I used Journaling (although most probably not in the correct manner technically) to help me recover from my depression following my divorce. It is a possible that the breakdown of my first marriage was a mere trigger as I seem to have the propensity to depression, either clinical or just extremely sad.
Below is a journal entry I wrote in April 2003. I have left it as I wrote it so excuse any grammatical error. But, I did do a spell check on Word. 🙂
Are some of us too careful to truly live? Would some of us end up regretting what we didn’t do? I was adventurous; I hope I have not lost it. I do feel that as I got older, I have become more guarded, cautious, prudent… serious. Every now and then, I do give myself a nudge to reconnect with adventure.
No, I do not advocate suicide! In fact, I do not and will not wish this upon anyone. Not even giving in to self-destructive behaviors, whether you are close to my heart or not. However, and this is one of my huge ‘however’, it is an even bigger no-no to beat myself up for feeling the seemingly bottomless pit and succumbing to the call of ‘punishment’ or death. When it has been done, taken the pills, slashed the wrist, etc., and the gift of life persists, I see an enormous blessing staring right at me.
My friends and I watched the movie ‘About a Boy’ some time ago. The movie touched me. It made an impact on me. I loved the movie, as much as other movies I have watched to which I relate or find amusing and/or fascinating or present to me as fantasy/dream for me, realistic or not. My one friend though found it unacceptable. She could not understand how the mother of the boy could have done what she did. She, in fact, fails to see the reason why people allow themselves to wallow in misery and result to committing suicide. She has not been in the situation. (It is not that all those who attempt to commit suicide have the reason to do so. Actually, there is no reason whatsoever, no excuse, to interfere with nature and try to take your own life.) My friend has always been, and still is, too careful to get herself caught in a risk-free predicament. This includes falling in love with a man who does not possess all the characteristics of her dream-man.
Fine, I am the more adventurous one (although there might be a little chance that I may have been choosing to experience unnecessary sufferings which made me really stupid). I consciously remind myself of Sarah Ban Breathnach’s question in her book, ‘Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self,’ “So which is worse, regretting what you did – or regretting what you didn’t do?” This does not mean though that I am totally pro masochistic behaviors and tendencies. Not at all. There are incidents that I find understandable and there are those I refuse to even think about. I may not be doing it right; still, to me, when I am clinically or pathologically depressed, I will not kill myself for wanting to kill myself!
On the other hand, when my body tells me that I am perfectly healthy, physiologically and mentally even, I am most probably going to kick my own arse for choosing to stay in a miserable space just because a man, who may not be right for me, rejects me. The same goes for when I allow myself to be driven to frustration, and eventually loony bin to take it to the extreme, by a superior/manager/boss and then take it personally. The self-pity can be caused by anything, big or small, nonetheless, unless serotonin is lacking in my system, I will give me a hard time until I realize that it is my own self that hinders my ascent to my top. Believe me; I know when I am still capable of making my choices.
Anyway, going back to the movie; I understand perfectly why my friend and I had different reactions to the role played by the mother. I had been there and she has not, and probably never will (let us hope so). I allow myself to experience the very highs which may lead me to have the very lows as well. My friend is very cautious when it comes to relationships and life in general so if I do the must-not-compare-but-compare-anyway, her very high is possibly not very high due to too much calculated moves and therefore, when she does hit her very low, it will not be the bottom pit. This doesn’t mean that I live better or worse, only that our lives are different.
So, what is this enormous blessing that I see, which my friend doesn’t? The biggest, I think, is the appreciation felt for what I do have – life, even after my wish to end it. The next one is the knowledge that having gone through it, it is the one thing I will not try again. After all, it didn’t work. It wasn’t meant to be. And I felt stupid… which was in effect not so bad. If I hadn’t felt so stupid for trying to kill myself I wouldn’t have realized that I was worth so much more, that the feeling of rejection was not enough to deprive me of my life. To me, surviving that phase in my life had taught me to constantly remember that I have a purpose here on earth, that I am worth a whole lot and that although I may not be the world to all, I am the world and I am my all to me. It made me stronger, too.
I do acknowledge that my friend’s purpose here on earth is totally different from mine, her spirit is either older or younger than mine which means that our lessons are just as different and therefore, our strengths and weaknesses are not the same. Now, I have my faith in God. I believe it more that God does not give me more than I can handle. When I get to the point where I jokingly say to myself, or to someone else, that God is over-estimating my strength, I laugh and acknowledge that God really knows that I am strong enough to go through whatever it is I am going through.
It is not embarrassing to admit that I once felt very small, useless and hopeless. I consider this my blessing. I choose to see it as part of my purpose, the path to purpose, so to speak. There are so many people, especially women, who feel absolutely insignificant, who see no meaning in their existence; they have been used and abused. The pains I experienced are different from their pains. The misery I allowed myself to feel is not the same as their misery. So what? They are both pains! If I was able to triumph over my challenges and oppressors, surely, anyone can. We all can come out victorious. We deserve the same happiness. We have the same capacity to lead a blissful life. We have the same means to win! I know it. I have been there (not that it is something I should be proud of).
I have made it my purpose ,or one of my purposes if I have more, to be a voice. I will be the voice, with a face, heart and life, telling everyone of my battle, how I have conquered and how beautiful life is, not only for me but for every single one here in the universe, for all of us are one with the universe.