I’ve been feeling lost every day. I couldn’t tell you why, simply because I just don’t know.
My boyfriend pointed out to me that I tend to fiddle with my nails and sometimes dig them into my palm when I feel tense or anxious. He helps me by holding my hand when he notices it. My therapist pointed out that I hold my breath when I feel very tense, like I’m so focused on something that is bothering me that I forget how to breathe. She reminds me to take a deep breath during sessions. And my family said that I end up choking on my food sometimes because I’m too focused on over-thinking something in my head that my body kind of fails to function properly. They pat me on the back or snap me out of it once they realise my gaze is off in a distance.
When I have nightmares, I scratch on my skin as if I’m suddenly allergic to something, even if I don’t dream about bugs or anything allergy-related at all. I wake up with rashes on my legs. Sometimes I touch my collarbone and trace it excessively, sometimes I get completely still because I feel numb. These are all the things I learned about myself over-time, and it’s made me realise how little I pay attention to myself. How much about myself I’m neglecting.
After everyone around me has brought these habits to my attention, I began to notice them all the time and as soon as I’m aware of what I’m doing, I try to force myself to breathe, be mindful about the food in my mouth instead of my thoughts, and I’ll caress my arms instead of digging my nails into them. This is a temporary, easy fix.
The same way I hold my breath, I hold in what I’m feeling. It’s all constantly moving in a loop in my head and it consumes my life, whether I’m home relaxing or at work, heavily occupied. It feels heavy in my chest, sometimes more than I’d like to admit.
A long time ago when I got myself a baby-blue diary with a lock on it, I made writing my outlet for those feelings and I’ve been doing it ever since. For no one to see, just for me, and sometimes also shared with others. I can breathe that way. Journaling has been my ritual for purging all of my emotions and thoughts. Sure, I can use it to look back on my life, but more-so it is therapy, and it has brought me so much more peace and clarity in my life when I feel a little overwhelmed.
Simply taking time each day to focus on me is a rewarding act of self-love in itself, and I can be as loud and vulgar and honest as I want to be on writing. When you give yourself the opportunity to follow a train of thought without judgment or a sense of urgency, you find so much more in your head that’s been neglected all along. It is so liberating.
I try to journal at the same time every day to make it a habit and it is either in the morning after waking up or before bed. That way I can unload everything after a rough night and move on with my day feeling lighter, or I’ll dump everything for a good night’s rest.
I use a Moleskine black basic lined notebook and a simple black Muji pen. You’ll always found this pair in my bag. They’re part of Getting Well Soon. At least for me.
Here’s a dreamy playlist I listen to when I’m journaling and pretending to be sitting on a balcony in a warm Italian town.