A version of this story originally appeared on the Strategist U.S.
No one ever says it is easy to talk about your feelings. But not enough people talk about what can happen when you don’t address them. When I was younger, I struggled with my self-worth and mental health. I bottled up my emotions and put on a façade, hoping the messy feelings would disappear. I didn’t realize my problems weren’t going anywhere — or that, by ignoring them, they would only get worse and push me to a dark breaking point.
It was while in treatment back in 2014 when I realized the therapeutic powers of journaling. I was encouraged to write about uncomfortable emotions, deep-seated fears, our hopes and dreams for the future — all of the things that make us feel. When speaking about such stuff is too difficult, writing it down can be an equally effective way to process, find your voice, and grow through your pain. That’s why journaling is one of the many ways the members of my mental-health advocacy organization Gurls Talk are encouraged to cope with whatever experiences they may be going through.
For me, journaling quickly grew to become a release. A load lifted. A moment for reflection. It forces me to make space and time for honest conversations with myself. I see each page as a blank canvas for my mind’s most joyful shades, moodiest tones, and everything in between. While I do use and appreciate fancier journals like the new one Gurls Talk made with Papier, my favourite ones have always been plain notebooks because they give me the space and freedom to pour everything out, unfiltered and raw. Like you might have as a primary-school student, I use these Five Star notebooks from Mead as journals. Their simple lined pages are all the prompt my mind needs to go in any direction I feel like going in. Some days, writing in a journal teaches me something revelatory. Other days, I’ll fill pages with familiar feelings that serve as welcome reminders of things I need to hear. But no matter what words come out, they always help me get to know myself a little better.
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