Diary Page Forty Seven
September 20, 2003 - The first time I wrote this diary entry, I was considerably more upbeat. Then I lost all that I had written and to be honest, I am feeling a lot more negative than I was before. I love writing and writing makes me feel better, so when I have the energy to write I feel really good. Then for someone else to get on the computer and for it to freeze and for me to lose everything....well, if writing makes me feel good, losing all of that work can make me feel downright nasty. I'd been typing my thoughts for over an hour, and in reality, for much of this past week I've had a lot of things I wanted to say and I was finally saying them. It took me a while to organize my thoughts and now they are in disarray again. I'm quite upset but what's done is done so I am just going to have to get over it.

Now I don't feel like writing so this is done. No, maybe I shouldn't stop because then I am only penalizing myself. I JUST DON'T FEEL LIKE WRITING ALL OF THAT AGAIN. It was hard for me to do it the first time. As soon as my brother entered the room somehow I just knew he would want to get on the computer. But I had resolved not to let him on. I always let him on, I always give in. But this one time, it was just too important, I just had to resist. Yet as soon as he asked me, without hesitation, I got up and let him on. He needed to get directions to a party. And then I lose everything. I can't help but to feel punished, although that's not rational. WHY DID I GIVE IN? Why didn't I just say no? My instincts told me that this was too important for me to interrupt but my own happiness just doesn't come first for me. And that's the way of things.

Oh well, that's it. I've lost those thoughts and I don't have the energy to retrieve them and do it all again. No, this is worse. I can't give in to this negative attitude, that would be the worst surrender of all. I'm not being punished and I am not a failure, I have to stop thinking these things. I just have to stop. The first thing I really must do is stop crying. It is stupid to cry about this. Okay, I also have to banish all those negative words, like stupid. I can calm myself through more positive measures. Okay I have stopped crying now I have to focus on the future and not the past. The frozen computer is the past. The other diary entry is even more in the past. I will focus on the future and start writing again.

I feel like I am having a bad day but it didn't start out badly at all, and it doesn't have to end that way. So maybe I am just having a bad fifteen minutes right now. I can end this bad period right now. And take a deep breath. And start over. These are the thoughts I wanted to get down. They are separate from any thoughts I've had in the past fifteen minutes because I am banishing those fifteen minutes from memory for the moment.

Over the past week I have been observing myself and reaching a number of different conclusions. One thing I have determined is that I am descending into a depression. It's not totally unexpected, as this is normally the time of year when I start getting more and more depressed. That's so weird. People who are mentally healthy have no concept of "normal" times of year for depression and they have no idea what it is like living your life knowing that there will be certain months, every year, where you are guaranteed to be excluded from happiness. However, this year I can actually tell that I am becoming depressed and that's a good thing because it means I can probably do something about it.

How do I know that I am becoming depressed? Well the first thing that happened was I lost interest in doing a number of things. I lost the energy and desire to do things that prior to six weeks ago brought me joy and fulfillment. Like taking medication. Taking medication regularly has always been difficult for me but I had finally settled into a routine and I was doing it. Then, I stopped, and rather abruptly now that I think about it. It's not a shock that that would be one of the first things to go, along with using the telephone. When I met my friend Ambrosia I gradually became accustomed to talking on the phone more and more, and for long periods of time. Then, about six weeks ago, after I lost the will to take medication regularly, just as abruptly, I lost all interest in talking on the telephone. It became repulsive to me again just as it had been before. The energy that I had just...went away. Within weeks my days started to look exactly the same, surfing the web and watching TV. And eating. That's another thing that changed drastically, my eating habits. For much of the year I've been eating right and feeling pretty good. I didn't find it to be at all difficult. Even when I went to Chicago I had no problem sticking to my diet and I even lost weight while eating out every day at restaurants. After I got back from Chicago, I just started regressing until finally, last week, I ate exactly as I did before I went on this "diet". I'm probably eating for emotional reasons (and that is something I didn't really believe in until now). In addition to losing energy, desire and my changed eating habits, I have also become more irritable. Yes, I know that I am slipping into a depression.

However, this past week a number of things have happened to me on the inside. In addition to observing the changes in my mental health, I have started looking deeper into my psyche. I receive books from the library and one of the books they sent was a self-help book called "Self Matters" by Dr. Phillip McGraw. I have been engrossed in this book all week. It is filled with writing exercise after writing exercise, and I can't believe the things I have discovered about myself by writing and answering very specific questions. The book is very involved and has required a lot of hours and I am not finished it yet, but I am very excited and more than a little relieved.

One of the first exercises is designed to introduce you to your "authentic self", basically, who and what you would be if you had a choice (and the point of the book is that you do). The author gives you a list of words, maybe fifty or so, and I had to circle which words I would want to describe me if I were the ideal person I want to be. I circled a lot of the words, like "principled", "intelligent", "beautiful", "passionate", "wise", "moral", "sweet", etc. although I found it interesting to note which words I did not, like "autonomous", "leader", "powerful", "cute", "normal", "liberated", etc. I don't see anything wrong with those things, but I realized that none of them are important to me when I think of who I truly want to be. Then all of the words were listed again but this time I had to circle only the words I felt described me now. I only circled about 25% of the words. I wouldn't describe myself as "beautiful", "passionate", "joyful" or most of the other words. I do think that I am "intelligent", "principled" and "sweet". This exercise really helped me understand who the ideal "Danielle" would be and also who the current "Danielle" is. But the assignments would get much more involved and difficult.

One of the most interesting exercises was when I wrote down my internal dialogue for one 24-hour period. I talk to myself a lot. A whole lot. Actually, everyone talks to themselves all day long, but I just happen to frequently do it out loud. Well it was interesting to go about a normal day, while taking time every few hours to write down the things I had been saying to myself. Then I analyzed those things to see if there were any themes. I also wanted to see what kind of friend I am to myself. Who wants a friend who yells at you or calls you names? Nobody, but we say those kinds of things to ourselves all the time. I had fun doing this particular exercise because I am always game for examining my thoughts :-). I think I will put this exercise in my diary. My diary is different because even though I am recording my thoughts, it is almost always at a time of reflection. Well this time I recorded the thoughts I had while living my life normally that day. I have so much to say I am going to continue this entry on another page.  
My internal dialogue on September 17, 2003...and more analysis