I have found my old journals! I kept journals from ages 11-15, so from 6th grade until 9th grade. Boy are they cringe-worthy. Recently I started cleaning out my bedroom with Diego. The best way to describe the room before cleaning was a hoarder’s paradise. Trash and clothes covered the floors, my bed had no sheets or covers on it, crumbs everywhere and I had a little bit of my queen sized bed to lay down on at night, while the rest of the bed held my med box, shoes, clothes, and painting supplies and a couple of large canvases I was working on. Why did I let it get this bad, you may ask? My agitation has been horrible lately and any attempt at cleaning sent me into an anxious tizzy where I couldn’t get out of bed. After Diego saw my room, he said he would help me clean if it meant I would put my worries aside and help him, help me. Phase 1 included one load of laundry, putting away all my clean clothes, filling all three laundry baskets with dirty clothes (yes I am aware I have a lot of clothes), and getting rid of all garbage and recycling. The next day was day 2, phase 2. Phase 2 included more laundry and putting away clothes as needed, washing my sheets and pillowcases, and moving around furniture. There were a few stacks of papers that I needed to go through, and I had to make the bed, and vacuum, and finish laundry so that wasn’t too bad. I went to Diego’s house for the night and when I was dropped off in the morning, I went into my room and I found my bed made, trash gone, floors vacuumed, and laundry folded and put back into their baskets. I started crying because I knew my parents saw how hard it was for me to clean so they went the extra mile to help finish cleaning.
This happened about a week ago. I need to do some laundry again and still go through the paperwork on my desk, but it’s manageable this time around, and I intend to keep it this way or at least until I have another depressive break down.
As I was saying, I found my old journals and I was reading about my time in middle school and as a freshman in high school. I was highly intuitive and analytical of the situations I was in and a lot of what I said about my relationships foreshadowed how my relationships would be in my adult life. I had the whole concept of self-awareness down before I knew what that term even meant! Here’s a gem from 14 year old Dani:
How I handle pain and how I react to pain are two completely separate ordeals. Which is the reason why I am so depressed and fucked up. How I handle pain is that I bottle it all up, but I never really blow up because I always blame myself for whatever the problem is. If I feel some sort of pain (like depressed or sad, etc.) I make myself believe that I truly deserve it, even though I know I’m not the problem for everything I’m dealing with. But no one would know the difference because I don’t react to it; I’m as cool as a cucumber. My friend said this about me, “Dani, you’re good under pressure and good with problems, but when dealing with other people, you just shut down.”Me, circa November 2012
I am happy that I began this blog in February because it is very similar to writing in a journal. Only difference is that a blog is on a very public platform whereas the journal is kept a secret, sometimes hidden by lock and key. You would think I would censor my blog for those reading it, but I don’t. I don’t use last names, but first names are real and so are the people I write about. So if you’re reading this and I know you, you’ll know exactly who I am talking about. If I don’t give specific names, you can probably figure out who they are or what kind of person they are by the character traits I say they have. I only say names because if I use a fake name, I’ll forget who it was I was talking about, and if this is my journal essentially, I shouldn’t nor will not censor myself in whatever the topic is.
I heard from my sister that my posts can be hard to read because they are so heavy with all the burdens I have faced. But something she hasn’t realized is that my posts are for me, not for anyone else. As much as I love sharing my insights with my readers and sharing how I get through the day-to-day along with bigger adversities, I write to reflect on my own life and look back on my own posts to reflect where I am with my bipolar disorder, analyzing the coping mechanisms that I’m using/not using, and seeing how I can improve. All while trying to write in a way that logically makes sense. I usually write a story, a situation that I go through that has a plot and they all must have a beginning, middle, and an end. I try to include a lesson I have learned from the experience or at least a point of view that might be different than what you have thought of before.
I just hope to continue my writing because it has made me grow as a person so much, even looking back to my cringe-worthy eighth grad journal entries, I’m learning about myself through entries over eight years old! My therapist would be so proud!
Til next time,