Step on a crack. Break your mother’s back.

I have known since I was a little girl, that not stepping on the cracks in the sidewalk felt more serious to me than it was to other kids.  Every one do properly remember that impulse from when they were young and it is perhaps the inspiration to the saying “Step on a crack. Break your mother’s back”. 

I don’t know the exact age I first noticed that I had the tendency to both obsessive and compulsive behaviour and mental acts. But I do know that I was very aware that i “had” to hide the behaviour from both teachers and other kids when I started in preschool. It was not that hard because I was already good to hide the symptoms from my family. I knew that the behaviour and mental acts was abnormal and that was reason enough to hide it from others. I did not have any knowledge about OCD and had never heard about anyone else with the disorder. I thought that I was the only person in the world that had these impulses af regard to behaviour and mentalt acts. Of course that was not the case. But never the less I have had that feeling for a very long time.

As a child I felt that I if I did not do specific things bad things would happen to the people I cared for. One of my biggest fears was to be left alone because of some kind of accident would kill my family and that I was to blame. Today I know it was a irrational fear but as a child it felt very real and rational. I used a lot of time to prevent bad things from happening, I would spend hours and hours doing the same things over and over again.

I was terrified that I would make contaminate and  be the cause of sickness in others. This resulted in excessive cleaning rituals, avoidance of things and places and last but least behaviour that would make up for “mistakes” i had done. A classic in therms of OCD is excessive hand washing and this was a classic thing for me as well. I would was my hands up and over 200 times a day and at the same time use large quantities of disinfection gel, which lead to dry skin, small ulcers and in worse case scenarios infections. I was convinced that if I did not feel clean I would contaminate others with potentially dangerous bacteria and/or illnesses. This convinced me that I had to clean my hands very often and at the same time avoid things I thought could be infected and/or contaminated in any way. I was convinced that me being contaminated would be a health risk for all the people around me. In retrospect I think that is it a major burden for a child to bare, the responsibility of other peoples wellbeing and health.

I still have compulsions to excessive cleaning and hand wash. When I started therapy my therapist at the time somehow saw right through me and on my symptoms and then told me about OCD.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder it made perfectly sense! I was at the same time relived and terrified! Terrified because I knew that I now had to tell someone about all my rituals and relived because it meant that I could get some help and that i did not need to keep it as a secret anymore. Though the years I have spend a considerate amount of time fighting the OCD and I still fight it every single day. The compulsions from when I was a child have not disappeared, no they are very much still here. I have to deal with them on a daily basis but the difference is that now I am able to withstand the compulsions and obsessions and not act upon them. I have spend unbelievable long time trying to fight the OCD, trying to make it stay at a sustainable niveau. The main thing is not to cure the OCD, I do not even know if that is possible, it is to get it down to a level that does not interfear with your daily life.

At the moment I have my OCD under relatively control but how much I am in control depends of the level of stress I am under generally. In periodes where I am very stressed the OCD gets “bigger” and gains more control and I have to stay aware and fight extra hard to keep it at a lower level. It is a never ending battle and I have lots of obsessions and compulsions I have not mentioned and if i had to this post would be even longer.  Therapy have helped me though and I use the tool I have gotten through therapy every single day and I strive to be as OCD free as possible.

 

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Keep your priorities straight!

>>Keep your priorities straight!<<

I have told myself that a million times through the years and especially though the last seven years or so. When I was younger and didn’t have the slightest idea of what time would show and I often felt invincible and immortal. Nothing could bring me to my knees or so I thought, but life definitely showed me that I was wrong! When I finally accepted that something was off and I began to realise how sick I actually was, I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before I would give in and loose the fight. I lost the ability to believe in myself and what I was able to do but time showed me that it was a big mistake! Even though I have learned this I still doubt myself often but doubt don’t have to be a bad thing. If you can change it into motivation to keep up the fight!

Doubt can make you stop to think maybe even to feel how you feel about particular tings, periods and aspects in your life, this will give you the possibility to figure out if anything needs to change or if you can carry on the way you have so far. Getting your priorities straight is not a easy thing at all. It takes a lot of work, thinking and feeling besides acting on all these things which is not easy at all. Even though action speaks louder than words, acting on your feelings can often be extremely difficult. I would dare to say that it is one of the hardest things I have to do even though I have to do it over and over again though out my entire life. I don’t know if i’ll ever totally get the hang of it but my mental illness have showed me that I should definitely try for all that it is worth.

The main thing is that I have to find out what I want to do and what makes my life worth living and then prioritise these things. That is a rather massive task and nothing to be done over night. A few years ago I was convinced that life was not worth it and I figured that giving in to the depression was the right thing to do. Luckily it did not end that way! Someone figured out what I was doing and stoped me. It resulted in  a little over a month at the local mental hospital. Through out the hospitalisation I got intensive therapy and was motivated to keep up the fight and not give up. Then I was discharged I was better, not “cured” but better. I learned that life is precious and that I could not give up already. I recon that it is a kliche. In the time after the hospitalisation i struggled to follow the treatment plan I got while in hospital. I could not figure out what was important for me and i did not dare to think that there was a future for me. Since then i have worked hard to get my life on the right track and I in some aspects I have made progress and moved my self in the direction I want to; but it is a life long task. Every once in a while I try to see my life in a greater perspective and then I try appraise if I am going in the direction I planed or if the direction I am going is better than my original plan. 

Right now I am in a place where I have to figure out if I am going the right way or if I have to move to another track. Four months ago I started at the local university and it as un doubly been a difficult time. It is for every single student who start; the trouble is that besides the normal difficulties comes the difficulties I have because of my mental illness. These extra difficulties can be very debilitating and lead to complications with respect to studying in general. Being at the university can be very stresfull particularly in times where I struggle with my mental health. Initially I followed all three courses for the first half og the semester; it lead to me working 70+ hours every week. This did not contribute to my mental health in any way, i felt increasingly stressed, panicky and depressed. This made an alarm go off inside me and I chose to slow everything down a bit by only following two of the three planed courses in the second half of the semester. Now I am a couple of weeks in and it still do not feel like I have slowed down at all; which I find very worrying. I will give it a couple of weeks more before trying to do something else either scale down one more course or figuring out something else to do. University is not the only way to be happy and if going to study there means that my mental health deteriorate I will for sure find something else to do. No education is worth getting sick for! 

Progress sure can be terrifying!

I bet that most people who have suffered from something debilitating for a longer period of time, whether it is something somatic or mental, have felt the terror that is associated with getting better. I find it very strange that this is the case but somehow it is. It seems like a bit of a luxury problem to get terrified by something good but never the less it is the reality.

Personally I am in the middel of it at the moment. I have after being on sick leave for almost three years because of the depression I got eight years ago I have returned to the life of studying. I have found a bachelor’s degree that can take me towards something I want to do for a living. This ment that i started at the university two months ago and it has been a head on collision with a whole new world. Being able to start at uni and following the courses together with the other studens, means that I finally are feeing better and that things are moving in the right direction. This is of course exciting news and something I have been looking forward to for a very long time! The thing is though I am grateful and happy about moving on I am at the same time  terrified about it. I guess the reason is that now I feel like I really have something to lose; before I got better I lived on a day to day basis this has completely changed. Now I have made and started a plan that reaches far out in time, several years, this plan needs me to get even better and to avoid getting sick again. That is a lot of pressure and it is somewhat scary. This plan needs me to stay focused and demands that I follow the lectures and study schedule at all times. These demands are way bigger that the demands I had to live up to when on sick leave. While on sick leave I often struggled to get out of my bed and get something to eat. This could be such an overwhelming and unmanageable talks that I have to give up and stay in bed. The smallest and most normal things was such big struggles, this meant that the demands had to be very low. This has changed now the demands are way higher that before! Every day depends of me getting out of bed and eating during the day otherwise studying at fulltime is impossible. The university have a lot of demands you have to live up to as a student, then there is the social demands from the other studens, my own demands as regards to how much i have to study and need to learn and the social demands from friends and family. All these demands are way higher that they where during my time on sick leave. My family expect to see me more and that I an happy and normal functioning when I see them. The other studens expects to see me both in the university  time and outside the university time at social events. I expect that I can follow the  pace at the university and that I do well on tests, assignments and so on. All these thing can sure be terrifying all together and I somehow have to balance keeping up with it all and continue getting better at the same time. Because I really think that the study I have started is the right one for me does it not mean that I have to sacrifice everything including my mental health to finish it. I have to find a way where I can study together with the other studens at at the same time make sure that the pressure is at a bearable level. This is basically this balance every  single student at uni have to find and make sure they do not exceeds. I just need to think about it a long time before because exceeding this line could through me right back in the arms of the severe depression and not “only” give me a hard time for a shorter or longer period of time. 

The annoying thing is that I have worked so hard for so long to get to the point where I would feel better and when that feeling finally arrives it makes me feel terrified. Because it brings along a lot of new and higher demands and because it is a strange “new” feeling that i have to get used to again. I guess that the point is not to get too frightened to keep on the good work but carry on and continue getting better and stronger. Even though it can be a overwhelming task and might seem to  be to much of a challenge. Now is the time to hang in there at keep fighting

 

 

Sunday night blues?

If you search the internet for “Sunday night Blues”, you will find lots of articles describing a feeling of depression and lack of motivation that appears as the Sunday comes to an end. Allegedly the phenomenon occurs because the weekend is ending and a new week begins. Often with a new week comes work, school or other obligations like those; obligations that can lead to feeling stressed and overloaded.

I definitely know this feeling and I feel that way almost every single sunday. For a very long time i thought at I felt that way because of my depression but one day I saw an article from the Huffington Post about the phenomenon. I found that lots of people feel the sunday night blues and further reachers  showed me that there even are some scientific studies about it as well. I looked in the the  phenomenon and its occurrence in the lives of people I know. I asked around when I got the change and found that most of the people I asked had felt it. Some felt it evert sunday night, some just once in a while and others experienced it monday morning instead of sunday evening. The fact that so many of the people around me knows it made it seem less scary and unnatural and i figured that it is something I can learn to live with or try to deal with.

I found that taking out some time sunday to get a overview of the following week could ease the feeling of a overwhelming and unmanageable week. I try to plan as much as possible sunday as regards to dinner, grocery shopping, study schedule, seeing friends, pratical to dos and so on. I write everything down in a way and system that fits me and makes me feel in control. I also try to get as many things as possible ready to use so I do not have to do it during the week. This makes it easier to get everything done in a busy week.

Most Sundays i take my dog to the nearby dog forest to met others and their dogs. I do it during the week as well but Sundays I tend to stay longer, arrange playdates with other dogs and/or takes her to other social events. It is good for my dog but it is also good for me because it means that I get several hours outside and meet some people who have the same interest in dogs as I do. So in general sunday is dog-day!

I think dealing with but not trying to erase sunday night blues is the way to do. Accepting that it occurs and not necessarily trying to anything about it. Mostly because ups and downs are a natural part of being human and you do not have to panic because you feel a bit lower that usual. Try to make sunday a good and relaxing day where you have time to plan the following week and do things  you like at a slower pace than during the week. I do feel the sunday blues every sunday but now i do not get frightened by the mild low I use it as motivation to get a good start at the new week. Sunday could be funday 🙂

Therapy, learning by doing! 

It is no secret at all that therapy is hard work; nor is it a secret that the hard work pays off.

The thing is that it is not only the process of changing things that makes therapy hard, the time before, under and after a session is hard, the assignments you often get in therapy is hard, getting the most important out of it is hard, figuring out what is important is hard even learning to talk to the therapist is hard. I am sure that all of the above is not the only things that makes therapy hard. What I find hard can be something totally different from what you find hard; it sure depends on who you are!

When I started therapy I had just turned 16 and was a first year student at gymnasium (the Danish equivalent to high school). I was doing what I liked the most, gaining knowledge and perfecting my skills. For the first time in my school life I felt like I belonged in the social context with the other students. I thought everything was going my way and I did NOT think I needed therapy at all. How could something be wrong? I had good grades, some very good friends and did something I really liked!

It turned out that something was wrong and I did need therapy but I was probably the last one to realise or acknowledge. I did not what to be sick and was firmly convinced that I did not have anything to talk to a therapist about! But my parents, doctor and others around me was convinced that I had. So I eventually started therapy under pressure and because I wanted to show them that I did not have bigger issues than any other teenager.

I was angry, frustrated and a bit confused at this point. I really did not know what therapy was and what was expected from me. No one told me how the process would be and what I was supposed to gain from it. The first time I came in contact with a psychologist was at a emergency team for students in gymnasium who develop psychological difficulties. I had five sessions there and I only told the psychologist what she wanted to hear, I did not put any effort in it at all. just wanted to be over and out as quickly as possible. The problem with this “strategy” was, that she reported back to the school and my general practitioner that she couldn’t reach the me or the problems and that she thought I needed a longer process with a psychiatrist. My general practitioner, the school and my dad made that happen and they found a psychiatrist specializing in children and adolescents.

At this point I was still convinced that I were not sick at all and I did not need a psychiatrist at all. The first time I met the psychiatrist my dad was present I guess mostly because I was under 18 and still legally a child, so the psychiatrist could tell him what the plan should be and to make me feel more safe about the whole thing. I did not want to talk to the psychiatrist so the first few times I did not say anything besides “Hello” when I arrived and “Goodbye” when leaving. When I started to talk to the psychiatrist I slowly realised that something was indeed off and I did have problems beside those of any regular teenager. Seen in retrospect, it was quite childish I chose not to exchange many words beside “Hello” and “Goodbye” with the psychologist. Did not have anything to talk about, I was just a victim of a conspiracy or at least that what how I felt.

As I grew more comfortable about the whole thing and started to learn what going to therapy was all about, I learned to appreciate it and use it to change things that was not working.  It has been a little over seven years since I started therapy and I do not regret it at all. It has been very hard, frustrating and confusing; at times I even wanted to quit at try to figure things out on my own.  Every time I have felt this what I have come to the conclusion, either by myself or by the help of others, that therapy is worth the struggle because in the end it pays of. I actually think that a lot of people could benefit from even a few therapy session than times are rough or when life seems unmanageable; which life will at times. I still attend therapy on a regular basis and it have helped me solve a lot of problems, gain some understanding and helped me fight against the depression I got when I was 15. It have made me able to understand why I have the difficulties that I do, how I can cope with them, how what I say and do seems like from the perspective of others, which tools I can use in the struggle against a fragile psyche, how to fight the difficulties and last but not least it have told me so much about myself and who I am. Knowledge I could not possible have gained without going to therapy and that can help me cope with the difficulties I have as well as the everyday struggles of life in general. 

I guess that the meaning behind this post is that therapy is worth it and even if it seems unnecessary it could just be that you have not learned how to use it to your own advantage yet.

Happiness was unfamiliar

When you have been depressed or just sad in a longer period of time even the smallest feelings of joy or happiness can be quite unfamiliar. To be totally honest it can be terrifying, strange and confusing when these feelings make an appearance.

I don’t know if it is a common thing to experience but I did surely experience some kind of anxiety associated with joy and happiness. At first it really confused me but over time it came to make sense. The reasoning behind is that if you haven’t felt something in a long time, whether it is joy or any other feeling, it can seem unfamiliar when it reappears. Personally it confused me so much I got kinda afraid of feeling just the slightest bit of joy. Not because I did not like it but because it did feel unfamiliar, because it was easy to loose and because I felt even more depressed when it passed.

It is kinda hard to explain but i’ll try…..

Happiness is crucial and everybody yearns after it. We are biologically designed to seek happiness and pleasure and at the same time avoid pain suffering. When we try to achieve your goals the brain and the neurochemicals makes sure that the pursuit and achieving of goals will make us happy. The brain realases neurochemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, adrenaline and endorphin when we pursuit and/or achieve our goals, bond with other people or avoid stressful or dangerous situations. This means that we are partly made for feeling happy. Earlier scientists thought that depression was caused by a biological imbalance based on the theory of a chemical imbalance in the brain; an imbalance in the neurochemicals such as the ones named earlier. New studies says that this theory is wrong and that depression is caused by the brain being in high-alert-mode in longer periods and/or are exposed to trauma. The new theory says that a brain in high-alert-mode is exposed to a larger amount of stress hormones than normal and that this higher level of stress hormones will result in exhaustion and apathy; as seen with people who are depressed. This combined with the way we respond to the feelings of stress, anxiety and hopelessness desides whether or not we get depressed. So the neurochemicals linked with happiness are in some way drowned in stress hormones.

Then you have done the same thing over and over again it becomes normal and you get used to it. It is hard to break with habits and even harder if you have had it for a long time. Changes have to be introduced slowly and in smaller portions at the time; and even then it can seem scary  and unfamiliar.   The same applies to feeling depressed and stressed in a longer period of time; it becomes normal and harder to break with. Personally I have worked hard to break with the normal of being depressed and to allow my self to enjoy good times; even the smallest one. Then the most frustrating thing appeared. I got really scared of loosing the joy again and going back to the depression afterwards. It so happened that every time i felt the least bit of joy I became so obsessed with holding on to it that I forgot to lean back and enjoy it when it was going on. The fear of loosing the rare moments of joy made me even more depressed. That is paradoxical in it self. 

The conclusion must be that if you try forse joy and anxiously trying to hold on to it you might “scare” it away or forgetting to enjoy it while it lasts. 

 

Write yourself happier

When I am feeling down it is hard almost impossible to write some thing positive that can help me feeling better; but that does not discourage me from writhing anyways. Mostly because in the long run I can benefit from the negativity. So am i feeling down then I try to write even though it might seem strange and the motivation seems gone; because I know the reward comes later on. But that does not mean that I only write the sad, dark or negative thoughts and things;  not at all. When ever something good, beautiful or unexpected happens I write it down and mark it with a green post-it. Then i can comeback later when I am sad and benefit from the good experience. When I reread the more positive things I often write done my reactions and reflections as I go along and keep them so I can revisit those as well.

Then to the way I can  benefit from the writing I have done on darker days! Actually it is quite simple. I keep track of them and how often they happen; then i use basic statistic and find out how often the darker days appeared in the latest month. I use this information to compare it with previous months and often that makes it easier to see if I am heading in the right direction. The direction with fewer dark days and increasing better days. If I can conclude that it are not going that way I will try to figure out what the reason for the increase in darker days and try to figure out a solution from there. It is not sure I will succeed and find a solution but trying will give me many useful reflections and considerations. If I can locate a pattern in the cause of  darker days I have a useful tool to be aware of the darkness before it hits me. Being aware are the first step towards changing something also on this case. If the darker days are getting less frequent I know that I am doing something right. So I can register the things that have changed and figure out what have been contributing to the progress. It could be anything from new medication to a new exercise schedule; it could also be smaller thing that you would not be aware of unless you were looking for it such as fewer days home alone or more frequent walks during the day.

The “Write yourself happier”- thing is not about writing till you get happier or to your mood changes but about using what ever you write in a constructive way. Even though it is negative or seems useless there will be a way to use it in a progressive way. I really had to write a lot of material and look at it many times before i really understood how to use even the negative things but it has given me a lot trying and finding my own way to write myself happier. Not to say that it has freed me of my difficulties but it sure have given me the opportunity to descover new things about that can trigger a good or bad day. This knolage I use almost daily to navigate through new or known situations, experiences and feelings while looking out for myself and my mental health.

Who should know?

I have true to answer the question above many times since I got diagnosed with depression. I’m really not sure that I have found the perfect answer to that question or that I have managed to correctly balance who to tell and who not to tell. Perhaps I never will!

When I had had the first consulting with my general practitioner and he told me that e suspected depression I was convinced that I did not have to tell anyone at all, besides my closest family and I would only tell them because I was under 18 and therefore had to. In the weeks following getting diagnosed I had many discussions and disagreements with my parents about who should know and who should not! I felt a lot of shame, guilt and embarrassment and did not want to accept that something was off. I hid behind phrases and excuses like “I’m fine, i’m just tired” and “Nothings wrong I have  just had a long week”. I used them so my friends, teachers and others wouldn’t notice that I was hiding the realproblem. I felt like if i didn’t tell anyone it wasn’t real and it would just disappear. That off course was only wishful thinking and not gonna happen in real life at all. This was a very naive prospective because off course that’s not the case at all. The truth is that it just made things worse and gave the depression even more power over my life.

One day my dad confronted me and told me that i had two choices as regards to telling people around me. Either I could tell them myself or he would do i for me. I didn’t like any of the two options and really tries to argue my way out of it but that wasn’t possible. So i chose to tell my friends, teachers and family myself. I started with my immediate family, this was very hard but strangely enough it wasn’t that emotional from my part. My guess is that I still didn’t believe I was sick, so no need to get emotional. I told them because I had to. I thought that if i told them my self I could control what the knew better than I could if my farter told them. When I finally told the teachers at my school it became very real and I felt that I had to reconsider not accepting being sick. I first told the schools counsellor and she offered to tell my classmates but i didn’t take her offer and told them myself. This was one of the better decisions i have made and it turned out to that they really appreciated to hear it from me and not from any other person. My friends found it easier to understand and ask about my illness because I broke the silens and told them my self. Though time I have rejoiced over the fact that I took that decision, it have to some extend made I easier for my friends to relate and understand my situation. So the fact is that my father made me take the right decision.

Today I try not to hide what i have been through and my disabilities. No being said that i just tell anyone and everyone but if people ask and it fits the situation, ill be honest and tell that I’m fighting depression and it has revealed other diagnosis. Then I leave it up to whom I’m talking to to decide wether or not to ask further questions. Because I of course don’t know the answer to everything I try to answer as adequate as possible.

There are both positive and negative things to telling people around you and the same goes as regard to not telling.

Pros and cons about telling people:

  • Pros:
    • People will understand if you act unusual compared to how to normally act.
    • People can take into account that you are being sick and might have extra needs.
    • People will most likely appreciate you being honest and that will show them that you trust them.
    • People will know that you take yourself serious.
    • People will be able to help and support you thought the tough times.
    • You’ll hear your self saying that you are sick many times and it will, after some time, sink in at become real for you too.
  • Cons:
    • People can willingly and unwillingly treat you different from healthy individuals. (Fx. treat you like you are made of glass)
    • Some people might distance them self from you because they don’t know how to handle the concept of mental illnesses.
    • You’ll hear your self saying that you are sick many times and it will, after some time, sink in at become real for you too.

I am aware that the last two bulletpoints on the list are the same, but it can both be a good and a bad thing making it real.

Pros and cones about not telling people:

  • Pros:
    • Nobody will treat you like you are sick and therefore willingly and unwillingly treat you different from healthy individuals.
    • You don’t have to explain and defend your self and your diagnosis.
    • Nobody will distance themself from you because they don’t know how to handle mental illnesses.
  • Cons:
    • You don’t get the help you need because people don’t know that there is a problem.
    • You won’t have an outlet and get to talk too someone about what is wrong.
    • You will distance your self from people around you in order to retain the illusion of you  not being sick.

The conclusion taking the above in to consideration is that you’ll benefit from telling people. You’ll deny your self from some help that could take you in the right direction, the direction of a healthier mental life. So even though is seems scary and unnecessary it is most likely the right decision. 

 

 

Motivation is crucial 

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light”

– Aristotle Onassis

On internet there are a endless amount of quotes like the one above. Quotes that try to tell us that life is worth it and what we make of i or that the solutions to our problems are within ourselves. The quotes are there to motivate us to keep up the fight against the monsters we meet throughout our life.

For a very long time I have thought of quotes as just words; words someone said along time ago and to me they seemed too hollow to really motivate me. Actually I got kind of irritated and frustrated by such quotes. They gave me the a feeling of failure because regardless off how many I read and who was quoted, the moment I turned my attention somewhere else they faded and did not keep my motivation going; and motivation is crucial. If I wanted the motivation to be permanent or at least last longer, I had to find something that would be relevant no matter the situation and problem and something that would be in my sight at all times. By in my sight I do not mean literally in eye sight at alle times, but that it had to be something that would come to mind at any time. Because if it should be able to keep the motivation going it had to be important at any time and reached very easily.

Whenever I found myself in a very difficult place the same thing kept staying important and even though I did not make the connection at first, it could keep my motivation going at all times.

It took me a long time and a lot of analyzing past situations, to even get close to figuring out what could be strong and precious enough to keep me going. The situations that needed to be analyzed were the ones where I found myself at the edge of life but turned around instead of jumping. To be totally honest I have found myself in such places quite a few times in the past seven years; places where my depression convinced me that the best thing to do was to leave and then finally get some peace. But even though I was truly convinced, I somehow managed to pause at the edge, turn myself around and walk back in to safety. For a long time I was puzzled by what could made me come to my sences and literally keep me alive. Even though I searched for the answer through several months, I did not seem to find the answer at all. The answer came to me while I was talking to a friend about something totally unrelated to the search. My friend commented on the evening news and a story about a man who lost his life in a terrible accident. She kept talking about the family, the extreme sorrow they where going through and how awful it must feel like to loose a loved one. Her words and her sympathetic insight really got to me and kept me thinking for a long time. After a long time I understood that the answer to my question was the feelings and the strong bond people often feel towards their family. The thing that kept me here was thoughts of my family and the fact that I would hurt them inexcusable. Actually the answer was straights forward and very obvious; because the last thing I would do would be hurting my loved ones. I therefor tried to use this knowledge intentionally and thereby keep myself from the edge. Then I found myself at the edge I tried my best to keep my loved ones in sight. By in my sight I do not mean literally in eye sight but I mind. I tried to tell myself that if I could not stay alive for myself I had to stay alive for my loved ones. This became my general rule or sentence when ever I moved towards the edge. Sometimes it definitely made the differens and sometime I was stopped by pure luck or the help of others; but the main thing is that it worked and still do.

“If you can not stay for yourself then stay for your loved ones”

– My former self

And then we are back to the thing we began with; a quote. Not a quote by one of the worlds great thinkers and philosophers but one by me. You could say it is a little reminder from my former self to my future self that when ever I want to give in and jump, I have to consider that even though I get rid of the pain I will just transfer it to my loved ones. And I will to an awful lot to prevent that for happening. My motivation to keep up the fight and to get better is the fact that I will not burden my family with the great sorrow of loosing a loved one.

Dear diary?

Through the years I have kept a diary on and off. My first diary was a little book with blank pages where I would draw how I felt . I used drawings because I haven’t really learned to write that well. I would draw sad faces, specific situations or things that would represent how I felt.

As I grew and I learned to write I stated to make small captions to give the drawings. Today the small caption have grown and is the main thing in my diary; pictures and drawings are added once in awhile mostly to take a break from all the text.

I have kept almost every single diary since I first started a few have either been lost or been destroyed. Through the years I have once in awhile looked through  my old diaries and revisited times that have passed. That can both be a good and a bad experience because I  try to write positive and negative experiences in my diaries to create a   truthful picture. In certain periods of time usually when the depression rules the content of my diaries tend to be mostly negative which is not hard to understand at all. That is what depression do to you and your perspective on life.

I have organised my former and future diaries in the same way with coloured post-it’s, markers, symbols and colours of pens. This organisation system makes it easier for me to find specific things, episodes and experiences. For instance do I use small green post-it’s to pinpoint situations and things that made me happy. It can be everything from a small sentence from a loved one to hole days that went well. I use the pinpointed “green” things when times are tough to convince my self that things can be good and that my life does contain happiness. This have been particularly  useful and helpful in my fight against the powerful depression. When depression rules you tend to forget joyful times and the green post-it’s help me rediscover happiness in life. I use the green post-it’s because in Denmark the colour green are said to be the colour of hope. Green symbolizes the living, growing and the recreation/rebirth of the living in out nature. So that in mind i guess it makes sense that green would be associated with hope.

I try to write in my diary regularly even if they days have been slow. It dosen’t necessarily have to be the deep thoughts and feelings every time I write. My diaries consists of many different types of writings. If I things have been slow and there aren’t lots of material I have the opportunity to philosophize and let the thoughts run in any direction they want. Sometimes it means that at write about some of the biggest questions in my existence  other times it means that i write about the little and somehow unimportant things, things i have read (usually scientific stuff), a person i saw during the day or what ever that just pops into my mind while I’m holding the pen. Drawings, doodles, pictures, quotes, stray thoughts, ideas (good or bad), feelings, upcoming events, friends, family, random people I have seen, things I want to do later in life, dreams, hopes, do’s and don’ts are all things that could appear in my diaries. Mostly the pages reflects the state of mind I at the time of writing. That means that in times where the depression rules the content are often quite dark and I can sometimes get lost in all the darkness. This is where the green post-it’s come in handy; they show me that things can be better and brighter eventhough  things seems hopeless and bad in the moment.

My diaries both old and current are places to look back in time, reflect and explore myself and my mind through the years and to find hope and establish motivation to proceed. I definitely think that I can learn to cope with life in all its aspects by looking back through former thoughts, dreams and other writings. So for me the diaries have many different functions such as being a place:

  •  to unload my thoughts and clear my mind for all the things happening around me at a specific time or day.
  • to complain about thing both important and unimportant.
  • to write down events, situations or happenings that I will want to be able to revisit both good or bad
  • to let out my deepest secrets, thoughts, fears and reflections.
  • to write down my dreams for the future
  • to create some kind of status report over where I am in the writing moment. It could be over the kinds of medications I take, my treatment plan, symptoms from the depression, my progress as regards to both my diagnosis and lief in general.
  • to doodle or draw is I just need to kill time.
  • to remember things i want to see, read, explore or do at another time.
  • to look back at good things, situations or periods in life.
  • to look back at the darker periods in my life often to see the progress I have done since I wrote something.
  • to connect pictures with  writing about a specific thing, situation or person.
  • to philosophize about everything and noting at all.
  • to plan events such as birthdays, holidays and other things that needs planning.

So my diaries contains lots of different things and new is added once in a while. Somethings are left out because they are not longer relevant or dont make sense anymore. The main thing is that a diary can contain what ever you want both serious and silly. Your choice.