When someone is in the throws of a depressive episode, they struggle to get their thinking clear. Often times, I would think in circles. Round and round, focused on an issue I had no answer to.
The circular thinking was usually something along the lines of “I’m never going to get better. No one can help me. I don’t know how to live with this. I’m struggling to get through the day, and tomorrow will be more of the same. I’m never going to get better….”
One of the tools I used to help with this was journaling. Whether you consider it mainstream or spiritual, there are no set rules to journaling. It can be whatever you want it to be.
When I was in a dark place, it helped to just write down, even forcefully scribble, what was in my mind. It helped to let it go from that circle of darkness and doubt. It was a way to get the thoughts out of my head, and give me some peace, if only for a short period of time.
When in the darkness of depression, even small pieces of “less dark” are a life saver. It might seem like a waste of time to some, but I found it was really helpful for me. Most times I never went back to read what I had written. I didn’t want to know. The purpose of journaling is to do a brain dump. Just clear your mind of whatever is holding you in its vicious grip.
Maybe you don’t like to write. Don’t worry. Journaling can be done through art, or pictures. If you draw or paint, use your journal to release the picture in your mind. What does this darkness look like to you? How can you depict your circular thinking or dark thoughts on the page?
You can also use images from the internet or magazines. You could use stencils or stickers or whatever you want to put on your page. Maybe you just scribble with markers or crayons.
Your journal is a place where you can let your emotions out. You can choose to process them or not. It is a safe way to vent, to let yourself shatter, to cry, and to heal, just a little.
Your journal is not something you ever need to show anyone. It is a place where you can write or depict your fears, your insecurities, your sadness. It might be beneficial if you are seeing a therapist to discuss what you journaled, but that is your choice.
Journaling is a tool I still use to this day. I try to journal daily. It needn’t be pages long. Sometimes it is, but often times, it is a paragraph or two, just letting me check in with myself, and how I am feeling that day. Tuning into your feelings is an important part of living through depression.