Here's Why Teens Keep Diaries
"I'm going to keep a journal until I get arthritis or something, but even then I don't think that'll stop me."
1. "It's something that I've really enjoyed doing since I don't have any close friends due to my lack of social life because I was homeschooled; my journal is kind of like a friend to me. I write about my day and what made it a good day or a bad one. It's like talking to a friend every single night to vent and not be worried about any judgment. I'm going to keep a journal until I get arthritis or something, but even then I don't think that'll stop me. I want to keep writing to have my memories stored, for my children and grandchildren to read when I'm gone. I want my family to learn from my life, and they will get to do that with me documenting it every day until that time." —claryrodriguezs
2. "In my journal I write lists. They ground me when I have really bad anxiety and when I'm feeling sad. I have a list of things I like about myself, favorite movies, names I like, nicest smelling flowers, etc. All my lists seem tedious and useless but it makes me feel better when I'm having a hard day." —mynameisnadiaandilikegames
3. "I have depressive episodes, and I use my diary to help me navigate and track my mental health. I've had my diary since January 2017 and I have written in it every day; even if I didn't have it with me I would write it in my phone notes and transfer it over. I write down key notes, emotions, and even text messages. When I feel even slightly better, I document what I did and how it helped, so during future depressive episodes I can go back and use these as coping mechanisms. I also try to log my sleep and water intake. My diary really helps me feel normal and helps me feel like the good days are always going to come. My diary is my safe haven where I can say whatever I want to say with no guilt or repercussions." —charlottecam, age 16
4. "I've been journaling since middle school to try and get through bullying. Now that I'm in college, anytime I'm stressed or uncertain, the only thing you'll find me turning to is journaling. One day I'd like to share them with my kid to show them that life sucked when I was 11, 17, any age really, but I ended up okay — because I had them." —allisond46ad67c97
5. "I am a hard worker, have great time management skills, and finish everything on time. But whenever I am about to go to sleep, I begin thinking of all the things I still have to do, filling myself with panic... After my first two years of college, I looked back and asked myself, 'Why do I feel like I am not doing enough even though I get everything done?!' So I got a little journal, and before I went to sleep I would write down everything I DID finish today. It was a great tool to look at the facts, go easier on yourself, and figure out where to go from there." —lobstersandcherries
6. "Even though I'm only 16, it often feels like the days, weeks, months, are flying by. Writing in my journal forces to me to notice things more, which gives me time to breathe and practice awareness, somehow slowing the time down." —delaneygreczyn
7. "I'm a 17-year-old old guy and I'm in love with the idea of a bullet journal. The system is easy and efficient AF and I'm heading to college in two days! So yes, staying organized is something I find extremely useful." —vishnurpillai1499
8. "I have anorexia and I spent two years in and out of hospitals. During that time, I started journaling, and I found it helped me keep track of my thoughts. It was one of the only things that kept me going. When I got out of the hospital for the last time, I decided to start an art journal to document my first year living in recovery. Now I love looking back at my old hospital journals because it reminds me of how far I've come. And it is so positive and inspiring for me to read my old entries where I first decided to maybe give recovery a shot. Whenever I am feeling like relapsing, I read those entries to remind me of why I wanted to recover in the first place." —allyd4c4b92706
9. "I want to be a trauma surgeon and I can't do that without organizing the required 10 clubs, 50 hours of after school sports, 20 hours of AP homework, 15 hours of volunteer work, and the other 50 hours of stuff needed to look like a 'well-rounded student,' despite my increasing rates of depression and anxiety. So far my journal is maintaining the balance between adrenaline stress and giving up. Overall, I'm managing to stay sane and not run away to become a hobo/witch in the forest!" —c447905f9c
10. "I've kept a journal pretty consistently since I was a freshman in high school. It started as a way to keep track of all the scary and fun new things I was experiencing as I got older. It then shifted into a safe space for me to process my worsening depression and start to figure out this whole 'oh wow I'm totally gay' thing. Now that I'm older, I love looking back at my old journals and seeing how much I've grown, and how much bolder and stronger I am. It encourages me to keep writing, to keep exploring who I am, and who I can be, and most importantly, to keep hope, because tomorrow is bound to be brighter." —awilliam165, age 19
"It's nice to have a place to positively obsess over things."
11. "I tried to keep a journal all through my childhood, but could never stick with it because I judged my own writing so much. After my little brother passed away on my 14th birthday, I started to write to him every night, not caring about how anyone else would perceive it. It was just for me and him. I just tell him about my day and how I miss him. Keeping this daily habit keeps me grounded and helps me bring Ben with me through my life. It also helps me vocalize my feelings through my grief and normal teenage stuff. I'm only 16 now, but I've already filled almost six journals and it's been so helpful!" —hannaroseh
12. "I keep a diary that I write in every once in a while that I address to my future kids. I tell them things about present day me, but also about my favorite current music, fashion, and I sometimes slip in things I'd like them to remind me about when they get to read my collection of journals, so I never forget the amazing life I get to live. I mean, occasionally l may mention what an 'amazing kid' I am, just to make future me's life a little easier!" —nityathawani
13. "I've kept a dairy since the third grade, primarily to deal with my anxiety disorder, but also to make myself write consistently and truthfully. Every once in a while I'll look back at the 11 completed dairies sitting on my shelf, and be reminded of how much I've changed and how much I haven't changed at all. Now I keep a journal for poetry and writing, and diaries for more factual things. It's nice to have a place to positively obsess over things." —avitaldayanim, age 19
14. "I'm a non-Mormon who lives in Utah and because of that I don't have many friends at all. I don't feel as lonely when I write in it, it's kind of like a friend to me." —jazminvilches120, age 17
15. "I journal because I want to look back on my life when I'm old. I pour out all of my opinions that I would never share in real life. I almost become a different person, swearing and scribbling and gossiping when most people only see my more restrained version of myself. Not to say I'm faking when I'm with others, I just try to be nicer. I write my goals for the future (none), retell dialogues, and let myself be the emotional teen that people hate." —ericaa4b39eaf04, age 14
"I don't feel as lonely when I write in it, it's kind of like a friend to me."
16. "I have had this journal since I was 11 years old; I got this bad boy in 2009. Initially it was just 'the thing young girls did', but it evolved into a journey of personal exploration. Writing about everything from my first kiss to dealing with depression. I keep a journal because I see tremendous value in being able to go back and read moments in my life.
To me, it is leaving my legacy, not to the world but to each stage in my life. It is so beautiful to go back and see tear stains on the pages where I was sorting out the trials of my girlhood and to see how my penmanship changes from heavy to airy depending on what I am writing." —madisonm48f31257a
17. "I have two journals, a personal one and an art journal. The personal one I use to unravel my thought and make it easier to understand my feelings, thoughts, ideas, and problems. I guess it's best described as the mess in my head is like a huge knot of yarn. When I write, it's like untangling that knot and being able to see the whole string laid out. It helps with my anxiety as well, as every morning I loosely plan out my day and talk about what work I need to get done, so that the prospect of doing stuff that day isn't overwhelming. My art journal is a place where I can practice and enjoy drawing without worrying about what it looks like. I tend to be a perfectionist, so my art journal allows me to experiment freely without worrying about the final project." —lixbix
18. "I'm a first year med student, I've written in journals since I was 10. Alzheimer's run in my family so for me it's the way to be in control of my possible condition as all those memories are too precious to be forgotten." —valeriak2
19. "I'm an expat living in the Middle East and I attend an international school here which is just really, really STRESSFUL. and let's just say, I'm a total MESS during the school year. The main reason why I use a journal is because it keeps me organized without having to worry if I've forgotten anything. I try to bullet journal and I know my bujo really isn't as pretty as the ones you see on Tumblr, but it's mine and it helps me keep a clean mind.
I started bullet journaling a few months before school and ended. Those few months ended up being way easier, and made me realize just how important being organized is. Sure my room is a mess, but at least my mind and desk are clean, and cleared of clutter." —prongsmydeerr, age 14
20. "I do it so that I can stay organized with my school work and track my moods every day. The first page is a self-care page! That way, I have little ways to help myself feel better. I've somewhat let it 'go' over the summer, but over the school year, you'll never see me without it." —anon
21. "I don't write a journal daily, but I do write what I call a "bi journal." Being bisexual in high school is tough, so I vent through the pages of a book. Sometimes, I write about how hard being a woman is, how hard it is being bi, and amazing moments in my life. It's helped me for three years, and I can't imagine going without." —igotnothingz
22. "I keep a journal to give me something to look forward to every day. In high school, you have activities and homework keeping you so busy, so to be able to take a second for yourself out of the day and reflect on it and yourself is something that keeps me going." —annab47318c492
23. "I journal because I want to look back on my life when I'm old. I pour out all of my opinions that I would never share in real life. I almost become a different person, swearing and scribbling and gossiping when most people only see my more restrained version of myself. Not to say I'm faking when I'm with others, I just try to be nicer. I write my goals for the future (none), retell dialogues, and let myself be the emotional teen that people hate." —ericaa4b39eaf04, age 14
24. "I have dysgraphia (a disorder similar to dyslexia, but impacts my abilities to write) so my handwriting is worse than a 2-year-old's. I keep a journal and make myself write in it at least every other day. In three months of this routine, I have already noticed some big differences in how I shape letters to look like they are supposed to, particularly vowels like a, e, and u. I figured that if a journal can help mental illness, why can't is help learning disabilities too?" —avan47378a104
25. "I started journaling this summer after I went through some old scrapbooks of when I was little and realized that I have no documentation of my experiences other than what's on Instagram! So I started writing in my journal every day and including pictures, ticket stubs, anything that I can look back on to remember high school. I've loved journaling so much that I'm starting a bullet journal to stay organized this year!" —katem4a2de1234, senior in high school
26. "I keep travel journals of my stateside and world wanderings. Each one is small enough to comfortably carry around. In them I record the places visited I during the day, the people I met, the food I tried, the sights seen, and the emotions felt. When I get the urge, I doodle a picture of a certain building that caught my fancy, or of a bird I had not seen before. When I get back home, I let whoever is asking about my travels look over the pages and get a full sense of what it was like to visit. I also enjoy looking back over my adventures when I feel stuck at home, or I'm planning a new adventure, or when I have the hankering to sit down and write a story." —baine
25. "During my junior year of high school, I was really struggling each day feeling like I wasn't getting what I wanted out of the day, so I started a joy journal. Basically, each night I bullet 10-15 things that brought me joy that day. Sometimes it's as simple as getting to sleep in on the weekend, and others it's an experience I'll never forget like dancing in the high school parking lot with my friends at 2 am. Doing it has given me a more positive outlook on life and forces me to be more aware of the joyful moments. This picture is of my first completed journal which has about 13 months in it." —nicoler4c47cd7bb, age 18
26. "I keep a diary because 'paper has more patience than people.' Also, when I first read Anne Frank's diary so many years ago, I felt inspired to change the world with my own words." —riannal3, age 16
27. "I've been keeping journals for a little over a year, I just use it as a way to vent my emotions, plan tasks, and improve my writing skills. When I'm feeling terrible, I love flipping through my notebooks, laughing at some cringeworthy passages, crying at some. There are times when I would read something so stupid that I want to go back in time to slap my old self, but there also times when I would read my super-angsty entries about my problems and feel proud of myself because, hell, I survived that shit! I also sketch and make collages in my journal... Basically, it's pretty much an extension of myself." —marofthesea, age 16
"When I first read Anne Frank's diary so many years ago, I felt inspired to change the world with my own words."
28. "For a long time I had lost faith in my religion, but events in my life have brought me back to it. I took up journaling as a type of meditation and speaking to God, because if I'm being honest I feel kinda of silly praying out loud. I'm finding that it's really keeping me centered and helping to express my stress and worries of the day. It feels good to get everything physically out of your head sometimes." —amandaf4d9d9840c, age 18
31. "For as long as I could remember, I have written in multiple notebooks about my daily life, as well as my interactions with other people. Unfortunately, I have resorted to hiding it in my room due to past experiences of privacy invasion. (Thanks, Mom.) It may be a simple inanimate object to others, but to me I cherish it as a nonjudgmental companion who allows me to divulge my innermost secrets." —jharissac
32. "Every teenager knows what it's like to be misunderstood (wow that's really angsty, yikes) but I want to remember this feeling and the stories I have right now because once I forget them, they're gone. So many of us die without being our stories being told so I'm going to preserve mine while they're still fresh." —sarahandipidy, 16
33. "Keeping a journal allows me to vent my feelings without hurting anybody else's." —emmac45447a8b1, 14