Disclaimer: I am in no way, shape, or form a professional. I am merely a college student who is speaking from years of personal experience. Anything I post on here regarding mental health or the like is based purely off of personal experience. Nothing here is meant to substitute for treatment or anything of that sort.
It can be very difficult to, but keeping track of your emotions can be a very helpful practice when living with depression. It helps to 1) prevent you from bottling up emotions (especially when you feel like talking about what’s going on annoys everyone), 2) assists in identifying patterns over time, and 3) gives you a concrete place to begin talking if you participate in counseling and are often at a loss as to where to begin talking.
♦ Prevents you from bottling up emotions/Helps not annoy everyone ♦
Writing down how I am feeling, whether it be a bulleted list, or a short scribble at the end of the day, helps me to sort through what has gone on during the day, and record how I responded to such events. Sometimes (but not all the time), writing these things down is cathartic in a way. Having the thoughts on paper (or my phone) doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they’ll go away, or that I’ll feel better since they’re somewhere else, but at least a piece of whatever thing(s) is/are bothering me can be buried somewhere.
On another note, this may not apply to everyone, but I often feel guilty about talking about when I feel as if things are going wrong. It feels like constant complaining, or dampening down other people’s moods. So, writing things down serves the purpose of venting without you having to deal with the subsequent guilt of discussing negative things with other people frequently. That’s not to say it isn’t okay to talk to those you feel comfortable with, it’s just if you are plagued by this feeling, this can help with that a lot.
♦ Helps identify patterns overtime ♦
When you have a record of your general reactions to events, it becomes easier for you to identify triggers and see how things operate for you emotionally as time passes. Personally, recording things has helped me identify general patterns of what usually starts me down a tough path. It also helped me understand that things work in waves for me – that is, I’ll have highs (or plateaus) and lows, and ascents and descents to these points. There are things that accelerate and decelerate this, but that is the pattern.
♦ Concrete starting point ♦
Lastly, and probably the most helpful in the short term personally, has been that this gives me a solid starting point for that “what’s going on?” or “how are you feeling question?” Sometimes, when it seems like there is just too much happening, it can get hard to pinpoint exactly where to begin, and then it seems like conversations go nowhere because there was never really a solid foundation to begin with. These observations can serve as a great jump off point for future discussions, or future introspection (however you choose to address them).
There are many ways to do this, including journaling, taking notes on your phone, apps (they make apps that help with anxiety and the like), recordings, etc…For me, the most effective has been just making bulleted lists. This way, I get to the general point without allowing myself to sink back too deeply in the situation. It’s enough so that I can remember what happened/what to talk about, but not re-immerse myself in the feeling.
I hope this was interesting in some way. If anyone who reads this does not want to see any more posts of this nature, let me know. I’m trying a new thing where I don’t worry about scheduling or specific types of content…just writing what I like, when I like.
Have a great day!