Mental Health and Creative Journalling with a Start Where You Are Journal
Although I try to keep things as positive as I can over on Nourish ME, the truth is that behind the scenes things can be a lot less optimistic. I don't want to use the word negative, because I really do try to keep the negative vibes away, but sometimes sadness can get overwhelming.
I've been struggling with depression, and the anxiety that goes hand in hand with it, for over four years now. Keeping my little corner of the internet over here at Nourish ME has been SO helpful, but there is a whole myriad of other things I do to help ease the impact of these illnesses upon my life.
About a year and a half ago, I started a 12-week course of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)and I actually found it incredibly useful in combating my anxiety issues. I know loads of different people have had a whole variety of different experiences with it, but that's mine (if you want me to write a whole post on what was involved with my CBT and what I thought about it all then let me know).
When I was perusing Pinterest a couple of months ago, I came across an article - let's face it, it was probably buzz feed - all about self-help and interactive journals. Paired with an old Waterstones voucher I found in a drawer, this idea was all good to go and I picked out the journal that looked best and 'voila', there I was with my very own Start Where You Are journal. I am so glad I came across this because it has honestly worked hand in hand with the things I learnt on my course of CBT.
The Start Where You are journal takes you on a journey of self-exploration, and gets its name from the notion that you don't need anything but yourself, here and now, to get started on this journey. Each double page spread features a watercolour quotation designed by the author Meera Lee Patel, as well as a thinking and writing prompt. Some of my favourites so far have been: 'write down ten big dreams that haven't come true yet' and 'fill these tiger outlines with three of your biggest fears, then colour them in until you can't see the fear anymore'.
I love the whole concept behind this journal because, although I'm a really creative person, and love exploring through that medium, I'm really rather shit at anything artsy. Honestly, I'm below stick people level. If you asked me to sit down and create a nice photo set-up or a descriptive piece of text, I'd be all over it, but ask me to draw something and let my mind flow free? I'm stumped.
Everyone at the moment is obsessed with Bullet Journals, and I honestly love the idea behind them, but in reality, my lack of artistic creativity and my ungodly scrawl would make me so upset that my BuJo would just make me cry. This is where my Start Where You Are journal comes in. It nurtures my creativity, occasionally asking me to draw certain things, colour things, or just allows me to bask in the beauty of Meera's watercolours. Thus, I have the perfect medium: I can be creative, without having to form my own creative destiny.
There's absolutely no set order you have to fill the journal in in, or guidelines over how frequently you need to fill each page in. I've incorporated my Start Where You Are journal into my pre-bed anti-anxiety rituals that help get me ready for the night. It gives me an opportunity to reflect over my day, and I have a quick glance through all of my previous filled in pages before starting a new one.
All in all, this journal has really helped me to learn a lot more about myself, and has helped me embrace the positivity in every single day. It's worked hand in hand with my CBT, and reminded me that each day is special, and each day is worth it.