#TimeToTalk: Why I keep a diary

There’s lot to say about mental health, and the truth is that whilst progressive minds support healthy growth and acceptance in society, there’s still plenty of people who are determined to give anyone who’s suffering just another reason to feel like shit.

Everybody goes through their own struggles and though of course some struggle more than others, it’s important to never compare people to one another – there’s just nothing to be achieved by it.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a piece like this for some time, and admittedly it’ll be the most personal piece on my blog which mostly consists of *checks blog* football and swearing. In fact it’s dominated by swearing. Big deal.

One for the regulars: Yes, I’ll find a way to get CM Punk gifs in every post.

Nonetheless, I figured I’ve got nothing to lose. Just to make it clear: this isn’t a cry for help, me feeling sorry for myself, or any form of self-diagnosis. If it comes across that way, either I’ve written it wrong or you’ve read it wrong. And I’m never wrong.

My biggest vice is probably expecting far too much of myself. I push myself too hard and don’t let myself rest, or become defeatist a sack everything off. I’m the laziest perfectionist you’ll ever come across, and I’ll be the first one to say “that’s utter shit” about my own work.

I write probably two or three to-do lists on a good day, and pretty much never finish them. I had such a backlog of menial bullshit written down on a double-sided piece of A5 that would supposedly make my life “easier” or “more organised” or whatever that it started to feel like I was drowning in jobs, and getting little or fuck all done on the regular.

I love to write (⬆ you see?) and even though I’ve never achieved anything particularly tangible from it, it’s always been enjoyable and something of a release to me. I’ve started and “failed” more blogs than I can count, and finding a rhythm to posting enough to grow a consistent audience beyond my mom and my best mate (Shaz, Jord, nice to see you again) has always been nearly impossible for me for whatever reason.

So I figured one day that I should start a diary. Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s one or two people out there willing to throw jabs, so for masculinity’s sake, I’ll call it a journal. Oooo, m a s c u l i n e. Checkered shirts. Chopping wood. Chugging beers. Coooool.

Yeah, whatever, anyway. I live a lot in my own head. It’s super fucking easy to tell when I’m thinking something – as anyone who’s close to me will tell you – because I’m vacant as fuck, usually because I’m considering just about every possibility of whatever situation I’m in for no good reason.

It’s not a big deal, but on bad days, it can feel like my mind never shuts off. It’s fucking annoying, because I can be hyper-critical. So instead of letting all those often pointless thoughts run around in my head, I write them down.

It helps tenfold. Some people talk to their friends, some people keep it in, I keep it between me and a page a day. All I know for a fact is that it helps me put things into context, and sometimes appreciate myself and my achievements a little more.

And I’m not talking the cliche, Angus thongs and perfect snogging ‘Dear Diary’ kinda thing (although if that’s your style, I ain’t here to judge), I literally just write what I’ve done and how I’ve felt. Take today, for example. It wasn’t my best, and at times I was fucking moody as sin. Why? Because I’m not cutting myself a break.

Today I had an article published on the website of the magazine that got me into writing as a kid (*Cough*, you can find that here: *cough*) and yet for some reason I STILL wasn’t happy. So I wrote it. It makes things a little more real.

“Today I had loads of ideas shot down. I was tired, short on patience, and pissy. I didn’t have the usual creative ideas come to me but who gives a shit man, I basically achieved a childhood dream. That’s cool as fuck, and I should appreciate that fact more.”

That isn’t verbatim, like, but you get the point.

IMG_5420 (1)

I know loads of people who can have the shittest of days but feel a million times better when they’ve talked about it, and when they’ve put things into context. Work, socials, university, chores, it’s easy to feel like the world never ever stops for you. Take 20 minutes and make it stop. You don’t have to be good, or funny, or have high expectations.

It doesn’t have to meet a narrative, it doesn’t have to have a happy fucking ending. If you’re pissed off, say it. There’s an old saying that if something bothers you, you should write a letter and wait a week to send it. I prefer to let it fester in a hardback book instead of in my own head.

I know loads of people don’t enjoy writing, whatever. That’s cool. I know loads of people wouldn’t even consider having a diary JOURNAL just because of some ridiculous connotations. Again, whatever. Your choice. 

I’m not trying to cure shit here, and I’m not saying this is some form of therapy. For me, it’s just a cool way to unwind and appreciate myself a little more even on the best of days. Tonnes of people have been surprised when I’ve told them I do it, and asked why, even said they’ve considered doing the same but shrugged it off.

So if you’ve ever considered it, but figured “nah, it’s stupid” then fuck you, do it. Who knows how much you’ll appreciate sharing things, and how much it will change your perspective. And if it doesn’t, who cares, what has it really cost you? I wouldn’t say there’s ever any problem with trying to appreciate yourself a little more.

Kanye hard at work in the studio

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