Just a few days ago, I read through all my old diaries. You might have guessed from the theme of this blog – a twenty-something’s journal – that I’m a big believer in writing down one’s thoughts. I started keeping a diary at eight years old after I’d been given one for my birthday. Since then, I’ve been filling journals more or less conscientiously, the only year between 2003 and 2015 without any entries is 2012. To be honest, I’d had no clue that I’d kept writing my journals so consistently over the years as I’ve only really started doing so regularly and deliberately two years ago.
Reliving former experiences again made me realise many things about myself. Naturally, there are the random sweet memories like what film I went to see at the cinema in 2005 or which friend I hung out with on a particular day but I also discovered other sides of my past. Two years ago, I began having minor panic attacks and frequent feelings of anxiety. I already knew then that I’d been having this constant uneasy and nervous sensation in my stomach for quite some time, and that it’s probably only had come to the surface at that point due to additional stress I was dealing with. I also occasionally struggle with feelings of depression, sadness, lack of motivation and drive, loneliness, and self-doubt. When I look back on my later high school years, I can best describe the image that pops into my head as a dark void. Not trying to sound dramatic but my life back then did consist of getting up, going to school, returning home and instantly going to bed, sleep being my remedy and all-round cure for when I felt sad, angry, down, stressed, exhausted, or empty. It was my way of drowning out everything. Now, while I definitely did remember this period in my life it was still haunting to see, thanks to all the detailed records I’d made, when exactly that switch in my disposition happened. Nothing compares to reading one’s own words and through those recall the raw and vivid emotions felt years ago. To see my transition from a happy carefree kid to a negative unhappy teenager was fascinating and the fact that some of the things I lamented over are still relevant to me today is crazy. I really don’t feel that different from this person I used to be although I’ve learnt to have a more positive outlook on life and have “accomplished” some of the things I was fretting about by now. Still, I do fall into my old ways every now and then but I won’t let myself be held down for too long.
This summer brought about quite many changes, changes that required me to make difficult decisions and caused me to feel demotivated, discontented, and even hopeless. That’s when I increased the frequency I’d write in my diary even more (I’ve now grown accustomed to scribble down something every single day) because it helps. Writing down what’s on my mind, in particular when caught in situations where I’m at loss what to do, writing forces me to reassess my thoughts, see things more clearly, and guides me to take in the bigger picture. I’m more in tune with my emotions, as well, having learnt to trust myself more thanks to the self-reflection that comes with keeping a diary. It opens up your eyes to your flaws and mistakes. Helps you to grow and tackle any obstacles. Makes you understand yourself a bit better.