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.

Another Psych Appointment

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I’m seeing the consultant psychiatrist tomorrow and I’m getting quite worried about it. First of all, I have to explain why I got my mum to phone and ask for me to see someone different to the new Dr I was assigned to (see this post for what happened with him) which is going to be difficult because the consultant is so intense and intimidating to me. I’m also not looking forward to talking about my suicidal feelings. It makes things so much harder because I’m living in two separate places. The crisis team here won’t be able to check up on me at university, and I haven’t had any dealings with the mental health services at Lincoln so they don’t have any of my notes or whatever else they need.

I have mixed feelings about discussing it, I’d really like to stop feeling like this is my only way out of feeling so depressed and miserable but I honestly can’t see how anyone can help me. I don’t want to have the option taken away from me, I need to be able to know that I have an escape. If I tell him about how I have obtained the pills then I fear what might happen to me. I don’t want to be taken to hospital, I can’t afford to miss any more university.

Sometimes I wonder what the point is, I have no reason to believe that anyone or anything can help me with my particular problems. An hour of CBT once a month isn’t going to make me into a normal person. Even when I’m not feeling actively suicidal, I still think that there is no hope for me and I still want to die. I just can’t let people see otherwise I’ll upset them. Is there any way to escape from long term suicidal desires? It seems like it’ll always be with me. I wish I could be killed in an accident so that I could escape without having to inflict the extra pain on my family of them knowing it was self inflicted.

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.

A Proper Post

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Just before Christmas, I went to see my new psychiatrist. My old one was one of the only healthcare professionals I’ve seen who I actually felt comfortable talking to and actually enjoyed spending time with. She seemed much more understanding and friendly than the others and helped me set some reasonable goals and didn’t patronise me. Unfortunately she moved on to another place and now I’m saddled with this creepy new guy. I found it really hard to speak to him, I totally froze up at a few points, that’s not happened for a while.  I also didn’t think he was very professional, he kept putting his hand on me, probably trying to comfort me and calm me down or something but I didn’t like it. Also there was a med student in there and when he went out of the room, he said I should talk to her which seemed rather unusual to me.

He didn’t seem to know much about me either, he spent a while reading my file at the start of the appointment. At one point he wanted to speak to the consultant but instead of asking me to wait in the waiting room like the others did, he phoned him while I was still in the room and read some things out of my file, which says that they aren’t supposed to be handled by the patient. He said something about avoidant personality disorder to them, which I’ve never been told about.

Towards the end of the appointment, he chastised me for using the phrase “I’m not sure” too often and said that I shouldn’t use it again. I don’t know how else I’m supposed to respond to questions to which I don’t know the answer. He also asked me if I see a CPN, and then asked why not when I told him that I don’t. Well I have no idea why not, I only know what one is from reading other mental health blogs. Very little has been explained to me about how the process works as I am shipped from doctor to doctor.

I really wish I could see someone else instead, but I don’t know who I could complain to or ask about it. Nobody told me who makes the decision about who I see, I just get letters in the post from the doctors’ secretary and I can hardly complain to them. Luckily I don’t need to see him again until the end of January, hopefully I can ask my mum to try and help me get things sorted before then.

In other news, my depression has lifted slightly over the past few days. Hearing back from a very reclusive and avoidant internet friend of mine cheered me up a lot. The suicidal thoughts are still there in my mind though. I don’t feel a sense of despair and crushing helplessness when I think them now though, it’s more an inevitable solution that I’m slowly drifting towards. I don’t know how much time I have left where I can tread water and pretend everything is ok. I found a more reliable sounding method than jumping and I know where I can get the required items now. I’m not feeling sad about this, it’s weird.

Getting “help”

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I’ve all but given up on making this blog useful, apologies if you came here expecting something helpful.

I had another psychiatrist appointment last week. I faced the dilemma that many people with mental illness have to deal with; whether to say the right things, jump through their metaphorical hoops and and take the easy way out, or whether to face up to the hard task of telling it how it is and facing the consequences of that. Last time I took the first approach, she seemed quite pleased with the progress I was making. In the days leading up to my latest appointment though, I’ve been feeling extremely hopeless and suicidal again. It often seems to disappear as soon as I get the chance to talk to someone about it and I feel like I’m being overly dramatic by bringing it up but this time I was determined to speak the truth about it.

I haven’t been feeling the desperation that I did before, I don’t feel the need to go out there this minute and do it, it’s more of a realisation what my life is going to be like. The horrible truth hangs over me every day, reinforced more and more with every failed social interaction, every rejection, every person staring and laughing. I feel crushing jealousy as I see people with friends, even glancing at groups studying together brings out a great sadness in me. I am totally alone here, and everywhere except in my home. I can no longer see how I’m going to get past the fact that I am hopelessly socially retarded, my appearance scares people and I am incredibly boring. There’s too much to overcome before anyone would even be remotely interested in knowing me, never mind the fact that I’ve already established myself as the weirdo loner here. It could be worse, at least I know a couple of people’s names, but I never dare interrupt their groups to talk to them, even if I could think of something to say.

I managed to tell the psychiatrist that I have been having the thoughts again and then of course I had to talk to the terrifying consultant. He’s incredibly intense, always staring and picks apart everything you say. I already over analyse the way I say every single thing to make sure it’s no misinterpreted but he sends me into overdrive. It can take me 30 seconds to answer a simple question, I get scared he’s going to get angry at what I say, especially after he smashed his fist on the table after I deigned to ask about anti-anxiety medication. The end result of it all was that he didn’t seem to think I was serious about it and just upped my venlafaxine to 225mg and said I’d benefit from one to one psychotherapy. I was referred a couple of months ago but still haven’t heard anything.

I don’t know what to do with myself now. I wish it was possible to transfer a confident person into my situation (of course no normal person would be in this position in the first place) and see what they’d do. I simply have no idea. I could carry on going to lectures, sitting alone and speaking to no-one for practically the entire week. I’m scared of the people my flatmates bring around here, I’ve missed several meals because I’ve been too afraid to leave my room and go into the loud, social atmosphere of the kitchen.

I’m so screwed up, laughter scares me now. If I here a group of people (especially men) laughing it just triggers a fear response inside me. I suppose it’s some kind of Pavlovian response after all the years of mocking and torment but I wish I didn’t feel like it. I don’t have a clue how I’m ever going to be normal*.

* Now I know the usual response to this is that “nobody is normal” or normal people aren’t interesting, but that’s not what I mean. I think most people would agree it is pretty normal to have at least one friend. It’s reasonably normal to be capable of going out somewhere without being crippled by fear of being laughed at and humiliated. I’d love to have someone to talk to, who I didn’t feel like I had to put on a show just to seem like less of a freak to.

I was asked some difficult questions by the consultant; “Have you ever had any close friends?” Not since I was a young child. He asked about when I was about 15; “Lads have mates who they go out and do ‘lad’ things with” he said. Not me. I had people I hung around with in school because I was too scared to leave them (they bullied me as much or worse than the other people) but I never had the slightest desire to spend any more time than absolutely necessary with them. I never saw them outside of school. I’ve been a loner for the vast majority of my life, but that isn’t how I want to be. I’d say the problem is probably made worse by two enormous problems. First, I am not the kind of person people like. I’m no fun to be around, I’m far too quiet and I don’t like drunkenness and parties, I look hideous, I’m probably too arrogant and élitist in my own introverted way. Second, I lack the basic skills that seem to come naturally to other people, probably through trial and error when they were younger and social faux-pas weren’t as heavily punished. I find it incredibly hard to explain just how little I know about how to interact with people, a lot of people think they are “shy” or whatever, but I’ve not come across many as socially maladjusted as me. I know nothing about what people do, I know they don’t spend every waking hour reading or on the computer like me but all I have for reference is what I see on TV and in movies (which I do realise aren’t realistic, by the way). I feel completely out of place as a human adult.

New Meds

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Went to the GP to get my new meds, venlafaxine (generic Effexor) yesterday. I have to start taking them tonight, not sure what to expect but I’m hoping there aren’t too many side effects. I wasn’t too bad when I first started citalopram so hopefully I’ll be ok this time too.

I had my last appointment with my MHP this morning as well which was sad because I had come to trust her more than I first expected and she seemed to understand me quite well. Apparently I seemed more “animated” and made more eye contact than usual and she seemed to think I looked a lot better than last time we saw each other. I spoke to her about possibly having meds for my anxiety and told her about how the psychiatrist I saw at A&E said I would benefit from having some diazepam for when I go to uni and she agreed that it would be good. She said I should definitely talk to the psychiatrist about it. They phoned this morning and asked me to come in Friday so I should have a chance to ask them before I go, I don’t know how receptive they will be to it though.

Apologies for the boring post but I don’t have much to write about at the moment. I’m trying to keep myself occupied until this Sunday when I move out :-O