Diary Monday (on a Tuesday)

The nice way of saying this is that younger me (of four years ago) had “anger issues”. (My original comment was that younger me was a jerk.) Prompted by Courtney’s delightful Diary Monday, I went looking back over my old journals to see what I was doing this time four years ago.

I have about 12 to 15 old journals in my cupboard and I keep thinking I should mine them for gems. Then when I actually read them I realise that the gems are few and far between and that there’s a lot of stuff that’s just not that readable anymore. Maybe I used my journal as a sort of punching bag to let out my frustrations of the time. A few entries:

Mon 1st Nov (2004)
Song: ‘Luca’ stuck in my head.
Dream: Hawk chasing a canary. Canary died.

Weds 4th Nov (2004)
Watched US pres election – really depressing. Was depressed all day and really struggled to get any work done. Mood rating = 3/10. … Angry with E for being such a heartless bitch.

[Yes well the rest of this entry doesn’t get much better. My ex-girlfriend had recently broken up with me for the last time and I was feeling quite sore about it. A bit further down I try and cheer myself up with a list of things to feel good about.]

10 things to feel good about:
1. Choc dessert
2. Mashed potato with cream
3. J paid me rent
4. Dog’s leg a bit better today and she didn’t bite the vet
5. Papaya in fridge
6. Seeing friend on Friday – might even get some
7. Made some progress with empowerment stuff today
8. Varicose vein a bit better today – might even cancel op
9. Sitn with P (work colleague) not much worse – stable
10. Rugby test on Sat
11. Saw some beautiful girls at gym

(There you have it – food, girls, my dog’s leg, rugby etc. What a sad life I was leading then. Admittedly I was in a slump which really doesn’t bring out the best in people. But no wonder I didn’t have many friends back then. The relationship trouble with the ex, the work difficulties, the vein problem – the one seems to compound the other and create a spiral of misery. Reading this today I suppose I should be grateful that my life is so different now. Perhaps this time of my life was a bottoming-out which made me realise that I had to make a change. I applied for (and was accepted into) a Clinical Psychology Master’s programme, I resigned my job, moved cities, and spent 18 months in therapy with a good-enough therapist who was able to help me to change for the better. I really did a lot of soul-searching and did a radical overhaul of, well, my personality. Today I look back on that time and I’m anxious about how real that change is. When I’m feeling really cynical I wonder if people can really change. Sure, the best proof I have for that is my own change but I wonder how much of that angry man is still around. One of the best things I learned in my psychology training is that underneath all that anger (and depression) there is anxiety. Address the anxiety and a lot of the anger becomes less important.)

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7 Responses to Diary Monday (on a Tuesday)

  1. Litlove says:

    I do hope this isn’t too inappropriate a response, but your diary entries made me laugh. I’ve just tried them out on my husband and he commented that it ‘sounded like you were in touch with your inner man’. He thought the list was a perfectly reasonable one, and said that if we could get our cat to and from the vet without anyone being bitten, it would really be a red letter day.

    But I’m very glad you were brave enough to make the change and find the life that suits you. It’s so hard to do, not many people rise above the inertia, but the rewards are clearly well worth it.

  2. Pete says:

    Litlove – Yes it is quite funny so that’s a perfectly good response. I feel a bit embarassed about sharing that sort of stuff here but it helps to get it out there. I can’t remember if I was trying to be funny at the time – but it looks quite comical now. And the potential biting of the vet was a real worry at one stage. My dog does not like suprise thermometers or anything like that so she can be quite snappy.

  3. Dick says:

    Because we should never feel entirely safe within our revised, even revolutionised, personae, diaries such as these (and mine even more, believe me) should never be thrown away. From time to time they should be re-read from cover to cover. They constitute an excellent antidote to any residual hubris, complacency, intellectual or emotional laziness and, of course, the terminal immaturity to which all men are condemned.

  4. Pete says:

    Dick – Thanks for this. I was horrified after I wrote it and had the usual angst about whether to pull it or not. But having decided to leave it, it’s comforting to read your comment about re-reading old diary entries as an antidote to emotional laziness. Wise words. Thanks again.

  5. Emily Barton says:

    People absolutely, positively CAN change when the change comes from a desire within themselves. Therefore, I’m sure you’ve changed (although I have to admit, I loved your focus on food, most especially the papaya in the fridge). It’s only when we try to change for others that it doesn’t work.

  6. openpalm says:

    oh, i do like “papaya in the fridge.”

    sometimes life is misery. and it is the small things that keep me from disappearing altogether.

    –op

  7. doctordi says:

    Pete, I’m so glad you didn’t pull this post. I would have missed it, having escaped the coal-face for the past week, and I’m very pleased not to have (who could possibly fail to be moved by ‘Saw some beautiful girls at the gym’?!). I too have the appalling diaries of a much younger me… twenty years’ worth of ’em, and boy, do some of them make me flinch. The things I’ve recorded with such grinding diligence over the years range from the truly banal (got drunk, slept in, missed class) to the rawest heartaches of my life… On very occasional, very rainy Sundays (once every few years), I take a couple down from the cupboard and skim through them, so I can confirm with absolute confidence that it’s not just men who are condemned to terminal immaturity, and I wouldn’t be without my most embarrassing ‘me’ for quids.

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