Journaling Benefits

Journaling Became My New Therapist

New year, new me...right?

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We've all seen the movies of teenage girls keeping journals enclosed with their deepest and darkest secrets - or at least some sort of "therapeutic" form of writing down their feelings. To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Mamma Mia, LOL, Read It And Weep, you name it. They make it seem as though every single girl keeps a secret dear diary. Personally, I never bought it. Like a lot of people I know, I never thought writing down your feelings did really anything at all.

However, as New Year's rolled around, I started contemplating realistic resolutions. Resolutions that I could actually stick to. So I figured I would try the whole journal thing.

Day One was interesting. I didn't know how to start or what to say. I mean, talking to yourself it weird as it is, and putting that into words made me feel like a major freak. I found myself writing awkwardly, at first, not knowing what the heck the purpose of this was. It seems SO easy for the girls in the movies but for some reason, I literally just could not put my feelings into words.

Keep in mind, this is my New Year's Resolution. You can't just give up on your New Year's Resolution on freaking January 1! So, I tried to keep my "creative juices" flowing and kept writing until finally, it all started coming together.

In a way, it was almost overwhelming. I suddenly had so much to write about. I wrote down every new thought that popped into my mind and I could not stop. Halfway through, I realized everything I wrote about would have been something that would have been on my mind, probably inducing anxiety as I attempted to fall asleep. Not only did my little journal-writing experience let me declutter my mind, but it also helped me fall asleep so much faster.

I'm not someone who goes to therapy on a regular basis. I think I have gone to a therapist a total of three times, and frankly, I have never found it that helpful. I mean, I guess it's nice to talk to someone about how you're feeling, but it takes a lot for me to open up to someone and for some reason, it just never really worked out with the stranger sitting across from me taking notes on my every utterance.

My journal, however, provides me with an open space to say everything on my mind without having to worry about how I come off and what people will think about it. It never gets annoyed, it won't tell anyone, and it's the most convenient. In fact, it's the best resolution I've ever had.

So here I am, on my second week of journal-keeping, and loving it. It is seriously the best way to organize your thoughts, eliminate stress, and share how you're feeling without actually sharing how you're feeling.

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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My Eating Disorder Was A Secret, Even From Me

No one ever talks about it, and if they had my life might be different.

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I remember ninth grade health class very well, specifically one day in particular. The day we talked about eating disorders, I was ready to hear about anorexia and bulimia. I was not ready to walk out of that classroom with confirmation that I had an eating disorder, but that is exactly what I did that day.

After speaking on anorexia and bulimia, my teacher told us about Binge Eating Disorder.

My 14-year-old ears perked up. I had never heard of this disease, but I was immediately interested. I knew anorexia and bulimia well, they were the diseases that, at the time, I wish I had the determination to try, but I was too scared to hurt my body.

Binge Eating Disorder was new to me. My teacher described it as continuing to eat after you were full and eating for hours at a time. As the signs and symptoms continued to be read, I realized... that the last three years of my life had been plagued by binges. There was a lot I couldn't control in my life, but eating was one thing that I always had control over. It was the one thing that always brought me comfort.

Most binges would start after I came home from a hard day at school, or maybe after I got in a fight with a family member. Maybe I felt insecure about the growing number on the scale, but I ate.

It always started with half a bag of chips, then maybe a cookie or other sweet treat, and then I would finish with something else I could find in the pantry. My mother would come home and begin making dinner.

Ashamed, I would hide the food anywhere so my family could not tell I had been eating and then I would go eat dinner.

This was a common occurrence for me, but I had no idea that my habits were wrong or should point to an eating disorder. The only thing that I knew was wrong with me, was that I was gaining weight.

For the longest time, I thought an eating disorder was something that helped you lose weight unhealthily, not gain weight. It wasn't until I sat in a health class that I realized that there was anything wrong with me.

Education is so important in overcoming eating disorders. We are making such great strides about informing people about the dangers of eating disorders and positive body image.

It is so important that we start making Binge Eating Disorder a topic that is as known as anorexia and bulimia. No one ever discusses Binge Eating Disorder, not even the dangers of it, maybe if they had my life might have been different.

Maybe I would have found out about it earlier and could have gotten help before it got out of hand.

I wish I could say that I left that health class that day and never had a binge again. The truth is I binged several times after that, and still to this day I have an episode, although they are very rare.

It would be unrealistic to tell you that I overcame my eating disorder that day because it is a journey I am still completing. Every day presents a new challenge, and sometimes I fail, but I will succeed, and succeeding is worth a few failures.

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