Many individuals with a mental illness are in denial, and can stay in denial for a long time. It’s not uncommon to go a decade or more without confronting it – I feel heartbroken when I think about how many lives are hindered by this, because I know what it’s like being in denial for a lengthy stay. It took me nearly 10 years before I came out from under my umbrella of denial, from fear, deep down I knew I’d have to face the storm. Having a mental illness can feel like being chained to street sign, in the dark, during a never ending storm vacillate on which way to even try to go. Education breaks chains and turns storms into drizzling rain, but denial blocks the break and calm on the way to healing. It takes time to identify this and it’s completely normal to go in and out of denial. Having trouble dealing with emotions can cause times of jumping right back into denial, one has to be careful of this relapse as it’s temporary but the more you come back from denial, the more healing comes from that. Expecting a lot all at once can slow progress, however, focusing on your future – one day at a time – places ease on an individual while on this journey. Relapsing may feel like a negative act, remembering that you’re not at fault and chalking relapse up to bad days can help in staying focused, clearing the way to educational opportunities and growth. It’s normal to have what can feel like too many bad days, but that’s ok if you stay focused and understand that your always going to get bad days, and that doesn’t mean you can’t thrive! Journaling and writing is a very expressive way to understand your feelings and gather thoughts about denial, you may learn many things about yourself and experience growth therapeutically. This way of expressing yourself is perhaps the most common, likely because it can be done in any shape, size, color, medium, with drawings instead of words – take your pick or get really creative, it’s all for you. Practicing, with no pressure attached, is a great way to start. Keep in mind that this can feel painful but will be helpful if your still somewhere in the denial stage, but don’t be discouraged, because like I said before, this experience can be very therapeutic and inspire growth. Getting your thoughts and feelings out, memorializing memories to reflect on, expressing any overwhelming emotions, prioritizing fears and concerns, are all fractions of how journaling creates opportunity for positive self-talk, identify any negative thoughts or behaviors, recognize triggers, revealing problematic or blocked memories that could be keeping one from creating order in a very chaotic life. Use journaling in any way you see fit, not sharing with anyone is up to you, my own journal has never been seen by anyone but me, which gives me a sense of privacy, helping to de-stress and clear my mind however I feel will help me best. Look at journaling as personal relaxation time, I myself find it easier to wind down before sleeping when I journal, especially when I make a cup of tea first. Doing this in a place that’s quiet and soothing or without distractions is best, but sometimes it can help to clear your mind when you’re busy. Sometimes when I am working or even just doing normal daily activities, I pull out my phone where I have a journaling app and type it up right then and there. Look forward to your journaling time, know that you’re doing a good and healthy activity for your mind and body.