Journaling Through The Blues

The year was 1988, I had experienced the worst financial difficulty in my life, just a couple of months before the holiday season.

Not only did my attorney at the time make me feel very bad about myself for considering filing bankruptcy, but also after having spent time as a bill collector, I knew how the banking industry treated people who would choose this alternative. Needless to say, the blues had found its way into my life, settled in, made a home, and had gotten very comfortable.

I was able to overcome the holiday blues and in this article will share how. Even though I had to wander through the thick blues forest, one can avoid wandering by using these simple steps for managing the blues.

Right now, there are lots of people who, for whatever reason, experience the blues during the holidays. For some, it will come and go. For others the blues will find a place and remain there for a while, often too long.

First, let me define the blues. I don’t want to assume that everyone is on the same page about the definition of the blues. It’s a feeling you get when your self worth is reduced. Often the feeling is achy, painful, and can sometimes make you feel like you can’t breath. Other times the blues is just this lingering feeling of despair that manifests in some physiological way. One could feel sluggish, lazy-like, and not want to do anything or deal with anybody. Sometimes the blues hits a person right-smack-dab in the middle of the heart and feels painful, like someone is beating on your chest. OKAY!! Enough already!! I think you get the point – hopefully.

Now that we have pinpointed a clearer definition of the blues, lets look at how to overcome it. More specifically, I will share what I did to overcome in 1988 (and still do today). After looking back over my life and processing through that period when I was heavily burdened with the blues, I have been able to put my activities into steps.

First, I began to write about my experience in a personal journal. So if you don’t have a journal, my suggestion is that you bite the bullet and get one. I stumbled upon writing in a journal while writing letters to my attorney about how I felt when she told me I was going to be a “worthless person if I filed bankruptcy.” And she wasn’t talking about being financially worthless, she was referring to my person.

Even though I never mailed the letters, I remember how good it felt when I wrote to her about my feelings. Somehow I was able to transfer that experience into journaling, and have been keeping a personal journal every since that period in my life. I have a journal for dreams, another for special tasks, and I kept one while I was in graduate school. Since the birth of my beautiful daughter in January 2008, I have kept a journal about my experiences as her Dad and will give it to her as a gift when she is older. These are just a few journals I keep.

Second, make a list, in your journal, of how you want to feel at the end of the holiday season. Dedicate one page in your personal journal to answering this question: How do I “want to feel” about my self and the world around me – after the holiday season ends?

After you have written that question at the top of a page in your journal, schedule quiet time and start writing your responses, on the same page – under the question.

This is an important step because with the responses, you are equipped to create a vision in your minds eye of how you will be (change) after the holidays.

During the time that I was dealing with the backlash of my financial woes, I began to imagine myself being a deadbeat. Deadbeat was what, in the world of bill collecting, one was referred to when one did not pay bills on time. Well, I went from labeling folks as a deadbeat, to defining myself as one. It was terrible. Then one day, thanks to the writing of Leroy Brownslow, I decided to create a vision of my future. What did I want to “be” like in 1989, as a person? How would my life be better in 1990? Responding to those questions helped me to create a clear and wonderful picture, in my mind’s eye, of my life.

Third, in your personal journal, write a description of YOU as you deal with the world around you – after the holidays. What will you feel like? What will you wear? How positively will you respond to those you care about, and who care about you?

Writing, in detail, about how you will interact with the world, based on your responses to the previous two steps, will help you to clearly see yourself being better.

Next, make a list of what you need to do, between now and the end of the holiday season, to make all of this a reality. This list will become your action plan for bringing it all together. Remember to make this final list in your personal journal as well.

Finally, choose a start date – for example – January 2, 2009. This is the date you will experience this wonderfully delightful change in your persona. Don’t just choose a date, but pick a time on that day to begin.

This five step process is so very simple, yet the impact is powerful. Using these steps in 1988 and 1989 I was able to overcome the “bankruptcy blues” and by 1990 had purchased a condominium in downtown Nashville. This was an incredible experience for me, especially after having been told that not only would I not amount to anything, but that I would not be able to make any major purchases for at least seven years.

Today I attribute a great deal of my ability to face challenges to that time in my life when I learned how to create a clear picture of who I wanted to be and began writing about how I would deal with the world around me.

One key to all of this is stick-to-it-tiveness. You must read over all of those pages of writing in your journal, with belief and passion, for a minimum of thirty days after your start date.

Are you worth doing this for YOU? Of course you are worth it!

Dareen L. Johnson “Letting Go Pro”

Darren L Johnson is an expert on Letting Go of StuffВ® and is known as the Letting Go Pro. He has written and published numerous articles on letting go. In 1994 Darren created and began teaching Letting Go of StuffВ®.

During his twenty-five year career stint, Darren has worked with fortune 100 companies such as General Motors and Nissan, USA. As a speaker and consultant he combines personal experience, theory on change, and proven methods – all leading to success for his clients in the process of letting go of stuff.

In 2009 he founded the National Letting Go of Stuff Day and in 2007 founded a 501c3 NGO called the Global Business & Organization Development Foundation.
Journaling is a powerful process that will help you to slow down, examine your true feelings, get them out, and even process them. The processing kind of happens naturally as you write. So go get your personal journal and get started as soon as you can.

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