Time keeps on slipping away

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I’m not sure how long I managed to try and stay in the positive (kind of) mindset I wrote about in my last entry but unfortunately it has long since passed. It is clear to me now that the isolation is no good for me at all. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the only time for probably 2 years where I have felt any semblance of self worth was when I got to spend a few hours with some people who I can almost convince myself liked being with me. Last night I was thinking about how the best time of my life was probably from mid 2011 to mid 2012, my final year of university (it is probably no coincidence that this period was a big downturn in the number of posts I wrote here, I tend to only write when I am feeling bad). It was a strange situation because the sociability of my living arrangements had decreased more and more: I started off in the halls of residence, then shared a house with 2 of my flatmates and ended up living on my own. This let me spend time alone when I needed to though, and I still saw my classmates so I wasn’t totally isolated. Compared to most people I was still practically a hermit, but this was the most comfortable I have been.

My current situation is constantly deteriorating. I have always had a decent relationship with my parents despite their ridiculous situation of being separated but still living in the same house. Things have started to get on top of me lately though. I don’t want to badmouth them because it would seem massively ungrateful since they let me live with them but things have begun to get a bit strained. I can’t stand to listen to my mum going on about things she has read in the Daily Mail (for people outside the UK, a hateful newspaper) and making horrible comments about people she works with (too fat, too thin, too lazy, too obsessive. You can’t win). It makes me depressed to think about what she would say about me if I wasn’t her son. I keep spending more time alone in my tiny room whenever we are all in the house. I remember a time when all I wanted more than anything was to be at home but now I cannot wait to escape this place. Sometimes I feel as though I am going through life 10+ years behind schedule.

To put it simply: there’s no way I can see my life getting any better. I know it doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things but my birthday is coming up and I remember this time last year how determined I was that I wasn’t going to let the year just slip away into nothingness but that is exactly what has happened. I have achieved nothing in the past two years, they have been a complete waste of time during the part of my life when I should be getting things done.

One of the very few people I have on facebook from the “before time” prior to when I tried to restart my life in 2007/8 is a girl I went to primary school with and we were friends when I was very young but lost touch after we started secondary school. I can quite vividly remember an early time I felt what I would describe now as social anxiety, was when someone told her that I had a crush on her. Anyway, I saw on facebook the other day that she got married. I didn’t feel jealous, I have not even spoken to her in person for over 10 years, but it did hammer home how much my life has diverged from the people I grew up with. When I occasionally see them they look like adults but virtually nothing has changed for me since I was in school.

It is impossible not to feel like there is something irrevocably broken about myself that I can let things go so wrong. I remember when I first started writing the entries in 2007 on another site that I transferred over to here, that one of the main things I was depressed about was how I had missed out on key development in major parts of my life. I am in pretty much the same situation now, 7 years on. I am still the same loser that I was back then except now I don’t even have time on my side. I thought 23 was too old to change things but I was wrong about that. I wish I was that age again. I don’t know how I would do things differently but at least I had time. Now I don’t have that, I don’t have any hope.

My old therapist used to ask “How would you like your life to be different?” or what I would like to change about my life and it used to leave me stumped. You would think that someone so unhappy would have a huge list of things but I could never give concrete answers and I still can’t. Part of it was that I knew what they would do if I could think of something, they’d try and come up with some way of working towards it so I would always be second guessing about what my answers would lead to. If we restrict it to the realm of things that are actually possible, then I can’t really envisage anything that could make things OK. This is my major problem, I would much rather just not be alive than to try and patch up this ridiculous life that I have made for myself.

I sometimes wonder if anyone could be so far gone as me and still manage to turn things around and not want to die. I know there are people with much, much harder lives than me and that I have things extremely easy but they must have some kind of will to fight on that I don’t have. What is the point? If it came down to being as miserable as I was at my first job in order to survive then I would vastly prefer to be dead. Other people might have the comfort of coming home to someone they love or seeing friends but I know that will never be possible for me.

There is nothing for me that would make the awful parts of being alive worth going through.

I apologise for such another rambling and depressing post. I still have not been able to make a doctors appointment, I still have no job and I haven’t spoken to anyone outside my family in any sort of social situation since when I last posted in September. There is not much else for me to report.

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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.

 

A bit of good news

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I don’t normally have much positive stuff to post about on here but I the last few days have been pretty good. I went swimming with my dad on Saturday, we used to go every week when I was younger but I hadn’t been for ages. I’m going to try and start going regularly again.

Last night I met up with someone I met online a few years ago, we hadn’t seen each other for a long time and I was afraid that after how quiet and boring I was last time that she wouldn’t want to see me again but it was really nice to catch up. Her friend was with her who I hadn’t met before and I was quite anxious about it but I think everything went alright and I enjoyed it. I feel like kind of a fraud on the rare occasions when I sort of manage to bluff my way through these kind of things, like I am almost lying by trying to hide what a loser I really am. Anyway, I’ve been trying my best to silence these doubts and stop myself from analysing everything that I said or did wrong and am doing better than usual. 

Isolation

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I have been thinking a lot about how being alone is so damaging to my (I don’t want to speak for others, some people like being alone, although I would question how many would prefer complete isolation…) mental wellbeing recently. I think I touched on this in a previous post but I have been thinking back to when the last time I actually spent time with or talked to anyone outside my family and apart from a few occasions with people who I wouldn’t even call acquaintances, it has been over 18 months. I am afraid that it is doing irreparable damage to me. Even my own family doesn’t really seem interested in what I have to say. Practically every time I try and talk to one of my parents they either change the subject to something about themselves or just start doing other things or walking away. I know that I am not the most interesting person but I am starting to feel invisible. In the rare times when I do get to say anything, I feel like I am falling over my words or almost stuttering, which I never used to do. Years of being stuck in this situation can’t be good for you.

Since I last posted I have continued to feel very depressed. It’s still not quite as bad as it has been in the past, the period in late 2006 when I was at my first job being the absolute worst that I’ve ever felt, even more so than when I tried to kill myself, but I do feel more hopeless than I have in a long time. It seems strange to think back a few years when I was writing such despairing posts on here. I did feel absolutely terrible at times but by all accounts I was so much better off then than I am now. I was younger and doing something with my life that isn’t seen by society as a complete waste. I had a lot more going for me then than I do now, people I talked to online who cared about me and even a few people who would speak to me in real life.

I have slid so far backwards, I am practically at the same point that I was when I first started the original posts 6 years ago that eventually became this blog. The main difference is that this time I have nowhere to go. Back then I still had university ahead of me and I was young enough that I could get away with being behind on a lot of things. Now every single day I feel more and more inadequate compared to other people my age. Even the people I met who were years younger than me have already far surpassed me.

I’m tired of being an embarrassment. There is nothing that can be realistically expected that would make things seem ok to me now. There is no path that I can see that would lead to me ever feeling any different, it’s too late to turn things around now.

Describing Anxious Feelings

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Something I used to struggle with immensely during my therapy sessions was finding the words to describe how anxiety made me feel. A big component of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is identifying thoughts, feelings and behaviours related to anxiety and how they interact with each other. I always found it difficult to describe feelings in relation to the anxiety I feel in social situations accurately. I honestly think the English language lacks the vocabulary to fully describe such personal things and my own feelings are more complex than just simple fear or whatever.

I ended up having to leave my CBT therapist because I was so depressed at that time that working on my anxiety with CBT was becoming impossible and he didn’t think it was effective. I wasn’t sure about how well I would get on with it either but lately I’m starting to think that I might benefit from it now even though I am still depressed, it is not quite so all-encompassing as it was in 2009/10. One thing that springs to mind is the cascade of horrible thoughts and feelings that overcomes me whenever I have to look at job listings. I tried to put it into words but some of the things are just too hard for me to verbalise.

The main thing that fills my mind is how I am almost the exact opposite of how people need to be to be successful. I am so inadequate in almost every way when it comes to work. I don’t feel confident at all in my own abilities and I can say with 100% honesty that I cannot see why anyone would want to hire me over anyone else who happened to apply for the same position.

I am immediately taken back to my first job where I could not cope at all with the demands of working there and I dread (and I really do mean dread) having to be in that position again. I would end each day completely mentally exhausted and not have the mental strength to do anything else once I had finished work. I hate being there so much, before I left in the morning I would have to fight myself from thinking too much about it because I would uncontrollably get tears in my eyes. I am not someone who cries a lot but there were several times I had to hide in the toilets when I was working there and fight back tears and there is nothing I fear more than being stuck like this.

I won’t have to opportunity to leave like I did when I was working there. At some point I will have to support myself and that would simply not be an option. I couldn’t handle being trapped like that and I don’t know what I’d do (or rather, I fear I know too well what I would do) if I was stuck in that situation.

All of this and more comes to me in a flood of sickening anxiety. Needless to say this makes job hunting quite a daunting task. I am already feeling extremely guilty because of how long I have been unemployed despite having good qualifications on paper, this just adds to my worries.

Blogging’s Impact

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I have received some kind comments, someone even said they found my blog encouraging which pleased me a great deal. One of the things that often makes me hesitant to continue writing on this site is that it quickly became a place where I wrote down a lot of my darkest thoughts and went into quite a lot of detail about my feelings when I was at very low points in my life and I don’t know how useful that is to anyone who may be reading it. I worry that my very depressing and probably frequently triggering posts may make someone who happens to stumble upon this site feel worse and I really don’t want that to happen.

The problems I experience are not typical of every social anxiety sufferer and just because you might have the same condition, it doesn’t mean you are going to end up a wreck like I am. I have made a lot of bad decisions in life and depression along with anxiety and possibly having an avoidant personality have all contributed to where I am now.

Going Back to the Doctor

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I can’t remember when the last time I made an appointment with my doctor was, it has been years since I went to the GP here where I live. When I was at university I got tired of messing around with the psychiatrist and couldn’t stand dealing with the unhelpful person they used to send to see me (presumably to make sure I wasn’t about to hurt myself) and so worked my usual avoidance magic until I was free of them. The medication I used to take was on a repeat prescription so I managed to get that for a few months without making a doctor’s appointment and I’d stopped taking it by the time came for it to be reviewed. The GP I used to see there had left and after all the different medical staff I’ve had to try and explain my situation to over the years I didn’t fancy going through all of that again with someone else. At any rate, I felt I could get on without the antidepressants by that point and I managed reasonably well.

Lately I have felt like I really need to talk to someone again though. I think I would benefit from being back on the sertraline too, I just hope that it works again, it took a lot of tries to find an antidepressant that made a difference without awful side effects. I don’t want to repeat myself, but I am practically in the exact situation I was in back in 2008 yet again, only this time I am 5 years older and don’t have the chance to escape to university.

It’s been months and I just can’t get myself to overcome the obstacles in the way though. It might seem like I should just make an appointment and go, but it isn’t that simple. I will try to explain what’s stopping me. I realise this will sound crazy but it’s just how my mind works.

  • I will have to let my mum know because she’ll want to know where I’m going and I don’t want her to worry about me. She seems to think I am over the depression but in reality it’s just a lot easier to hide when I don’t have the stresses of uni work or a job but that has to change at some point. If I start working I know I won’t be able to cope alone.
  • Having to explain everything to yet another new GP is very difficult for me to do.
  • I don’t even know if I’m still registered at the doctor’s surgery here. I didn’t tell them I’d registered at the one where I went to university.
  • Making the actual appointment itself. This may seem trivial but using the phone is still something I go to any lengths to avoid. I don’t know if I can do it.
  • Money is very tight and because I’m not on jobseekers allowance (for a multitude of reasons that I have gone into before) I would have to pay for the prescription which I can’t really afford.

I might try and talk to my mum about it but I keep remembering how much she used to get upset about it all before. I don’t think she wants to think of me as someone who needs mental health help. Also considering how much she blames my suicide attempt entirely on the paroxetine I used to take despite me being suicidal for years previously, I don’t think she’s too keen on me taking any sort of antidepressant.