Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Journaling




 Keeping a daily journal has become a real help for me. It helps me remember where I was and where I am and how I should be proceeding.

  I usually start the days entry with how I slept. Sleep is very important in combating PTSD. You need your rest to deal with the daily mental strain.
  Next I usually put down how I felt mentally when I woke this morning. Maybe how I felt physically because the depression causes physical pain as well.
 
  I also note my dreams. Were they nightmares, or just work dreams where I struggle for control. Some times the dreams are just about work but nothing difficult goes on.
The odd time I don't remember a dream at all. According to science dreams are just random stuff brought up by the subconscious mind. So why give a shit anyway.

 Because how you feel when you awake from the dream is real.
If I had a bad dream I use it as a starting point to let go of the negative feeling. Understand that I feel this way only because I am letting it be that way. I find it a good practice.
 If later in the day I am going into one of those everything is wrong spins, I try first to recognize what I am doing. Then I ask myself is this real or imagined. (Believe me you can convince yourself of just about anything when you are in this state). If it is real can someone help me or maybe look at it from a different angle. If it is imagined stop thinking about it and let it go. It's like hating someone, total waste of time and energy and they probably don't know it anyway.

 I usually write in what I hope to accomplish today if it is important. Then I will fill in what I did accomplish during the day. Even if I just sat and decided it was more important to do nothing but deep breathing most of the day. Or just sit and pet the dog. Or sneak up on my spouse and scare the daylights out of her. He He.

Later I will note anything during the day that may have triggered a bad reaction or produced negative stream of thoughts. Sometimes I don't realize that something negative was going on until the next day.
  An event can last all day. If you are alone there is no one to say, "Hey what's eating you?,
you may not realize you are so upset. If there is someone around you will realize something is wrong when you tell them " Nothing, why don't you Fuck Off." Obvious indicator you are not having a good day.

 I also look for anything that made me feel better. Like watching the cat chase grasshoppers. Listening to the birds sing in the morning. Making all the labels in the pantry face English side out.
Watch a sunrise. There's a ten minute act of mindfulness.

 Was there any self pity today? If yes give yourself shit and wash your mind with soap.
It is totally useless except for the fact you recognized it.

  Did I do anything for myself today? This one is very important.
Feeling frustrated. Drop what you are doing and go do something totally unproductive. I usually take the Honda Goldwing for a ride. Or if you don't have a motorcycle take a walk in the woods. Move slowly and really look around. Go sit at the lake and watch the waves roll in. The sound and action of the waves is very soothing. After a while your shoulders and neck should loosen up enough for the blood to flow back into your brain so you can think rationally once more.

  Did I do something for someone else today. This is a beauty when you can do it. It is better to give than receive. Makes you feel good, like the Grinch when his heart grows ten times larger.
  One thing I like to do is chop up an extra pickup full of firewood and drop it off to a friend. It benefits them but it benefits you too. You get some mindfulness, exercise, swinging an axe is great tension reliever. That firewood looks like PTSD, Whack, chop, smash. Oh ya......

  Or if you don't like fire, everyone has a lawn that needs mowed. Give someone a hand with they're lawn. Shovel a driveway or at least snow blow out the part the plow pushed off the street. Even if they neglect to say thanks (maybe because they have seen you in slippers and PJ's after 11am on a Wednesday) you still know they were happy to pull in and the pile was gone.

Did I take time to listen to someone else. Helping them with their problem often helps you with your own by recognizing some similarities. Even if their problem seems small to yours in comparison. Problems come in all sizes and cause the same emotions. Only when you don't or can't deal with them do they become monstrous problems.

So take some time out for yourself. Even a short walk can give enough time to figure things out.
Most important like yourself. It can be hard at times because you know yourself so well. Forgive yourself just as easily as you forgive others transgressions.

Thanks for your time
Ken

2 comments:

  1. B R I L L I A N T !
    I especially love the line...
    "let go of the negative feeling. Understand that I feel this way only because I am letting it be that way."

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  2. Thanks Marina, it took a while to figure that one out. Even with the doctor's help you are still left to figure most of it out yourself.

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