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.)