I’m a chronic journaler. I have been since I was old enough to form articulate sentences. I keep a journal at home, a journal at my office, and a note on my phone for journaling when I don’t have a notebook with me. I’ve gone through four notebooks in three years. They are full of my thoughts, my fears, my vulnerabilities. I continue to journal, and I like to reflect on my past journals.
On a lazy Sunday, finally having enough time to write and reflect, I flipped back to my oldest journal in my room. It’s from my junior year of college through my first few months living in NYC. So much has changed since the first entry. Not only where I’m living, but how I’m feeling. I’ve realized how far I have come since the depressed, lonely, self-hating person I was.
I’m going to share with you the most vulnerable entry I’ve written. I was 20 and a senior in college, about to go into my last semester. Please know, this entry is full of hate and anger. It’s going to have some foul language in it. I’m not taking it out because 1) this is my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want, and 2) you need to understand the hatred I felt towards myself.
WARNING: THIS COULD BE TRIGGERING.
I don’t think I can talk to anyone. I don’t want them to feel bad or think I need help. I don’t want my friends to deal with my problems.
People think I’m successful but I can’t even control my emotions. I’m not successful. I’m barely clinging on to life. Wow, I’m so dramatic. I’m pathetic. I don’t even deserve to feel this way. I’m not entitled to these emotions because it hurts everyone around me. I hate myself. Just like everyone else around me.
I tell myself to drop the negativity, but how can I when it’s everywhere? When only 3 people care about me? When I’m the negativity? I’m so fucking dramatic. Why the fuck do I think only 3 people love me? Because it’s more, Berkeley. Shut the fuck up. Get over yourself. Stop crying.
You are nothing, but you have to keep pretending you’re someone. I have to keep telling myself I’m worth it. I’m worthy of love. I’m worthy of attention. Am I? Do I really deserve it?
Wow. Let’s take a deep breath. When I wrote this, I was deep into a debilitating depression and not taking any medication for it. I was a strong student, a leader on my campus, but I hated everything about myself. I was convinced I was worth nothing. I lashed out on my family, I retreated from my friends. God bless my boyfriend at the time. I really don’t know how he dealt with me.
I’m re-reading these tear stained pages and I’m crying all over again. I want to reach into the diary, pull out
Tom Riddle my old self, and give her a hug. I want to shake her and do what I can to show her how worthy she is. We have all hurt people while we have struggled. We have all caused pain we regret. But this girl — this girl was so deep into being “perfect” and refusing to seem “weak” that she was just a shell of a person. And the saddest thing was, because of being a damn good shell, no one saw how much I was struggling.
I went to the College of Charleston’s counseling center about two months after this entry. I started an anti-depressant soon after I started therapy. I had this aha moment where I realized I was struggling with depression (cue the Vine where the guy goes “YEAH. NO SHIT HONEY.”) Fighting my depression has been the hardest battle of my life. And you know why? Because I’ve been battling myself. You can hear the pain in that entry, but you can also hear the small self-love breakthroughs… Followed by more hatred.
Taking my ass to therapy was the best choice I have made for myself. I had to work extra hard on something I never thought I would have, but I made it through and came to terms with it. My therapist asked that I write down promises to myself while going on this mental health journey. I found them in my journal a few pages after my “I have depression” breakthrough entry.
I promise to make time for myself every day. I promise to learn ways to open up. I promise to try to be vulnerable. I promise to try. Happiness doesn’t just happen in one day. I have to work towards it.”
Those are still promises I keep to myself. My depression may be just a small part of me now, but it’s still there. I still have those hatred-fueled thoughts from time to time. I have to take it one step at a time. I’ve gotten through the hardest part of my depression, and I have full faith that if you dedicate time, energy, and love to your mental health, you will overcome yours, too. It’s hard as hell, but you are worth it, boo.