Journals: Good or Bad?

Journals: Good or Bad?

I saw something on television today about how keeping a journal is potentially harmful because it makes you stew in your own feelings and accept negative emotions rather than confronting them and changing it.  It was all about how writing about your feelings and emotions doesn’t actually affect them and that there is no advantages of writing about your misfortunes.  While I accept that opinion, I don’t agree with it.

I started writing in my first journal when I was 12 years old and I have every journal I’ve ever written in, saved on my bookshelf.  At first a journal was just a way for me to express my frustration and feelings during my teenage years and moaning about school and friends, talking about who I had a crush on and how I planned to make them marry me.  It was immature fun and it gave me an outlet, I didn’t have many friends as a teenager and my journal was in a way, my best friend.

As I got older my writing became more serious and reflective, it was about expressing feelings that I couldn’t express to people, talking about my worries and fears, and my dreams and hopes. I felt lighter and free after writing about my feelings, it made things easier for me.

Now, reading back through my journals has proved really useful, not only does it remind me of little happy moments I’d forgot about, it showed me how depression entered my life.  I was diagnosed with depression at 18 and I’d always believed that it had started at 16 after my parents divorce and after I’d been through some bullying.  Looking back at my journals though, I can see now that it affected me long before I realised.  When I was 13 years old, I wrote about killing myself for the first time and periodically after that, I mention not wanting to live and wanting to give up on life.  I wrote more often between the ages of or 12 and 15, and it was all very depressing and now I’ve come to identify my depressive behaviour, I can see that I was depressed long before I realised.  It wasn’t just normal teenage hormones and mood swings, it was a constant feeling of darkness and I described it in my journals as this blackness inside me, that tried to ruin any happiness, I wrote about not enjoying life and feeling not well.

Reading back has helped me, it’s showed me that my depression isn’t because of my parents divorce or being bullied, it doesn’t come from a negative or traumatic experience, it just is.  I didn’t believe in depression as a biological illness, I always thought it was triggered by trauma and I felt guilty for having depression when I knew that some people had experiences a loss worse than mine, people have it a lot worse than me.  Now I think that maybe depression was just always there in me, maybe I don’t have to feel guilty about feeling the way I do when I have so many good things in my life.

Reading back through my journals has also helped me understand where my anxiety stems from, I was always a shy child and I preferred books to people and I enjoyed learning new things, which made me different to other kids and kids can be cruel to someone who is different.  I let classmates walk all over me, I let them say mean things and laugh at me, and I did it because I wanted to fit in.  I tried to follow the trends and change myself to be more like my peers but it never worked, I was always still singled out and it caused me to sink into myself and choose to avoid rather than confront.  I started to run away from situations instead of standing up for myself and that’s why my anxiety has come to be as bad as it is.  One of the things that stands out most to me in my journals is the days I would fake being ill to get out of school because there was a presentation that day or a group project and I was terrified of being humiliated so I did whatever I had to do to fake sickness and get the day off.  I wish that I could go back now and just face my fears because by avoiding them, I never gave myself the chance to prove I was good enough, I made it impossible to build my self esteem and confidence because I found it easier to hide away.  It’s really sad to think that I was so terrified of my classmates opinions and actions towards me and I wish that I had been stronger and stuck up for who I was instead of hiding and trying to change myself into someone else.  I’m 23 now and ever since the age of 12, I’ve avoided any experience which I thought could cause me humiliation, and by doing this, I’ve never given myself the chance to prove my fears wrong.  Just because some kids at school laughed and said horrible things, doesn’t mean everyone is going to do the same and even though I can see that logic, it doesn’t help me because I’m too used to thinking that people will dislike me, so I avoid people and situations where I could be vulnerable.  Just being in public makes me panic, because I have so little confidence in myself and I see people laughing, and think they’re laughing at me, I see people talking and automatically think they are making comments about the way I look or behave.

My journals have shown me where I went wrong, they’ve shown me that I shouldn’t feel guilty for being depressed when I’ve had a much better life than some.  They remind me of better times and make me proud of some of the things I’ve overcome. That’s why I think journals are beneficial, especially when you suffer with a mental illness because you can track your mood and identify triggers and behaviours that may signal a relapse.  It’s like writing this blog piece, it lifts a stress from my shoulders and allows me to say what I want to say without that face to face fear of judgement.  It allows me to reflect and think clearly which is really helpful.  I don’t know how I would have got through most of my life, if I didn’t have a journal to write in.

Advertisements
Confidence and Self Esteem

Confidence and Self Esteem

My confidence and self esteem issues started in high school and have such a strong impact on me even now. it’s something that follows me and triggers my depression a lot, and in turn, my depression takes advantage of my low self esteem and makes me hate the person I am.

As a child, I was a complete attention seeker, always in front of the camera singing and dancing.  I was confident and adventurous, I loved making friends and I was slightly tom boyish but happy with who I was.  When I look back at photos and videos of myself back then, I feel a lot of things.  I feel a happiness at seeing my old self and seeing how much I enjoyed life.  I feel jealousy because I’d give anything to be that little girl again with all that confidence.  I feel sadness because that little girl I was, isn’t here anymore and she didn’t deserve to be broken down and made to feel worthless.

High school can be a hard time of life for some, while for others it’s the best years of their life.  My high school life was a mix of the two.  On one hand I loved learning, I was a bookworm and I loved to soak up knowledge and express my opinions.  On the other hand, my classmates made me dread going to school and that’s where I began to lose the confident, adventurous girl I was.  I wouldn’t say I was bullied, I was never physically hurt by my classmates or singled out and targeted by a group of people.  The problem was, I didn’t fit in anywhere and although I had friends, I drifted between groups and never really found my place which meant a lot of the time, I was left on my own.  Group projects or gym class used to bring dread to my heart because I knew I’d always be the last to be picked.  When paired with me, my classmate would snigger to their friends and complain in whispers because I was the quiet shy girl who always got on with the teachers and did well on schoolwork.  To everyone else, I was uncool and no one wanted to be associated with that bookworm who actually enjoyed schoolwork.  When speaking aloud in class, I became nervous and blushing had always been an issue, my classmates picked up on this and whenever I had to speak up, my classmates would laugh quietly to one another and whisper about how red I turned and how I would just look at the floor.  Eventually I felt like my opinions and my voice wasn’t important and it was easier and safer to stay quiet and instead of answering teachers, just pretend I didn’t know the answer.  I was always a bit tom boyish and the popular girls made comments about my clothes and asked me where I shopped, they’d giggle and judge me.  The boys would make comments about how I wasn’t girly and eventually changed my name from Heather to Hector because they thought I was more of a boy.

I thought college was my chance at a new start but it was more of the same, I was quiet and shy so people found it easier to ignore me and pretend I didn’t exist.  There was none of the teasing and insults that I’d experienced in high school but being ignored and rejected was the same.  I’d end up sitting at a table in class all on my own because no one would sit near me, they thought I was odd because I wasn’t as confident and outspoken as them.  I never got included in group work, the rest of the group would just talk amongst themselves and do the work without me.  This was also a time in my life where I was bullied by a single person who chose to pick on the way I looked and my weight.  I wasn’t overweight, I’d never been sporty or skinny and I’ve always been very short.  Nevertheless, I’d always worried about my appearance and when a girl started to call me fat and post pictures of me on the internet with insulting names and comments about my weight, it really destroyed me and it was the final straw.  I’d held on and tried so hard to fit in and be like everyone else but all I got was rejected, made fun of and ridiculed for being different.  I hated myself so much at this point that self harming came easily to me, I wanted to hurt and scar the ugly person I was, I hated my body and my appearance so much that I physically sliced into my skin with knives or scissors to make the pain go away.

High school and college was a constant period of my life where I was ignored, left out and isolated by others because I was quiet and people didn’t want to know the shy, quiet bookworm.  This left me feeling like I would never be good enough, that my life wasn’t important and that I was below everyone else.

I hate the person I am now.  Lot’s of people are insecure about themselves and have things they wish they could change about the way they look.  For me though, it’s a hatred of everything I see when I look in the mirror.  I hate that I’m not skinny or in shape, I hate the my hair is frizzy and not straight, I hate that my nose isn’t straight because I broke it when I was 12.  I hate the stretch marks on my skin, the way my skin never tans, the colour of my eyes, my chest size, my ugly feet.  Everything about the way I look is disgusting to me, it physically makes me sick thinking about myself.  And it’s not just on the outside but the inside too, the self loathing I feel because I’m not out going or bubbly, the feeling that I will always be that girl sat on my own because no one wants to know me.  I’m worthless and not good enough, I don’t fit in anywhere and I’m just disgusting .

I look in the mirror and I feel sad, I feel broken and I feel disgust.  No one knows how their words affect others, sometimes people speak without thinking.  At school, no one thinks about how, they way you treat someone can affect them in the long run, it’s all just gossip and being cool.  I just want someone to read this and think next time they see someone sitting on their own, next time you see someone being left out and ignored and make the effort.  I wish that someone had made the effort to include me, even once.

 

 

Quotes about Depression and Suicide

Quotes about Depression and Suicide

I’ve always really loved quotes because when I read one that I can relate too, it’s a good feeling to know that someone else has felt the same way.  Depression is isolating and reading words that someone else has written and relating to them makes me feel not so alone.  So I wanted to compile a list of my favourite quotes about depression and suicide and I hope that they can make other people feel less alone as well because loneliness is one of the hardest emotions to fight.

Most of these are off Pinterest and may not have authors listed so sorry about that.

“I don’t want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can’t even see it, something that’s drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead.”
― Margaret Atwood

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”
― Sally Brampton

“When someone asks me “What is wrong?” I simply reply with “I’m just tired” and they agree; they say to take a nap.  But you see this exhaustion it is not something simply resolved by sleeping.  I cannot simply shut my eyes and wake up okay.  I need a break from my brain, my heart, my life.  I need to go away for just a little while.  Or maybe forever.”

“When a depressed person shrinks away from your touch, it does not mean she is rejecting you.  Rather she is protecting you from the foul, destructive evil which she believes is the essence of her being and which she believes can injure you” – Dorothy Rowe

“People who die by suicide don’t want to end their lives.  They want to end their pain.”

“You don’t know pain until you’re staring at yourself in the mirror with tears streaming down your face and you’re begging yourself to just hold on and be strong.  That is pain”

“I don’t know how I expect people to love me when I can barely look at myself without cringing”

“I say sorry a lot, mostly because I feel like everything is my fault”

“Depression isn’t always at 3am.  Sometimes it happens at 3pm, while you’re with your friends and you’re halfway through a laugh”

“Why don’t you accept compliments? Because if feels like I’m being lied too”

“It’s scary, what a smile can hide”

“Never underestimate how much pain somebody has to be to put a razor to their wrist, a finger to their throat, a gun to their head or a pen to ‘that’ note”

“Don’t try to relate to a suicidal person.  Sure you may have had some sad days but until you have felt that overwhelming, empty, almost calming desire to die, just say ‘Thank you for still being here, you are strong and I love you'”

“You hurt yourself on the outside trying to kill the monster on the inside”

“If you could see what I feel, if anxiety, if sadness, and loneliness were physical wounds that decorate my body in red lines and purple marks, would you be shocked at how bloody and bruised I am?”

“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are” – Robin Williams

 

These are a few quotes that have touched me and made me feel like I’m not truly alone in the world.  It’s hard living with depression and getting to the point where suicide is the only option you have to end the pain.  I would never wish it on anyone and one day, I hope that my words will touch someone else and make them feel less alone.  In a world filled with this many people, no one should feel alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

I came across a question today “How easy is it to forgive those who have caused you pain?” and it made me think about all the people in my life who have hurt me and how that’s had an impact on the person I am today.  My depression is definitely tied to my self esteem, which has been knocked down further and further over the years by people who have made me feel not good enough.  It’s too easy to hurt people and I’ve had too many encounters to remember but the ones I do remember, they had an affect. So to those people, I address this post.

To the girls at school.  I had a hard time fitting in, I wasn’t as girly or outgoing as most of the girls, I preferred reading and playing imaginary games with myself. Because I was different, maybe I stood out more, maybe that’s why you picked on me.  I never wanted that attention, I wanted to be normal and fit in but you wouldn’t let me.  You sniggered behind my back, made jokes about my clothes.  You made it a point to not sit at the same table as me, sometimes leaving me completely alone while every other table was full.  It was fun to you, you didn’t care that it hurt me, that it made me feel disgusting. I was quiet and shy so you’d make it your mission to embarrass me and put attention on me.  You always picked me last for teamwork, and then ignored me completely.  You made it hard to go to school some days.  I still find it hard to be around groups of girls because I worry they’ll talk about me, that they’ll think I’m weird.  I still get frustrated that I’m not more girly and feminine and I worry that people don’t like me and that I’ll never fit in.  You made me a less confident person.  As a teenage, it’s hard and it’s easy to pick on other people for amusement but what you do can have lasting effects and it can hurt.

To the person I trusted.  You were the first person who made me feel like I fit in somewhere, and that I could trust someone.  You made me happier and livelier, you brought me out of my shell.  I let you in on my most private thoughts and worries.  I don’t know what happened, maybe I played a part in it and maybe I deserve some of the blame for the way things ended but I didn’t deserve what you did after.  You broke my trust and used my innermost worries and thoughts against me, you told other people my insecurities and manipulated them.  You made me cry myself to sleep, you made me pick up the knife for the first time and cut myself.  You made me hate myself so much that I didn’t want to be here anymore, you gave me confidence issues and issues with the way I look that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  You destroyed me more than you know and more that I’ve ever admitted.  Trust is easily broken and you broke mine and threw it in my face.

To my Dad.  You were my best friend, the person I could always count on.  You taught me a lot of things and made my childhood the best I could have asked for.  You were the perfect father until Mum left you.  I know it hurt, I know it nearly destroyed you but I was there.  I helped you, I made the effort and stood up for you.  I made it hard for Mum because I wanted her to hurt, I wanted to make it better for you.  In the end though, you left me.  You walked out of my life when I needed you, when I was confused and angry.  You made your life a priory and the life of your children second best.  You were part of the reason I tried to kill myself for the first time.  You didn’t care that I was sick, you didn’t care that I had tried to take my own life and that rejection affected who I am today because I will never feel good enough again.  I felt like no one would want me if my own father didn’t.  I’m broken because you ripped out a part of my heart.  You’re trying to make up for it now, and I’ll give you the second chance but that rejection and abandonment will never fade, I will always feel unimportant and rejected.  You make me expect disappointment from every person I meet.

Those are the three moments of my life I believe had a real affect on who I am today.  My self esteem and opinion of myself is low because I let these experiences effect me.  I wish I could have been stronger and I wish I could tell my past self to stay strong and ignore what others do and say but I can’t.  Do I forgive these people for hurting me?  Yes I do.  It’s hard but resentment will not help me, it will not make me better.  I forgive these people, sometimes we don’t know our actions can seriously harm others.  I forgive the people who hurt me, I just won’t every forget them or their actions and that’s the sad part.