Lifestyle. Mental Health. Adventure

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Journalling for my Mental Health


At the end of 2018 I had a huge shock to the system that for a while honestly turned my life upside down.  I felt like everything I'd believed was a lie, and I'd never felt more betrayed than I did in that time.

Initial shock will do that to you.  Although after a while those feelings subsided and communication with the person this whole situation involved eventually helped me to come around (I realised I still wanted this person in my life, and their apologies felt more than genuine to me), I felt off for quite some time afterwards; not quite knowing what the future was for me going forward.

The problem was, this really wasn't a subject I felt all that comfortable talking to my friends about.  It wasn't like I had been cheated on and I could go to my friends who would rally around me and tell me what a scumbag my other half is for betraying me like that (Just FYI, Spencer has not cheated on me and is not a scumbag, just a bit of a pain sometimes!).  This was a much more delicate situation.

I tried to speak to one or two people about how I was feeling, but I soon came to realise that I was alone in how I felt, being told more or less on more than one occasion that I was overreacting, basically having my feelings invalidated.  Now that felt shitty.  I'd opened up to a few select people I thought I could trust, and I was completely shut down.

Now, as somebody who couldn't even open up to her own Mum about the teenage angsty stuff I went through, choosing to open up to people I thought I could trust was a huge thing for me, so to have received such a negative response was a huge blow for me.  There were a couple of friends that did listen and did understand where I was coming from knowing some more deep rooted issues from my past, and to those people I'm grateful for their support, but the others truly made me question myself.

Was I really overreacting?  Was I the one in the wrong?

I shut down for a little while; bottling everything up, and the rest of 2018 was bollocks.  I was happy to see the back of it.

Being so ill over the Christmas and New Year break gave me plenty of time to reflect, and I knew I couldn't keep bottling up, but I also wasn't too keen on the idea of opening up to anybody again just yer.  I know that mindset isn't the healthiest, so to help me open that door inside of me again I bought this AM/PM Journal from Paperchase, which is now on sale for £5.00.  I have wrote in it almost every day since buying it, and I'm absolutely loving it.  I'm actually a little sad that I'm almost at the end of it, and a little tempted to get another whilst it's in the sale for when my current one is finished, but I also have this Two Minute Morning Journal that Spencer's Dad bought me for Christmas, so I'll be moving on to that when I've finished the AM/PM Journal.

Anyway, I digress.  With the AM/PM journal, you take a couple of minutes out of each morning and evening to right down your thoughts and feelings in that moment.  Sometimes the journal gives you a prompt, and other times it just leaves you to let your mind run free.  I love it because it allows me to start engaging my mind early in the morning and getting any anxieties for the day off of my chest, as well as unload any thoughts and feelings I'm carrying on my shoulders before I go to bed, allowing me a more peaceful night's sleep.

Since writing in this journal I've felt calmer throughout the day.  I feel like I can meet any challenges I face in day to day life with a more level head and without flying off the handle.  I mean, I'm sure the Citalopram has a lot to do with that as well, but journalling definitely deserves some credit in this change of mindset.

For day to day tasks I've started bullet journalling.  Whilst laying in my sick bed for the entirety of Christmas and New Year, I read The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll.  Ryder Carroll is the man who came up with the Bullet Journal, and his book really took away the parts of bullet journalling I found intimidating (The artsy side of it where people were creating these damn masterpieces in their bullet journals), and strips it back to what a bullet journal is all about.  Organising your life and freeing your time to be able to do more in less time.

Since coming to the realisation that I don't actually have to be a master at typography to have a bullet journal I have absolutely loved having one.  I write in it every day; everything from my day to day tasks at work and at home, to keeping track of trips I need to pay off, films I've watched, books I've read, and my most favourite part is my daily gratitude, where I write five things I'm grateful for each day, no matter how small.  Doing this has really helped me see the good in each day, so instead of looking back at January as a snotty, miserable mess, I look back on it and remember the good times, like the weekend away with my sister, and mine and Spencer's seven year anniversary where we were sat next to Paul Chuckle in Bill's Restaurant (No I'm not over that).

Finally, I picked up Katie Piper's Confidence Journal.  Although there are some prompts here and there to write in the journal, mainly it contains positive affirmations based around confidence each day.  Kind of a mantra to carry with you every day.  I've always admired Katie Piper.  She's a beautiful person inside and out, and I'm just in awe of how she has been through hell and come out of the other side with so much positivity and love.  She's an inspiration.  Her journal is such a lovely thing to pick up each morning.  Reading something so positive as the first act of my day really makes a difference.

I realise that three journals does seem a little excessive, but for the sake of 10 minutes out of my day in the morning and evening, they really make a difference to my day to day attitude.  Being able to write my feelings down allows me to get them out in the open without fear of judgement being thrown back at me, and having them written down allows me to go back and reflect on past feelings and events; sometimes allowing me to think of ways I can deal with situations better in the future.

And just before you go, let me stress that your feelings should never be invalidated.  No matter the situation, your feelings are valid, and if that situation hurts you, then people need to accept that.  It's taken me a couple of months to realise this, but I refuse to feel bad for how I felt now.  I now know that the problem does not lie with me, but with the people who told me I was overreacting.  That maybe it made them question their own actions and it was easier to tell me I was overreacting than admit to themselves that maybe they could be hurting those they love without giving it a second thought.  Just something to think about before we judge another's reaction to something in the future.
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