Diary Extract Give and Be Given

From Alice’s diary:

When I was four years old, I saw my mother crying, she was really sobbing. When she saw me watching her, she cried, “Oh, Alice” and held out her arms. I went to her and said, “I will make you better.” She said, “Yes, you will.”

 A four-year-old thinks a hug makes things better; grown ups know it doesn’t work like that. But in stepping into her embrace, I stepped into my future. That four-year-old had no idea what lifelong responsibility she had just agreed to.

I do for others. Not just say, I do. I try to make things better. When I am able, I make things better. I do not regret being a person who does this. But I do sometimes, awake at night in my loneliness, wonder will anyone ever do for me?

I rarely ask for comfort. My mother didn’t ask for comfort that day; she needed and I gave. That’s what I learned. But I am waiting to be given. And on the rare times I’ve asked, I feel I’ve been let down. So I won’t ask anymore. I will do my best not only not expect it, but to try not to want it. Is that possible? Maybe. Is it how I wanted my life to be?

No.

Diary Extract The Holidays

From Alice’s Diary:

I don’t hate the holidays. I don’t love them. I am ambivalent about the holidays. This isn’t a problem for me.

Except that it seems to be for everyone else. It seems like every person I come in contact with either loves or loathes late December. The people who get giddily excited about the countdown to Christmas (my advent calender would just be blank behind each door) make me want to push them from the top of a tall flight of stairs (not really, but I wish they’d shut up) and the people who can’t stop talking about how shit Christmas and New Year’s are make me equally frustrated. I want to just tell them to grow up and get over it.

Those who are happy make me feel bad because I’m not. Those who are unhappy make me want to tell them what unhappiness really looks like. I don’t want to do either of those things. I am okay being ambivalent. Just let me be.

Diary Extract Helpful Suggestions

From Alice’s diary:

I wish there were a way to help people understand.

People know that I am depressed. I hide my worst but can’t hide all. They know; I know they know; they know I know they know. We all know. Everyone wants me to be happy, and many of them want to help me be happy. They have suggestion upon suggestion: chin up, think of people who have it worse, try to focus on positive things, try to meet new people, get involved in activities, eat more healthfully, exercise, get some sunshine, take supplements, work on projects that you’re proud of.

These are all realistic and appropriate suggestions. But they bother me for two reasons. First, what makes you think I haven’t tried those things? It’s as if they think, ‘Exercising cheered me up. If Alice is down, she must not have tried exercising because it’s really as simple as that.’ Second, I have tried all those things. I’ve tried everything single one of them, honest, earnest, committed tries. I’ve got notes in my diary, emails, photographs, receipts to prove I’ve tried all those things. And they haven’t worked. I am not happy. If I knew how to be happy, I would do what it takes. You suggest how I can be happy, I try your suggestions.

What does anyone suggest when the suggestions have been exhausted and I’m still empty inside?

Diary Extract Getting Things Done

From Alice’s diary:

It’s a weird life I live. Every day, I keep a To Do list: someone suggested it as a way to keep all my projects (including my “healthy habits”) organized and a priority. It’s also supposed to help me feel good about myself—at the end of the day, I’m supposed to look at my list and feel proud and fulfilled by all my accomplishments.

Everyday I cross off the items on my list. Every item on the list gets done. But it doesn’t make me feel anything about myself.

I’ve realized that I view my little To Do lists as one big To Do list: it’s the List of Life, and I am hurriedly crossing things off in an effort just to finally be done.