J is for Journal


Journal (Photo credit: basykes)

One of the most important things in my life is keeping a journal. I highly recommend that each of you Keep A Journal, especially if you suffer from any form of mental illness.

A journal can serve multiple purposes. You can write about whatever you want and whenever you want. You can write about bad times, good times and everything in between. You can ask questions and see if your mind can come up with an answer without really thinking about it. You can write your goals and dreams 100,000 times. You can do the same with resolutions and plans on making either of those come true.

What I often do is make specific plans to do something important such as write every two days or more often and then not follow those plans. That’s why I write them again and again and again.

Sometimes I think I’m lazy and/or that I really don’t care. But, if I don’t care, why would I write down “I will write every two days?” If I’m lazy, why would I have twenty or so notebooks that have writing of some sort in them (even if it isn’t related to my current “work in progress”)? I must care if I’m bothering to remind myself, and I must not be totally lazy if I have so many journals and other writing already.

“It’s called a pen. It’s like a printer, hooked straight to my brain.” – Dale Dauten

So, what is it? I think my pen connected directly to my brain and came up with at least a partial answer to this question in the rough draft of this piece about Keeping a Journal. I’m not 100% sure, but I think I’m afraid of putting my writing “out there.” I’m afraid of recording my thoughts and then sending them out to anyone.

Having found at least a partial answer for myself, I challenge you to ask a question in your journal and let yourself write until you find an answer.

J is for Journal

J is for Journal (Photo credit: basykes)

Brought to you by the letter "J"

This is part of my “A-to-Z-Challenge.” For more information about Mental Health, see “C is for Counseling.”


First Steps

The first and by far the most important step is  below:
Please seek professional help if you haven’t already done so!

     First, make an appointment with your family doctor or an internal medicine specialist.  Ask him or her to run tests on your thyroid, liver functions, sugar levels and more. These test  will tell if your anxiety, depression and/or inability to concentrate might be caused by something other than Attention Deficit Disorder (or in conjunction with it).

     Your regular doctor will tell you if you need to see a psychiatrist and most often she or he can recommend one. Then be sure to follow the recommendations. Make an appointment with a counselor if needed and go see him or her.

In case you are wondering why I say this, everything written on this blog is from my personal experiences! There is not an MD or a PhD after my name, nor do I claim to have ANY experience as a counselor.
However, I am in recovery! I went to doctors and counselors for many years. I deal with ADD/ADHD, depression and anxiety every hour of every day!

What I’ve learned during these years will be turned into “baby steps” or other suggestions for anyone else suffering from Anxiety, Depression, and/or Attention Deficit Disorder (with or without Hyperactivity).

The above is an edit of one or two posts originally written on Jan. 1, 2008.

Start (or Continue) a Journal

Today, my humble advice is to Start or Continue a Journal. If you haven’t already recorded your thoughts, feelings and/or questions, then start. Have a journal or diary? Then bring/keep it up to date.

If you’re just starting, you may wish to write in a notebook, diary or journal. Or, you may want to record your voice and/or you can try an online journal. Try one method and then another if you’re not sure how you want to record your thoughts. OR, you can keep separate journals for different topics.

You don’t have to write every day, but record good times as well as bad times. Journal when you have questions, when you’re confused, when you’re anxious or depressed, when you’re sad and when you’re happy.

I have listed Live Journal on the side for those who wish to try the online method. Users may choose to make their journal(s) private or public and you can search for public journals with similar subjects and/or problems.

Cleaning Up My Cobweb

Hello to anyone who might “follow” this page. I flipped through a book about building web pages and blogs and it says that a page that hasn’t been updated in a long time is called a “Cobweb.”

I realize that this blog may qualify as a Cobweb page and intend to change that. However, I will not concentrate on the “Help” area any longer because there are plenty of books, articles and web pages for that already. Instead, expect many more links to click on.

“So, what are you going to write?” you may wonder. You may anticipate the following:

  • My journal entries — either in type or as a picture (of my longhand)
  • Writing/journaling prompts when I think of them or run across one I hope you like
  • Suggested books, blogs, articles, etc. with short reviews when needed

I hope this doesn’t turn you off too much. Feel free to comment on this and on everything I add in the future.