Journaling on Bad Mental Health Days

I wanted to share some prompts I’ve used on bad mental health days. On those days when my mental health sucked the absolute most, regardless of the funk I was in, I think those are the moments I need to write the most. I did 2 wonderful weeks of Outpatient Therapy at a local hospital and after lunch there were 2 hours of art and journaling time. A few of these are prompts I found and wrote my responses to while there.

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  • Describe a time in your Life when you failed & what you learned from it.–This one was tough. Who wants to dwell on failure?..but it was the second part that got me. What did I learn from this failure? I wanted to focus on a time when things didn’t turn out how I expected or hoped..and what I took away from that not happening.
  • What does your ideal life look like?–Looking at life and goals for my life, especially during such a dark period really helped boost my hope for the future.
  • What lessons have I learned from having depression?–Determined to not allow this piece of my life to kick my butt, I jotted down what finally calling it what it is, seeking help and managing day to day with it had taught me.
  • What are 3 things that made you happy today?–When life feels so redundant and when you live with this cloud following you around, I know me personally, I forget to reflect on the happy moments. So I jotted down one day what had made me happy. Don’t give all the negative your energy.
  • Write the words that you need to hear–This prompt was really important to me, because when I hit my really dark period it was after years of having never giving my “monster,” a name. So it was really new for me..and also new for my loved ones. I think with it being this new thing we all needed to learn to live with,  no one really knew what to say to me. And things they were saying weren’t always the right thing. A lot of people in my life, some of the most important ones definitely have the ability to make things about them. So writing what I needed to hear in that moment was refreshing and uplifting.
  • Jotting down “triggers,” and what I can do to combat them–For a few weeks my therapist gave me an assignment to jot down when my moods take over, what I’m doing and how it made me feel so that at our following session we could sit and discuss them. This got me to thinking and wanting to write down triggers. Focusing on my triggers and coming up with my own ways to combat them felt very powerful. It took some strength but I knew that was only the beginning of the battle..I’d have to actually use the techniques I came up with when the time came. There was something moving about owning it and taking that responsibility.

 

So these were just a few writing prompts that I used during some of my darkest mental health days. I do have a specific journal just for my mental health journey which I love and prefer and would recommend to you as well. It has a little bit of everything in it..music lyrics, quotes, poems, art work and writing.

My hope is that even if not one of these prompts, this post gives you the encouragement needed to do some writing on the days when nothing feels possible. and know I’m here rooting for you.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. xo.

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Sunday Coffee

Hello Friend, how are you this morning? How was your week? I have had quite a bit on my mind this week. I’ve been gradually reevaluating some things, and just want to share some of my thoughts with you. I hope you have a nice cup of coffee or tea, let’s chat.

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I have been thinking about the online book community and specifically my place in it a lot lately. When it comes to my small presence I question what am I doing it for? Am I satisfied with what I am putting into this community? Am I satisfied with what I am getting out of it? These are some of the main questions I have been meditating on.

I discovered the online book community back in 2014 when I first moved to Texas. I remember setting up a new twitter account and following the R&B singer, Amerie, and she shared a link to a Youtube video. Up to that point, I had not been one to watch Youtube but I loved her and her music so I clicked the link which took me to a channel she created. I was shocked when I saw that on this channel, she was discussing books. I watched the book side of Youtube for about two years before getting the guts to start my own channel which I have had now for over three years.

I remember how excited I was when I created my channel. I loved hauling books and sharing them with followers. I looked forward to discussing all the books I read during the month as the month came to a close. I enjoyed the different tags that were created as a different way to inspire you to talk about books.  I was such a fan of the community I had become part of.  So, I guess another question I have been pondering on is, do I still have that excitement that I felt when I first joined the online book community?

The good thing about the online book community, is how many different platforms there are. You can do Youtube, you can blog, you can create a podcast and/or you can create an Instagram dedicated to book content. If you want to share your love of reading online, there are ways to do it.  Joining Youtube, in the beginning was the route that I chose. At this moment, if I had to answer the question in regards to if the excitement is still there or not, I’d have to say No.

Life has changed for me in the matter of just a few months and in reality, I don’t have the time to dedicate to creating the content that I want. At first I was okay with filming when I could film, but eventually it started to feel like a job or a chore. I have had to make peace with not allowing Youtube to be yet another thing that stresses me out. It is hard though. You see other creators and how often they post and how big their channels are getting and how quickly they’re growing. Paying attention to stuff like that can really take a toll if you let it. So for a while, even though it felt like a job, I continued putting content out there, because I felt like I needed to keep up. I think I have held on too because I have built some amazing friendships with other content creators and subscribers–but I’ve realized, those friendships are going to be there regardless of if I am making vides or not.  Sometimes the hardest part of walking away from something, is taking those first few steps, but I told myself in the beginning, when it is no longer fun, I’ll be done. And at this moment, it is no longer fun.

I am happy I discovered the blogging world and right now it feels good with the way my life is going. I also am really enjoying putting more focus into Instagram and sharing books I am excited about through that platform. Reading is something I have always done for fun. It is basically a lifelong companion. It has been there through the darkest moments and the brightest days. I never want to turn my love for it into something that turns long it into anything negative. I want to be reading for fun, I want to be reading because I love doing it, and not because I found a community and feel like I need to keep up with what everyone else is doing.

I am a big advocate of being kind to yourself and I need to practice more of what I preach. I think part of being kinder to myself is not beating myself up about having to cut the cord with things that once upon a time meant the world to me. Things change and there comes a time when you have to move on. I’m so excited to root for my friends still creating and cheering them on..but as just a viewer. I am ticking this off of my list of stressors. It is definitely time for me to move on from creating content on Youtube and focus on sharing my love for reading on the other platforms I’ve discovered I love.

Whew! That was a lot, and I appreciate you hearing me out. Share with me what has been going on with you and please be kind to yourself today. Until our next chat, take care of yourself. xoxo

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3 Reasons Why Reading Romance is Good for my Mental Health

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I’ve shared my story of how and why I decided to give romance a try but I’ve never discussed how in just a few short months after I picked up my first romance, my mental health began to plummet.  I have depression and anxiety due to PTSD. Until March of 2018, I was great at ducking and dodging my triggers, but around the second week of March, I wasn’t able to anymore. It honestly felt like all the ghosts I tried to keep locked away were escaping the closets I locked them in and were free.

No shade thrown on the mental health system but the beginning of my process to get help was not the best. In the beginning on one of my darkest days, I went to the hospital only to leave within 20 minutes of basically waiting and being given an appointment a full two weeks away!

A Life Counselor at my job called a local mental health facility and asked if I could attend their outpatient group therapy. I did that for two weeks before starting a four week group therapy with the military.

I still have a long road ahead of me, but I feel I’ve definitely made some progress. Reading romance has made such an impact on my journey to getting better. Romance novels were what I carried in my bag with snacks back and forth to group, to read if we didn’t start on time or had a break. They’re what I listen to in the car on my way to appointments.

There are so many wonderful things about the romance genre, so many reasons I love it, but I want to share 3 reasons why I feel it is good for my mental health.

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  1. Escapism: Now I have always been one who reads for the escape but I feel this was heightened once my mental health started to shift.  When I started reading romance I was mostly reading authors like Debbie Macomber and Raeanne Thayne. These women authors write stories that take place somewhere that quickly feels like home for me, with characters who feel like such real people with real problems. Reading their novels, I instantly become sucked into the story and forgot about what I have going on. When you’re in a constant battle with your own mind and thoughts, it is refreshing to focus on something else–to get so lost in the story that for those few pages, few hours of reading, you weren’t in your own head.
  2. Perspective: One thing I enjoyed about attending group therapy is that I got to spend a few hours around other people who were also going through something. Our stories weren’t the same, our symptoms weren’t the same but we had the fact that we were in the same place for a reason in common. One thing I’ve really loved about the romance novels I’ve read is how there is always a big underlying element of hope in the background amongst the angst and characters whose lives aren’t perfect. Reading romance has helped put into perspective for me that everyone is battling, has battled or will battle something and because of that, I never have to tackle this thing alone.
  3. The Happy Ever After: Last weekend I re-watched a childhood favorite movie with my daughter, called “Now and Then,” and in the movie one of the girls tells her friend who just found out her parents were divorcing, “It’s normal for things to be shitty.” That is what I started believing during my darkest days and then I really started paying attention to the romances I was reading. The character’s have to put in work to grow through their issues and eventually make it to their happy ever after. There is nothing wrong with wanting that and reading romance has been a big motivating factor for me to continue getting better because I deserve, like everyone does, my own happily ever after.

 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, Friends!  I was a little hesitant to type this post but I want to be as honest and as transparent as I can with you. If you have any recommendations to send my way, I’m always looking for those. Until next time, take care of yourselves!

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