Benefits of Journaling in Healing – Forum Journaling

March 20, 2009

Another form of journaling is forum journaling. There are forums which are basically groups of people who post/write together on one site. Usually, these are people who share some common interest or experience. The ones I am talking about are the ones populated by survivors.

Some forums are open, which means that anyone can read it, although you typically have to register to post there. Some forums you have to register even to read. With forums where you register, there can be different levels of privacy. With some, since anyone can register, you really don’t have any privacy. Anyone who registers can see what you write. The forums that offer the greatest privacy are ones where you have to apply. You register and then request admission to the forum. There is an admin, which could be a single person or a group, who decides if you should join or not. If it is a go, they set it so that you can get into the forum.

I have been on several survivor forums now. Most have different levels of privacy. They have tiers, or levels. You gain access to the first level and, once everyone is satisfied that you are “safe”, you can gain access to another level. Sometimes the other levels have to do with different issues. For example, you might want to be part of a level that deals with eating disorders, but maybe you don’t need the one that deals with self injury. Forums tend to have different folders for different things ranging from the light hearted with jokes and games to gut level serious processing and journaling.

As with anything dealing with the internet, there is really no guarantee of 100% privacy. There is always a backup on a server somewhere. There are always administrators of the sites that host the many different forums out there who can, if they need to, get into the forum. After all, they run the software for the site and need to be able to get into every part of it to fix things. Yes, even software can break, especially if there is an upgrade!

I think, though, that the vast majority of people tend to mind their own business and stay out of sites that require that permissions be given. Clearly, the most secure forum would be one on a private server where limited people have access. However, so long as info is traveling across cyberspace, there is always a chance it can be snagged…although the likelihood is pretty slim. Most of us live pretty uninteresting lives!

The nice thing about forum journaling is that others can read it and respond to it…if you wish. I have found it very helpful when I have written about things I have experiened, or am experiencing, to have others who have had similar experiences able to come alongside and assure me that I am not alone. They have shared what helped them to get through it. They have cheered me on. How powerful that can be! Sometimes, it is simply fulfilling the need to be heard, believed and accepted.

It takes a lot of trust to journal where others can read it. That is one reason that many forums of this nature are private and why there are levels. Survivors have been deceived so many times. There is a built in wariness that comes from the abuse…and rightfully so. There are people out there who love to take advantage of the brokenness of survivors. They will try to manipulate and reabuse them.

I have found that I heal the most, and the fastest, when I can have the highest levels of trust in the ones around me. That is not to say that I have not had that trust abused. I have been betrayed…and seriously so…on forums. However, I find that I would rather take the risk to trust and gain healing than to not trust and lose out on the healing opportunities.

Now, I am certainly not an advocate for blind trust. I totally believe in being cautious. I also don’t believe that any one place is 100% safe…that there can be no infiltrators. I just think that we each have to weigh things out and decide if there is an acceptable risk. If you decide that there is, there can be a lot of blessings in forum journaling. I have found a lot of the feedback that I have received to be invaluable. I have also developed friendships along the way, although some have been temporary.

Please feel free to share your thoughts.

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