I’m listening to Birdy as I write this blog post and as she serenades me I recollect what generally in the past has soothed me – journaling – getting in touch with my thoughts, my head space, where I’m mentally at. As of late, I’ve been having emotional outbursts that lead to endless streams of tears which usually indicates to me I am off balance, Helter Skelter. When this happens I have to, no need to, remember what keeps me sane and as someone who has had the lines of sanity blurred this is no easy feat.
I could chop up the tears to hormones or some other bullshit excuse but in my personal experience, it is an indication of me wanting something more for myself, from myself. I cry when I am frustrated, more than out of sadness I find- a trait that slightly embarrasses me at times. But after almost thirty years at war with my mind, I’ve come to realize things about myself for I was blessed with insight.
When these fits start to persist and become more frequent, I know what to do – I just rarely do it anymore. I guess I’ve come to associate my journaling with childish whims. I’ve had one since I was five and always found a notebook comforting as a writer and as a bipolar writer especially. A journal is a space you can release all the turmoil that is in your head without judgement onto crisp pages that you never really need to share with anyone but yourself.
I have a turbulent history with journals and for that matter my darkest thoughts I would release into them. When I was fourteen, I took all the previous journals I had written into then, went into the woods and burned them (partially because I was a pyro back then but mainly because I couldn’t stand how pathetic I sounded in them). I regret that decision now.
If you’ve been following my blog you’ll already know that the main premise of my memoir is based off passages from my journals while in the throes of mental illness, from depression, to mania, to psychosis, and back again (Yes, I kept a few journals after my fire bug phase and they prove enlightening). A journal entry is a snapshot of your mind in time. I believe this is an extraordinary thing to be able to read back and see where you’ve been and what you (in my case especially) have come back from.
Today I wrote on a scrap piece of paper a journal entry spewing the contents of my brain. For me personally this is very cathartic because I do not know what I will discover. After I journal, I feel a release and an “aha!” moment for the pen strokes my hand makes connected to my thoughts in my brain reveal to me why I am feeling a certain way.
Today I wrote a letter to myself as a form of journal:
I gotcha even when it seems like I’m miles away. The best version of yourself is waiting but you can’t give up on her or lose sight of the bigger picture. I know you’re nowhere near where you wanted to be at this point in your life but you’ve come so far and recovered from trauma most people will never experience or understand. You’re so much stronger than you give yourself credit. You get knocked down and come back swinging. I admire you for that. Try not to carry all that darkness with you when, Baby, you deserve to see the light. I know you’re struggling to find motivation, like everything to strive to achieve just blows up in your face. Be thankful and stay humble. You are genuine, don’t forget that, and if you’re feeling uncomfortable in your skin it’s because you are living authentically. Life is messy and meant to be lived, experienced. Don’t hold back Babe, Give it your ALL, leave your mark…I KNOW you will.”
I realized today I’ve been beating myself up with “should’s” and “would be’s.” I’ve been holding onto all the turmoil my illness brought into my life that thwarted my plans. Today, I showed up for myself by writing this letter and by offering myself and my troubled mind some grace. “You’re doing okay, sweetie! Keep striving for that greatness.” The thing I realized through this form of self-care (writing a journal) is I feel as though I’m drifting, never quite reaching my life’s goals, my dreams. I was born a dreamer, with her head in the clouds and to feel as though you’re constantly out of reach of one – is well…quite simply despairing, in my opinion.
I want you, my readers to understand it’s okay to not be okay. Take a moment and breathe. Do something that helps you connect with yourself when you feel out of sorts. Most times the answers to life’s biggest concerns are solved by looking inwards, by finding yourself and the resilience you will come to discover you inevitably hold. Show up for yourself by taking the time to understand your thoughts and feelings whether that’s through a journal or not. If you feel lost like I do and have had too many times to count, look inwards cause I guarantee what you need to find is within yourself.
Write, Meditate, Read, Exercise, do whatever It takes to reconnect with you because you’re worth more than you give yourself credit for.
All My Love,