How I Use Notebooks for My Mental Health
I carry around several notebooks with me every day. From top to bottom I have a small daily thoughts and events journal, a journal to keep track of my mean thoughts about myself, a planner, a self care journal, a feelings journal, and a freak out journal.
I use my small daily thoughts and events journal to jot down anything funny or significant that happened, a joke that I thought of for my eventual comedy routine, what I'm reading, important news or world events, yano like National Cheeseburger Day or something. This just helps me remember my day and sort through the events.
Then I check my feelings journal. Here I have a list of feeling words, I am not very good at coming up with them on my own so I need a list. I go through the list of feelings and see if I felt any of them during the day, if I did I flip to that page and jot down a note about that feeling. Want to make me feel special? Bring me a drink. Calm me down? Take me to the pool or the ocean or play a nice rain noise for me.
In my self care journal, I write down the things I have done during the day to care for myself, doing something I like or I'm good at, making a favorite meal, hanging out with a friend, things like that. I also write down one nice thing about myself. This is a hard journal for me. I am not particularly good a self care or saying nice things about myself so I really have to force myself to do this every day.
I feel like the planner is pretty self explanatory, I write down appointments and stuff in there. Also, I really love it and it's from May Designs.
My mean thoughts journal is relatively new. Every time I had a mean or overly harsh or judgmental thought about myself and I don't immediately rethink the thought and reframe it into something constructive I have to write it down and then write two nice things about myself. This is way harder to do than my daily nice thought. When I have to write in this notebook, I'm not usually in a very good place, so coming up with nice things is harder than usual. I let myself cheap out on the nice things sometimes, just because saying "I am nice" is about all I can come up with and let's be honest it's not even always true.
My freak out journal is where I write if I have a complete meltdown. Most people have not seen a complete Natalie meltdown. It's horrible. It involves yelling, throwing things, sometimes breaking things, door slamming, scaring the dog, most likely it ends in crying. It's like I watch it from inside my head and know that I'm out of control, but I have no control over it at this point. It's been happening less frequently since I started seeing a therapist last fall, but it still happens and when it does I try to remember to write about it afterward. What was I doing before the freak out, what happened during the freak out, how did the freak out end, how am I feeling after the freak out. Thankfully, I do not have these kinds of freak outs in public, they are contained to my house. Christopher is getting really good at helping me calm down and feel safe again and eventually I stop freaking out.
I keep all of my journals and fancy pens, plus tissues, gum, earbuds, and hair ties all in a cute Thirty-One Gifts pouch. You never know when you might need a good cry or a piece of gum, or to listen to calming music to write about your thoughts. In case you need pretty notebooks almost all of the ones I use are from Rifle Paper Co. I love that they are a local company and I take advantage of their sidewalk sales to get my notebooks on sale.
Dealing with depression and anxiety is hard and even harder to talk about. People don't always understand and more often than not I feel worse when I tell people about how I feel. So if I don't talk to you about it in real life, I promise it's not you, it's me.
If you are riding this particular struggle bus, I feel ya, and I hope your ride gets smoother and the bus driver is nice.