News for September 2011

Journaling

Keeping a journal is one of the things that mental health professionals, therapy types and fellow patients suggest as a way of helping yourself cope with the day-to-day struggles and challenges of life.

One of the benefits to journaling is that it lets you express your feelings, positive and negative, in a safe and healthy way. You can pour out all your feelings onto a sheet of paper, or into an online journal entry. Putting them on paper helps work though them.

Journaling also lets you establish a routine that helps provide a sense of structure for a chaotic mind and life. You can accomplish this by picking a consistent time of day. You do not necessarily have to choose an exact time of day (e.g. 8pm), but rather a general time (e.g. every day before bed, when you first get up in the morning, etc).

In my opinion, the second way is a better approach. It gives you flexibility in case you cannot do it at the exact same time on any given day, but it still gives you enough structure to develop routine. One thing to keep in mind is that it is OK to miss any given day. Life happens and sometimes despite our best efforts, we run out of hours in the day.

While developing a routine of when you write in your journal helps provide a sense of structure, it is important to note that you should not hesitate to write at other times as well. If something is having a significant impact on your emotions or you suddenly have a moment of understanding that you do not want to forget, take the time to write it down as soon as possible. The closer to the actual event you write it down the more detailed and accurate the entry will be.

Keeping a journal also allows you to keep track of where you have been. It is a good way to track your moods and find patterns and triggers. Since it is, a record of how you are feeling at any given time it also becomes a good tool to use in aiding your therapy sessions as well. You can either share it with your doctor or read it again before your session to refamiliarize yourself with what you have been feeling and the circumstances related to those feelings since you last visit.

Journals are a very useful and powerful aid in dealing with the challenges related to mental illnesses. They have helped me greatly over the years.

Edited: September 27th, 2011

A Recent Personal Anxiety Attack and Sense of Failure

Ever since the phone call from my wife yesterday I have had some degree of anxiety and  felt like a failure. Every since that call I wanted to break down in tears and race home.

Unfortunately I was at work, with my work day only about half over, so I didn’t have the luxury of breaking down. I also couldn’t just pick up and run home.

Last night when I finally got to bed, after a few hours of fighting vampires and completing quests in Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, I laid down and started tossing and turning trying to get comfortable like any other night. The difference was after a few minutes of trying to get to sleep I finally had my chance to cry.

I cried for what seemed like a lifetime, overwhelmed with a sense of failure, but was probably more along the lines of five to ten minutes. After I finally stopped crying I laid there staring at the ceiling still feeling that sense of failure.

I guess I should take a step back and explain what happened and the reason for my wife’s phone call. During the middle of the day the fire alarm at the hotel went off. Under normal conditions this would be a traumatic event for anyone. Unfortunately, the conditions for us are anything but normal.

Two years ago my wife and I were in a severe accident that resulted in my wife being severely injured. As a result if the accident she was disabled physically. The good news is she should regain most of the mobility she had before the accident.  However, after two years she is still recovering and going through physical therapy.

So when the alarm went off, the cat got really scared and would not come to my wife. She was trying to figure out how to get the two of them out safely. This cat its the sweetest, most living animal I ever met. She means the world to both of us.

At the same time, the fire alarm is blaring, the emergency strobe light is flashing. This added to my wife’s stress because she is also epileptic and the strobes could cause a seizure. So she called the office and explained the situation to them. They of course had no clue as to why the alarm was going off. Thankfully, it was a false alarm and no real danger, but it has still left me feeling like I failed them and let them down. When they needed me the most I was not there to take care of them. I was at work, an hour and a half away.

The reason my wife, cat and I are staying at the hotel is because of some water damage to the apartment. So while the apartment complex finishes up work in our master bedroom  from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee we are staying in a hotel.

This isn’t the first time I haven’t been able to be there when they really needed me. During the earthquake on the east coast of the US, I was stuck at work. That day it took me almost five hours to get home. So twice in the last month, I have not been there when they needed me the most.

Today, more than 24 hours later I still feel the same way. Even now as I write this I am crying. It has done a number on me.

Edited: September 21st, 2011

Make Time for Yourself

It is important to remember to make time for yourself everyday. You need time to do the things you enjoy and the things that help you. It does not need to be a lot of time. It just needs to be enough to engage in at least one thing that makes you feel better.

Taking this time to do something that makes you feel better is as important as eating right, sleeping and just generally taking care of your body. A body that is well taken care of is important, but it is only half of the ‘battle’. We need to have both a healthy body and healthy mind.

You need to take care of both. You cannot neglect either if you want to be happy.

Remember to love yourself and accept who you are. Never be afraid ask for help or suggestions. You are worth and deserving of the time it takes to take care of yourself. You deserve to be happy. We all do.

Always,
J

Edited: September 20th, 2011

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