Do you ever read your old journals, diaries, blogs and forum posts and want to chew your own fist off in embarrassment?
As a general rule, I never read anything on this blog from 2007- mid 2008. Oh god. What an uppity little madam. Young and mad (and newly diagnosed as such, which is even worse! Once I got that magic affirmation of my mentalism and sort-of accepted it, I pretty much thought psychiatry was my bitch and had to do what I said), that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. See also: my old Livejournal, 2003-2007, especially the manic periods where I’d write 3000 words four times a day, sometimes going into exquisite and florid detail about the beauty of the walk home from a tube station. Oh how the cosmos and I were one! Jesus christ. There’s something charming and innocent about the obnoxiousness of youthful diaries. The universe-halting significance of a nipple hair. The emotional storms blazing across pock marked skin. Relationships based entirely on mutual music taste. But my seventeen year old self really sounds like the manic depressive Adrian Mole. As did my twenty year old self. And my twenty four year old self. Only, y’know, sexier.
It’s there forever online. Or for at least 10 years. If I hadn’t thrown out all my paper journals (when I’ve been depressed and thinking about suicide I’ve tided up a lot and thrown things out) I think I’d have no knuckles left. And I’m writing a bloody book! In ten years, in the unlikely event it’s still in print, should it even be published at all, I’ll be sneaking into Waterstones wearing a beige mac with a lighter in my pocket. (If they still have Waterstones, and not just iPads. OOH YOU CRAZY KIDS AND YOUR TECHNOLOGY!)
There is something sad about being a Grown Up and not being allowed to be a stroppy seventeen year old anymore. I don’t think I was ever really emotionally unstable, I think that I was a teenager, maybe for two years longer than I should have been. A teenager who was coping with some quite adult things sometimes, but still delightfully, stupidly, simply a teenager. As a teenager, everything felt so vitally important and significant, and thus every little thing could illicit a dramatic response. Nowadays anything short of a nuclear bomb dropping on my face doesn’t faze me. I’m still moody and insecure and still feel like the girl in the corner of the playground sometimes. I still get pissed off and stroppy about things. But now I’m all Grown Up about it. Instead of thinking, “OH MY GOD THEY HATE ME, THEY HATE ME, I’M AWFUL!” when people don’t speak to me, I get all Grown Up and think, “Well, they’re probably busy, and to be fair, here I am not saying hello to them, either”. I should, one day for old time’s sake, run home in tears and write a poem about it, in my own blood, titled, “Why Am I So Fucking Shit?”
I do sometimes miss slamming the door because my mum shouted at me. And writing loud UNDERLINED!!!!!!!! diary entries about how much I hate her. I became a grown up, and one who grew up in the psychiatric system. It can feel like being emotional is punished within it, and it’s a shame. Teenagehood had a lot going for it. It still does- I think as a teenager, unformed as we are supposed to be, we’re also our raw, essential selves.
If you kept a diary or journal when you were younger, what was it like? Bonus points if you post excerpts! I may if I get the balls to.
Filed under: Bipolar Disorder