Journaling has always been difficult for me. I have Journals full of two pages of actual journal writings and the rest of the pages are just drawings. Adults tell you that journaling is good for you and can help with your mental health. It’s not like I don’t believe in that--obviously journaling works for some people--but for me it’s never been easy. It feels more like a chore than a time to clear your mind.
During 6th grade I decided to write my thoughts on a single piece of lined paper. It was probably something about school or friends or what not, and I hid it in my desk, above the actual drawer in a crack. That began to get annoying, having to take the drawer out and lay down and cram it into the secret spot just to hide a piece of paper I knew no one would read. I stopped writing for a while, but then 7th grade started, and everything turned into a living hell. I lost friends, started thinking of killing myself and the amount of self loathing I had was so unhealthy, but I didn’t tell anyone. I told myself that my problems were a burden I didn’t want anyone else to have to think about.
One day while cleaning my room, I was messing around with my bed posts, and one of the parts came off. It was easily fixed; I just put it back in the hole, but it made me think, “What a good hiding place.” That night I wrote my thoughts down again and rolled it up then shoved it into the hiding spot. I started to write letters to people, saying all the things I wanted to tell them all the horrible things they had done to me. I wrote letters to myself (very Dear Evan Hansen of me) about how much I hated myself. I made plans to convince my parents to let me live with my grandparents in Utah and all that was stuffed into my bed post.
In 8th grade, I found new friends and started to gain my self love back. Before I go on, I’d like you to know that I wear something similar to a mask. I hide my feelings, and well. I hate talking about my feelings and I hate standing up for myself even though I want to. With these new people not knowing about my mental health and me not ever talking about it, it seemed things were going smoothly until a horrible fight I had with my friend. It threw me right back into that pit of endless self hate and depression. I went straight back to the Bedpost Diaries of Shame and pulled my mask on tighter.
Towards the end of the third trimester, my friend had a mental health scare, and I finally snapped. I blamed myself, and I had a massive panic attack. I remember texting my friend and telling her everything: about the depression, the suicidal thoughts, my mask and even the bedpost diary. Of course she understood and told me it wasn’t my fault and told me I wasn’t a horrible person. She taught me to love myself again.
I still use the bedpost diary on occasion but now I chose to use it for memories that I want to keep instead of the ones that make me sick to my stomach. I think we all have something similar to a bedpost diary but whether we choose to make it a pit of hate or a diary of memories is up to us.