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.

Letter to my therapist

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I can never answer honestly when he asks “How are you?” and I assume this is one of the rare occasions where an honest answer would actually be appreciated so I finally decided to write something down. I am tired and can’t really think of everything I want to say but I think this captures the essence of it. It should be a fun hour tomorrow ūüė¶

I feel very depressed every day. I don’t look forward to anything, it seems like there is always something to dread about the future, I’m always worrying about something that’s coming up. Life seems pointless, I can’t even do the most basic things like be in the same room as people. I’m scared of being around most people but I don’t know why. I haven’t made a proper meal at my house for the last two weeks, I’m too afraid that I will be trapped in the kitchen when there are people there and I don’t know what to say or how to act and I’m scared of them thinking I’m weird and saying things about me. It makes me feel even more worthless.

I can’t stop thinking about how I want to die. There is no other reason I can think of other than guilt about causing my family pain why I want to live. It occupies my mind for hours each day, I feel terribly guilty that I feel this way but I wish that I had died when I tried to kill myself.

Frustration

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The last few days have been overwhelmed by frustration. I went for my CBT appointment on Thursday and my therapist seemed much more impatient than usual. I know it must be difficult to deal with me and I have apologised before for being such an awkward patient (which he of course denied I was), it takes me a long time to vocalise my thoughts or explain things which I find embarrassing. A lot of the time I sit in silence and he rattles off suggestions of how I might have felt until he says the right one and ¬†I nod. It’s a slow process indeed.

This time however, he just seemed to be out of patience. He set me the task of asking a stranger for the time and asked how that would make me feel. I knew it made me feel scared, but I couldn’t put into words exactly why and what I was afraid of. Having had some time to think about it; I guess what I’d be worried about is the person wondering why I’m talking to them. Why did I choose them to ask? They might think I’m coming on to them or trying to distract them while someone pickpockets them or something. Another more likely thing is that they’d just ignore me and walk past, because nobody wants to be stopped and hassled by a weirdo like me. I don’t know, it’s hard to express these thoughts aloud when they are so embarrassing. Even though I realise that none of these things would be harmful, I’d still be scared to do it anyway.

Assuming the best case scenario, I manage to do this tiny activity and report back next week, I’d probably be given something larger to do and so forth. But how long would it take building from being a functional retard like I am now to becoming something resembling a normal human being? It will be in the order of years even in the best case. I don’t know if I can handle being such a loathsome wreck of a person for that long. I’ve already wasted almost a quarter of a century, some of the times in a persons life when major personal development happens and, by and large people find to be an enjoyable time.

I don’t really know how to end this post. I think I’ve gone past a point of no return regarding suicide. Once you get it into your head that it is not only a viable escape from the pain, but the best and most immediate one, then it’s hard to take your mind off it and stop your thinking from going there automatically. I don’t know if it’s possible to stop doing that. They’ve tried using guilt on me, but there will be a point (in fact there already was a point) when the pain is too much for that to hold me back. What can I do? Become a permanent inpatient and doom myself to a life of being constantly sedated and under lock and key until I die alone? What a great life to look forward to.

Losing Control

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The past few weeks have been pretty unbearable, I haven’t been able to summon the energy even to complain on this blog. I’ve been feeling completely trapped and hopeless, several times a day I’ve been on the edge of breaking down into tears for reasons that I can’t easily explain.

One thing that’s been causing me considerable anxiety and fear is the group project I’m going to have to do at university which involves me working with randomly chosen people on a project that will last most of the year. The lecturers are making this out to be the most important thing ever, and with each dire warning they give about the importance of communication etc I only become more and more hopeless of being able to cope.

I’m terrified that one day I will break down in class and not be able to continue. I already feel so awful that I cannot face anyone, but even at my house I can’t seem to escape being disturbed by my housemates. I’ve tried explaining to one of them about my anxiety and how I get so stressed out but understandably, she obviously doesn’t realise the extent of my idiocy and how even the slightest thing puts me on edge for hours.

I’ve lost so much weight that my family have noticed and my clothes no longer fit properly, I only managed a proper dinner once last week, the other days I was unable to face the shared kitchen. I can’t stand the people who come round to our house. My housemates boyfriend, D, is now at the university and spends a lot of time at our place. He’s the exact opposite kind of person to me; confident, loud, outgoing, self assured and not afraid of offending people. The other night all of his Halls flatmates came round and woke me up after they’d been out drinking. I was so glad to be in bed away from their hideous shouting and insulting. It was a stark reminder of how much of a misfit I am and how I could never ever be accepted by people and nor do I want to spend time with people like that again. I’ve had enough of that in the past, putting up with being a metaphorical punching bag for their constant insults.

I don’t think I can cope with things, I feel like dropping off the face of the planet. There’s literally no hope for a person like me who cannot handle the easiest of lives.

I spoke to my tutor about the problems I’ve been having and he told me that it would be possible to suspend my studies for a year, but I don’t know whether I’d be able to go back after all that time off, I’m not sure I could manage it. Even more pressing is the financial situation, I only have 2 years (including this year) student support left so I’d have to pay the full amount of fees myself for the 3rd year and I’ve already signed a contract for the rent of this house which I wouldn’t be able to do if I wasn’t receiving my student loan.

There’s nothing I can do, I’ve got to try and muddle through until I fall apart at last.

I’ve become obsessed with finding places to jump from again ūüė¶ I read a news story about some girls who jumped from a bridge in Scotland and tried to find out ¬†how to get to it. I don’t know if I will end up doing that, I really don’t want to take any chances being “saved” this time.

Trapped

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That’s how I feel. I’ve got nowhere where I can feel at peace. At least last year I could come home and not be treated like a nutcase who has to be monitored and can’t be left alone for a few hours. I had my own little space in halls where I could hide out for weeks at a time without needing to emerge to use the bathroom. I hate my new house. In theory I should like it, the people I found most intimidating in my halls apartment are gone but I feel like I’m a prisoner there. Going out of my darkened, creaky bedroom fills me with dread. I can’t stand to be around these enthusuastic life-lovers, there’s only so much excitement and happiness i can fake, and it isn’t much.

It’s difficult to keep up the pretense of enjoying being back at university; I hate the drinking and forced socialising that everyone else loves so much. I want to scream out “I almost died!” but I can’t. Things seem excessively trivial when you’ve spent the past weeks trying to convince various healthcare professionals that you are, in fact, sane and won’t try to kill yourself again even if that is a lie. I know how to dress it up and make them believe me, it’s no use flat out denying the thoughts never occur to you. “They’re at the back of my mind but I won’t act on them now I know what it’s like”, that’s what you have to sell.

It’s a cliche but I hate my life. There’s nothing I derive pleasure from. I’m never ever happy, I hate lying and saying that i am when it is expected of me. Lying here things seem so utterly hopeless, I can’t see a way out that I so desperately crave. There’s no way I’m trying the pills again, I don’t want to end up in a psych ward surrounded by crazies. There’s nowhere high enough to reliably jump from either here or my other city. Fuck, I wish I had a gun. All I can do to keep from breaking down is to hide, under the bedsheets, in my university cell, wherever people aren’t. I know I can’t do it forever and I hear the clock ticking away. If I make any attempt to escape now, it’d better work because I cannot afford to miss any university, financially or otherwise. I am trapped here, destined to either stay in pain or sucumb to being mental on a full time basis. I don’t think I can deal with either.

The Aftermath

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I adapted some of this from an apology email I wrote to one of the friends last night. It goes for everyone here who I may have upset.

It really wasn’t my intention to cause upset and sadness, though I undoubtably did, but to leave a least a small mark on the earth before I was about to leave forever (so I thought). I had been planning my suicide for months in advance and researched the most effective and pain free ways, gone to some trouble to obtain the drugs I needed and kept them in a bag beside my bed for a few months. I often felt they gave me comfort in some strange way. I knew I had a way out for when things finally became too much to bear, as it seemed they inevitably would. With each passing day I became more and more behind where I, and general society thinks I should be in life. More distant from normality. Drifting ever further from “happiness”, whatever that was. I had not felt true happiness or excitement, unspoiled by my dysfunctional brain for a long, long time.

On that Friday night, I finally had the opportunity to lie undiscovered and undisturbed for the 36 hours necessary for the lethal cocktail to do it’s job (I was unable to obtain an old ulcer medication which raises the level of the lethal drug in blood plasma and results in a quicker method of action).

I don’t know what triggered it, I have anterograde amnesia for¬†a while¬†after, the first week is just a blank in my mind and it gradually comes back to me in the days after I was discharged from hospital. Anyway, I can’t remember a particular event or person setting me off, in fact I’d just received some good news that I wouldn’t have to pay tuition fees for next year or 2010/11 either. Whatever reason it was, it compelled me to go and fetch my package of pills and I popped open the tic tac box I had earlier filled with 50 amitriptyline tablets and I began swallowing them 4 and 5 at a time. I didn’t think about death, any possibility of an afterlife has long since been extinguished from me. I didn’t even stop to think what I was losing, I just wanted an escape.

I don’t do many selfish things in my life, I go out my way to bend over backwards and accommodate others at the expense of my own happiness, social status, whatever. I’m self sacrificing because I have no other reason to offer people to like me. I had grown tired of this though. Even though I believe in a persons total sovereignty over their own life more than anything else, I still felt an undercurrent of guilt at the hurt I knew I’d cause my family, and possibly the people whom, with trepidation I call friends. At times I’d admonish myself for having such delusions of grandeur; who am *I* to think that anyone’d even notice I’d gone let alone mourn my passing?

On that night, my selfish side, or maybe my apathetic side won through. I shovelled pill after pill down my throat, organ donor card clutched in one hand and suicide note gripped beside it, hoping to offer my family some kind of explanation and assuage their sadness. I suddenly felt like I at least owed an explanation for my absence to the only people I called friends (rightly or wrongly) and in my last minutes before I threw down a blister pack of valium to knock me out, I wrote from the heart to you all. I had planned individual notes but reading them, they seemed inadequate. Maybe with one last action, I could represent a united me, a combined message from the man whose thoughts and actions were often so disparate.

My memory fades after that. I remember waking up, arms full of IV lines, blood being taken from every available surface. I wasn’t lucid enough to think about the fact that I’d failed, let alone how I’d been discovered.

I’m still not sure who it was that did the detective work but someone had the police sent to my house and they obviously found me sprawled about, note in hand and still quantities of illegal sedatives strewn around.

My family seem to have forgiven me, though I haven’t really had the chance to be fully emotionally open about it, I don’t know if I ever can. My mum just cannot see how things are from my point of view. Even after she saw the note, my sister read it first and she asked her “What was the reason he did it?” as if my deep and complex mental state could have become so bad because of just one problem that could be conveyed in a single sentence. It’s not like I can just say “I have terminal cancer”, a (linguistically) simple explanation that would probably at least give even the most ardent anti-right-to-die fanatic food for thought.

I don’t think there has been any long term damage done, but I am finished with antidepressants. They have done far more harm than good for me, and I’d seriously recommend looking into others experiences and the facts behind the medical trials before embarking down that road in a serious way.

I’m still here, I don’t know what to do know. I feel that I’ve had one option taken away from me, if I plan to kill myself again then it’s going to have to be a much more closely guarded secret and I might not be able to get the message out about it. Fundamentally my life has not changed much. I am considered more of a risk by the medical people, it’s been hard to get them¬† off my back. I’ve blown my shot at ever getting effective drugs prescribed for any condition in the future.

There is still a profound emptiness inside me, I realise it every time I spend time with or around other “normal” people. Sure they have their own problems, but they are at least functional on the level of practically every other human being. They can spend an entire day with someone without breaking down thinking about how unqualified they are to accomplish such a task, overcome by self doubts and realisations of their own uselessness as a human being which I would feel. I know I can never be one of them, forever destined to be an outsider looking in, and what I see makes me ever more depressed.