Left Behind

Standard

Again I feel incredibly guilty about abandoning this site for so long but I was going through a lot, as the last post hopefully explained. It wasn’t long after I wrote that the the pandemic started to kick in to high gear and needless to say, the world began to feel even smaller. I still haven’t been into the city since the lockdown began and for months the only place I went was to do the grocery shopping. It’s obviously been a very difficult time for everyone in the world but from a personal point of view it’s been quite an anxious period because both my parents are in high risk groups, especially my mum having a weakened immune system after her cancer treatment and I was terrified that she might get ill again and didn’t want her to go through any more after spending a huge amount of last year in hospital or layed up in bed recovering. Thankfully we have managed to avoid that so far and I’m still being as careful as I can.

I’ve realised that my life tends to follow a certain pattern where I’ve been through a kind of cycle of sudden realisation of how terribly I’ve messed my life up and it comes into focus just how bad things are, then attempting to try and come up with a way to get out of it or improve things and then realising how impossible it is, then feeling utterly hopeless about things and having to do my best to fight the urge to give up completely. The last step is to almost dissociate from everything and just kind of float through days. This isn’t conscious, eventually I snap out of it and go back to the first stage. I know that I should have got help so much earlier and been willing to try and entertain the idea that I could have got better because it would have been so, so much easier if I had done it years ago. With every passing month it gets that much harder and less likely that I can ever have anything like a functional life.

It seems petty to complain about the kind of things I’m about to write about but I’m going to do it anyway because I have no other outlet for these feelings. There are certain events that really hammer home what a complete loser I am and how much of a mess I’ve made of my life. I wrote before about how someone who I knew from school bought the house next door and made snide comments about me still living with my parents there which made me feel like shit, and every day I have to be reminded of this. The thing that set me off just recently was my mum telling me that my best friend from when I was in primary school, who was probably even more of an outcast than me at one point, has got engaged. Again, I know it’s foolish to compare yourself to others and life isn’t a race and all the other stuff people tell you when you get upset about things like this, but it did make me feel even more pathetic. I have been left behind by every single person I’ve ever known in my entire life. Everyone from primary school on up to university have all been massively more successful than me in every way. It’s hard not to get depressed by this kind of stuff. I could only ever tangentially talk about these things with my therapist, in part because I know that there is no way to talk your way into making this not matter. I know how pathetic I am and there is no way around it.

The next thing didn’t upset me in of itself, but it still drives home how pathetic I am for being who I am. My sister is pregnant and my parents are obviously so happy for her and it’s been a big deal because they are going to be grandparents and there was a very real possibility last year that my mum might not have lived to ever see that. It is never said, but it’s kind of acknowledged that I will never have kids, not that I want them – I know I could not handle that responsibility – but the decision is way out of my hands.

I’m happy for her but again, I cannot help but feel even more like I am just the most pathetic person imaginable. She was talking the other day about saving money for her son so that he will be able to learn to drive when he’s old enough and it dawned on me that if I live until then, it won’t be too long until I am surpassed by him as well.

All these things build up and there’s no way to not be depressed by it all. When I consider the enormous mess I have made of my entire life and how insurmountable it feels to try and change things I simply do not know what to do. All I have achieved up until now is either total despair or dissociation.

I’d made an appointment with a different counselling service just before lockdown and obviously that was cancelled but I don’t know if I can face trying to explain every yet again for probably the 5th or 6th time. We’ll have to see.


A few months ago I added a link but didn’t mention it in the previous post due to the content because I didn’t want to seem like I was begging, but you might have noticed I have a Ko-fi page now. If you like my blog and want to support me for approximately the cost of a coffee, please take a look. I don’t expect anything out of it though, but I would like to thank the people who sent me some very much, it really does mean a lot to me.

Survival

Standard

I can’t believe it has almost been a year since I first found out about my mum’s cancer. I couldn’t even bring myself to say the word out loud then because it’s so threatening to even think about. Over the last year she has been through so much, we found out that it was stage 3 and she would need chemotherapy, then surgery and more chemotherapy afterwards. I don’t want to go into all the details because it’s not my place to tell all about her private life, but I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to endure everything that she has had to. It feels selfish to even discuss my own feelings about things but it was so hard to see what it did to her, physically and mentally. She was still working right up until she got sick and never seemed to be “old” for want of a better term. The illness was so hard on her though and she ended up losing so much weight, her arms were so thin it was difficult to see her in such a state. After the surgery she could hardly walk and had to use a frame to get around, it was painful to see how much it takes out of a person. She had other medical complications too which took a long time to deal with, she almost died from an infection and we had to rush her into hospital for that. All this delayed her surgery, and that didn’t happen until June. Because she was so weak, the follow up chemotherapy had to wait because her body couldn’t tolerate it and so it has taken all the way up until a couple of weeks ago for the final session to be done.

She is so much better now, she’s gained enough weight back to be in a healthy range and after months of not being able to eat properly is practically back to normal. Aside from waiting for her hair to grow back again, she tells me that she feels almost back to normal again and it’s such a relief to say that after thinking how bad things were over this past year.

I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be able to cope trying to do things all by myself, but I did try my best to keep things running while she was ill and just about managed it. I don’t want to complain about things too much because it’s nothing compared to what going through cancer is like.

There is one thing that has been on my mind lately that I can’t really talk to anyone about. It’s a kind of guilt that comes from seeing someone so desperate to try and stay alive, battling every day just to get the most basic things done, often times not able to eat or sleep but so determined to make it. It’s like that complete opposite to my own mentality where more and more I am slipping back into feeling as though there is simply no reason for me to be alive, and I’m just marking time until I don’t have anything holding me back. Literally the only reason for me to be alive is because I don’t want to upset my family, but as I’ve said over and over I don’t know how long that can last. I know there’s nothing good to come to me in life, everything from here on will be a downward slope and I never had any life to speak of before that was worthwhile or fun to look back on. I have no real friends, massive debts, no prospect of a decent job, just wasted time. It’s hard to square that feeling with how desperate most people are to preserve their own life.

I constantly feel guilty for being such a useless son, even though my parents never say or make me feel that way, I know it to be true myself. I’ve tried to find meaning in things, but I know that I will always be alone, there’s nothing to like about me and I have nothing to offer anyone.

I went back into therapy for a while but you only get about 8 sessions and that is barely enough time for me to scratch the surface of explaining my situation. I think it helped a little at the time, but I have gone back to where I started again, if not even further back since it ended.

I don’t know how to stop hating myself because I feel fully justified in doing so and I can’t lie to myself because it makes no sense. It’ll be 12 years soon since I first came to terms with the fact that I had a mental illness and the fact that I am still here, still in this same physical location, unable to escape drains me of any possible hope.

All that really holds me back from trying to end things is that I don’t want to upset my mum after all she has been through. I could never really explain what it’s like to despise myself that much and tell her and the rest of my family that they were wrong to care about me. The honest truth is that nobody who doesn’t have some kind of obligation to care even gives me a second thought. There are only so many years you can go through a joyless life like that, with only guilt anchoring you on this earth.

Waiting

Standard

I’m still waiting to find out what will happen with my mum. There has been a lot of back and forth with the hospital but she is seeing the consultant tomorrow (31st) and hopefully we will know more after that. In the past week I managed to fall out with my sister because of everything that’s been going on. My mum was trying to get through to the doctors on the phone but was finding it hard to contact anyone who could tell her anything and even though she said that she wanted to do it herself, my sister said that because I hadn’t been phoning them too that I didn’t care and if she dies it will be because I didn’t do enough. I ended up shouting and swearing at her because even though I know I’m a worthless piece of shit, the one thing you cannot say about me is that I don’t care about my family when they are literally the only reason I haven’t already killed myself.

I know that anyone who reads this will probably think the same thing, that the stress of everything is what made her say that but I don’t think that is the whole reason. For a few months or more now I’ve felt like my sister has started resenting me and doesn’t even really like me any more. It’s so sad to face up to this, I started crying uncontrollably again after this all happened and she hasn’t spoken to me since. I know she has been saying some things about me to my mum (before this cancer stuff) but I can’t get a straight answer out of her about what it is. She was basically my only friend and I feel like I am having everything taken away from me, soon I will have nobody who cares about me left.

If there is bad news tomorrow I’m afraid I will not be able to take it. There’s only so much more shit life can throw at me. I’ve had years and years of depression, loneliness and hopelessness but I always had my family and now they could be ripped away from me too. It sounds selfish to say this but I don’t want to be left alone. I can’t face this pointless existence by myself and I fear that soon I will actually have nothing to live for.

Year of Nothing

Standard

2014 was probably the least productive year I have ever had. I don’t think I accomplished anything of note and it just seems to have flown by. I remember being in this exact same place a year ago, thinking about how I really need to go back to the doctor if I want anything to change for the better. This time last year I wrote something about worrying that birthday would be my last but the truth is I don’t have the energy or drive to feel like killing myself. I haven’t been able to think about things without being overwhelmed by just how pathetic I am. I don’t even know if it would help if I had anyone to talk to because I am at the stage where I am so embarrassed to say out loud how pathetic I am because it hurts so much to contemplate. If I talked about the reality of my life, there is no way anyone could honestly not think I was a complete loser. At best they could pity me.

I did manage to make one tiny step towards changing things. I decided to ask my sister to help me try and resolve the problem I have been having with doctors. I have found myself yet again slipping through the cracks and not being registered with any GP that I can get to. I decided to try and phone my local GP here even though I hate the phone so much and have been putting this off for over a year and of course no-one answered. I tried calling back several more times but could not get through. In the end I asked my sister to come to the reception with me and try to explain the situation to them. I managed to get a form to re-register (even though I don’t know for sure if this is the right way to be going about it) but ran into more problems because they need to know the name of my previous GP who has subsequently left the practice I was registered at before when I was at university. The whole thing is an administrative nightmare, doubly so when you using the phone is such a difficulty.

I am going to try again to phone up and get an appointment if I can face it tomorrow. Why does everything have to be such a struggle? I hate saying things like that because I know I bring a lot of it on myself, but I am getting so tired of my mental problems making everything such a colossal pain to deal with.

I don’t really know why I am bothering to be honest but I have run out of options. I did manage to turn things around at university and I don’t think it is a coincidence that I coped best when I was taking those antidepressants. It also helped that I wasn’t surrounded by negativity that I have at home though. It’s not that anyone is overtly mean to me but just constant comments and things that make me feel worthless. I need to get out of this house but that requires about a hundred other things to be in place first and this cycle means I am stuck here.

I can’t even write coherently now so I am just going to leave it but I will try to update again soon when I am not so strung out.

Time keeps on slipping away

Standard

I’m not sure how long I managed to try and stay in the positive (kind of) mindset I wrote about in my last entry but unfortunately it has long since passed. It is clear to me now that the isolation is no good for me at all. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the only time for probably 2 years where I have felt any semblance of self worth was when I got to spend a few hours with some people who I can almost convince myself liked being with me. Last night I was thinking about how the best time of my life was probably from mid 2011 to mid 2012, my final year of university (it is probably no coincidence that this period was a big downturn in the number of posts I wrote here, I tend to only write when I am feeling bad). It was a strange situation because the sociability of my living arrangements had decreased more and more: I started off in the halls of residence, then shared a house with 2 of my flatmates and ended up living on my own. This let me spend time alone when I needed to though, and I still saw my classmates so I wasn’t totally isolated. Compared to most people I was still practically a hermit, but this was the most comfortable I have been.

My current situation is constantly deteriorating. I have always had a decent relationship with my parents despite their ridiculous situation of being separated but still living in the same house. Things have started to get on top of me lately though. I don’t want to badmouth them because it would seem massively ungrateful since they let me live with them but things have begun to get a bit strained. I can’t stand to listen to my mum going on about things she has read in the Daily Mail (for people outside the UK, a hateful newspaper) and making horrible comments about people she works with (too fat, too thin, too lazy, too obsessive. You can’t win). It makes me depressed to think about what she would say about me if I wasn’t her son. I keep spending more time alone in my tiny room whenever we are all in the house. I remember a time when all I wanted more than anything was to be at home but now I cannot wait to escape this place. Sometimes I feel as though I am going through life 10+ years behind schedule.

To put it simply: there’s no way I can see my life getting any better. I know it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things but my birthday is coming up and I remember this time last year how determined I was that I wasn’t going to let the year just slip away into nothingness but that is exactly what has happened. I have achieved nothing in the past two years, they have been a complete waste of time during the part of my life when I should be getting things done.

One of the very few people I have on facebook from the “before time” prior to when I tried to restart my life in 2007/8 is a girl I went to primary school with and we were friends when I was very young but lost touch after we started secondary school. I can quite vividly remember an early time I felt what I would describe now as social anxiety, was when someone told her that I had a crush on her. Anyway, I saw on facebook the other day that she got married. I didn’t feel jealous, I have not even spoken to her in person for over 10 years, but it did hammer home how much my life has diverged from the people I grew up with. When I occasionally see them they look like adults but virtually nothing has changed for me since I was in school.

It is impossible not to feel like there is something irrevocably broken about myself that I can let things go so wrong. I remember when I first started writing the entries in 2007 on another site that I transferred over to here, that one of the main things I was depressed about was how I had missed out on key development in major parts of my life. I am in pretty much the same situation now, 7 years on. I am still the same loser that I was back then except now I don’t even have time on my side. I thought 23 was too old to change things but I was wrong about that. I wish I was that age again. I don’t know how I would do things differently but at least I had time. Now I don’t have that, I don’t have any hope.

My old therapist used to ask “How would you like your life to be different?” or what I would like to change about my life and it used to leave me stumped. You would think that someone so unhappy would have a huge list of things but I could never give concrete answers and I still can’t. Part of it was that I knew what they would do if I could think of something, they’d try and come up with some way of working towards it so I would always be second guessing about what my answers would lead to. If we restrict it to the realm of things that are actually possible, then I can’t really envisage anything that could make things OK. This is my major problem, I would much rather just not be alive than to try and patch up this ridiculous life that I have made for myself.

I sometimes wonder if anyone could be so far gone as me and still manage to turn things around and not want to die. I know there are people with much, much harder lives than me and that I have things extremely easy but they must have some kind of will to fight on that I don’t have. What is the point? If it came down to being as miserable as I was at my first job in order to survive then I would vastly prefer to be dead. Other people might have the comfort of coming home to someone they love or seeing friends but I know that will never be possible for me.

There is nothing for me that would make the awful parts of being alive worth going through.

I apologise for such another rambling and depressing post. I still have not been able to make a doctors appointment, I still have no job and I haven’t spoken to anyone outside my family in any sort of social situation since when I last posted in September. There is not much else for me to report.

End of an era

Standard

Wow I’ve been out of the loop for a long time. I guess I haven’t been in much of a writing mood for the past couple of months, perhaps because of all the work I had to do on my dissertation kind of burned me out.

Finishing university was a big event for me. It’s taken me much longer than most people, after my first attempt ended in failure it was probably the start of my mental health beginning it’s lasting impact on my life. That was a very difficult time for me, I was pretty much still in the same place mentally as when I was at school/sixth form. Most of the same people were still around me and I didn’t feel like I could express my true self without being open to further ridicule and I felt trapped being around those people. I’ve written about this at length before so I’ll spare you the details.

The university where I completed my degree (starting 4 years after I left the first one) was in a different city and I made a clean break from the poisonous people who previously made me feel terrible. I won’t lie, it has been a difficult process. Moving away from home was a big deal for me and although I struggled, I am very glad that I did it. The entire process of studying was made even more difficult by my anxiety and depression. It’s hard to explain or expect other people to empathise with how hard it can be to deal with even basic things like making sure you have food to eat. There were many occasions when I would go without meals or sneak out and buy a sandwich or something because I daren’t go into the kitchen when other people were around or I was afraid other people might be there.

I constantly felt like I was swimming against the tide to try and stay on top of the workload especially in my final year where I had to keep regular attendance for certain workshop sessions that involved robotics equipment that I couldn’t do at home (which was my usual standby for missing workshops. I didn’t like the demonstrators or anyone nearby to see my work). This was my second attempt at the final year, remember. I already had a very lucky reprieve after I completely messed up in 2010/11 when I should have finished. There was real pressure to get things right this time and fortunately my depression, which was probably my biggest obstacle in previous years, was not as bad this time and I managed to cope reasonably well.

The problem I gave into so many times before was worrying about a workshop session (in the computer labs) and barely sleeping all night, then waking up and finding it easy to justify missing the class to myself. I’m sure this feeling will be familiar to some of you. I fell into the trap so frequently at college that I ended up only attending 2 classes all semester for one particular module as things began to snowball and my poor attendance weighed on my mind. “He’ll want to know why I wasn’t here the past 2/3/4 weeks” I would think and then rationalise missing the class again. Thankfully I managed to keep this largely in check this year and I only missed one robotics workshop and a small number of other sessions. Overall this year was probably my best attendance.

I feel very lucky that I managed to pull this off when it mattered most really. If you aren’t familiar with the British university system, a bachelor’s degree typically takes 3 years, the first year doesn’t count towards your final degree classification and it’s usually all based on how well you do in your final year by using everything you’ve learned to write a dissertation or create a project (this is a very general description). Everything pretty much rode on how well I could do this year. My second year grades were lacklustre, I scraped a lower second (2:2) so I needed to improve this time.

My final grade was an upper second (2:1) which is the 2nd highest you can get, and although it’s not spectacular I was very pleased that I managed to get here at last after all the troubles I’ve had. It’s been a challenging journey and my anxiety & depression has literally threatened my life at times. The period I spent in hospital, or rather the time recovering from what happened – I don’t remember much of when I was actually there which is quite disconcerting, was a constant struggle and mentally exhausting in itself. I worried that I had done irreparable damage not only to my brain but also to my relationship with my family. I still have issues with the latter but it is a relief that I have not destroyed my mind.

So, good news on the academic front. I hope you’ll allow me a long entry as it has been so long, but quite a lot of things have been going through my head since I last updated.

I had barely finished my last exam when I discovered that my dad had been admitted to hospital for heart problems. My mum had known a couple of days earlier but didn’t want to panic me before my exams which I am thankful for now but I was annoyed at the time. It came as a big shock to me because unlike me, my dad has always been very active and still cycled to work and back 6 miles each way into his sixties and he’s not overweight. He ended up needing an angioplasty to widen the arteries but he has recovered very well since. I went to see him in hospital the day I got back from moving all my stuff home and it was quite difficult to see him like that. He is not an emotional man, though he’s not cold either, he just doesn’t give much away but when my sister and I arrived he had tears in his eyes.

Even though it wasn’t life threatening, it is impossible not to think about death when it comes to hearts. Dealing with the realities of mortality is hard to cope with. Being back at the hospital, the smell and suffocating heat, brought back the vague memories I have of being in there, and the trips we took each day made me think about how difficult it must have been for my family to make similar trips to see me. I was hardly coherent for weeks and I dread to think what must have gone through their heads seeing me like that. It was very hard to see my dad in a vulnerable state and this was compounded by the guilt of what I put everyone through with my own actions.

Things have been relatively quiet since he got to go home (he’s been out a while now, I just didn’t want to write about it before I knew he was better) but recently I have started to feel like some of the old depressive feelings are creeping back. If anyone has been reading this blog for a long time, you’ll remember that my sense of purposelessness was one of the main catalysts for my depression back in the days before and just after my diagnosis with clinical depression and social anxiety.

Back in 2007 I was unemployed and had no real prospects. I didn’t have good enough qualifications to do anything in the computing field that wasn’t helpdesk oriented and after my utterly disastrous time doing that at my first job I had no intention of going back to that. It was the absolute worst time of my entire life, I actually felt worse then than I did when I attempted suicide strange as it may seem. Going back to university gave me a goal and arguably more important to either the pressure I put on myself or I mistakenly ascribed to my mum (I haven’t decided which it is, but it’s probably a combination) it meant I wasn’t “unemployed”. I mean, yes technically I was only working in the holidays but the rest of the time I was doing something useful. This is over now of course and I am back to the same situation.

I’m getting quite tired now, it’s gone 3.30am but I will finish this train of thought tomorrow, I promise. Thank you to anyone that’s still reading and thanks for your comments.