Waiting

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I’m still waiting to find out what will happen with my mum. There has been a lot of back and forth with the hospital but she is seeing the consultant tomorrow (31st) and hopefully we will know more after that. In the past week I managed to fall out with my sister because of everything that’s been going on. My mum was trying to get through to the doctors on the phone but was finding it hard to contact anyone who could tell her anything and even though she said that she wanted to do it herself, my sister said that because I hadn’t been phoning them too that I didn’t care and if she dies it will be because I didn’t do enough. I ended up shouting and swearing at her because even though I know I’m a worthless piece of shit, the one thing you cannot say about me is that I don’t care about my family when they are literally the only reason I haven’t already killed myself.

I know that anyone who reads this will probably think the same thing, that the stress of everything is what made her say that but I don’t think that is the whole reason. For a few months or more now I’ve felt like my sister has started resenting me and doesn’t even really like me any more. It’s so sad to face up to this, I started crying uncontrollably again after this all happened and she hasn’t spoken to me since. I know she has been saying some things about me to my mum (before this cancer stuff) but I can’t get a straight answer out of her about what it is. She was basically my only friend and I feel like I am having everything taken away from me, soon I will have nobody who cares about me left.

If there is bad news tomorrow I’m afraid I will not be able to take it. There’s only so much more shit life can throw at me. I’ve had years and years of depression, loneliness and hopelessness but I always had my family and now they could be ripped away from me too. It sounds selfish to say this but I don’t want to be left alone. I can’t face this pointless existence by myself and I fear that soon I will actually have nothing to live for.

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Losing everything

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I am guilty of taking my family for granted. Every time I feel so depressed and suicidal, I never fully considered that I am lucky that for the most part I have the love and support of my parents and sister, and I didn’t truly appreciate them.

For the last couple of weeks my mum has been feeling very ill and has been unable to eat much. I don’t want to go into details because it’s not my place to talk about it but today she had to go into hospital for a scan and we got the worst news, that it’s likely she has cancer.

It’s impossible to know how to handle these situations, as soon as she got back I knew it was bad news and I just couldn’t help but cry uncontrollably. I felt so utterly terrible that throughout all the times I have wanted to die so badly that it was a betrayal of how much she didn’t want anything to happen to me. I can’t imagine life without her, it feels so selfish to even say it but my mum is the person who never ever lost faith in me and always wanted me to have a good life even when so many times I just wished it was over. I don’t know how successful any treatment could be, at the moment I cannot help but fear for the worst and I can’t mentally not prepare myself for that.

It has been such a wretched two weeks even before this. I meant to write last week about how I was attacked and threatened with assault, for no reason, on the bus home but didn’t even get around to it before more terrible things happened. I don’t know why I deserve all this, I can’t help but think I must be an awful person but I don’t want anyone else to suffer because of it.

All my life since age 11 I have been hated and singled out for abuse and I don’t know how much more of it I can take. I keep thinking back to nights before school when I would be awake, filled with anxiety and terror and my mum would always try to calm me down and help me. I think she felt helpless the older I got because there isn’t much a parent can do, especially when I never told them what was really going on.

I remember vividly how after my suicide attempt when I returned to university, whenever I came home my mum would almost be in tears as I left to go back because she was afraid I would try to kill myself again when I was away. I feel so terrible for everything I put her and my dad through, I wish I never felt so hopeless and bereft of the will to live but there is no other way I can look at life.

I hope beyond anything else I ever hoped for that she will be ok somehow, that maybe it can be treated. I can’t stand to think of her suffering and what makes it even worse is that I know that she fears for what will happen to me, knowing my fragile mental state. I fear it too.

Edited: sorry for being so needy

Five years on

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warning: contains frank discussion of suicide

It is five years ago since I tried to kill myself. In some ways a lot has changed in that time. I just read back on some of my posts from around that time, something which is difficult because I honestly hate myself more after reading what I was thinking around that time.

I can’t remember exactly what was going through my head in the days leading up to it. The pills must have really done a number on me because there is a total black hole in my memory (which is otherwise very good) from that point up to a couple of weeks later. The only record I have is what I posted on this site. One thing that surprises me is how many people commented and offered their support. God knows why, I really don’t think I deserved it. It looks like I had some kind of upswing right before crashing and it scares me to think about how I don’t even remember what caused me to actually start taking the pills. I remember quite clearly the fact that I had researched what I intended to do and had the stuff stockpiled for months in advance. There wasn’t any major event that tipped me over the edge.

The thing I have often thought about since is how I feel about the fact that I wasn’t successful. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to die and had done for quite a long time. Do I wish that I had died? To be completely honest, despite the fact that I have had some good times since then and even knowing that I did finally manage to graduate, I still can’t deny that I do. I will concede that at the time there may have been some part of my subconscious that wanted me to be discovered and that’s why I slipped up, but in retrospect I just wish that I had been more thorough.

My situation is no better, in fact in a lot of ways it is objectively worse. I still live in the same place and have no friends or life to speak of. I am older, more in debt and I have nothing to look forward to. If you showed me back then how my life had turned out then I would have been more sure than ever that there was no point to carrying on except for other people’s benefit. Upsetting my family was the only thing holding me back for a long time and I don’t know how much pain I should have to silently endure to keep them happy.

I don’t feel as actively awful as I did back then. The acute feelings of despair are less frequent and I mostly feel a dull all-consuming ache rather than a desperate desire to be dead. I can tread water for a while longer.

There is no future for me though. Each passing day is another wasted one. I have missed the boat on ever having anything like a successful life, wasted whatever potential I may have had. People like me just aren’t compatible with what the world wants.

I don’t want to worry anyone who may be reading this. Please believe me (and I am always honest on here, even if it does make me seem terrible) that I am not in any danger right now. I can’t really describe what I am feeling right now. Disappointment, maybe. Melancholy.

I don’t have anyone to talk to. Nobody wants to put up with someone as permanently miserable as me and I cannot convincingly act as though my existence is constantly permeated sadness for very long. I may finally be getting closer to going back to my doctor. They have a new appointment system where you have to speak to them on the phone first which is awful for me, but I am tired of being stuck just spinning my wheels. It’s sad really but I have slid backwards so much. I remember sitting here in this exact spot at the end of 2007, contemplating the fact that I was going to be alone at new year and making my first forays into contacting some other people with social anxiety. Since then I made a few online friends and even met some of them but that has all slipped away from me and besides a couple of people I occasionally talk to on twitter, none of whom know anything about my problems, I am back where I started.

For some reason this is the hardest thing for me to write about, but I want to be able to see some way out of all this. I don’t know how I can ever be able to be free from these feelings or if it’s even possible. By admitting this to myself I am opening myself up for more disappointment, hope is more dangerous than giving in to despair. Maybe there is some way for me to survive. It’s painful to think about, but I hope that there is.

No Progress

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(warning: suicide discussion below so don’t read if that bothers you)

I didn’t realise I had left it so long to update, time seems to pass very quickly when you don’t have a lot happening in your life. Throughout 2013 I don’t think there was a single time when I met up or spoke to anyone who could remotely be considered a friend. The last year I have slid backwards so much, it’s so disappointing compared to how relatively well I was doing in say, my last year of uni. I am practically back to 2007 levels of isolation but in a way it is a lot worse because at least back then, I know with hindsight that I had somewhere to go. I was younger and I had that opportunity of going to university as a second chance at life. I was yet to meet some of the people who, despite only making the very faintest of a connection with, at least didn’t mind spending time with me and didn’t go out of their way to make me feel worthless. Unfortunately the circumstances that led to that, being at university or talking to them online, have now evaporated and I’m back here on my own again. It is impossible, for example, that any of the people who I lived with at while I was away at uni would ever have got to know me under any other circumstances than us being randomly assigned to share a flat. The people I knew online have either moved on entirely and no longer need to talk to a disastrous loser as me or I have neglected to talk to them for so long they have forgotten about me. I don’t have anything to say anyway. My life is empty. I don’t have anywhere to go or anything of note to contribute to anything.

It is strange to look back and think about how strongly I felt my life was over and wanted to die so much during the time when I tried to kill myself. Strange because everything was immeasurably better back then. It took another 3 years, until I was in my final year of university to realise how much I actually benefitted from being there and appreciate all that I had built up over those few years from when I felt at my lowest point (before I started blogging) and now it’s all gone. There’s no way I was worse off in 2009 than I am now. I wasn’t hurting for money or unemployed, I had people who would spend time with me. I had friends online.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about how I tried to die and I have very conflicted feelings about it all. I feel bad for all the trouble I caused other people but I don’t think I was unjustified in what I did. Some people might expect me to be thankful that I was unsuccessful and that I ought to be glad to be alive but I am not. Do I wish that I had died? I would have missed out on some good things but none of them really make up for the pain and disappointment that I feel having to be me. If I could choose to change things, I wish I hadn’t been found and everyone could just put me to rest and get on with their lives.

I don’t feel fully justified in using the word ‘pain’ to describe how I feel but I don’t know how else to word it. I feel more of a sense of crushing inevitability and a dull ache than serious pain. I hate being the awful, worthless person that I have become. There are few bigger examples of wasted opportunity than me.

It was my birthday in January and it was one I have not been looking forward too. I don’t think I will be able to stand reaching a milestone age next year and still being the same unaccomplished loser. I have a suspicion this year may be my last. Back in 2009 I could have been convinced that it wasn’t too late, that I could have turned things around because I had time on my side. Looking back, I can admit that I was wrong about some things because it wasn’t too late at 24 to do anything. I’m rapidly approaching passing the point where if I was to die it would be considered a tragedy and reaching the stage where people would wonder what took me so long.

Two Thousand and Twelve

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I remember a time when it seemed like I was aching to write a blog post every day and I even had some queued up at one time, although they were usually to express my depression and general sadness about everything. Things seemed so out of my control back then, I was consumed by suicidal ideation and spent a truly frightening amount of time thinking about death and ways to kill myself. In the back of my mind I still think about it and if I’m brutally honest I still think that’s how I will end up going but for now it’s not my immediate concern.

I had such difficulty concentrating on university work as you can probably imagine given that I wasn’t even sure that I would live until the end of my course (and ended up doing my hardest to try and make sure I didn’t). It’s amazing that I managed to struggle through and make it this far. As I think I said in earlier entries, I’m resitting the final year but once again I’ve come up against a lot of problems that social anxiety exacerbates. Just after new year I had to do a mock job interview with two staff members. In a way I was at an advantage because I’ve had several real job interviews before and some actual work experience to talk about. I thought about myself when I was the same age as my classmates and how horribly inexperienced I was, this would have been a terrifying prospect but thankfully it didn’t cause me too much bother this time despite having to wait out in the hallway for one and half hours before hand.

It’s strange to think about this and look at the situation from the perspective of my ‘normal’ classmates. This was a nerve wracking situation for most people (as interviews normally are) especially since some of them had not experienced one before. I was nervous myself but not even close to how nervous I was about something which seems positively relaxing to others, a workshop where we had to work in groups.

It has been a while since I tried to break down the thought processes behind some of the situations I find anxiety provoking for anyone reading who perhaps doesn’t know what I’m talking about so here goes. For my software engineering class the lecturer said we had to get into groups of 5 or so to work together coding a piece of software. We’d be using a technique called pair programming (or group programming as the case may be). This involved one person acting as the ‘driver’ and writing the code while the other(s) are ‘observers’ and watch, trying to catch any errors. The reasoning being that it eliminates bugs and mistakes. You are supposed to change roles regularly so everyone gets a turn at doing each. Now this might sound harmless enough but here’s how my mind deals with it:

  • I only know 2 people in the class, one of them is not there when the lecturer asked us to get into groups and the other already has a group. I’m assigned to a group along with some people who hadn’t turned up (it was the last lecture before Christmas). I start to worry that because I don’t know who these people are I won’t know how to find them when I go into the workshop after Christmas and where to sit. I know this sounds crazy but I hate not knowing where to be, physically.
  • Obviously there is the usual stuff about being awkward around strangers and worrying constantly that they think I’m weird etc.
  • I can’t stand having people watch me write/type. My grades have suffered in workshops before because I’m afraid to ask for help because I hate people looking over my shoulder while I’m working.
  • I don’t want to bring the other people’s grades down if I am not good enough at the project. Conversely,
  • I don’t want to be the only one who knows what to do because I don’t have the mental attributes to take on any kind of leadership role in groups.

After burying my head in the sand about it for a couple of weeks I decided to try and find some of the people in my group on facebook and try to remember what they look like (I find this difficult for some reason) and luckily when I went back after the holiday I found out who a couple of them were because they were waiting for their interview at the same time as me.

OK that was a long and pointless rambling story but this is the kind of thing that I get caught up with regularly during university. The other problem I’m having is that I haven’t done enough work on my final project and thus haven’t got anything to show my supervisor and have avoided arranging a meeting with him for weeks even though I’m supposed to see him once a week really. This has turned into a vicious circle because the longer I put it off, the more work I should have done to show him so it just keeps escalating.

I keep saying to myself that I should email him and say I’ve been struggling with the workload of the other modules (which is true) but I am afraid that my excuses are starting to wear a bit thin with them. After all I have already had the very rare privilege of being allowed to retake the final year when in almost any other case I would have failed, and even that was thanks to me calling in every possible favour from doctors and the university disability/mental health people. I don’t honestly feel I deserved the second chance.

There is a disconnect, on one level I know that I am on thin ice, there are no more second chances but in another sense I can’t face up to things and talk to anyone who matters about it, hence another long winded blog.

I’m not in such a bad situation as last year, I haven’t had to request any extensions and I’ve passed the work that I’ve submitted so far. A lot of this years grades depend on exams and I’ve got a much better attendance this year (hardly a feat compared to my sporadic appearances last year) and I’ve taken decent notes. I can cope with exams, another strange situation where I seem to be calmer than other people. I’m lucky that I don’t find exams to be too stressful.

I really hope I can turn this around and pass my degree. It started off so positively but the step up in difficulty both academically and on my mentality has been tremendous. If I can pass it will probably the biggest thing I have achieved, in my opinion. Sadly even this thought isn’t enough to spurr me on to believe in myself and get things sorted.

It’s incredibly difficult to describe the kind of ennui to people who have never experienced it. I’m veering off on a tangent here but bear with me. Sometimes you see a sportsperson who has the talent to do well but you can tell they just don’t want it badly enough to be a real success. I don’t think even the most driven and talented people are immune to this. The horrible news about Gary Speed and the brutally honest article by Dean Windass really resonated with me. I don’t really know what to make of it all, on a one level I hope that people become more aware of mental health issues and how they can affect even people who you would think have no reason to feel that way but on another more selfish level I can’t help but feel that I will probably end up the same myself.

(footnote: I wish I could bang out a thousand words this quickly for assignments…)  

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Just to break up the wall of text a bit…

I haven’t looked back because there’s some very depressing stuff there but I seem to remember I started this blog before I began my degree (I imported the first set of posts from a social anxiety website where I used to write a blog before it closed) but back then, around late 2007 early 2008 I was at a very low point (this reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to write about ‘scales of depression’ but I’ll save that for another entry to stop this post becoming novella length), I was coming up to the point where I’d been unemployed for a year and my psyche was still scarred from how traumatic I found working at my first job. I was completely without direction and because my mental problems were undiagnosed, my parents (or more specifically my mother) were not not as sympathetic to my situation as they might be now. It seemed like there was nowhere for me to go in life. I would spend ages, weeks, without leaving the house. I had no real job prospects what with my aversion to telephone calls (probably still my number one anxiety thing also apologies for the number of parentheses) limiting the number of IT related jobs that didn’t require a degree severely. I have no other real skills and all my life I’d been working towards a job in computing but reality had kicked my teeth in about that.

If you look back through the archive you can probably find where I wrote about finally getting the courage to go back to university after my first terrible experience and moving away from home which up to that point had been unthinkable. This was a big step but to look at it from another angle, all I have really done is delay the inevitable. It’s creeping up on me again, the time when I will have to find a full time job and I honestly don’t know if I can face the 9-5 grind every day being constantly assaulted by anxious and depressive feelings and poisonous people.

 

*warning: suicide discussion*

You might wonder why I think it’s so impossible if I managed it for a while before even when I didn’t have any mental health support, I’ll try and explain. I don’t know if there is a proper psychological term for this phenomenon but perhaps some of you reading this might know what I’m talking about.

The first major instance I can recall properly is from school. When I was in school I never skipped any classes or avoided school completely even though they were some of the toughest times and I would literally be in tears many nights dreading the next day of torment. You may wonder why, but I was never one to break the rules back then. Although I knew you could do that and probably get away with it, I never really thought about doing it. This changed when I started sixth form (for non-UK readers this is from age 16-18 when you do classes to prepare you for university. It is not mandatory) and I began to skip many of the most stressful classes because there weren’t many repercussions for doing so. This sort of unlocked the floodgates. I went from being the person who always followed the rules to getting in trouble for bad attendence and I think this marked the start of my extreme avoidant tendancies.

The same thing happened throughout college, my first attempt at university and so on. When I think about my first job now, I wonder how I managed to keep going back every day. Of course I was scared of what my parents would say if I wanted to quit, more of their disappointment than any anger, but back then it was unthinkable to me. Now however, I don’t think I could hack it at all. This is where my problem arises because just like how I discovered I could cross the line into skipping classes, I have discovered suicidal thinking and the ultimate escape from the pain. I want to make it clear that I’m not thinking about doing it now but since I crossed that line it is no longer an unthinkable course of action.

If I was stuck in the situation where I had to take a job like that where every day I hated each second being there and despised the way people made me feel, struggled to fight back the panic attacks every day before going, I don’t think I could promise anyone in good faith that I wouldn’t try to kill myself. The problems arises in that I think a lot of jobs would make me feel this way. I can’t rely on my parents forever, I’m already too old to be doing that and when I’m in dark moods I wonder what reason there would be to hang around once they are gone. They are not immortal. I don’t think I am cut out to be an adult in this world.

I should probably leave it here. Thank you if you read all the way through, I’m going to try and do more regular but shorter updates instead of dumping an essay here every couple of months.

A Quarter of a Century of Disappointment

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This Sunday will be my birthday, I’ll be 25. I think that even though I had low expectations, if you showed my younger self what I’d be like at age 25 it would come as a huge disappointment.

I seem to have missed out that part in life where you are supposed to “grow up”. I know people will inevitably tell me that 25 isn’t old etc etc but by this age you should have at least moved on from a simple chilidish emotional state of being. I still have the exact same feelings now as I did when I was 5 years old, the terror I felt when going to school and being forced to be around other children, the isolation and desperate longing to get away from it all. In many ways I haven’t moved on at all since then.

Apparently most people go through some kind of the stereotypical rebellion as teenagers, wanting independence and all that. I never felt that way; most likely because I’ve never had any friends with who I wanted to stay out late or go into town with or whatever. I never went to any parties or even hung out with people outside of school. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than having to be with the people who made my life such hell for 7 hours a day any longer than was strictly necessary.

It is this lack of any social development that has led me to be in the sorry state I am now. Afraid to leave my room unless I am sure there is no-one outside my door and I have to pretend to be happy, or at least not utterly miserable, a challenge which becomes greater every day. No matter how good their intentions, there are only a few people who I actually like to see and spend time with and this is only because they are either related to me and so have always known me or I have met because they suffer from similar problems.

Just lately I feel as though I have been moving backwards. I live with 2 other people at my uni house and I haven’t said more than 2 sentences to them over the past month that I have been in that house. I consciously avoid them more than ever, more than I did last year when we were even less familiar with each other. The thing that bothers me most is how physically scared I feel whenever I hear one of their boyfriends in the house. I don’t know whether this stems from some sort of jealousy, he is almost the exact opposite of me in every way from what I can tell, confident and outspoken, popular and would almost certainly find my behaviour to be completely alien. I am terrified when I hear his voice though, or him thudding up the stairs. I have confined myself to my room late into the night when I was desperate to go to the bathroom and had to be up early the following day because I was too afraid to cross the living room where they were watching TV.

I don’t know how a person as crippled by such bizarre issues will ever be able to function in the real world. One day I won’t have my mums house to retreat to every weekend. I am already living beyond my means by buying sandwiches and eating out because I am afraid to spend 10 minutes in the kitchen cooking in case I am trapped into an awkward social situation.

A perfect storm of circumstances seems to be forming. The dark winter months, a stark reminder of  how immature I am, the increasingly difficult work at university are all conspiring to make me feel overwhelmed and unable to cope any more. I missed my CBT appointment while I was off over Christmas and he left a voicemail on my mobile which I haven’t yet dared to check and won’t dare to call back anyway. I don’t know what else I can do, nobody can help. I can’t expect to be bailed out all the time and I just cannot cope on my own, I am simply not good enough.

I feel sorry for my parents. Live or die, they are still stuck with a pathetic loser of a son. I can’t help but feel that a tragic loss for them would be better than a continuing disappointment for the rest of time.

Retrospective

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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.