Throwback Diary is a community. Please consider sharing your story. We have so much to learn from each other. This beautiful image is a submitted page from Nina in the Netherlands. The left-hand side is a quote from Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore.”
A bit of background: I believe I began to struggle with depression at age 13. At that time, I briefly saw my first therapist. This was preceded by years of anxiety in childhood. When I was in elementary school, I was treated for physical symptoms (stomach ache, fainting), but not the anxiety itself.
I wrote these entries when I was 16.
‘June 25, 2006
I feel like something is missing. Like it’s that absence that triggers my episodes. But I don’t know what it is. I’m desperate for something that is unknown even to me. I just want to find it, but I have no idea where to look.
‘June 26, 2006
Will S. died today in a car accident. We used to be friends when we were little. I’ve known him since we were five. Why did God choose him? He was depressed. Maybe God thought he deserved to be happy again. Where is he now? What is he thinking? Is he aware of what happened? Does he even know he’s dead? Is he in heaven with God?
I feel that missing thing again. I feel like I need to hold onto something or else I’ll fly off, disappear, something. I need to hold on to something until I can stop thinking. But I can’t sleep.
Today I needed to get away, so I got in the car and drove for about a half hour. Way out through the country. Finally I turned around and came home. Mom called and seemed really suspicious of me and my mood. I’ve been so weird lately. I don’t know what’s going on with me. I feel so unlike myself. I want it to go away.’
Caroline, thanks again for this project. I’m very moved by it.
~thank you, Madeline. I, and others, are very moved by your contribution~
~It remains such a thrill to receive submissions. Be sure to click on the audio links below each diary page to hear Charmaine read the entry herself.~
January 24, 2016
“24 January 2016. Prior to this date, my grandmother had been having trouble keeping her balance. Mornings where she would find herself too weak to walk—and mornings we’d find ourselves too weak to raise her. It didn’t take me seeing her there on the floor, like a child who’d curled up and fallen asleep there, saying, ‘It’s alright, I’ll just lie here for a while,’ to know I was losing a part of my childhood. The day came when she woke and said, ‘I can’t move.’ And on this day I watched her, being lifted into the rear of the ambulance, and I suddenly felt all the years that had come to pass.”
February 13, 2016
“13 February 2016. After years of a prolonged back and forth, my mother ends her relationship with her abusive boyfriend. How final it seemed, sitting there, while simultaneously not feeling final at all. I had wanted this since I was a girl, and now it comes, almost too late.”
What luck: a few more gorgeous pages from Nina, who has been keeping diaries—often enhanced through painting and collage—since she was 14. She’s currently studying art therapy in the Netherlands.
“I thought I would send you a few more pages. The first one is from June 2014. This one is very throwback diary appropriate. It’s a poem from Siegfried Sassoon who was a first world war soldier. Who kept diary’s in the trenches. You can read his diary’s here: http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/sassoon
“On the second one is from July 2014. I’m debating in very unclear sentences what to do. I have to make a choice between following my heart or my head. Choosing between what’s good and what is right.
“The third one is from May 2014. I had written in a diary for 2009 that was obsessed with this poem by Wendy Cope. Sometimes new adventures remind us of old ones. And apparently May 2014 reminded me of 2009.”
‘On Waterloo Bridge where we said our goodbyes,
the weather conditions bring tears to my eyes.
I wipe them away with a black woolly glove
And try not to notice I’ve fallen in love
On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. you’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?
On Waterloo Bridge with the wind in my hair
I am tempted to skip. You’re a fool. I don’t care.
the head does its best but the heart is the boss-
I admit it before I am halfway across’
This is in response to the March 21, 2010 post, shared with permission.
“Hi my name is Catarina I really want to share some things about myself but have always struggled to until I found this, I’m an artist, photographer and writer and those passions have been my refuge but I want to share with others like myself too, I also need to confront and accept my bipolar diagnosis for maybe the first time in my life and maybe this could be the start and maybe feel a part of a group in which others are brave enough to share and not judge and accept. I have many images and journal entries that have remained hidden for so long…I respect and celebrate the candour and raw honesty of you and the people that share and feel blessed to add to the project in a small way.”
I thought that, in response to your entry about starting an antidepressant medication, I would send in an entry from one of my journals. This entry is from my tumultuous freshman year of college, during which I developed an eating disorder and was formally diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and clinical depression. Shortly after the start of spring semester, I moved home and commuted to school from there. Here I describe my first of many visits, to many doctors, for these issues.
February 13, 2009
I had an appointment with Dr. S at C— in L—. He was very nice and understanding. I told him everything. He thinks I have an underlying problem with anxiety, which contributes to the depression and disordered eating (which he thinks are situational).
He also asked me where I was at spiritually. I was rather surprised and said, “Nowhere… I haven’t been to church in the last six weeks or so.” Even as I said “church,” I wasn’t sure I’d heard him correctly. He told me quite frankly that he thinks that’s a mistake. He said that since our bodies were made for the Garden of Eden, we face depression and anxiety because we are so ill-suited for this world. He thinks it would be very beneficial for me to “get closer to Him.” … I was quite taken aback and felt almost attacked–what if I didn’t believe in God? He just assumed I did. But I also thought for a minute that I was going to cry. I thought, maybe this is the nudge I needed. Maybe this is God speaking through him.
…Anyway. They weighted me–125–and prescribed Prozac. Mom came in and talked with us a little. She told me something I didn’t know. Uncle T struggled with disordered eating when he was a kid, becoming obsessed with healthy eating. I was shocked.
They drew blood to check my iron and thyroid. And that was it. I left feeling good. I’m optimistic about the medication.”
Big thanks to Jeff for being the first to use the Throwback Diary voicemail account! (929 320 0024) Listen as he recounts his transition from high school to college, “for me it really was…a feeling of belonging.”
Mobile users click here to listen
This did bring to my attention that messages are truncated at 3 minutes… I don’t think I can change this (working on it), but please call back and continue talking if you’re ever cut off. Let’s all encourage Jeff to call back so we can hear the end of his story! ~thank you, Jeff~
“My name is Nina. I’m from the Netherlands. I have been writing in diary’s since the age of 14.
On the photo you can see all the diary’s I could find. Some are completely filled others barely. The dark green one is only filled with the adventures I embark on with my 85 old grandmother. When I cannot write. When I have no words to describe my feelings I paint. And I call them my “medium dagboeken” what basically translate to art diary’s. I have about 16 of those. These are filled with drawings, quotes from my favorite books poems songs and movies.
“The second photo is really bad, my camera died and i took it with my phone.
Summer 2014 it’s a quote from kafka on the shore writen by Haruki Murakami.
‘And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.’” ~thank you, Nina~