Finally, an update.

Standard

Wow I can’t believe it has been all this time since I wrote a post. Incidentally this will be the 200th update so I’d better try and make it a good one…

I’ve started writing posts a couple of times throughout the year but could never really think of anything substantial to say. A lot of the time I haven’t had the mental energy to write anything longer than a few sentences outside of academic work, and sometimes not even then (more on that later). For a while now I have sort of dissociated myself from the mental health “community” both online and in real life. After a few years of it being my entire life, not a day went by when I didn’t think about my depression and where life was leading, I began to get tired of it and perhaps give in to my avoidant tendencies and simply ignore it. Of course it’s impossible to totally ignore the effects it has on your life when you have allowed yourself to become the rather messed up and eccentric (to put it mildly) person I am. It’s not something you can throw out wholesale but I made a concerted effort not to involve myself in the things that reminded me of the bad stuff, even though this was potentially damaging. I stopped talking to the people I know with mental health problems, ceased going to the doctor and I haven’t seen any kind of care coordinator or therapist for well over a year now. I realise this may be counterproductive.

For the most part of the period between my last update and today my time has been involved with desperately trying to keep my head above water with regards to university. The sharper readers among you will have noticed that I should have graduated by now but unfortunately this is not the case. When I first started my 3rd year I should have been in an ideal situation to get down to work; I didn’t have my recent suicide attempt hanging over me like in 2nd year and I also wasn’t living in the house where I felt confined and like I had to avoid my housemate’s boyfriend who seemed to take a disliking to me. I had struggled through that and with a few extensions to assignments managed to pass the year although with a much lower grade than first year (though with the increased difficulty it was partly expected). I don’t want to repeat myself too much but I moved into a flat where I shared a kitchen with 4 new flatmates, who surprisingly I barely saw for the entire year I was there. I still had issues with going to make meals and things though and tried my best to stay out of their way. I’ve almost given up trying to figure out why I have such a powerful desire to do such things.

Despite the improved living conditions, I soon got back into old habits that have plagued me since college in 2004 and began to miss lectures and seminars, telling myself it’d be alright and that on the day in question I wouldn’t be missing anything important. It turns out I am very easily convinced by myself in such matters… Of course the problem with this is that if you miss early sessions, you miss out on important information you might need for later in the year.

For my course, 3rd year involves you doing a large project throughout the year, on which a large portion of your final grade is assessed. I got into the downward spiral of being late to choose a project and putting off meeting with my assigned supervisor, partly because it was a member of staff I have trouble talking to because of his poor English (I know that’s bad of me). The deadline for the project proposal was fast approaching and I hadn’t even spoken to my supervisor once to confirm that I had chosen a project from the pre-approved list. I just went ahead and submitted the proposal which somehow passed but I got in trouble for not clearing it with anyone and was told that another student had picked that one so I had to change. I panicked and had been missing ever more lectures and workshops, my rationale being that because I hadn’t attended some of them at all from the beginning of the year, it would be embarrassing to turn up and have people wonder where I had been all this time. Of course that problem only gets worse and worse the longer it goes on. This had been my downfall at college where I ended up only attending a single lecture for one unit and only just managing to scrape a pass for it but things are much harder at university…

For one of my modules there was going to be a kind of mock job interview, but I did not realise this until too late. I didn’t really speak to anyone in my year about coursework, another reason I was afraid to attend lectures was that I didn’t want to be asked about how my project was going because I had absolutely nothing prepared besides my invalid proposal. This all sounds so stupid when I write it down and I’m sure if I had gone to talk to someone about it at an earlier time I may have been able to work something out but again avoidance won out.

After a few months and being well behind in every module, I realised something had to be done and I managed to get the courage to email one of the staff I had spoken to about problems last year. After some difficult explanation I managed to convince him to try and arrange for me to redo the year. Normally this is impossible, if you fail the third year then that’s it, you are out of the door. Thankfully he helped me to submit and extenuating circumstances request and he personally asked the Dean of faculty if my tuition could be waived because there was no way I could afford the £3600 it costs. I was told that this was highly unusual but amazingly it worked out and my request was approved. I owe that lecturer a great deal for helping me with this and I won’t forget it. The fact that I have another chance does make me feel guilty, I’m sure there are others with much more compelling reasons for not being able to complete the year who did not get another chance.

I apologise for the long winded explanation above but that’s pretty much where I was around summer this year. Over July and August I returned to work at the place I had been the previous couple of years and had to make up some excuses about being ill as to why I hadn’t graduated but overall work went pretty well. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work there as there aren’t any people who made my life a misery unlike at my first job.

Starting back at university last month I promised myself that I would try my very best to attend all lectures and so far I’m doing pretty well. I have missed a couple of workshops that my erratic sleep pattern (although nowhere near as bad as last year) caused me to oversleep for, but it’s no more than the average student who has a hangover would miss. I’m in yet another new place of accommodation this year, every single year I’ve been in a different place! This is the best one by far though, it’s like a studio apartment so I have my own small kitchen area. Lucky for me, my mum helped me out with the rent.

That’s the situation right now. Mood wise, I have been rather stable compared to previous months. I stopped taking sertraline, mainly because my GP left and I don’t really like the new one and I don’t want him to refer me back to the care coordinator who makes me very uncomfortable but I don’t really miss it. The depressive episodes that plagued me before seem to have subsided somewhat. I still have a very bleak outlook on things and find it almost impossible to be excited or feel any passion about things but at least I’m not actively seeking out ways to die any more. I can make it from day to day without spending hours ruminating about suicide. The social anxiety is still there, though I have been avoiding people and situations a lot so it hasn’t had much chance to manifest itself.

This is a thing I have been curious about though; how unusual it is for a person to be so withdrawn as me. On an average week I basically don’t speak to anyone besides to say “thank you” to shop keepers and the like. I still go home at weekends and so talk to my mum, dad and sister when they are there but during the week I am practically mute. In every class I sit alone, even more so than in previous years because there are now only 2 people whose names I know and might possibly speak to me if they saw me, everyone else has graduated. I do feel like it’s extremely unhealthy and I worry intensely what will happen when I eventually have to fully move out on my own and will in all likelihood be permanently isolated.

I might write a bit more tomorrow, this post has rambled on a lot but there was a lot to say since the last post. I hope everyone who reads this (the number of hits I get is still surprisingly high) is ok and I apologise for not staying in touch with you.

Advertisements

It’s Overdue

Standard

Hello there. First of all I’d like to apologise for being absent for so long, I’ve been a Bad Blogger. Around the time we last left off I was going through another period of bad depression and finding myself snowed under with work and feeling rather hopeless and suicidal again. A visit to the psychiatrist convinced me to try a different antidepressant to try and get things under control as I was really struggling. This time it was sertraline (also known as Zoloft) and things have picked up since then, at least I’m no longer plagued by constant thoughts and the need to plan suicide, even if it is still on my mind a lot. If I’m perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure that’s the way I’ll die but it doesn’t feel immediately inevitable like it did before. I was sceptical about SSRIs after my previous experiences but it seems like I might have found the one that at least takes the edge off.

Not a lot has happened in the last year to be honest. It’s been the same old thing over and over. Some plus points are that I managed to get through the group project and presentation that I had worried so much about. It was nerve wracking but I lucked out and only had to present to one lecturer, the other scary one who was meant to be there was ill. I passed the second year of my degree with a 2:2 which is considerably lower than the first year, but considering all the problems I was having it’s decent enough. Over the summer I worked at the place I was at last year and got on OK there, was quite sad to leave really. I get pretty much free reign to get on with things and it’s some experience to go on my C.V. so it’s all good.

Going into my final year, I decided to move out of the house I’d been sharing with two of my first year flatmates. It’s not that I didn’t get along with them, they are very nice, but I just felt kind of trapped in my room because some of their friends and one of their boyfriend made me feel really nervous. I didn’t like sharing a bathroom either, or sleeping in the downstairs room. This year I’m renting a flat in a block of student apartments off campus and sharing a kitchen with 4 others. I don’t really see much of them, we mostly keep to ourselves and I’ve only really had one proper conversation with one of them the whole time. The others I’ve barely spoken to at all.

Bad habits have crept back though. I have been buying takeaway food and going without meals rather than cooking because I have this fear of people thinking bad things about what I eat and I don’t like to be in the kitchen for too long. It sounds so stupid to write down but I just can’t help it.

The main problems I’ve been having lately is that I have missed so many lectures and workshops. The third year is really the most important one and I should be attending everything ideally, but anxiety has conspired to make me miss out on a lot. I had to ask for an extension on the first assignment and jump through hoops to get doctors letters and proof that it was a valid reason but I managed it. Thankfully I passed that one (although with a poor grade) but I’m afraid of what will happen with the next ones. Part of the reason I have missed so much is my utterly ridiculous sleeping pattern over the last few months of the semester. I was literally unable to sleep all night and would fall asleep mid morning or afternoon completely exhausted then wake up at night time. On one occasion I woke up at 10.30pm. I spoke my to my doctor about it but they don’t want to give me sleeping pills (for obvious reasons I suppose). Over the Christmas break I’ve managed to get back into some semblence of a routine at least. It is nice to actually see daylight for a change.

I never used to think the weather had any affect on my mood, but the last few times when my depression has been worse has been in winter. I’m not sure if the decreased amount of sun makes me feel worse but it seems possible. The point where I felt so bad that I finally managed to speak to someone about it, back in 2007, was in the winter too.

My main worries at the moment are that I am so far behind on uni work. I don’t know if I will fail some modules, it’s possible I might have to resit them in the summer in order to graduate which wouldn’t be the end of the world but I can’t repeat the year because this is the last one that the student loans company will fund for me and I don’t another £3600 I could pay out of my own pocket. I’ve been so stupid, letting my fears get the best of me and avoiding lectures because of stupid anxiety. My avoidant tendancies have stopped me from even looking at the other assignment deadlines coming up because I know I have so much to catch up on.

I’m going to try and talk to my old tutor who helped me out last time and is somewhat aware of my situation but I don’t want to seem like I’m making excuses for being lazy or something. I know they can’t make special circumstances just for me but I don’t really know what else to do.

I think I’ve probably written enough for one update but I’ll include this quiz about the last year since I wasn’t around to blog about it much. Thanks to everyone who has messaged me and wished me well. Sorry I kept to have kept you waiting, those of you who asked me to write an update.

1. Was 2010 a good year for you?

No not really.

2. What were your New Year’s Resolutions and did you keep them?

No.

3. Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions for 2010?

No.

4. Where will you be when 2010 ends?

I was in London watching Sonic Youth.

5. Who will you be with when 2010 ends?

My friend Vicky and some of her friends who I don’t know.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

To feel like there are things to look forward to, not to be overwhelmed by work.

7. Where did most of your money go?

Mostly on rent. My biggest personal purchase was a new guitar.

8. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I don’t really get excited about anything, though I was looking forward to New Year even though it was tempered by anxiety and depression once it was over.

9. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? about the same.

ii. thinner or fatter? My doctor said she thought I’d lost weight but I feel fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? Still poor.

10. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Uni work, going to lectures, staying in touch with people, getting up earlier.

11. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastination, succumbing to anxiety, avoiding things.

12. How will you be spending Christmas?

I went home to be with my mum and occasionally dad and sister when they weren’t working. It was fairly pleasant.

13. How many one-night stands?

None.

14. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No I don’t think so.

15. What was the best book you read?

Nineteen Eighty Four

16. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I usually listen to older music that I missed out on, so some Pavement albums I guess.

17. What did you want and get?

To not be constantly suicidal. A nice guitar. To see one of my favourite people.

18. What did you want and not get?

The ability to be excited about things and not see only disappointment in the future. Happiness, hah.

19. Favourite film of this year?

I don’t think it was a fantastic year for films. Shutter Island was good I guess.

20. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I can’t even remember, I think I might have gone out for lunch with my sister. I was 25

21. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Can’t think of one thing in particular.

22. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

“Inoffensive”.

23. What kept you sane?

Sertraline.

24. Who do you miss?

Vicky. My old flatmates, even though I could see them I don’t really have an excuse to be around any more. I think they didn’t mind me being there when I lived with them but can’t see why they’d want me around now.

25. Did you make any new friends?

No.

26. Quote a song that sums up your year:

“I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.”

27. Where were you when 2010 began?

At home.

28. Who were you with?

My mum and her boyfriend,

29. Did you fall in love in 2010?

No.

.

30. If yes, with who?

n/a

31. Are you still in love with them?

n/a

32. Did you break up with anyone in 2010?

No.

33. What was your favourite month of 2010?

August.

34. What was your favourite record from 2010?

Interpol’s self titled album.

35. How many concerts did you see in 2010?

Two.

36. Did you have a favourite concert in 2010?

Sonic Youth.

37. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2010?

No, I hardly ever drink. I have enough vices as it is.

40. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2010?

Can’t pick a single moment.

41. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2010 and change something, what would it be?

Work harder and attend more at uni.

42. What are your plans for 2011?

Try to get back on track and pass my degree. Keep practicing playing the guitar. Hopefully travel somewhere interesting.

Retrospective

Standard

2009 wasn’t a good year for me, in fact I’d say it was probably the worst of my life since I was in the institutional torture centre known as school. Obviously the spiralling depression and series of events that led to me finally trying and failing to kill myself in the summer was a particularly low point. I did some things that I should probably be ashamed of if I could feel anything other than hopelessness. I lost most of the few connections I had with other people because I, foolishly in hindsight, wrote to them to let them know what had happened to me. I honestly thought that I wouldn’t be coming back. For months i researched methods and bought hundreds of pills which sat ominously in my drawer while at times I desperately tried to overcome the feelings that death at my own hands was inevitable and that it was the only way to stop the agonising dull pain of living a failed life, wracked with guilt because my own cushy life would be welcomed with open arms by 99% of the worlds population.

10 years ago, I was almost 15 and probably at the height of my psychological bullying and trying to deal with the uniquely fucked up family situation I found myself in and blamed myself for. There was a lot of talk about the future, what with us entering a new millenium (although not strictly true, you pedants) and I somewhat foolishly hoped that the next ten years might bring some changes to the unhappy awkwardness that was my teenage life. It is a thoroughly disheartening thought to realise that not only am I more unhappy than ever, my social skills and any semblance of a “life” are even worse.

I saw the end of a TV programme the other day, some talking head was going on about how teenage girls spend inordinate amounts of time talking and thinking about their first kiss with a boy. It deeply saddens me in many ways because it is a constant reminder of how far I’ve been left behind socially.

This kind of observation usually prompts comments like “life isn’t a race” and so on. This is no consolation because it is usually said by people who have no comprehension of what it’s like to be so isolated and the mental desolation of being consantly alone with no connection to other humans. I recently struggled to explain to some mental health types that I simply cannot fathom the idea that I could ever be in a relationship, it’s unthinkable that I could even have friends. Every single day I am forced to spend around normal people just reinforces further the massive deficiencies in my own personality and I just cannot ever imagine being capable of the basic social skills that are required to get on in the world.

This post has kind of gone off the rails, I apologise. It’s 2.30am and I am sitting here wondering how I am going to be able to carry on the facade, pretending that I don’t wish I had suceeded in killing myself. Not only this but I have to struggle with the increasingly hard university work. I started looking at pills again and got to the checkout stage. I know how I could make it work now, I just can’t let anyone know until the time when I could be “saved” has passed.

Letter to my therapist

Standard

I can never answer honestly when he asks “How are you?” and I assume this is one of the rare occasions where an honest answer would actually be appreciated so I finally decided to write something down. I am tired and can’t really think of everything I want to say but I think this captures the essence of it. It should be a fun hour tomorrow 😦

I feel very depressed every day. I don’t look forward to anything, it seems like there is always something to dread about the future, I’m always worrying about something that’s coming up. Life seems pointless, I can’t even do the most basic things like be in the same room as people. I’m scared of being around most people but I don’t know why. I haven’t made a proper meal at my house for the last two weeks, I’m too afraid that I will be trapped in the kitchen when there are people there and I don’t know what to say or how to act and I’m scared of them thinking I’m weird and saying things about me. It makes me feel even more worthless.

I can’t stop thinking about how I want to die. There is no other reason I can think of other than guilt about causing my family pain why I want to live. It occupies my mind for hours each day, I feel terribly guilty that I feel this way but I wish that I had died when I tried to kill myself.

Frustration

Standard

The last few days have been overwhelmed by frustration. I went for my CBT appointment on Thursday and my therapist seemed much more impatient than usual. I know it must be difficult to deal with me and I have apologised before for being such an awkward patient (which he of course denied I was), it takes me a long time to vocalise my thoughts or explain things which I find embarrassing. A lot of the time I sit in silence and he rattles off suggestions of how I might have felt until he says the right one and  I nod. It’s a slow process indeed.

This time however, he just seemed to be out of patience. He set me the task of asking a stranger for the time and asked how that would make me feel. I knew it made me feel scared, but I couldn’t put into words exactly why and what I was afraid of. Having had some time to think about it; I guess what I’d be worried about is the person wondering why I’m talking to them. Why did I choose them to ask? They might think I’m coming on to them or trying to distract them while someone pickpockets them or something. Another more likely thing is that they’d just ignore me and walk past, because nobody wants to be stopped and hassled by a weirdo like me. I don’t know, it’s hard to express these thoughts aloud when they are so embarrassing. Even though I realise that none of these things would be harmful, I’d still be scared to do it anyway.

Assuming the best case scenario, I manage to do this tiny activity and report back next week, I’d probably be given something larger to do and so forth. But how long would it take building from being a functional retard like I am now to becoming something resembling a normal human being? It will be in the order of years even in the best case. I don’t know if I can handle being such a loathsome wreck of a person for that long. I’ve already wasted almost a quarter of a century, some of the times in a persons life when major personal development happens and, by and large people find to be an enjoyable time.

I don’t really know how to end this post. I think I’ve gone past a point of no return regarding suicide. Once you get it into your head that it is not only a viable escape from the pain, but the best and most immediate one, then it’s hard to take your mind off it and stop your thinking from going there automatically. I don’t know if it’s possible to stop doing that. They’ve tried using guilt on me, but there will be a point (in fact there already was a point) when the pain is too much for that to hold me back. What can I do? Become a permanent inpatient and doom myself to a life of being constantly sedated and under lock and key until I die alone? What a great life to look forward to.

A Prisoner

Standard

I didn’t think I’d find myself longing for the halls of residence I stayed in at university last year but I am. It always seems to happen to me actually, I hate something at the time but then in the future I end up reminiscing fondly about it. It might be a case of rose tinted glasses, or maybe, if I can paraphrase “Office Space”, every day is worse than the last so every day you see me is the worst day of my life.

My current room doesn’t have an en-suite bathroom (though to call my halls bathroom a “room” is rather a stretch) and it leads directly to the living room so I can always hear when there are people here. I hate coming out of my room when anyone is here, my housemate E, I can just about manage talking to but it never progresses beyond the tiniest of small talk, going over the same old things again and again. I think she is always just shocked to see me, it is frightening how I can live in the same house as two people but remain largely invisible to them.

The main problem I have at the moment (and something else would instantly replace it in my mind as has always happened since I was at primary school, I can never be without a big worry in my life) is that my other housemate, J’s boyfriend has started at the university this year. I am nothing like him, he’s one of the “lads” and I can tell he doesn’t like me at all and I’ll risk being admonished for being judgemental and “mind reading” if you want to use the mental health jargon and say he probably thinks I’m the biggest freak ever and makes fun of me behind my back, to which J probably half heartedly tells him to stop but without any real conviction. He’s the only person who made any negative comment about me not drinking and the way he insults other people (not that he’s a nasty person, pretty much all “lads” are like it) doesn’t give me much hope that such an easy target as myself would be spared. I don’t want to be around when he is there. I can’t talk to him, I am lost for words. I’ll admit I am very intimidated by him, and by J actually. I feel like a lower-class moron compared to them.

I’m fed up of feeling like a prisoner here. I have lost count of the meals I have missed because they and their friends have been round here, their loud conversations and laughter terrify me behind my door and I stay fixed by fear inside my room waiting until it’s reasonably late enough to assume they won’t knock on my door and I can hide in bed until the morning. I count down the days to the weekend; “only 2 more nights here” I’ll think to myself. It’s not an enjoyable existence, my health has already suffered. OK I could stand to lose weight but I’ve been finding my clothes too large because of how little I eat while I’m here. It goes without saying how messed up my mental health is becoming.

I don’t know what to do, time is running out if I want to suspend my studies for a year but I don’t think I’d be able to afford that and I don’t know if I’d have the mental strength to go back after a year away from everything.

Spiralling

Standard

This might not make much sense, sorry in advance. The last few days I have felt like I am spiralling out of control, one day blurs into the next I forget when it started exactly. I have been seriously considering reckless things that I shouldn’t be (not talking about suicide) and I’ve hit 4 of the symptoms of hypomania. Not that I am suggesting that I am bipolar, I’ve never had this before and yesterday I realised I forgot my meds 2 days in a row which probably didn’t help things.

I haven’t eaten a proper meal since last thursday, I’ve been getting through work on red bull, had to call in sick one day last week because on top of everything i had a splitting headache and terrible cold and I couldn’t take it.

I’m scared about what I might do. I had tried to convince myself to stop looking towards suicide as the answer, but if I wreck up my life even more I might not have any other option.

Last night I told the person I’m closest too about how I am feeling and what crazy things I had been planning to do and I think she should have been disgusted with me and never wanted to speak to me again but instead she just wanted to reassure me that it’s my illness. I don’t know if I can lay the blame of much more at the feet of depression, I have to take responsibility at some point.

What upset me most is that she said that she felt like she has been talking to a person with a terminal illness for the past few weeks 😦 I hate to think that that is how I am thought of, I don’t deserve any sympathy, everything wrong with me is my own doing and I don’t HAVE to die, it’s all self imposed. I feel guilty as hell.

this is an extract of some things i have written down for my therapist (still got to wait until the 17th to see him)


I am a wreck. I feel like I want to cry but no tears come, there’s nothing there. I’m so sick of being such a worthless excuse for a human and heading down the inevitable path of failure.

(cut)

I am so starved of affection and I crave it desperately even if it is not real. I long for someone else’s touch. It is so incredibly hard knowing you are disgusting and repellent to everyone and that closeness and intimacy are unattainable. I plan on killing myself soon, I’d rather my inevitable suicide be seen as a tradgedy and maybe a waste of potential than people wonder “what took him so long?”

I honestly don’t know what to do. What can I do? Call crisis? They can’t help, I’m too entrenched for half an hour with a stranger to make everything A-OK. How could I possibly explain everything that is wrong to yet ANOTHER person I don’t know? I don’t know if there is any help available for the chronically suicidal.