Trying to Stay Positive

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I will admit that for a long time now I have not been trying to stop myself from slipping into depressive thought patterns. I have just let them wash over me and it colours my mood constantly. One of the things I find hardest is to stop myself from just being overcome by these thoughts and trying to entertain the idea that there is any possibility things might ever be any better. It probably sounds unusual to people who don’t think like me, but I find it easier, comforting even, to just be accepting of the fact that I will never not be miserable (I don’t want to say happy, because it is unrealistic for anyone to expect to be happy all the time). It’s one difference that I think there is between unhappiness and depression. When I am unhappy there is a reason but there is usually some kind of outcome that could change it. Depression to me is the feeling of complete hopelessness, when everything feels lost and there is no path out of it. I used to hate being asked by people what I would like to change about my life because there is no realistic things I can think of that would alleviate my depression.

There are degrees of depression though (in my experience, I don’t want to speak for everyone) and I have gone through several points where I just wanted everything to end right there and then. Strangely, these are not the times when I have felt worst. At the times when I have been at my lowest, I just didn’t have the mental energy to think like that. It’s difficult to put into words. It is returning to this state that I fear more than anything. In 2006/7 when I was at my first job, I cannot express how miserable and defeated I felt. Every day was excruciating in a blunt sort of way. I hated getting out of bed in the morning, I hated the long journey there, I hated entering the building and more than anything I hated being around people who made me feel like shit and not being able to do anything about it. I was trapped and that is my biggest fear.

I don’t know if it’s because I was younger and less prone to self-destruction back then, but I only ever had brief thoughts of suicide then. I thought about it but never seriously considered it. It frightens me to think what I would be like if I was in the same situation now. I have little self-control when it comes to self-destruction. Part of this is because of the incredibly straight-laced way I used to act, which I became completely sick of. It feel so self-indulgent to admit this aloud (in a manner of speaking) but since I accepted that I was never going to be acceptable to society, why should I carry on like that? I feel resentful towards the people who would have me carry on like that and pretend to be fine, dragging myself through soul destroying days with a smile on my face for a derisory salary.

OK I am getting away from the point here, which was supposed to be about the last week. I have been trying to stay in a positive frame of mind and I have been reasonably successful. I really enjoyed something for the first time in many, many months and that was being with my friend V and her friend whom I hadn’t met before. It was the most “normal” I have felt since I was at university with my flatmates. I feel like I managed (albeit with the aid of valium) to behave like a fairly normal person, even by my own harsh self-judgement. I didn’t try to seek approval afterwards, which is a trap I have fallen into many times before. I usually end up apologising for some minor mistake or something to try to get whoever I was with to reassure me that I was ok.

It is a strange feeling, I am very conflicted. The first time I have really felt happy for ages – it was nothing special, we just had a few drinks and watched a film, but to be around nice people and not feel as though they hated being there was a big deal to me. I wish they didn’t live halfway across the country from me. The thing is, now I keep having to battle thoughts about how infrequent these occasions are and I will most likely just be alone again for a long time. I can’t really discuss these feelings with anyone, I am still not seeing any kind of therapist but I doubt they would be helpful anyway. I feel like I used up all of V’s patience with me back when I was suicidal and I don’t really want to act weird towards her by going on about how nice it was to see her.

What is making me conflicted is my unwillingness to believe that maybe I am not such a terrible person after all and that my prior experiences were not a true reflection of my “value” as a person. I am aware of how bizarre this probably is, but I am trying to work through my thought processes. I don’t really know why I don’t want to believe that. Surely it would be a good thing, you may think. I’m trying to work out what scares me so much about it. I think it’s because I would have to admit that I have been wrong about myself and have wasted so many years isolating myself for no good reason. I also don’t want to change my view of myself, only to have it destroyed again by other people who hate me.

Is it possible that the few people who I have met and enjoyed being with in the time since I left school/work people who made me feel worthless are the only exceptions, that these 4 or 5 people are the only ones on the planet who would feel that I am likeable? Logically, probably not. It pains me to even type this out, I don’t want to admit it. It’s so much easier to believe that I am inherently awful and unlikable.

As a kind of experiment I am trying to force myself to behave as if I am not the hateful loser that I have spent the past 15+ years believing myself to be. It has only been a week, but I am going to try to carry on. It isn’t easy though. I can’t express enough how deeply I completely accept that is how I am perceived and how many painful thoughts need to be challenged. At the moment I am feeling sad because I really wish V and her friend lived closer and I could see them more often, and that I had other friends like them. There’s a lot I have to hide about myself to appear normal, I mentioned before how this can feel deceitful but I think everyone engages in this to a certain extent, and this makes it very hard for me to meet new people. I am also easily threatened by people especially if they are loud. I don’t know if it would be possible to make any new friends here, but for the first time in a long time I am going to try to believe that it is possible.

 

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Changing Psychiatrists and Trying to Make an Effort

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This might be a brief one because I’ve been working really hard on my uni assignment, it’s not that good but I had to look up and cite a ton of references since I had no idea about the subject beforehand. Ah well, at least I got the extension and didn’t have to muddle through it while I was in actively suicidal mood.

I went to see the psych consultant on Monday but had a shock when I entered his office because the SHO (junior psychiatrist I think) weirdo who I had such a bad session with last time was also sitting in there and I had to explain why I thought I couldn’t express myself properly to him :S That didn’t turn out too badly though, they seemed to understand that seeing someone new is stressful and so on. I managed to discuss the fact that I’d been feeling suicidal and about my constant obsession with throwing myself from high places, I didn’t tell him about my pill stash though. We talked about the difficulty of me being in 2 different cities throughout the week and came to a joint decision that it would be best to transfer me to the mental health team in Lincoln, where I go to university. I already see the GP there who is one of the friendliest and most helpful doctors I’ve come across so I’m pretty pleased about that.

I got a call from them this morning and I went in to talk things over with my GP and she’s putting the referral through for all the various things, CBT and psychiatrist etc. I also asked about a care co-ordinator since nobody had ever explained that to me before and she said that I would probably get one once I get into the place she’s referred me to. In the mean time they’ve passed my details on to the crisis team here who are coming to see me tomorrow morning. I’d much rather see them here where my mum won’t be hovering around worrying that her son has gone nuts, or whatever goes through her mind that stopped me from wanting to involve the team at my home town.

I felt a weight off my shoulders after talking things through and I really think that it would benefit me to have someone impartial who I can discuss things with when I get the suicidal feelings again. It’s hard to suffer in silence and try not to let anyone know what’s going on inside your mind when things feel like they are falling apart.

Overall I was quite happy knowing that things are moving forward and I managed t have a good 30 minute talk with my GP today who saw me before clinic hours started (possibly triggered by the fax my psych sent over..) but she made me feel a lot better.

Over the past two days I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen with people as well, on Tuesday I helped one of the guys from across the hall set a game up on his laptop and we chatted about football for a while, I didn’t feel like he was looking down on me or thinking bad things which was a big relief. Sometimes I build up such a big idea of how important and superior everyone else is to me and it can be unrealistic, I know that now. I also sat with the guy who lives with us (who I’d barely spoken to before) and we talked for a while and worked on our coursework, it was nice to spend some time with a couple of people and not feel like a spare part. We even planned to go and watch the local football team play one night, hopefully that will actually happen.

I decided to try and carry on the trend this evening and I made dinner and sat with the girls and managed to contribute a bit to the conversation, which is a fairly big achievement for me. Eating in front of people is one of my fears that I don’t talk about on here much (been facing much larger problems as of late…) but I managed ok and didn’t spill anything down myself. 

Over the past couple of days I think I have done some good work in repairing the damage done by constantly hiding away from my flatmates. I really don’t want them to think I dislike them because it’s not true, but I can see how it might come across as that. I’m going to try my best to keep up with the effort (although it sounds like everyday things or even a boring time to most people, it takes a conscious effort for me to be like this) and hopefully things will continue to improve. Obviously I’m not expecting miracles but if I can make small steps like this every now and then, I might get further than I think by the end of the year.

Hanging On

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Trying to stay in positive (or at least not suicidal) mood. Today went ok, just had a workshop and a lecture to attend at either end of the day so I kept fairly busy. I managed to say hello to a couple of people here which is good, I suppose. Had a nice surprise in the form of a letter from the head of the computing department here at uni congratulating on my grades so far this year. Above almost everything else, I’ve tried not to let my mood (swinging from medium to terrifyingly low) affect my course, I spent so long unemployed and wishing I had projects to do and I really don’t want to lose out on this second chance that I’ve been afforded. Somehow I’ve managed to attend almost every lecture and workshop, aside from one week when I couldn’t get out of bed and I missed a couple. Certainly an improvement from sixth form and college where I’d frequently give in to the anxiety. It helps massively that I am only a short walk away instead of 30 minutes bus ride of course, and that being ignored is favourable to being made fun of all the time.

I’m still kicking about the idea of volunteering somewhere in an attempt to perhaps meet a few new people and practice talking more often. I know it’s no guarantee of those things but anything is better than whiling away the time doing nothing. Going to have a look into what is available in the area tomorrow.

Unfortunately my photograph-a-day plan has been disrupted but I did take one today:

 

You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Sadly it’s only an Ibuprofen rather than an escape from this reality. I realised today that my flatmates were only 9 when The Matrix came out… Damn that makes me feel old.