TOP SECRET: A Coping Mechanism

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Back in 2010, the year of my 16th birthday, I purchased this Mickey Mouse notebook, with the aim to use it as a journal. However, over the years, it has become a lot more to me - it is a documentation of my feelings; it has been a coping mechanism. At the time of purchase, I wasn't in a very good place in my life. Due to a family issue, I entered into a state of depression, and a breeze of loneliness washed over me. With nobody that I felt that I could turn to, this notebook provided an outlet for everything that I wanted to say that I didn't think that I was allowed to. If I ever build up the courage to publish this post, feel very privileged! I have never showed my writing journal to anybody, ever, but I feel like now is the time. I can hold my hands up right now, and say that I am happy - thank God! This blog has transformed into my outlet, and so I feel it only appropriate to show what came before. There is a massive step between the two, actually, as my writing journal looks at the world through a negative set of eyes, whereas this blog is bursting with positivity! The fog has been lifted, and I'd like to think that I've come a long way since 2010.

My writing journal began on August 28th 2010, and I simply wrote an 'about me' introduction. I spoke about my love for the disney channel (still accurate), my love for YouTube (still accurate), and my re-commitment to abandoned social media (not so accurate). Nothing too strenuous, nothing too hard hitting. Looking back on something that I wrote 4 years ago is quite strange, actually, as I signed off at the end with 'Kassface'. This is a nickname that my then-boyfriend had given me, and I haven't thought about that nickname for quite some time now.

At the time that I wrote this, I was actually really proud of what I'd written. Although I had come out of my state of depression, I had come to a realisation that I was only able to write serious and/or sad pieces, as anything happy that I tried to write just sounded cheesy. The piece reads:

"Sometimes when I'm sat contemplating the many wonders of life, I become overwhelmed by it all and suddenly end up feeling all alone. Does it hurt you like it hurts me to know how alone we really are? We are one person. We alone control our emotions, our thoughts, our actions. Others may influence us, but the decisions we make are our own - they determine who we are. And what happens if we don't like who we are? What happens if we become all the things that we despise? We can't escape ourselves; we are the only person we are ever obliged to know. We have to love ourselves. If we don't, how can we expect anyone else to love us?"

Like all writers do, I'm sure, I used to get so angry at myself when I couldn't formulate my thoughts into words. As writing has always been my biggest passion, I viewed myself as a failure if I couldn't succeed at something I was passionate about. Even now, I get frustrated when I read back over a blogpost and am disappointed with what I see. Anybody that I ask about it, though, cannot flaw my writing. Even my Dad, who is brutally honest at the worst of times, can only ever flaw accidental grammar mistakes. When I was just writing for myself, alone in a journal, I was my own worst enemy. Now that other people can read my writing, however, I've grown in confidence. If you're a writer, or even write your own blog, do you also suffer from this form of self-criticism?

This is another piece that I was proud of writing. As a matter of fact, I remember tweeting one of the lines, and receiving about 5 retweets - I was over the moon! Something that I had written and quoted was appreciated by others?! I must have been dreaming! The piece reads:

"Isn't it strange how the majority of stories told are sad in some way? They seem to draw people in more, when surely they should push people away? If stories were people, they would not receive the same response. They would push people away, that's what we humans do. We strive to be alone, without evening meaning to."

This is quite difficult to look back on. For several reasons, I used to be a very lonely person. I've always had a lot of close friends, a lot of people that I could talk to if need be. But that didn't stop loneliness from encompassing my heart. Although I'd overcome my state of depression, an after-effect lingered, and I didn't quite understand what was making me feel so alone. I remember sitting in my room, isolating myself from the world around me, writing the word 'lonely' in my writing journal over and over and over and over... but it was my coping mechanism, however unhealthy.

"Do you know what's a scary thing? Uncertainty. Not knowing. Being unsure if the sun will rise tomorrow, being unsure where your life is headed, being unsure if you like the person you're becoming. Being left in the dark is not just; it'll end up with your rummaging around, stubbing your toe, and crying out in sheer pain. Not a lot hurts more than being blind to a situation."

"I used to be able to string words together in a magnificent succession; I used to be a puppet master. What happened to me? Have my handles broken?"

After a while, I started to realise that writing about my sadness wasn't going to make it magically go away. Although it was an outlet, it wasn't helping in the way that I needed it to. I've always been a quote kind of person; I'm forever collating together all of the quotes that mean something to me. One of my favourite quotes is a John Green one - “Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting". In light of this, I decided to document quotes that meant something to me whenever I came across them. They included:

"I would ride the train into your heart, but the tickets cost too much"
"I am stronger than depression, and I am braver than loneliness, and nothing will ever exhaust me"
"She talks about you as if you put the stars in the sky"
"You didn't love her, because you don't destroy the person that you love"
"Don't fall into the trap of pretending everything is fine when you know it isn't"
"I fell in love with a boy and I've not been the same since"
"'How are you?' is the most abused question, and I craved for someone to ask it with sincerity"
"Silence is often a person's loudest scream"
"What hurts most about a broken heart? Not being able to remember how you felt before"
"Get your hand out of my cookie jar. Those feelings in my heart, they weren't for you"
"To a girl who is not in love with anyone or anything but rivers and mountains - from a boy who is neither a river nor a mountain"

As I mentioned, I have never let anybody read my writing journal... until now. There are still quite a few pieces that I have chosen not to share with you, purely because they're too personal. The last time I wrote anything in it was September 2013, the time before that July 2013, and the time before that August 2012. Maybe I outgrew writing down my feelings in such a negative way, or maybe I realised that to overcome my sadness I had to speak to other people, and not cower away in fear. This blog has provided solace for me in difficult periods of my life during my first year at university, but I'd like to think that I've expressed my sadness in an entirely different fashion. Instead of dwelling on it, I tried to enforce positivity and motivation into my life... and it looks like it worked! Here I am, today, still not perfect, but I am happy. And a lot of my happiness is down to you, so thank you. I know now that I am not alone, not now, not ever. Thank you for reading.

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