I've been keeping journals on and off for years. Like the anonymous commenter above, there were long stretches of time where I too felt that it was a useless activity, and that nothing was changing; in fact, I felt totally helpless (I actually wrote suicide notes and battled with those dark thoughts for a long time). But ten years later, I look back at those and see how much I've changed.

At the time, I thought I was useless, that there was no point to anything, that the world would be better if I were just dead, that I didn't deserve a funeral, and that my wife and kids would be better off without me in the long run. Somehow, I kept on living despite that pain, and now when I start to feel down, I can look at the contrast between where I was then and where I am now because of journals. (Of course, a lot of this was due to living with a covert narcissist who was destroying me, but that's another story.)

I still keep journals, and now that I'm aware of the "Funny Mirror" (a concept my therapist helped to see--like when you see yourself in a fun house mirror; my view of myself was warped coming out of the terrible relationship I alluded to above), I can go back and look at all the things I've written about in my log for this year and see the specifics. It helps to keep me from going down some dark road ("Oh, I'm such a *@#$ing loser!" "Nothing ever changes!" "There's no hope!" and other thoughts like these are part of that funny mirror trying to impose on a more objective view of things, imho). The act of journaling makes real progress and events concrete and accessible, so it's much harder to fall into that same old pit. It helps me to keep goals in mind and to see how I'm accomplishing them incrementally--and that's the biggest lesson I've learned through my journals: all change is incremental, and sometimes we don't see it because our growth happens at an almost glacial pace.

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