My goal for 2020 is to be brave. It doesn’t get much braver than sharing your personal journal with strangers online. I wrote every day in January. Here are some of my notes:
Sorry Dad. I know, I don’t recognise myself either.
Only “real” reason that I’m still alive: accidentally surviving suicide attempts.
Time is all we have until, one day, we don’t.
Words that haunt me: vehicle – brigadier – unequivocal
PM: I am so attuned to signs of abuse. It confuses me that most people aren’t, particularly when the abuse is happening to themselves. How can you not see?
Remembering when Dad accidentally burnt my hand with the end of his joint when I was about 5. We were crossing the road outside the print shop. He was trying to hold my hand, to keep me safe. I didn’t cry. I wish it scarred.
GP appt. Dr H won’t change my meds because I’m too unstable and have no professional support. Dr H is a prick.
Remembering Dad’s voice – his “trying-to-whisper-but-still-being-loud” voice that he put on in church/hospitals/waiting rooms/on public transport. He never could control his volume. Remembered his loud whisper and nearly burst into tears in the waiting room.
My brain and its contents are not to be trusted but my brain is all that I have.
Remembering how I had to sell my looks, not my mind, to make money when I was a student. Don’t have the looks anymore and, even if I did, I no longer have the strength or confidence.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
pulses in neon pink
on the wall of my skull
in time with my
PM: 2 acceptances today: short story and CNF memoir
Exhausted: could sleep for a week/month/year/lifetime.
PM: What terrified me most that night was when the moon howled back at me.
I know that what I’m doing is mediocre, done before, same old. I must be/do better.
Sometimes I will sit in front of the mirror and pick holes in my face, rip my skin to ribbons, and then cry about how ugly I am.
When I miss you, I hug your skeleton.
Felt bad all day: brain, fog, tired, in pain.
PM: Nothing in my mind is ever calm. What you think of as a ‘calming thought’ is merely an invitation for further destruction. Do NOT think of oceans. The sea isn’t calming, it’s angry and will kill you.
Weak weak weak weak weak. Tired. Pain. Brainache. Fucking stop please.
Every thing makes me think of some thing [some one].
Acceptance: collection of micro poems
2 weeks sober. My body is thankful but maybe that’s because of all the drugs that I’m taking instead of drinking.
PM: There are few things more satisfying than ticking off the last item on a mile-long To Do list.
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Doing class A drugs at the library: super cool or super sad?
I have done good work. I must remember that when I feel useless.
Worried about T’s travels. If anything bad happens to him, I will gladly die.
We are not a family of gamblers—never have been—because we don’t have any money to bet with in the first place.
AM: Rejection physically makes my heart hurt and mentally makes my mood crash. I need to learn to become resilient to rejection because right now I can’t cope. It’s not water off a duck’s back, it’s shooting the duck then fucking roasting it.
This depression is so painful. I don’t know how to make it go away.
Morning walk. Went out to buy D his newspaper and a lucozade as I knew he’d be too hungover whenever he eventually resurfaced from drowning in drunk dreams. Cold and sunny out, a perfect anticyclone. Police cars and ambulances on Hadley. Flashbacks. Couldn’t look the Pigs in the eye. They probably wouldn’t recognise me with clothes on anyway. Ran away from the scene.
The razor is still tempting.
PM: I need to get my words in order.
I will have to throw myself into work this week so that Depression doesn’t have the time or space to kill me. WORKWORKWORKWORKWORKWORK
Story story shortlisted for an award.
Blue Monday: the most depressing day of the year, according to researchers. Ha. Try Two True-Blue Decades.
PM: Confused about consent in long-term relationships.
“The rules do not apply.” “I’m pretty sure they do.”
What does an insane person look like to you?
Big dreams, low energy.
I can’t wait to sleep forever.
Determined but too exhausted and sad to act.
Spoke with M [S’s 10 year old daughter]. She wants to go to [the secondary school that I went to]. I fear for her. How will she survive? It was brutal when I was there, and now there’s social media. Jesus Christ, I am scared for her. Couldn’t think of anything good to say about the school so changed the subject. Taught her that poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, that anything can be a poem. Her little face! One young mind expanded. Millions more to go.
AM: Don’t know how to help E when I’m so far away from her and so sad myself.
After speaking with C, I’ve realised how lonely I am. I’ve isolated myself in an attempt to get better but really I’ve just made myself worse. I’ve just made myself lonely.
Haven’t seen anyone but D all month: no pub, so no friends/family/support network, no family otherwise, been working from home so no colleagues, I have no sober friends. Only seen D because I live with him.
There’s a huge difference btwn being lonely and being alone. I love being alone. But being lonely, as I am now, is harder than I’d imagined. A difficult feeling, hard to get out of. Lonely/alone. Alone in my loneliness. Sad sad sad.
PM: Told D what C said about me being isolated/lonely. Also told him that the bad thoughts get worse when I’m here alone, the scene of the psychotic break. His solution? To go out to the pub with his friends, briefly return home to eat dinner, and then go out to the pub again, returning at 3am and falling asleep on the sofa still wearing his coat and shoes. The loneliest night to match the loneliest day. SAD-LONELY-SOBER.
I want to kill this sadness with my bare fucking hands. Just grab it and murder it. At least I’m still passionate about something.
Everything feels very uncertain. The earth is rattling my bones.
Saw T for coffee. Making attempts to be less isolated. And yet, that was only for an hour: the loneliness prevails. I understand now why it can be said that people die of loneliness. “This shit is slow and it kills.”
The more I pretend to be okay, the worse I feel. So tired of this permanent pain. Hurt all of the time. I can’t do this life for much longer.
PM: Flashbacks in this house.
My brain is trying to kill me. Why?
Exhausted. Want everything to just s t o p
Better this morning in the sense that I haven’t cried. Just me and that deep, deep sadness; neither of us want to come up for air today.
Dreading another week of this half-life.
I am haunted by visions of Dad in his final days—emaciated and frightened.
Exhaustion is exhausting. Tired of being tired. Sick of being sick.
I never write love poems. Why can’t I write about you?
PM: I don’t deserve this.
Had the worst night of intrusive thoughts. Every bad thing ever in my mind so loud and clear and persistent. Wanted so badly to cut my head off/hurt myself. Tried every coping strategy. Nothing worked until I thought of the alphabet game – chose a topic (fruit, alcohol, book characters) and rattled through the alphabet as fast as I could for words on the topic: apple, bacon, courgette, date, eggplant, fish, etc. til I fell asleep. Woke up with no injuries. A miracle.
The alphabet saved my life last night. Anxious, broken, confused, damaged, etc.
As soon as the Spring arrives, I am going to Cornwall. Poor Dad, sleeping underneath his wintered stone.
Worried about drinking again, scared it’ll slow me down and hold me back again. But I am so very sad without it. It makes me feel better. Alcohol is a coping strategy that works for me. Sadly.
PM: What am I doing here?
I want to peel the freckles off my face. Uglyuglyugly.
Nearly 1 month without an alcoholic beverage. The people who were supposed to do Dry January with me all failed in the first few days.
I always do what I say I will.
Feeling less confident in my abilities and choices today. What the fuck am I doing???
Met J in Camden—broke one of my own golden rules. Idiot. Idiotidiotidiot.
PM: I’m scared about drinking again. Everyone is getting very excited for my return to alcoholism. To everyone that I’ve said “I’m scared to drink/I hate drinking/I’ve been working better without booze/I don’t miss hangovers” to, no one has suggested that I continue with sobriety. Every single person has pushed me into feeling like I have to drink again. And B said it’ll help me feel less depressed. He is definitely right. I think. I hope.
I did it! One month without an alcoholic beverage.
The relapse is sure to be spectacular.