As someone who struggles with depression, I’ve found that keeping a diary (or, as I like to call it, my “Depression Journal”) really helps me take a closer look at what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling that way. For those of you who cope with depression as well, this article will help you examine why journaling can be good for your soul and help curb some of the symptoms of depression.
Struggling to Write
While at first glance keeping a journal might seem like a simple task, many people often neglect their journals — especially when they feel depressed. It’s hard to write about bad feelings, and it’s even more difficult to do so when you’re in the thick of things.
However, learning to write about your thoughts and feelings when you feel bad can be a good way to see your emotions exactly for what they are, and start to make a plan to fix them. Because you can journal on your own, you don’t have to fear what other people’s thoughts or reactions might be to what you write. If you take a no-holds-barred approach to your depression journal, it’ll be that much easier to learn to cope with your symptoms and formulate a plan to change things.
While at first your journaling will be a solitary experience, eventually you will probably need to share your thoughts and feelings with those closest to you. I don’t mean you have to give them your journal and allow them to read every word, but in order to really heal you are going to need feedback and support from those that love you.
It sounds scary, but it’s actually a valuable healing technique to share what you’re feeling with those that know you the best. Choose someone you trust and share your journal with them when you feel ready. You can’t beat depression alone, and accepting that reality will be a major step towards healing yourself.
Just Do It
It will probably be a struggle at first, but once you get into the routine of writing down what’s bothering you, you will actually start to enjoy the release that comes with keeping a depression journal. To make the activity more enticing, purchase a journal that reflects who you are and that you’ll enjoy using. Bookstores and stationary stores have a wide selection of journals, both practical and pretty, so you’re guaranteed to find something right for you.
You will undoubtedly create your own journaling routine, but I’ve found it most helpful if I break up my journaling sessions into two or three 15-20 minute sessions a few times a week. Obviously, there are some times where I write every day, and other times where I don’t write at all, but I do stick to an overall routine and write when I feel the need to.
By starting a depression journal, you are already making a huge step in the right direction towards healing — good job! The more you do it, the easier it will be to turn journaling into a habit, and you will be able to start working on your emotions and coping with the problems that weigh you down.
Do you keep a depression journal? Does it work for you? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave them in the comments. I realize that depression is a very personal issue, but I would appreciate anyone who feels comfortable doing so to tell me what works for them.