Acedia

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noun \ə-ˈsē-dē-ə\

Spiritual torpor and apathy; ennui.

Though I’ve not been so badly affected by the serious symptoms of depression recently, the general lack of enthusiasm for pretty much anything is still here and has been for some time. For almost my entire life I have been interested in and loved using computers. If I could have carried on the vast enthusiasm and dedication I had towards the subject into my current studies I have no doubt I’d be in a better position, grade wise.

I suppose it happens to many people, that they lose the passion for the subject they are studying but it is quite a dramatic fall for me. It’s not that I hate computers but I just don’t find myself wanting to learn more programming languages, keep up with new technological developments or any of the other things that I used to avidly do. I still spend 90% of my waking hours at one, but it’s not for the pure technical exercises that I used to do. Even when I was in sixth form (the 2 years prior to beginning university) the people I associated with (I no longer think of them as friends) and I used to always be looking for ways to make our IT projects more complicated and we’d get frustrated with how much more we knew about the subject than any of the teachers. I owned hundreds of magazines, read countless websites and posted on tech forums.

Depression has the effect of making you lose interest in things that you used to enjoy, and I can safely say that is the case with me. Even earlier in this post I almost recoiled at typing the word “love” because it seems such a foreign emotion to me now. There isn’t really anything in the world that I can say I thoroughly enjoy or love. I love my family of course but when it comes to passion for any sort of hobby or interest I can’t think of anything for which I’d use such a strong word to describe my feelings toward.

In the very rare occasions when I’ve been asked what I have been doing, over the weekend for example, I honestly don’t know what to say because to anyone who observed me I really wouldn’t appear to have done anything. I know it’s bad but I sometimes make things up just so I don’t appear to be such a complete weirdo.

I keep thinking about those things the therapist gives you where you write in what you did for certain hours of the day etc. Mine would be completely full of “sat around at the computer, not working.” for the vast majority of the time when I’m not at lectures. The amount of time I am isolated away from any form of human contact is beginning to worry me. If I didn’t go home at weekends then I would literally spend months at a time saying little more than one word replies to people. It can’t be good for you, but there’s very little I can do about it.

One thing I do like is listening to music but again it is a solitary activity for me. I can’t stand being asked what kind of music I like, I’ve always hated that long before I knew what social anxiety was, I’ve always found that a bugging question. I don’t know how to respond, are they asking for certain bands/artists? The main thing I worry about is that if I try to describe a genre or name some band that they think is embarrassing then I’ll feel like an idiot because I’m no good at defending myself or my opinions (in person at least).

Anyway that paragraph was meant to lead to a point… A band I like is playing in my home town in a couple of weeks and I really wanted to see them because it’s likely they won’t play there again and it’s quite a small venue and I don’t have to travel far. Of course the problem is that I don’t have anyone to go with. I have been to a gig on my own, roughly this time last year actually, and it was ok but I did feel strange being the only person obviously by themselves. I bought a ticket anyway but I am still in two minds about whether to go or not. Because of the timing, I’d have to let my mum know since I’d be coming back to the house afterwards but I know she’d want to know who I was going with and would probably think I was weird for going on my own if I told her. I’m hoping she’ll assume that I’m going with one of the couple of people I knew from an SA website that I occasionally see in town.

Oh well, I’ll let you know what I do.

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Quick Post

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I will be writing a proper update soon, in the mean time take this rare and fantastic opportunity to ask me questions about anything you like http://bit.ly/bEhrEO

A Prisoner

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I didn’t think I’d find myself longing for the halls of residence I stayed in at university last year but I am. It always seems to happen to me actually, I hate something at the time but then in the future I end up reminiscing fondly about it. It might be a case of rose tinted glasses, or maybe, if I can paraphrase “Office Space”, every day is worse than the last so every day you see me is the worst day of my life.

My current room doesn’t have an en-suite bathroom (though to call my halls bathroom a “room” is rather a stretch) and it leads directly to the living room so I can always hear when there are people here. I hate coming out of my room when anyone is here, my housemate E, I can just about manage talking to but it never progresses beyond the tiniest of small talk, going over the same old things again and again. I think she is always just shocked to see me, it is frightening how I can live in the same house as two people but remain largely invisible to them.

The main problem I have at the moment (and something else would instantly replace it in my mind as has always happened since I was at primary school, I can never be without a big worry in my life) is that my other housemate, J’s boyfriend has started at the university this year. I am nothing like him, he’s one of the “lads” and I can tell he doesn’t like me at all and I’ll risk being admonished for being judgemental and “mind reading” if you want to use the mental health jargon and say he probably thinks I’m the biggest freak ever and makes fun of me behind my back, to which J probably half heartedly tells him to stop but without any real conviction. He’s the only person who made any negative comment about me not drinking and the way he insults other people (not that he’s a nasty person, pretty much all “lads” are like it) doesn’t give me much hope that such an easy target as myself would be spared. I don’t want to be around when he is there. I can’t talk to him, I am lost for words. I’ll admit I am very intimidated by him, and by J actually. I feel like a lower-class moron compared to them.

I’m fed up of feeling like a prisoner here. I have lost count of the meals I have missed because they and their friends have been round here, their loud conversations and laughter terrify me behind my door and I stay fixed by fear inside my room waiting until it’s reasonably late enough to assume they won’t knock on my door and I can hide in bed until the morning. I count down the days to the weekend; “only 2 more nights here” I’ll think to myself. It’s not an enjoyable existence, my health has already suffered. OK I could stand to lose weight but I’ve been finding my clothes too large because of how little I eat while I’m here. It goes without saying how messed up my mental health is becoming.

I don’t know what to do, time is running out if I want to suspend my studies for a year but I don’t think I’d be able to afford that and I don’t know if I’d have the mental strength to go back after a year away from everything.

CBT Session 1

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I managed to drag myself out of bed and into town, catch the bus and get off just about in the right place. I’m not feeling good at all, my emotions are all over the place and I keep wanting to cry, I think about the long road ahead and hope that it’s not too late to recover, enough to be happy anyway.

The appointment was yet another hour where I had to tell my tales of woe all over again, I swear no-one in the mental health services communicates with each other at all. I managed to get through a lot of it though, it’s becoming easier with practice I guess. I told her about my bullying by so called friends and year+ long depressive episode that I am currently in and how it’s been as bad as I’ve ever known. We talked about my suicidal thoughts and plans and agreed that has to be worked on before anything else. I was honest about everything, having a plan, going to the place etc. She was understandably concerned and I even admitted that in an emergency I would probably not be able to ring the crisis team (I hate phone calls and I couldn’t just ring up and say “Hello I want to die”) but we talked about other ways I could handle it. I told her about when I went to A&E at Nottingham and she said that if I get into a situation where I might harm myself, I could go to the hospital here and maybe I should do the journey so I know how to get there in case the need arises. She also took the Lincoln crisis team phone number and is going to ring them and explain what happened today, and said that if I really need to ask them to visit I should ring them, say I have been visited before, tell them my name and that I’m having suicidal thoughts and am scared.

It might sound stupid but knowing what to say has made me think that I can do it if I get into that situation again. I don’t know what my issue with phones is, but if I don’t know exactly what to say I get into a panic very easily, I think it’s because you can’t really pause or rely on people reading your expression or whatever.

I have another appointment for next Monday, and I should be able to see them on Mondays in the future which is good news because I won’t miss any more lectures.

Things are very stressful at the moment, I don’t want to feel like I did on Saturday and Sunday, it terrifies me thinking about it now and what the consequences could have been (they were bad enough as it is). I don’t know if the medication change is messing me up even more, venlafaxine is notoriously hard to come off, but I didn’t feel fully in control and my memory is hazy. I didn’t eat for 2 days and didn’t even notice. I wish I had someone I could talk to who could stay with me and keep me company/sane. I feel lonelier than ever, can’t possibly let my mum know because she just gets upset and makes me feel guilty. I can’t really tell my flatmates what’s going on or they will think (perhaps justifiably) that I am nuts. I’m going to try and rest for a bit now, spent half the night unable to sleep and checking my email every 20 minutes.

Also: updated my old “About” page.

Changing Psychiatrists and Trying to Make an Effort

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This might be a brief one because I’ve been working really hard on my uni assignment, it’s not that good but I had to look up and cite a ton of references since I had no idea about the subject beforehand. Ah well, at least I got the extension and didn’t have to muddle through it while I was in actively suicidal mood.

I went to see the psych consultant on Monday but had a shock when I entered his office because the SHO (junior psychiatrist I think) weirdo who I had such a bad session with last time was also sitting in there and I had to explain why I thought I couldn’t express myself properly to him :S That didn’t turn out too badly though, they seemed to understand that seeing someone new is stressful and so on. I managed to discuss the fact that I’d been feeling suicidal and about my constant obsession with throwing myself from high places, I didn’t tell him about my pill stash though. We talked about the difficulty of me being in 2 different cities throughout the week and came to a joint decision that it would be best to transfer me to the mental health team in Lincoln, where I go to university. I already see the GP there who is one of the friendliest and most helpful doctors I’ve come across so I’m pretty pleased about that.

I got a call from them this morning and I went in to talk things over with my GP and she’s putting the referral through for all the various things, CBT and psychiatrist etc. I also asked about a care co-ordinator since nobody had ever explained that to me before and she said that I would probably get one once I get into the place she’s referred me to. In the mean time they’ve passed my details on to the crisis team here who are coming to see me tomorrow morning. I’d much rather see them here where my mum won’t be hovering around worrying that her son has gone nuts, or whatever goes through her mind that stopped me from wanting to involve the team at my home town.

I felt a weight off my shoulders after talking things through and I really think that it would benefit me to have someone impartial who I can discuss things with when I get the suicidal feelings again. It’s hard to suffer in silence and try not to let anyone know what’s going on inside your mind when things feel like they are falling apart.

Overall I was quite happy knowing that things are moving forward and I managed t have a good 30 minute talk with my GP today who saw me before clinic hours started (possibly triggered by the fax my psych sent over..) but she made me feel a lot better.

Over the past two days I’ve been spending more time in the kitchen with people as well, on Tuesday I helped one of the guys from across the hall set a game up on his laptop and we chatted about football for a while, I didn’t feel like he was looking down on me or thinking bad things which was a big relief. Sometimes I build up such a big idea of how important and superior everyone else is to me and it can be unrealistic, I know that now. I also sat with the guy who lives with us (who I’d barely spoken to before) and we talked for a while and worked on our coursework, it was nice to spend some time with a couple of people and not feel like a spare part. We even planned to go and watch the local football team play one night, hopefully that will actually happen.

I decided to try and carry on the trend this evening and I made dinner and sat with the girls and managed to contribute a bit to the conversation, which is a fairly big achievement for me. Eating in front of people is one of my fears that I don’t talk about on here much (been facing much larger problems as of late…) but I managed ok and didn’t spill anything down myself. 

Over the past couple of days I think I have done some good work in repairing the damage done by constantly hiding away from my flatmates. I really don’t want them to think I dislike them because it’s not true, but I can see how it might come across as that. I’m going to try my best to keep up with the effort (although it sounds like everyday things or even a boring time to most people, it takes a conscious effort for me to be like this) and hopefully things will continue to improve. Obviously I’m not expecting miracles but if I can make small steps like this every now and then, I might get further than I think by the end of the year.

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.

Alone

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I’m sorry for all the attention seeking, I don’t have any other way of communicating with people though. I wish I had someone I could talk to about things, someone I felt comfortable with. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say though, nobody wants to hear about my pathetic life and suicidal intentions. I suppose I must still want someone to talk me out of it since I’m still around, but of course no-one can. There’s no way out of the mess I’ve made for myself, nobody has any answers or anything practical to tell me. My mum gets upset when I tell her the truth, last time she told me I shouldn’t talk to “those people” (the psychiatrist presumably) about what I told her otherwise they’ll think that I have “a persecution complex” and lock me up. She has no idea what she’s talking about of course and it’s probably incredibly upsetting to hear your son say he doesn’t want to live any more and doesn’t see a point in his life. That’s not helpful for me to hear though.

This isn’t something I can snap out of. I can’t undo 12 or so years of behaviour and magically learn everything that I should have picked up over that time right away. Even if I woke up tomorrow without any anxiety, I would still have no idea how to act. I feel like screaming at people who try to help me “What should I do?” I want to put a normal person in my body and watch them to see what I should do because I literally have no idea. I think they mostly just want me to stop looking sad for their own benefit, so they have one less thing to bother them.

Nobody seems to want to admit the truth about how messed up I am, psychiatrist look at me in disbelief when I tell them about my life and act incredulous. Samaritans are no help to me, I’m fed up of hearing the same old thing over and over. I’ve tried joining clubs and societies but nobody wants to hang around with a hideously freakish looking loner who doesn’t have anything to talk about. I feel like screaming it at the top of my voice over and over because they just won’t listen. I’m sick and tired of the people who are supposed to help me failing to acknowledge this. Maybe there just is no solution and I really am screwed. It certainly feels like that now. 

What should I do? Anyone? I’m getting to the end of what I can cope with. I’m sitting here in my room while the others are getting ready to go out, the contrast between how I and they feel couldn’t be much greater. I hear them talk about how much they love uni and are having the time of their lives and people who’ve been round here urging us to make the most of it because it’s so wonderful. I can’t help but wonder how that must feel, to actually enjoy life. It’s a long time since I did, 13 years since I was actually happy, before I became sad and then massively depressed. Life’s a lot easier when you are a child of course. I don’t think I’m ever going to enjoy life again, not least because I doubt mine will last much longer. I wonder what purpose I’m serving by just hanging on here, just about making it to classes and barely managing to stop the interrogations from my mother about how I’m feeling. It’s a mammoth effort, but for what? I’m lacking a reason to go on, nobody except my family cares about me. I wish they didn’t care so that I could just get things over with. 

It must be hard to imagine so I can’t really blame them, but most people have no idea what it’s like to have no friends. I get so jealous I feel like crying when I walk the streets alone like a homeless person, seeing people out with their friends. It must be nice to not have to eat alone every day, to have someone to walk to class with and to not have to sit alone. To be able to talk to someone about things, about anything. To ask for their advice. If you want to go somewhere, to not have to do it alone and look like a weirdo. I could list a million things, nothing makes you feel like such a loser as constantly being alone and knowing that there are horrible, mean, spiteful people out there who manage to convince people to spend time with them but I am even more dislikeable than that. 

Tracked my order today, sent 17th February. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to resist the temptation once they arrive. I keep finding myself eying up buildings wondering if the roof is accessible and if they are tall enough to provide a fatal drop. I’d rather not leave it up to chance though, I curse the low-rise cities I live in.