This post is Grassroots, meaning a reader posted it directly. If you see an issue with it, contact an editor.
If you’d like to post a Grassroots post, click here!

February 12, 2020

Hi I’m Jennie and I’m a noteaholic

I’m quite good at compulsive note-taking.

Yes, that’s right. Hi, I’m Jennie and I’m a noteaholic.

It all started in grade school as a kid or at least that’s the first time I remember having to deal with this particular affliction – when I couldn’t stop myself from making the pencil fly across the page. Was it because I was a perfectionist and wanted to be the “best” in school? Or was it because I was trying to rein in my galloping, overthinking brain? Or was it an avoidance method – a way of avoiding the chaos of my life?

Actually I’m pretty sure it was all of the above and so much more. This nagging compulsion has been in my life ever since I could remember and has served me well with so many people, in so many places and with so many things, especially once I got to medical school. No one, I repeat, no one needs to take notebooks full of high-lighted, color coordinated notes form FIVE different anatomy books when one would have sufficed.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, despite me happily chugging along taking notes anywhere and everywhere, in personal and professional capacities; while reading books, watching videos, listening to podcasts, I began to get a glimmer that perhaps I might be overdoing it just a bit. Maybe it was that while filling up my drawers and shelves with journals and notebooks of notes on everything, my life was crumbling down around me. Taking notes on “how to save a relationship” wasn’t saving my marriage. And taking notes on parenting from 100’s of resources wasn’t making me a better parent to my two beautiful boys, especially not to my challenging one. My attempt at controlling my life with the taking of notes was having the exact opposite effect.

Taking that first step toward inner work led me down the path of my spiritual journey and allowed me to begin to deeply feel the stirrings of an insightful awareness that this sometimes unbearable longing for note-taking was holding me back, keeping me stagnant and becoming a vicious cycle leading to nowhere.

With the help of a wonderful therapist and the reluctant stepping back from note-taking, I began to realize that while it had helped me manage my personal and professional life in various ways, it was preventing me from living a full life.  Instead of actively living and loving and being and doing, I was spending my life filling page after page, notebook after notebook with words and images and arrows and circling – things I never once looked back on. I needed to trust myself and my ability to absorb the beauty and benefit of the information without putting pen to page.

I will always be a noteaholic, and this compulsion, just like my codependency, is all about progress, not perfection. I am grateful for taking the first step to begin to learn how not to use it as a distracting or avoiding device and to stay in the present, living my life

Thanks so much for letting me share.

Read 6 Comments and Reply

Read 6 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Jennifer Alicia Plumb  |  Contribution: 4,720