Kurt Cobain Journals
I’m quite a fan of Nirvana’s music – I can really relate to the sad moaning about disillusionment, self-hatred and disappointment. Being a big journal-writer myself I was excited when I heard that Kurt Cobain’s journals had been published but I also wondered whether we had any right to read them. That didn’t stop me purchasing them and the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath with some book vouchers I had been given – though I did wonder about my state of mind when I realised I was purchasing work by people who had both committed suicide. Read the rest of this entry »
Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho
Veronika Decides to Die is an easy-to-read novel about a young woman, so unsatisfied with her uneventful life that she takes an overdose of tablets only to wake up in an asylum. She is informed that her overdose so weakened her heart that she only has a week to live. We follow her through her last week alive as she tries to fit in at the asylum, make friends and think about life, society, depression and the meaning of sanity. I enjoyed this book, but I enjoyed it like I enjoyed the Celestine Prophecies – nice story but completely unbelievable. Most of the book’s “philosophical” points I’d already thought about: have you every really thought about sanity and madness? And what about reality? Plus I’m personally not empowered by the “just think positively” approach and this book reeks of this. In fact the main doctor at the asylum thought that if Veronika just changed how she thought, her life could be so much happier! Bleuch!
I make a cup of tea
What can I do?
Who am I?
Am I special?
Am I just another shirt on the rack?
Am I a complete waste of space?
Do I have potential?
I really hope I can get out of this black hole I am engulfed in.
Is there a way out?
I can’t see it
I can’t see anything
My head hurts
My heart aches
My body is heavy
I can’t talk
I check that the phone is off the hook
I make another cup of tea
Written in 2004 when I was 26.
Despair came slowly
It crept like a hunting leopard
Approaching its prey.
It came into my world
Black and daunting as raven’s claws.
It robbed me of hope
And abducted my ambition.
My future became annexed with failure.
Despair inspired nothing.
It extracted the spirit
from that which gave life meaning.
It completely and wholly destroyed
all faith in everything.
Finally, totally, it will engulf my being
And wrench my soul
From the solid image it once held into an evil
Despair, inevitably, will lead to death.
Written on 13 April
1994 when I was 16.
I have been a prolific diary writer on and off over my life. When I read back over them, one of the things that comes up constantly is how incredibly unhappy and confused, tired and unmotivated, lost and self-destructive I have been at many moments of my life.
My diaries cover my tumultuous adolescence in a small town, feeling lost and lonely in a big city when I moved away to go to university, and my many relationship break-ups (including a six-month drinking binge, post-three-year-relationship, where I felt completely out of control). I have recorded many moments where I felt sad, confused and times when life just felt too hard. If I hadn’t been able to express my feelings in words in my private diaries I don’t know what might have happened to me.
Read the rest of this entry »
A knife at my throat
A rope around my neck
A razor to my wrists
A gun pointing to my head
What else can I do?
What more can I say?
I need your help right now
Please don’t walk away.
You never hear my screams
You never see me cry.
I no longer want to go on
I’m not sure if I know why.
I try to get these feelings out
Maybe write them down
You read my poems and look at me
With a concerned but worried frown.
I laugh off suggestions of suicide
As if I’d really kill me.
But what if I do feel there’s no way out
like, I can no longer see?
Please don’t leave me now, ‘cause I really need a friend
For if my life can go nowhere, then surely it must end.
Written on 15 June 1994 when I was 16.
I am bound.
By what, I cannot tell
But it will not let me go.
I fight against it
But the struggle only suffocates me.
I cannot escape these bandages,
I am weighed down.
A feeling of total helplessness has descended over me
And taken control.
Nothing I do will ease the pain.
Written in March 1995 when I was 17.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Bell Jar was first published in 1963 a few weeks before Sylvia Plath committed suicide. The book tells the story of a young college student’s descent into depression, her experiences with psychiatrists and life in an asylum. Plath describes brilliantly feelings I
have had of insecurity, tiredness, inability to cope with everyday life, needing to cry all the time and more. Plath was a poet who wrote hundreds of poems but the Bell Jar was her only novel which I think was a shame because it is really very good and very funny and wry at times. It is a shame Plath lived in a time before anti-depressants. Instead she was one of the many people who took their lives to escape the pain they found in everyday life.When I read The Bell Jar early this year I could see why Prozac Nation was compared with it upon its release in 1995. Both books were about a woman’s experiences of depression and were written by intelligent women who described how they felt and commented on their place in society as a woman.
Prozac Nation: Young and Depressed in America, A Memoir by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Prozac Nation covers Elizabeth Wurtzel’s battle with chronic depression from prepuberty to her midtwenties when she started taking Prozac. While some people may find it very heavy-going, I devoured this book in a couple of days when I could barely talk to the people around me. I understood what she was saying, all the feelings and doubts and failings. While my depression has never been as severe as Wurtzel’s I felt like she described really well the all-consuming, heavy cloud you feel when you are depressed. The all-consuming feeling (which you can’t tell if it’s physical, mental or emotional) that hinders your ability to do even the smallest thing, to cope with everyday life. It’s the kind of book you could recommend to people who just don’t get depression because I think she explains it really well, but as it’s over 300 pages some people may find a lot of it too long and self-indulgent. This has often been hailed as a great book that gave voice to many sufferers of depression and I think I agree.