My relationship with my journal, throughout my recovery, has been an interesting one.
I was asked to start journaling in the local medical hospital I was at after my diagnosis. I humored the request, but in my incredibly ill state-of-mind I didn’t really believe it would help. I did it for a few days while in the hospital, but obscurely put it away. I was in the medical hospital for a week so, later I was asked if I had been writing in my journal. I didn’t know what to say so, I told them I tried, but it didn’t really help. I shrugged my shoulders and was never asked about it there again.
Later when I entered my treatment center, I was met with a wave of professionals telling me to begin to journal. I told myself that I would try it again. I picked my journal up every night and wrote. I slowly began to enjoy it. Writing in my journal before bed relieved my anxiety and helped me to fall asleep. It was something about putting all my thoughts down on paper so, they were no longer circling in my head that gave me a little moment of peace. Every night I wrote and sometimes I shared my writing with my therapist or in the therapy groups I attended throughout the day. I began to notice how beneficial to my recovery journaling can be.
After I left, I continued to journal but, it slowly became a chore and after my stressful day, I just wanted to go to sleep. Journaling dropped off my to-do list and I found myself increasingly anxious. After a relapse that caused me to reenter treatment at the same treatment center, I slowly began to write in my journal again. Then a similar thing happened, every night I would pick up my journal and write. Not so shockingly, it really helped.
Coming back into my everyday life again, caused my journaling to go south…again. When another relapse landed me back in the hospital in early November 2015, I again decided it might be an intelligent idea to begin journaling every night like I had in the past. So, I did and slowly but surely it had the same effect on me: relieving my anxiety and quieting my racing thoughts. Journaling was a great skill for me to use, but I could never keep it going. That’s why, again, I fell off the journal train as soon as I left the hospital.
Recently, like last weekend recently, I decided that I should begin journaling every night again. Guess what? It helps! My journal has given me peace before bed and an outlet to let all my feelings out. This was met with satisfaction from my therapist who was happy I decided to take part in writing again.
Hopefully, this time I will stick with it and not fall off.
If you do not journal, I urge you to begin. It can be hard to do after a long day, but you can do it in the morning if that is too challenging. I tried the morning-time but I never could get myself in the right mindset to do it early in the day. There is something about writing at night that helped calm my mind and body. It is rewarding and worth it, especially after a tiring day.
So, go out and buy a journal or pick your old one up. It’s worth it.