Good day

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Stayed at uni last night and didn’t really accomplish much (including eating 😦 ) but I went out this afternoon to meet a friend from a social anxiety forum who lives a few miles away. We’d only met once before but we went to see a film and had a fairly long chat in Starbucks afterwards. It was really nice to see her again and I think we got on quite well. I managed to talk quite a lot by my standards and I don’t think she was too bored.

Back home now in preparation for my CBT on Monday, but I’m annoyed because I forgot both my phone and my meds 😦 I found one 150mg tablet here but that’s going to have to last me 2 days.

Things have certainly improved since this time last week when I was probably at my lowest point for 6 months. I’m going to try and stay positive and keep working at CBT and aim to spend a bit more time with my flatmates (though I have a creeping feeling that I am starting to annoy them when I am around more, like they can’t really enjoy themselves if I’m in the room).

CBT Session 1

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I managed to drag myself out of bed and into town, catch the bus and get off just about in the right place. I’m not feeling good at all, my emotions are all over the place and I keep wanting to cry, I think about the long road ahead and hope that it’s not too late to recover, enough to be happy anyway.

The appointment was yet another hour where I had to tell my tales of woe all over again, I swear no-one in the mental health services communicates with each other at all. I managed to get through a lot of it though, it’s becoming easier with practice I guess. I told her about my bullying by so called friends and year+ long depressive episode that I am currently in and how it’s been as bad as I’ve ever known. We talked about my suicidal thoughts and plans and agreed that has to be worked on before anything else. I was honest about everything, having a plan, going to the place etc. She was understandably concerned and I even admitted that in an emergency I would probably not be able to ring the crisis team (I hate phone calls and I couldn’t just ring up and say “Hello I want to die”) but we talked about other ways I could handle it. I told her about when I went to A&E at Nottingham and she said that if I get into a situation where I might harm myself, I could go to the hospital here and maybe I should do the journey so I know how to get there in case the need arises. She also took the Lincoln crisis team phone number and is going to ring them and explain what happened today, and said that if I really need to ask them to visit I should ring them, say I have been visited before, tell them my name and that I’m having suicidal thoughts and am scared.

It might sound stupid but knowing what to say has made me think that I can do it if I get into that situation again. I don’t know what my issue with phones is, but if I don’t know exactly what to say I get into a panic very easily, I think it’s because you can’t really pause or rely on people reading your expression or whatever.

I have another appointment for next Monday, and I should be able to see them on Mondays in the future which is good news because I won’t miss any more lectures.

Things are very stressful at the moment, I don’t want to feel like I did on Saturday and Sunday, it terrifies me thinking about it now and what the consequences could have been (they were bad enough as it is). I don’t know if the medication change is messing me up even more, venlafaxine is notoriously hard to come off, but I didn’t feel fully in control and my memory is hazy. I didn’t eat for 2 days and didn’t even notice. I wish I had someone I could talk to who could stay with me and keep me company/sane. I feel lonelier than ever, can’t possibly let my mum know because she just gets upset and makes me feel guilty. I can’t really tell my flatmates what’s going on or they will think (perhaps justifiably) that I am nuts. I’m going to try and rest for a bit now, spent half the night unable to sleep and checking my email every 20 minutes.

Also: updated my old “About” page.

First CBT session

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I have my first CBT session today but I am so scared about it, unlike I have been scared of a medical/mental health thing for some time. I want to try and get better, I wish I could be normal or see myself as normal but it is so difficult for me because of how ingrained my beliefs and self hatred are.

I’m scared about making it there ok. It’s a long way and I can’t remember exactly where I need to get off the bus and I keep thinking I’m going to get lost and be late and start panicking like I do when I’m in that situation. My nerves are already shot, I keep crying and can’t seem to stop. Maybe it’s partly down to the venlafaxine withdrawal; my psychiatrist told me to drop down to 150mg this week and 75 next week and then stop altogether. I’m not sure about his schedule, it seems rather abrupt especially if it is having this much effect on me already.

Mostly I am sad because I fear I have lost a friend though. I don’t know if I can repair the massive damage I have done by being so foolish and I’m hurting so badly even though it was my fault. I’ve never lost a friend who I actually cared about before, I was glad to be rid of the people who were supposedly “friends” at school, but I have never felt like this before. I’m struggling to write this without making it into a guilt trip. I really don’t deserve forgiveness but because I am so childish and socially undeveloped I don’t think I can cope with the consequences of my actions.

I hope I can make it there alright and be able to show them the things I have written, otherwise it is going to be extremely hard to explain how I feel and it seems to me like this CBT is my last shot at the start of a solution and I am desperate.

I never want to feel so suicidal as I did over the weekend again but at the moment I can’t tell when it will happen again. It has begun to make other people’s lives worse and that is too much. I can’t let that happen, I need to try and overcome this but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it.

Mixed Feelings

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I came back home today and found a letter from the psychotherapy place, they’ve offered to put me on the waiting list for cognitive behavioural therapy but couldn’t tell me how long it’ll take until I can see someone more specifically than “several months”. I’d hoped that it would be sooner than that, although I suppose I’m lucky to get the opportunity at all without having to pay for it. By the time it starts I’ll probably have finished university for the summer, which puts me in the bizarre situation of being back at home but not being around anyone who I know.

It’s going to be difficult to make any progress when I don’t even have to opportunity for any socialising, at least when I’m at uni I could see and say a few words to a person I know every day if I wanted to. When I’m at home, there’s nobody except my family, who I have no problem talking to. I dumbfounded my psychiatrist by telling him this last time, I wouldn’t accept that there was no-one I could ring up and arrange to meet. “No friends? How about a friend of the family?” Nope, sorry doc. I’ve told them this before, I’m sure they don’t listen or they think I’m exaggerating. I really sat at home and didn’t speak to anyone outside my family for months and months. Nobody wants to know me, it’s obvious to me why that is, but they either don’t listen or don’t care (probably both). The place where I live doesn’t help things either, there is literally nothing but houses around here. There isn’t even a shop any more, you have to walk for about half an hour to get to another housing area where there is a Spar. Hardly a vibrant and inspiring place. The local town is a rough area and pretty much consists of £1 shops and bookies. If you tried to strike up a conversation with someone there you’d probably get knifed.

It’s very disheartening to think about how long this would all take if I try to stick with it. I’ve already been waiting over a year since I realised CBT is what I need and it’ll probably be another 6 months before I’d even get to make a start on things. Another package arrived today as well, a way out. I’m not sure how long I can stop myself from using it. I walked around the house with a suicide note in my pocket for 4 days last week, distraction only works for so long.

Fear and "What I want"

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I was just reading Ruby’s latest post at her blog and it relates to something I’ve been worried about for a long time, even since before I first sought medical help for my problems. I’m scared that I will, once I reveal the extent and massive effects of my craziness, be told that there is nothing that can be done for me. I’m already skeptical about my chances, certainly none of the self help books or mental health professionals I’ve seen so far have any useful suggestions or even concept of what my life is like if I’m perfectly honest. What can almost be considered a standard text on social anxiety,
Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness, doesn’t offer me any real solutions. It seems to start from the premise that you are involved in social activities and similar things already but you just find them to be anxiety provoking. So far I haven’t found any useful advice for people who have been relentlessly told they are not good enough and therefore totally withdrew from society and are now socially stunted, massively inexperienced and have little to no self esteem.

All the books or website that I’ve read only seem to focus on one area, where as I feel like I have 3 main problems that feed off and cause one another to become worse; social anxiety/phobia, depression and chronically low self-esteem. It seems like the treatment for any one of these relies on doing something that the others make incredibly difficult, if not impossible. I have found many guides for overcoming depression, for example, that explain how you shouldn’t isolate yourself and it’s important to carry on seeing friends and going out. Now that isn’t really an option if you don’t have any friends, is it? 

I find the main causes for my depressive episodes are; that I hate my appearance so much and I know it can’t be changed enough to make a difference, I have no friends, I don’t know how to make friends or interact socially, I’ve wasted my life and have no valuable experience or achievements, I’m ridiculously undeveloped and immature for my age, I crave love and affection but know that I will never have either, I know what it takes to be successful and that I am/have none of those things, I feel guilty because I have a comparatively easy life and some people would give anything for the opportunities I have. Lots of these also contribute to my anxiety and low self-esteem. It’s hard to put yourself into social situations when you believe that people smirking at you are trying to suppress laughter, as has happened to me before. I look in the mirror and see a hideously ugly, disgusting person. I simply cannot imagine anyone looking at me and not thinking the same. I’ll admit (because I’d like to think that I am at least honest, if nothing else) that sometimes I do the false modesty thing, but I’m really not kidding or exaggerating about this. It’s unfathomable that anyone could not find me at least highly unpleasant to look at. Now I know that there are uglier people out there, and some of them have even found somebody that loves them, but you must have to have a lot of other good qualities to make up for that.

Being quiet and severely unconfident already puts me way down in the attractiveness stakes, being hideous as well puts me pretty much at the bottom of the barrel. Both in friendly and romantic terms. Nobody wants to be friends with a boring, quiet, repulsive loner. People make assumptions about you from who you associate with, no-one wants the burden of a retard like me hanging around. 

This all weighs heavily on my mind, I don’t believe in fate or anything like that, but I am intelligent enough to know where my life is heading, pretty much. There are people I knew of in school, I always knew they’d be successful and now they are. There are some who turned out to be not so successful, as I imagined. Maybe they’re happy having to look after children at such a young age, who knows? I’m trying not to come off as a judgemental bastard here, but let’s be honest, things are unlikely to change for me at this late stage in my development as a person.

At the psychiatrists, CBT assessment and various other times, I have been asked a question which I find unreasonably difficult to answer; “What do you want? How would you like to be different?”. I think I make things harder for myself and mental health professionals because I know what goes on behind the curtain. I’ll make it clear now, I really don’t know. I couldn’t say for sure at the moment. The way I make things more difficult though, is because I know that if I said something like (random example) I wanted to be able to perform on stage, then they’d set that as some kind of long term goal and make me do things to work towards that.

Trying to think what I want is a tiring and mostly pointless exercise at the moment. If we’re talking magic and time machines stuff, then I’d like to not have been born, please. There’s nothing I’ve ever experienced in life that makes it worth living through all the shit. I don’t see why it’s valued so much (I often wonder if everyone is as depressed as me but far better at dealing with/ignoring it sometimes). More practically (ignoring a lethal dose of heroin shot into my veins) I’m very uncertain and can only think of abstract things such as I’d like friends. It seem pointless to say such a thing though, “friends” aren’t some item that can be bought from the shops, I suppose what I really mean is that I’d like to have a personality and be rid of all the repulsive attributes about myself that make me impossible to like. I want to want to live, if that makes sense.

I can’t go back in time, so most of what I really want is out of the question. I’d like to have had friends as a teenager. I’d like to have gone out to the movies, bowling, whatever it is that young people do before they start buying cider and getting pissed in the local park. I’d like to have known what is what like to feel anything other than unrequited love for a girl. To have belonged. Maybe I wouldn’t be the twisted wreck of a human that I am now. 

I can’t think of where I can go from here. I guess I’d like to graduate but it won’t change how much of a loser I am. I’ll never be able to make up that lost time. By the time I graduate, most people my age will probably have careers and be starting families and doing all that kind of “grown up” thing that people nearing their 30’s do. I don’t know what kind of woman would accept a man with less dating experience than the average 12 year old. 

Apologies, I seem to have rambled on far longer than I intended to.

The Aftermath

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It’s been an eventful day. I got up early and set out to a place I haven’t been before which is always scary for me. I didn’t know where to get off the bus, but since I was the only person on it I managed to ask the driver if she’d tell me when we got to the right stop. That’s a minor achievement in itself for me.  I waited around for half an hour (I’m terrified of being late so always set out early) getting more and more nervous about it but the assessment actually went fairly smoothly.

He asked the same questions that were on the form they sent, I guess they want to make sure you aren’t making it up or something.  I had trouble talking about what I think is wrong with my appearance, just managing to blurt out a muffled “everything”. He think he got a pretty good idea of what my problems are and he said that I should give CBT a try, even though it will be hard. I agreed but in my heart I’m not sure about it.

He advised me to look at the book, the one everyone recommends for SA and I have already read and unsuccessfully tried to put into practice. I don’t think there are many more options out there for someone as monumentally messed up as me. He asked some general questions about me which were kind of awkward to answer. I pretty much spill my guts on this blog, words are far easier to type than to say and I’m fairly anonymous here. “No, I don’t have any friends. No, I have never had a romantic relationship. No, I haven’t had sex. No, I don’t have any hobbies or interests, I just spend my time alone”. I told him I’d been suicidal recently and that it’s because I fear that things will always be like this and he said that he didn’t think they will. I have no idea what that’s based on though.

Apparently I need to stop berating myself and telling myself that I’m a freak and weird. I can’t help it though and I don’t know how to stop. It’s not a conscious thing, it just comes to me throughout the day. It’s a belief I have about myself that has been proven time and again. It’s as true to me as much as I believe that I’m male and I speak English. I don’t know how to “deprogram” myself from thinking what is essentially true. I can see how it starts the cycle of negative thinking and makes things worse, but I just don’t know how to stop. They say what evidence is there of these negative beliefs, I can find hundreds of examples. I wonder what they’ll say when I tell them that…

In any case, I should have a therapist arranged soon who I will see “every one to three weeks”. I’m doing the best I can at the moment to stick to the “proper” way of doing things. I can feel myself slipping though. It’s like I’m leading a double life. One minute I’m telling people of my desire to change and work at becoming more confident in social situations and the next I’m picking out the best spot to throw myself to my death.

I planned to go back to uni this evening after I’d had dinner at home but after I trekked all the way into town again in the snow, my stupid train was cancelled and I’ve had to come all the way back. I’ll miss at least one workshop tomorrow and I’m considering just emailing in and explaining the situation so I can take my time getting back there. It’s frustrating because although I like being at home and I don’t feel confined to one particular room like I am at university, I have begun to embrace some aspects of my independence. As I said in a previous post, it’s gets tiring pretending that everything is A-OK all the time.

As my dad drove me through town I looked up at a multistorey carpark, the highest accessible building I’ve found yet. It tempted me to think the bad thoughts again. The thoughts which are my only comfort these days. All that makes me relax and feel less desperate is thinking about how I might not have to suffer being this repulsive, maladjusted loser for much longer.  I emailed Samaritans a while ago and told them how I feel, they don’t really help much apart from providing me with some much needed human communication. I don’t really want to be talked out of it with well-worn platitudes. I don’t have much to live for, I have no friends whose lives I’ll affect.

People call suicide a selfish act, but how is it any less selfish for people to expect you to live a miserable, worthless life of no consequence or joy in order to spare their own feelings? Just because they don’t want to be exposed to the fact that their son or brother is beyond repair.