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Inspired by the posts on Treating Mood Disorders about wellness journals, I’ve decided to start one. OK, I admit, I thought it was hokey at first, but after giving it some thought, I decided that there’s probably something to it. And I like making stuff.

At first, I was going to use a small sketchbook journal I had on hand that a friend gave me when I moved away from Michigan. But I realized the dimensions were a little small and the binding tight enough that adding in photos and what-not would make it rather a mess. I can’t stand that sort of disorderliness (yeah, go ahead and laugh…) and I liked the advice to pick out a specific journal just for this purpose.

I schemed up a design for a handbound volume made exactly to my specifications, and I know I could make it. But I also admitted that I don’t have the time, I already have too many projects in the works, and I would get very perfectionist about it (triggering unnecessary anxiety) so it would be smarter to just buy one. I knew what I wanted and how much I felt I could spend, so I started shopping around on Etsy. I found a beautiful leather-bound journal with 90# cotton watercolor paper with hand-torn edges, perfectly suited to the functional requirements for the volume in terms of size, durability, and several other design factors.

Leather-bound journal and fountain pens for a wellness journal.

Knowing that writing utensils matter, I splurged (further) on my favorite disposable fountain pens, with several color options that will suit a wide range of purposes and enough pens to fill many empty pages. I also added in glue dots, photo squares, and photo corners – effective adhesives that are not messy and won’t cause paper to ripple (although that heavy watercolor paper should stand up just fine to judicious applications of Elmer’s.) In addition to the slew of colored pencils, metallic gel pens, and various other crafty tools I already own, I think I’m pretty well supplied for the task.

As I started to consider what I might include in each section, I’ve started collecting a few items in a cigar box. I love gathering up the ingredients of a new project, even when I know I shouldn’t be adding anything else to the table in front of me. To be honest, ordering the pens and glue made me a little anxious – there I go spending too much money again, probably more than I should. But I want to do it “right” (like everything else) and I know I’ll be considerably happier with the project and product if I have exactly the materials that suit my tastes.

I only wish that the wonderful paper in the journal could be quad ruled. I love graph paper. It lets me be neat and precise (and perfectionistic…)

Write what you feel: I see anxiety and OCD-like tendencies written all over my actions lately. It worries me further, feeding itself like some giant worm in my gut. Trying to understand what the newest med changes are doing to me. Wanting to stop them all, to start over from a clean slate, and knowing with certainty that I cannot. Doubting the diagnosis, and worrying that all this instability is my fault, not my body’s. Blaming myself for being crazy. Increasingly sure that I’m failing at everything that matters to me, but that I just can’t see it from my self-centered little crazy world. Worrying, worrying.

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