Journaling has been an important survival tool for me ever since the year 2000 when my therapist at the time turned me onto it. I have saved all my journals since that year, and sometimes I like to go through them all and find the same date in different years and read them. I do this more out of curiosity than anything else, but it can also help me track my progress, or lack thereof, through the years. The evolution of mental illness is fascinating, as is my level of denial in the early years. But simply because I kept writing, I kept following hope.
All of my journals either have titles or quotes at the beginning of them, like they were books. And they kind of were because I would fill every page of every journal I ever wrote in. I’m not sure where those bragging rights would be relevant, but that’s kind of impressive, right?
Here are some of the quotes in the beginning of my journals over the years:
For a second, two seconds, they had exchanged an equivocal glance, and that was the end of the story. But even that was a memorable event in the locked loneliness in which one had to live.
-George Orwell, 1984
Forget about what you are escaping from…Reserve your anxiety for what you are escaping to.
-Bernard Kornblum,The Adventures of Cavalier and Clay
Pretty Pink Suicide Notes
– journal title, Allison B. Hollingsworth
I feel a little down today
I ain’t got much to say
You’re gonna miss me when I’m not there
And you know I don’t care
Life is hit or miss, and this
I Hope, I Think, I Know
And if I ever hear the names you call
If I stumble, catch me when I fall
‘Cause baby after all,
You’ll never forget my name
You’ll never forget my name.
There are two ways to look at life…The first view is that nothing is stays the same and that nothing is inherently connected, and that the only driving force in anyone’s life is entropy. The second is that everything pretty much stays the same (more or less) and that everything is completely connected, even if we don’t realize it.
-Chuck Klosterman, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs
– journal title, Allison B. Hollingsworth
I’ve compiled a list of excerpts below that Past Allison wrote in a gesture of recognizing her journey. I hate the word journey, but I love Past Allison. At least I’m learning to.
I got my hair cut today and I feel like a different person. I also bought a little black dress for ten dollars and did a series of sexy poses in front of the mirror in the dressing room. I don’t know what got into me, but the new look lifted my spirits. Or made me feel like a girl again. Made me feel sexy. Even though I’m at least 15 pounds heavier than I want to be and I’m as white as a sheet. …Things will get better.
Present Day Allison editorial comment: I now do series’ of sexy poses in front of every mirror I see. Then I take 30 pictures and pick one to Instagram. Proof that I have become shameless.
7/1/08 1:53am [shortly before I moved across the country to California]
Today was one of those unique days where I simultaneously felt the urge to get the hell away from my job, and the thought of leaving makes me deeply sad. Work was a bitch today, I barely had time to breathe, but I somehow managed to keep up. …there was a time when I thought I would break down, and I wanted to cancel my plans and go home and cry for the rest of the night. But I didn’t, and I’m glad I didn’t because the only crying I did was from laughing so hard.
Present Day Allison editorial comment: I had a lot of strength. I fought isolation, and was rewarded for it. I remember that night and how much fun I had. I don’t remember the bitch of a work day.
[Friend who gifted me the journal], you would probably be horrified if you knew this was how I was using the journal you gave me. There is, however, a distinct possibility that it will save my life. Or it will help it all end sooner. Either way it will have gone to good use. You may not agree. That’s ok. I could stick around to do something elusively great. That’s why I’m still here, because I’m considered “young” and “healthy” and thus I believe I can still do something. And maybe I can. I may just need to start using my energy on the right people. I honestly don’t know. All it sounds like to me is more people who need things from me that I can’t give them. None of it means anything to me, why is that?
Present Day Allison editorial comment: I’ve told doctors before that Lithium is the only medication that has ever stopped the suicidal thoughts, but I forget how long wanting suicide became my norm. I stayed alive for the sake of other people, even when I had no hope, but at least I stayed alive.
Here’s an issue that’s on my mind lately: some people never change. Some people always have shitstorms going on in their life…and they always will. Some people are afraid of life and they bury themselves in their problems instead of facing their fears. Sometimes your own friends take more of your energy than you get back and you have to step away for a while. It hurts to do this. There’s always the inner battle of friends shouldn’t bail on friends just because things are hard…but the truth is that if it is friendship, it will still be there when things even out. This is less of a fair-weather friend issue, which I fear I am in these situations, and it’s more of a self-preservation issue. …No one knows how hard this is for me, no one. But I will be strong.
Present Day Allison editorial comment: I see strength and courage and formation of personal and emotional boundaries. I do wish I had known that people do understand how hard it is, and that I was not alone in the world.
It’s the 4th of July, Independence Day, and I don’t give a shit. I haven’t paid my rent yet and it will be two days late. We’ll see what happens. When I pay it I will have roughly $23 to get through the week. I can do it. …I’m on my period and I am so severely depressed that I almost didn’t function at all today. Abby [my dog] and I stayed in bed until I forced myself up to do something productive. I did my dishes – no small feat, and I even did some of my laundry.
Present Day Allison editorial comment: Is it just me or is Past Allison kind of a badass?
I’m so confused and frustrated by my family’s habit of not telling anyone anything. Of keeping things always on the surface. There’s always something to hide. I hate that. I hate it!! Makes me want to just leave them to it. I’ve got it in me too, which doesn’t make me feel any better.
Present Day Allison editorial comment: Coming to terms with family issues was a difficult one for me. But I’ve learned that there are two sides to every story, and there are reasons everything stayed on the surface. Perhaps not healthy reasons, but knowing that helps with perspective. I also think, in the present day, that I struggle with creating boundaries like it’s a new thing I’m trying, but I read these old journals and realize that I’ve always struggled with boundaries. Ever since I learned what a boundary is.
I have become a social recluse of sorts. I don’t want to see or talk to anyone socially. I don’t want to see my friends – I have no room in my thinking right now for “hanging out.” As my radio alarm went off this morning, the radio personality mentioned a movie that came out this weekend. The very concept of going to a movie seemed foreign to me. It was a world I used to know and enjoy. I don’t seem to look at anything the same as I used to.
Present Day Allison editorial comment: Age twenty is when life hit me in the face like a ton of bricks. Depression hit me in the face too. Also, this is proof that isolation has always been my favorite dysfunctional coping mechanism.