Survival

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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.

Losing everything

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I am guilty of taking my family for granted. Every time I feel so depressed and suicidal, I never fully considered that I am lucky that for the most part I have the love and support of my parents and sister, and I didn’t truly appreciate them.

For the last couple of weeks my mum has been feeling very ill and has been unable to eat much. I don’t want to go into details because it’s not my place to talk about it but today she had to go into hospital for a scan and we got the worst news, that it’s likely she has cancer.

It’s impossible to know how to handle these situations, as soon as she got back I knew it was bad news and I just couldn’t help but cry uncontrollably. I felt so utterly terrible that throughout all the times I have wanted to die so badly that it was a betrayal of how much she didn’t want anything to happen to me. I can’t imagine life without her, it feels so selfish to even say it but my mum is the person who never ever lost faith in me and always wanted me to have a good life even when so many times I just wished it was over. I don’t know how successful any treatment could be, at the moment I cannot help but fear for the worst and I can’t mentally not prepare myself for that.

It has been such a wretched two weeks even before this. I meant to write last week about how I was attacked and threatened with assault, for no reason, on the bus home but didn’t even get around to it before more terrible things happened. I don’t know why I deserve all this, I can’t help but think I must be an awful person but I don’t want anyone else to suffer because of it.

All my life since age 11 I have been hated and singled out for abuse and I don’t know how much more of it I can take. I keep thinking back to nights before school when I would be awake, filled with anxiety and terror and my mum would always try to calm me down and help me. I think she felt helpless the older I got because there isn’t much a parent can do, especially when I never told them what was really going on.

I remember vividly how after my suicide attempt when I returned to university, whenever I came home my mum would almost be in tears as I left to go back because she was afraid I would try to kill myself again when I was away. I feel so terrible for everything I put her and my dad through, I wish I never felt so hopeless and bereft of the will to live but there is no other way I can look at life.

I hope beyond anything else I ever hoped for that she will be ok somehow, that maybe it can be treated. I can’t stand to think of her suffering and what makes it even worse is that I know that she fears for what will happen to me, knowing my fragile mental state. I fear it too.

Edited: sorry for being so needy

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.

Hospital Visit

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I’m sorry for worrying people with my blog entries last night, I really did feel awful. Today I managed to go down to the hospital and get myself some help. I was feeling horribly low, and also very anxious but I got help from the lovely Emma and after waiting for 20 minutes trying to summon up the courage, I went in. After a long wait I ended up talking to a psychiatrist for about an hour, which was a great help and I felt a lot better after letting some of the feelings out. She was much more helpful that my mental health practitioner, I probably covered more in the hour than over 5 months of MHP appointments. We covered some relaxation techniques and talked through a lot of stuff about uni and I felt like a weight lifted from my shoulders. They gave me a Valium as well so it maybe that speaking, but at the moment I feel a whole let better than last night.

I want to say thank you for the comments and kind thoughts, I often feel like no-one cares about me but it was nice to hear them.