For a good part of my life I've always kept a diary.
When I got my newest one 4 or 5 years ago, I had decided I'd only write good things. This was because I would sometimes read back over a few entries in my old diaries out of curiosity or in search of when I got something special and I'd come across depressing stuff. It was hard to face those emotions of the past, many I had yet to fully heal from. However, choosing to only write good things pretty much kept me from writing at all. My first entry in my latest diary is dated January 1, 2016 and according to my entry, I had bought this diary "a while back". I started writing in it only because I was going through a very dark time and felt desperate for an outlet. Some good things apparently had happened in February and I decided I'd keep to my "happy writing only" rule. It wasn't too late to. But my entries became fewer and more scarce. Only 6 entries were written between March and September of that year. I didn't write again until January of 2017. Only 9 entries were added that year.
March of 2018 I began to write again. I have 27 entries for 2018! Admittedly, most are short, but that was far more than I had written in years. 2018 was an odd time. I had a breakdown in December of 2017 and that state of mind lingered ever since. I believe that, even now, it's still there. This may have been when my depression hit the worst it's ever been; something in me had finally broken. But some positive experiences were popping up between February and May so I made sure to write about it. My entries were very honest, as they admitted to some of my trouble, but they were still very "happy" focused. I refused to go into detail or express the darker thoughts.
It wasn't until April of this year that I've decided to make a change in my writing habits. One day I remembered that I had written a letter to my 30 year old self when I was 24. Since I turned 30 this year, I brought out the letter (which occupied the last few pages of one of my older diaries) and read it. It left a very strong impact on me. That's when I realized it was time for a change. It was time to change my stagnant life. It was time to fix my problems that I had neglected for too long.
I almost never go outside. I've always spent all day inside this dimly lit hotel room, staring at a computer screen. Ever since April 30th, I've been going outside for a couple hours to write. I'll write down whatever pops into my mind whether it's to say that a nice cool wind is blowing or that I don't want to live anymore. However I feel or think, I write it. And I continue writing until all those thoughts and feelings are out of my heart and mind. There's been something healing in this; just putting everything onto the page no matter what it is. Even if my thoughts jump around or I suddenly break down emotionally while writing.
Something else I want to do, starting today, is to read back over my oldest diary. It's something I haven't touched in a long time, other than reading that letter I wrote to myself. I wonder, will I find myself in the pages? Or will I find that even then I was lost? Thinking back over my past, I feel that I had more of a will to live and that I valued myself more then despite the fact that it was the worst time in my life. I'm ready to read what I wrote and to face what my darkness was then. And then I'll write about my thoughts. Maybe, I'll write to my past self. Even if she can't read it, I want to help encourage her so she doesn't become the me of today. I believe I can reach her.