I keep a mood journal. Well, a very biased mood journal. I only really write in it when I am depressed. It does help me keep track of how I have been feeling, however. Sometimes I look back over it to see if I have made any progress and it can be shocking.
I am easily addicted to things whether they be substances or practices. I made a special section in my journal talking about addictions and last night I read my entries. It really made me see how addiction is linked to my depression. It seems I grasp for anything to distract me from the pain. Each episode I have tried different things - a consequence of doctors telling me not to drink, for example, because it is a poor way of dealing with pain and so next time I pick up a new substance to replace the coping mechanism I have lost. I have used alchol, pot, cigarettes, cutting, sex, food deprivation and even the habit of gaining attention as a means to cope. Whatever seems to work, for however short of a time, I cling to. I dont know how I will ever be able to get away from this. I have had years of therapy and yet substances and practices are still the most effective way of feeling better fast. I guess thats why they are addictive though isnt it?
Looking back last night did allow me to see that addiction is part of my illness that doesnt really affect me when I am doing well. Reading back also allows me to recognize the pain I have endured and that I have always made it through - sometimes I really do not know how. At the risk of sounding too positive, I think looking back is a healthy way of recognizing and learning from the past.