Depression can be overwhelming and confusing.
Thoughts become jumbled and making sense of life and situations you find yourself in can be overwhelming. When your mind starts to race it can be scary and upsetting. Trying to understand it all can be difficult. This is when writing and journaling can help.
Getting the thoughts out of your mind and onto paper can be freeing. Don’t worry if you are
not good at writing. The journal is for your eyes only, unless you decide to share it with someone. Spelling isn’t important but releasing your thoughts onto the paper is.
Talking therapy is also a good tool but it is usually edited up to a point, for fear of embarrassment and rejection. Writing your thoughts and emotions down unedited is a
great way to understand how you are feeling, without fear of judgement or ridicule.
Journaling allows you to be you and enables you to express yourself in the rawest form.
There are some other great reasons why you should start journaling and, here are a few:
Getting to know yourself
How many of us really know yourselves in the true sense? You may be surprised
what you learn about yourself when you start writing. Many people find out they are more
resilient than they thought. Some realise they are highly sensitive and others may find that
they complain a lot rather than showing gratitude. However, in the midst of depression
complaining and feeling sorry for yourself is common and those feelings are hard to control.
Seeing it all written down may be the realisation you need whether you find out something
positive or negative about yourself. It could be the trigger that helps you change your behaviour.
If you are writing in a journal on a regular basis you should soon see a pattern emerge. Looking back on particularly bad days you may find you have the same triggers or situations that make you feel worse about yourself. Monitoring your symptoms can be extremely useful for recovery.
Things you can write about include:
1. Your symptoms
2. Time of day your mood changed
3. Stress factors that may have contributed to the mood change
4. Severity of your symptoms
5. What relieved these symptoms if anything.
Tracking in this way can show you what to avoid or change and can also be good for showing you what calms you down and relieves your symptoms. It may not be so easy to see or realise without writing them down.
Releasing your problems and concerns onto the page can also help you come up
with solutions. Writing gives you time to think through your problems. Writing them down and being able to see them can help you prioritise and decide which problem to tackle first
You should write down:
1. What is your problem?
2. Why is this problem bothering you in particular? Be in-depth about the reasons it is upsetting you or making you worry.
3. Is there a particular person that is effecting how you feel?
You can then start to think about and write down possible solutions to you problems. What steps do you need to take and can anyone help you? You may also identify future problems that might occur and you can prevent them from happening.
Finally make a plan on how you will achieve what you need to do and start to work on sorting out the problem.
How to Start Journaling
The first thing you need to think about is the purpose of your journal. When you know the purpose then you can choose how and when to journal.
If you are fed up of negativity, then a gratitude journal may be for you. If you are craving creativity then consider releasing your feelings through an art journal.
There are many different ways to journal, you just need to choose the best for you.
1. Daily Journal – This is like a diary. You write in it daily or weekly if you are pushed
for time. It is a record of your day/week. Who did you see? What connections did you make? What went well and what didn’t go well? and so on. Write about how your day/week went and the thoughts and feelings you had.
2. Problem Solving Journal – As described previously this journal is solely to record your problems and finding ways to solve them in a productive and positive way. It’s not specifically for day-to-day. You can write in it whenever a problem pops up that you think is worsening your depression.