Failed Treatments

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It’s been a while since I last updated, apologies. I didn’t get around to giving my therapist that letter but I did manage to express most of the thoughts in it.

Quite a lot has happened with him since I last posted. As I expected, after the awkwardness of previous sessions he explained (in a careful and considered way) that he doesn’t think that CBT is right for me at this time and that he felt like the sessions were “tortuous” for me because of the many questions that I have to answer about my thoughts and feelings (which despite how frequently I complain on this site, are hard for me to express verbally). In a way he is right, I do find it hard and I don’t think I really made any progress in the CBT sessions I had. To be completely honest, and this is not depression talking, I think my problems are far more complex and deep seated than the examples I have read about when it comes to treating social anxiety. My chronic depression makes things a hundred times harder because I cannot even answer the basic question “How do you want to be different?” or “What do you want to change?”. I simply cannot visualise myself as any different because I have been this way for so long, and the only memories I have from before I was so bad that it could be considered a mental health problem rather than just extreme shyness and sadness are from when I was a child. I have never experienced being an adult without depression, crippling low self esteem and self loathing. I have been suicidal in varying degrees for the past 6 years, I don’t know if I can ever shake that.

However much I could possibly change, even in this “magic wand” scenario they seem fond of presenting, presumably in order to give them some idea of what I should work towards being/doing, I can’t change the past and how much of a complete mess I have made of it and how much time I have wasted and pain caused to others. There is no part of me that feels like I would be better off alive than dead, it’s only the anguish that my family would suffer and lack of a quick method that is keeping me here and even those things are tenuous.

The result of all this is that he recommended that I would be better off having someone who I could meet with informally to discuss things with but I don’t honestly think that it would be any easier than talking to him in a therapy setting. I probably painted an unfair picture of him in my previous entry, in truth he is the only mental health professional that I have been able to speak to truthfully. I don’t trust any of the others any more. I can’t tell them about my constant suicidal thoughts, I don’t want the stupid useless crisis team on my back again. To be completely honest, seeing anyone for an hour a week (and that is the most frequent as it could get) is never going to change anything for a severely messed up person like me, it’s pretty hopeless.

A couple of weeks ago I went for the assessment (another one, yay!) at the city where I go to university and the people who “interrogated” me were quite unpleasant. I find it very unsettling when they go from acting like your friend one minute and then asking if you hear and see things that aren’t there and baffling questions about whether you think people have taken ideas out of your head the next minute. In addition to this, the fact that I just can’t answer any questions about myself as a person (what do you like to do? what kind of music do you like?) it made for an extremely uncomfortable hour. I left feeling more downhearted and disillusioned than ever about the mental health services. I don’t think this is a failing on their part entirely, I am just too much of a weird case and I don’t think they are equipped to deal with someone who is messed up in such a bizarre way.

Psych Appointment

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I have the first of my stop-gap psychologist appointments for while I’m back home over the summer today. I really don’t know what to do, I’m an accomplished enough at hiding the truth about how I feel that I could get away without saying anything. The alternative would probably be undesirable. I don’t want to deal with the crisis team again. I can’t have them coming to my house and still be able to tell my mum that I’m ok. She’ll start crying again and wanting to come up with a magic quick fix and just flat out tell me that I’m wrong about myself. She has no idea.

5 pills in. 12 hours left until dosing time.

Anxiety and CBT

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I’m absolutely tired out but I wanted to write a post, so forgive me if it’s even more haphazard and depressing than usual. I got up early to get the two buses I needed to arrive at my CBT appointment first thing this morning. After meeting the therapist last time and my relatively good week I was in quite a positive mood but she then explained to me that having spoken with her manager and the crisis team at Lincoln, they found out I have been referred for CBT there instead and so I can’t see her any more ūüė¶

After I bared my darkest fears and thoughts, I’ve yet again been shunted along to someone else. It seems that every time I have any form of appointment I have to start explaining things from scratch and by the time any kind of connection is made I’m moved on. In one year I had 4 different GPs at home and one at uni, seen 4 different psychiatrists and 6 different crisis team people. It’s beginning to get rather tiring and disheartening.

Later on I started feeling incredibly anxious, not in an obvious shaky-hands way like when I’m forced into a dreaded social situation but it was bubbling beneath the surface. I felt like I had to keep moving, keep thinking and acting quickly. If you know the feeling you get when you know that you have to leave the house or you will miss a train or whatever but you can’t find your keys, it was like that. I’ve managed to calm myself a bit now, feeling the venlafaxine withdrawals kicking in though as it’s more than 24 hours since my last dose. It’s an odd sensation, your brain craving serotonin or whatever it is.

Had a meeting with the psych last Friday and managed to convince him to slow the withdrawal down a bit so I’m on 150mg for another week at least. He wants me to move down to 75mg after that if I can, but I don’t know if I can do it. At least he didn’t talk to me about sex this time. One thing he did say was “It sounds like this crisis you were in is over” and I understand what he means but I don’t think it explains the whole picture.

Like most things, it is not a black or white situation. I may have felt in an acute crisis at that time but not now, but that doesn’t mean everything is fine. I should throw the pills away but I can’t. I still want to buy more, more components of a lethal cocktail.

No medication can change my situation, the psychologist who I could’ve had for CBT said that today and I can’t agree more. When the possibility of me going back there after I finish university was mentioned, it dawned on me that I may be like this forever. Of course I have thought that many times, but no-one has ever said it to me implicitly like that before. I don’t want to think about being 30 or 40 and still having the social capabilities of a child. That fear will always be there in my mind and that is what keeps me planning my escape.

Crisis Team Visit #2

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Two different people came to see me this afternoon, they didn’t seem to know anything about me and asked the same questions again; how is my sleep, what do I do when I have suicidal thoughts. I don’t think anything really came of it to be honest, I had written down an extract from my blog that I was going to show them but never felt like I had an opportunity. The man did most of the talking and he seemed distracted and distant, the young woman was more friendly but I don’t think I’m quite ready to hand over a piece of paper with such dark and morbid thoughts over to smiley people.¬†

The nights are much harder for me, I’m ok at the moment and maybe I will be today, but when I’m at home on my own and away from civilisation I feel isolated and hopeless. One of my flatmates saw them leaving and I don’t know what to say if they ask who they were. They know I have some mental health problems so I’m considering just saying they were psychologists who came to see how I was getting on, which isn’t exactly the truth but not a lie either. I don’t think that’s too weird, but I’m not sure..

In other news, I got invited to one of my flatmates birthday celebrations next month which was nice of them. I’m going to try my hardest to go, even if I only join them for the pub/bar section of the evening and don’t go along to the clubs.

Mixed Feelings

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I came back home today and found a letter from the psychotherapy place, they’ve offered to put me on the waiting list for cognitive behavioural therapy but couldn’t tell me how long it’ll take until I can see someone more specifically than “several months”. I’d hoped that it would be sooner than that, although I suppose I’m lucky to get the opportunity at all without having to pay for it. By the time it starts I’ll probably have finished university for the summer, which puts me in the bizarre situation of being back at home but not being around anyone who I know.

It’s going to be difficult to make any progress when I don’t even have to opportunity for any socialising, at least when I’m at uni I could see and say a few words to a person I know every day if I wanted to. When I’m at home, there’s nobody except my family, who I have no problem talking to. I dumbfounded my psychiatrist by telling him this last time, I wouldn’t accept that there was no-one I could ring up and arrange to meet. “No friends? How about a friend of the family?” Nope, sorry doc. I’ve told them this before, I’m sure they don’t listen or they think I’m exaggerating. I really sat at home and didn’t speak to anyone outside my family for months and months. Nobody wants to know me, it’s obvious to me why that is, but they either don’t listen or don’t care (probably both). The place where I live doesn’t help things either, there is literally nothing but houses around here. There isn’t even a shop any more, you have to walk for about half an hour to get to another housing area where there is a Spar. Hardly a vibrant and inspiring place. The local town is a rough area and pretty much consists of ¬£1 shops and bookies. If you tried to strike up a conversation with someone there you’d probably get knifed.

It’s very disheartening to think about how long this would all take if I try to stick with it. I’ve already been waiting over a year since I realised CBT is what I need and it’ll probably be another 6 months before I’d even get to make a start on things. Another package arrived today as well, a way out. I’m not sure how long I can stop myself from using it. I walked around the house with a suicide note in my pocket for 4 days last week, distraction only works for so long.

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.