I’ve wanted to post something for a while now, but just haven’t totally what to say or write. My life has been flipped upside down and I feel like I have lost so much. So, Mike left me. We are done and over and it hurts so much. I really thought that we were going to be together for a long time. I feel like I have wasted the last 5 years of my life. All the joy, pain, and struggling was all for nothing.
Visual Exercises For Letting Go Of Thoughts
Letting go of negative thoughts can be very hard at times. Sometimes it helps to just visualize your thoughts leaving your mind in different ways rather than sitting there and dwelling on them. Overthinking will just make things worse in the end.
Here are a few visualization exercises to try to help let go of your negative thoughts (from the book 30 Minute Therapy for Anxiety):
I am too scared to say that my depression has lifted because I don’t want to get my hopes up. What I can say is that, for today, things are looking up. Just because I have had one good day, for the first time in weeks, does not mean that I am miraculously cured, but I guess it’s a start, right? Continue reading
After careful consideration, I have decided to quit my ghostwriting job. It just was not worth it anymore. I sent them an email about it and their only response back was literally, “Oh, wow!” and I have not heard anything since. I was so nervous when I did it. Continue reading
Keeping A Gratitude Journal
How To Counter A Negative Automatic Thought
Automatic thoughts are the first things, or thoughts, that come to our mind when something happens. Sometimes, these thoughts happen so quickly we don’t even realize they are happening until the negative thought is stuck in our head, and then we don’t know how to get rid of that negative thought once it’s there. Continue reading
Journaling & Mental Illness
Journaling can be an important and beneficial factor in mental illness. It can help improve your overall mental well-being because it can create a healthy outlet to express your emotions. A lot of people that struggle with any type of mental illness, or addiction, tend to stuff their emotions deep down inside of themselves, or they try to release them or cope with them, in unhealthy manners.
I’ve been there, and every now and then I still resort to unhealthy means to release my emotions, but journaling is what has been one of the best coping mechanisms that have ever been suggested to me. Everyone is different, and different things work for different people, but journaling is something that has worked for so many people that I have come into contact with, and I highly recommend it to people that struggle with getting their feelings and emotions out and suggest that it should be tried at least once. What could it hurt, right? It’s literally just putting a pen to a piece of paper, or even your hands to your keyboard.
When a person journals, they can let out their innermost thoughts that they wouldn’t dare share with another soul. You can be your true genuine self, and never feel judged by anyone because you are not writing for anyone else’s enjoyment. You are solely writing to be able to get out whatever it is that you are holding inside. Whatever you are writing doesn’t even have to make sense. It could be incomplete thoughts or just random words. It’s whatever you are feeling at that particular moment in time.
I have heard people say that they don’t want to journal because they are worried that someone else in their household may find their journal and read their private thoughts. I get that. When you write something that is meant for your eyes only, you want to keep it that way. There are a few different forms or means of journaling that can be done if you are worried about the traditional diary style due to lack of privacy.
Here are some options to try instead:
If you fear that prying eyes might see a traditional journal you can always sign up for an online account somewhere. This is one I have used in the past, and they even have an app you can download on your smartphone.PrivateDiary.net and with this one, it is username and password protected so no one but you can access it. You can even sync the app and the online site so you can create entries either way and never lose track of anything. It also allows you to upload pictures to your entries as well. If you decide you really don’t like the way this journal is set up, just type in “online diary” into a search engine and tons of results will pop up. Just keep searching until something catches your eye.
If your computer is password protected, and you never have to worry about anyone going through your files, you can always create your own journal using something like Google Docs, MS Word, etc… and just saving the files right to your computer. Maybe create a specific folder like, “My Journal” or “My Thoughts” and saving your entries in there.
Create & Trash:
If you are severely worried about someone seeing what your private thoughts are, then you can always physically write out all your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Then after you are done just rip up the paper and throw it away, burn it, shred it, or discard it however you see fit.
If you have a smartphone then you automatically have a journal or diary at your fingertips. If you have an Android device, all you have to do is go to the Google Play Store and search for “Diary Apps” and hundreds of them will come up. Just look for one you will like. Another option is just to create journal entries using your memo or notepad within your phone.
You could always create a folder and label it “My Journal” or something of the sorts, and create journal entries in your personal email account, send them to yourself and then save them in your designated saved folder.
There are obviously lots of creative ways to create and manage a journal without having to keep a physical copy in today’s day and age. Almost everything is digital now. As for myself, I still love to have a physical copy because I enjoy putting a pen to a piece of paper.
Every means of mental health and addictions treatment that I have ever come across, since 2001, has suggested that I journal, and I have been doing it ever since. I go through phases where I will journal rigorously every day for chunks of time, then I will go periods of time where I won’t journal at all, then I will journal in moderation. And what I have come to the realization of, is that during the periods of time when I am the most routinely active in my journaling, is when my emotions are the most manageable. I seem to have less frequent crying spells because I am not bottling up as much inside of me.
Now, what I mean by routinely active, is that I am not obsessively writing, but I am also not infrequently writing either. When I am not at either extreme is when I am at my best, which at times that gets hard to come by since I am bipolar, and what is bipolar other than polar opposites.
So, if you have never tried journaling as a way to get your emotions out, give it a try. Just one time. Learning a new coping skill mechanism is always a thing of great value because you never know when life may throw something new your way that your current coping skill may not be suitable for. What works for you one day, may not work for you the next. That’s the thing about mental illness, it’s not always predictable and neither is life.
Hope This Helps 😀 -Samantha ♥
Preparing For Your Psych Appointment
Most people don’t bother preparing for their appointments because either they don’t see the point in it, they think it’s a waste of time, or they think they already know everything they want to mention. But how many times have you left an appointment and thought, “Oh man, I completely forgot to mention that!” or “Oh, yeah I need a refill on that!” I know I have done it plenty of times before I actually started jotting down notes on things I want or need to mention. My mom had been trying to get me do this for years and then one day after forgetting to mention a really important side effect it finally clicked. So thank you for that mom!
Now that almost everyone has smartphones glued to their faces, all you have to do is create a list of things you should mention or bring up during your next appointment right in your phone’s memo or notepad. Lists and memos are not just for our parents and grandparents anymore. If you want to take change or your own health then this is something that you should really start getting in the habit of doing.
Just because I am labeling this is “Preparing For A Psych Appointment” does not mean that you cannot apply this to any other appointment you may have as well.
Creating a list of notes for your upcoming appointment is probably the best thing you could do to avoid leaving anything out. There’s no harm in being too thorough.
Here’s an example of what my list would look like:
- Medication Issues
- Side Effects
- Decreased Effectiveness
- Noticing No Changes (especially with new meds)
- Have I started/stopped any meds?
- What Over-the-counter meds am I taking?
- Has a different provider (Family Doctor, Neurologist, Etc..) started me on a new med?
- Mood Changes
- New/Worsening Symptoms
- If I am having “episodes” and for how long?
- Such as an actual Manic or Depressive episode.
- Self-Injurious Behaviors +/-
- How many hours am I sleeping on average?
- Any notable appetite changes?
- Any psychosis/hallucinations?
- Any dissociative episodes?
- Any Insurance/Income Changes?
- Any Major Life Events?
- Major Life Events should be noted because these could affect mood and overall well-being. (This includes, but is not limited too; Divorce, Marriage, Job Change/Loss, Move, Death in the family, Pregnancy, etc…)
- Noticeable weight change?
- Are there any bothersome physical issues?
- Dizziness, Headaches, etc…
This may seem like an extensive list, but too much information for a doctor to have is never a bad thing. It is always best to cover your bases when it comes to your health, especially your mental health. Not only does your mental health affect your mind, but it can affect your body as well.
Now, my list won’t necessarily look like your list. Everyone is different and has their own unique bases to cover. I just happen to have a lot of issues to generally discuss during my appointments. After dealing with my mental health for over 15 years, I try to get the most out of every appointment because my main goal is recovery and getting better. I try to utilize my time and make sure I keep my doctors informed so they can also keep track if they think I am making progress or regressing.
I hope someone can get some use out this. It’s definitely worth it. I wish I would have started making checklists for my appointments sooner. It would have saved me so much time, and so many unnecessary phone calls.
Keeping Your Mental Health Happy
By: Samantha Steiner
In order to maintain stability with your mental health, there are a few things that you need to do on a regular basis to keep yourself healthy in mind and body. I have put together a simple list of the things that I believe are the most important to keep your mental health happy and well balanced and most of all to keep you happy too! Continue reading
You can create an Impulse Control Log notebook if your goal is to try to distract yourself from self-injury, or you want to limit it, or even try to stop it all together. You can even create one on the notepad on your smartphone or tablet if you are on the go. Do whatever is going to be best for you. Self-injury is a highly judged and misunderstood coping mechanism that many people resort to when dealing with their feelings, emotional pain and trauma for many different reasons. It was a very addictive behavior and can be just as addictive as drugs and alcohol. Continue reading
Coping Techniques For Anxiety, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Etc…
By: Samantha Steiner Continue reading
What you can try to do Instead of Self-Injuring
If you are a self-injurer and you are looking for alternatives to your method of harming (we’ll say cutting since that is my first choice) here is a list of alternatives to try before picking, let’s say, a razor. Continue reading