling is establishing ownership of your life. In recounting your own story, you will understand your own importance.”
I didn’t have anyone around me who I felt could properly guide me through hardship at such a young age. I didn’t know how I’d cope until I finally started writing things down. I started journaling because seeing everything I nearly resorted to translated on paper didn’t sit well with me. Suicide notes at such a young age didn’t register well. I thought about what my mother would think if she’d come across my dark thoughts, and how she doesn’t need the added burden of worrying about the mental health of now two of her children.
Still, I loved how it felt to write through my drama. It progressively became a recollection of my day-to-day—every thought and half-thought recorded. Some of it I’d read back and laugh, others would intensify whatever sadness I felt. Ultimately, even if it was by myself, I felt like I was heard. I didn’t realize it yet, but journaling would become my saving grace, and lead me to truths about myself and the world that I found myself wanting to discover the older I got.
Journaling allows y