Becoming self-aware can lead to more self-directed behaviour, giving you more control over your life
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
This article might not be for everyone, but if you have ever suffered feelings of being down or that terrible inertia where it just doesn’t seem worth it, I have found two things invaluable.
The first of these is a mood journal.
About ten years ago (I suffered my first depressive episode at 19) I was seeing a psychiatrist. My moods fluctuated a great deal. She added a new medication, and suddenly, because I was monitoring them, it became flat. I would never have noticed otherwise. This helps with my compliance today, because otherwise I never would have objective evidence that things really do help.
The second thing that helps is a trigger journal.
I was feeling down one day, and I couldn’t really see why. And then when I became introspective I realised I had a conflict with someone who I love very much – a certain family member. They usually say “I love you” when they finish the phone call, but lately they had been aloof, cooler and certainly didn’t say that. Being a person greatly affected by my feelings, this left me feeling flat for most of the day.
I am not saying that this changed the situation, but at least I could identify it.
Alternatively, I was under the impression that I had to go for a 15 min run or bike ride at least to get that well-known release of endorphins that improves one’s mood. I was dancing (alone, with the doors shut because it is an incredibly daggy song) to one of my favourite songs), and I felt just wonderful afterwards. And this feeling lasted quite a long time.
You needn’t keep these up forever, but if you do suffer from mood changes and don’t know why, a mood journal if you’re on medication and a trigger journal can really help.
All these journals!
Actually, the two that help me the most are my prayer book where I pray every morning (I won’t say anything more here, because I don’t think it’s appropriate to discuss religion) and my gratitude journals. There’s only so many journals a girl can have, but if life is tossing you this way and that, they can be invaluable. And you have to look after you before you can be of any good to anyone else.