These are extracts from a journal I kept in London, almost two years ago, whilst having a depressive episode. I was sixteen an, attending English courses at Goldsmiths University, along with three girl friends of mine. London had always been my dream city and, even though I was, naturally, supposed to be thrilled, I found myself slumping. Collapsing.
I’m publishing these now because, since I wrote about my friend’s suicide, I’ve been receiving many messages from people (mostly teenagers) asking for help. This is for you. I’m endlessly grateful for your trust and I hope I’ve been of aid. I believe we should do whatever it takes to spread awareness on matters such as depression and mental illnesses, and, most important of all, to be there for each other.
Also, I think it is important to know that you are not alone. I’ve been through this, and others have, and we should not be ashamed.
The entries were written in English and have only bared a few modifications.
British Museum, day two
You said to me “dreams, anguish and conflicting perspectives of art bring us together”. I waved you off, stuffed my ears with headphones and twirled to Patti Smith in front of you. I’m tired of fighting.
Goldsmiths, day three
It’s my third day in London and I feel like I’m choking. I’m crying a lot and messaging my therapist at odd hours. She told me it wasn’t a bother: she liked me, because I was “nice and sweet and just a little too caring.” I can’t help but feel extremely guilty, though.
Also, she keeps asking me if I’m taking my pills. I’m obviously avoiding the question. I didn’t take them with me because I knew my mother was going to rummage through my suitcase. I didn’t want her to find out I was seeing a therapist and taking meds, which I’ve managed to keep secret from her by saving a huge deal of money and paying for therapy myself. I don’t want her to be disappointed in me – more than I think she already is, anyway. I hate being a burden.
Also, my uncle died of cancer.
- wants to meet me, but I’m scared he’ll find me dull.
Goldsmiths, day four and a half
I recorded myself crying the other day. I think I’m a pain to my friends and I want to apologize, but I don’t know how to. I tried to say a shaky sorry today, but ended buying them flavoured ice-cream instead. The flavour was labelled “flowers”. Like for real. I didn’t want to spoil my sorry by trying the ice-cream myself, so now I’m left to wonder what flowers taste of.
Goldsmiths, day five
I’ve started having long conversations with A. He tried to kill himself last month and his sister is keeping him on a suicide watch. He blatantly talks about slitting his wrists. Today, I snapped, and rambled about the importance of life and hope and friends and love and I told him he was beautiful and he should stop hurting himself because he mattered and I mattered and everything would be okay. He leered at me and told me to cut the bullshit. Said he saw my thighs and I was being hypocritical. I looked away from him and bit my lip so hard it bled. His eyes softened when I started crying. I logged out of Skype immediately.
Goldsmiths, day seven
I broke up with the boy back home the other day, while muffling on a pink cupcake at Costa. I’m not really regretful, just a little anxious. I’m fine with being “alone”, but I was quite distraught when my friend said she pitied me. I mean, aside from being manically depressed, as my therapist says, I honestly think I’m fine. (I don’t understand what the term “manically” stands for anyways.)
Goldsmiths, day nine
It’s 4.04 am and I’m thinking of writing to my therapist again but I don’t want to be a pain.
Instead of bothering my therapist, I found myself having a conversation with this somewhat of a colleague of mine. We work for the same magazine, anyway. She said my messages surprised her, because she had thought I was very happy – “all the time”. That, along with the subtle hint of bitterness I sensed, broke me a little. I wonder if I seem to be one of the overly happy people that normally tear at my heart.
Goldsmiths, day ten
I can’t sleep. I listen to Placebo and stare through my dorm window at narrow buildings. I obsessively listen to three songs only: Peeping Tom, Ask for answers and Lady of the Flowers. I know each word by heart and clumsily sing along. I accidently dropped some eye shadow on my headphones and smeared it while trying to rub it off. The headphones are soft green now and they weirdly remind me of Brian Molko. I’m also a little proud because I wanted to hurt myself but didn’t.
Goldsmiths, day eleven
Last night, there was this brief moment I thought I knew exactly who I was. My girls said they felt it too. Maybe it’s Thames that does it for us. Ha.
Goldsmiths, day twelve
My girls make me feel golden. In the afternoon, after classes, we cruise shops and buy clothes, blue lipsticks and alcohol. E. and I forgot our fake I.D.s home so we have to lie about our age. Most people buy it. We drink each evening and film ourselves strolling through campus, slumping in dusty bedrooms of Slovenians, slurring lyrics and taking supposedly good angled selfies. My girls make me feel happy.
The real struggle is at night, when I’m alone in my dorm. I scratch at my skin and feel my head pulsing with self-loathe. Mirrors make me miserable. My clothes feel misshaped. I might be misshaped. I don’t know if I’m losing or gaining weight, but I feel my body changing. I feel slick in my skin. My head thumps. My scars disgust me.
Goldsmiths, day thirteen, morning
(10.17) I called my mother today. I told her I couldn’t breathe. Despite her starting to shout at me, I felt a ting of worry in her voice. She started listing the reasons I was supposed to be “grateful” for: London, classes, my friends, summer, prestige etc. I swallowed and felt strangled by guilt. It was wrong, I was wrong. I was privileged and my sadness was unnecessary. Wasn’t it?
I hung up.
how dare you be sad how dare you pity yourself how dare you want it to stop how dare you be hurting how dare you how dare you. others have it worse.
(10.44) I had a panic attack.
Others have it worse. They do.
What’s wrong with me?
Goldsmiths, day thirteen, afternoon
I swear I’m trying to be kinder, happier, positive and everything they tell me to be.
But I feel myself crushing. I feel my thoughts squeezing each other. I feel like I’m going to disappear and I try to cling to anything my fingers can reach and I squeeze old iPods and overused notebooks in trembling hands.
My skull is going to break my mind in a million pieces. I am hurting so much. I am mute and I can’t voice myself and I am shy and my face is disproportioned and I don’t know if there’s a reason for my fall and I don’t know if it’s vanity or naivety but I’m crumbling and I’m scared people will find me silly so I don’t talk at all. I(t) will go away
Goldsmiths, day fourteen, evening
I mindlessly walk around town at night and take photos with my phone. I find a lot of crazed graffiti, which seem to freeze my state of mind on walls. I instagrammed some with the caption “photo journal of when you’re walking around feeling weightless/ bare/ faithless/ scared and you find your own self staring right back at you through bars and gates.”
Goldsmiths, day fourteen, close to midnight
My ex-boyfriend messaged me and told me I was too sad for his liking. Even though I don’t care for him anymore, I cried.