Reasons You Should Keep An Online Journal

Young Woman Typing on a Laptop at HomeI’ve wrote before about the importance of  journaling and keeping a diary in my post setting up a coping toolbox. Many famous people throughout history have kept journals such as Anne Frank, Kurt Cobain and poet Sylvia Plath.  I’ve kept journals off and on since high school and it’s great to go back and look through some of the old ones to see how things have changed.

The other day I went back through an old journal and realized that in some situations where at the time I thought I was right, I was actually wrong, selfish and insensitive. That doesn’t mean I went and beat myself up over the past, it just gave me a better understanding of the situation and the person I was then compared to the person I am now and the person I want to become.

Journaling is a great way to express yourself, to relieve stress, to work out emotional and relationship problems from the past and present, to better understand yourself, capture life events and become more mentally and emotionally healthy. Check out 100 Benefits of Journaling.

One of main problems of keeping a traditional journal or diary is privacy. I know I’ve been reluctant to truly express myself in paper-bond journals out of fear of someone else reading it. I’ve also had the misfortune of  breaking the trust and privacy of someone I love by reading their personal journal, so I understand the fear of invasion of privacy that keeps many people from journaling altogether.

Thankful there are now many different ways to keep a journal and I encourage everyone to at least try an online journal. Sure you can keep a journal as an encrypted text file on your computer, but it is not as easily available as an online journal that is available from any computer that has internet access.

Many people try to keep journals using Google Docs or similar programs, but most good online journals have close to military grade encryption where no one, including the site owners can/will read your private thoughts. They also have easy ways you can add pictures, print your pages if you so choose to, email them to yourself, even email a page to someone else, annonymously if you want.

When it comes to online journals, there are many to choose from and feel free to do your own research, but here I’ve put my top three recommendations:

  1. Penzu– it’s what I am currently using. They offer a free and easy way to keep an online journal and promise military-grade encryption and 256-bit SSL encryption. You can upgrade to the Pro version of Penzu for $20 a year which for the most part just allows more customization, but it’s not necessary to upgrade or pay. The free version still offers many features and gives you a great place to record your private thoughts. Penzu is one of if not the most popular online journal and I highly recommend it.
  2. 750 Words– encourages you to write 750 words a day, which is about 3 pages. It is private and a simple way to just get your thoughts out. Their tag line is “Private, unfiltered, spontaneous, daily”. I like 750 words a lot and they send you simple emails everyday to remind you to write, I just couldn’t get into the habit of using it as much as I use Penzu.
  3. My Therapy Journal– this online journal is unique in the fact that it is therapy oriented and can be used by those with and without issues they may be in therapy for. For those who are actively in therapy, this is an absolutely great tool and one I actually encourage over Penzu. The one thing I do not like about My Therapy Journal is that you have to pay for a one month ($5.99 per month renewed and billed monthy), three month ($4.99 per month renewed and billed every 3 months) or annual ($2.99 per month renewed and billed annually) membership. I’m not too keen on an online journal that forces you to pay, but like I said, if you are actively in therapy then this is definitely worth it and you get 14 days to try it for free.

There are many different options out there, but these are my top three. If you have any others you would like to add please post them in the comments section.

Regular writing has many, many benefits from improved mental health to creativity. Finding a place you can trust with your thoughts is important and I hope this helps with that discovery.

Donald Glover’s Dark Instagram Musings: Celebrity Meldown Or A Cry For Help?

1089859-chidlishgambino-617-409I know Donald Glover more for his music. He’s a rapper and goes by the name Childish Gambino, but he’s not just any rapper. In my opinion he is a lyrical genius and generally writes lyrics that are controversial and thought-provoking at the same time. His music, for the most part has a sense of depth to it which separates real artists from those who think they are real artists.

Most people however know Donald Glover from his work as a writer on the NBC hit 30 Rock as well as his character Troy on the NBC show Community which he recently left, some say to pursue his rap career. He’s also a talented comedian and only 30 years old.

Recently, Glover set the social world ablaze when he went diary like on his Instagram account on October 14th, revealing some intimate and honest feelings about his inner most fears which include fears over disappointing his fans, his career and his love life.

On a piece of hotel stationery he wrote:

  • “I feel like I’m letting everyone down,”
  • “I’m afraid people hate who I really am.”Donald-Glover-467-1
  • “I’m afraid I hate who I really am.”
  • “I’m afraid this is all an accident.”
  • “I’m scared I won’t know anything ever again.”
  • “I’m scared I never knew anything.”
  • “I’m afraid I’ll regret this.”
  • “I’m afraid this doesn’t matter at all.”
  • “I don’t wanna rap,” he wrote. “I wanted to be on my own.” (clarifying that he didn’t leave Community to pursue his rap career)
  • “I’m afraid of the future,”
  • “I’m afraid my parents won’t live long enough to see my kids”
  • “I’m afraid people think I hate my race.”
  • “I’m afraid people think I hate women.”

On one hand, this freeing of emotions, this type of introspection is heroic.

Celebrities, especially Donald Glover, often times come off as shallow, narcissistic, and ego-maniacs. It’s refreshing to hear a celebrity express his fears. It humanizes them and reminds us that we have much more in common with each other than we may realize.

This sort of expression is good for the person too, it’s a catharsis and can help us not only think about what we are doing and where we are going, but also helps us bring balance back into our lives. The release of emotion is generally the mind and body trying to get back to a sense of balance when we feel out of balance.

However, there are times when this type of expression, especially when made as public as Donald Glover’s was, is a cry for help. A sign that someone is dealing with more mental angst, anxiety and/or depression than they may believe they can handle so they are putting it all out there in hopes that if the action alone doesn’t bring about a sense of relief, then hopefully it will gain the attention of people willing to help them get back into a state of balance and peace. Donald-Glover-467-2

Some of his fans even feared that this could be a type of suicide note for now or in the future, and while I don’t believe it is, I can see where they could get that from. We’ve lost enough young celebrities this year to know that many have no overt signs of suicidal tendencies and the ones they did have were often overlooked or ignored. I would hate for this to be another one.

If I were someone close to Donald Glover, his friend, his family, even his business partner, I would definitely use this as an opportunity to reach out to him to make sure that he is okay. Chances are he is fine. Artist, depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. There’s been many studies and books written on manic depression and creativity and how depression, anxiety and even mania can spark creativity and yet sabotage the artist by overwhelming them.

Look at how many artists, musicians, and actors have killed themselves either purposely or through drugs and alcohol.

While I definitely think it’s freeing and refreshing to see an artist be so open about their fears, I think it’s also a warning sign for those closest to him to make sure that he stays balanced and doesn’t go too far unto the side of negativity and ends up ruining his life or doing something that is irreversible.

I am all about creative expression and introspection, but I also know that celebrities most often do not ask for help directly, usually do to their pride and status, yet they are just like the rest of us when it comes to dealing with our intrapsychic suffering.