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.

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It’s Overdue

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Hello there. First of all I’d like to apologise for being absent for so long, I’ve been a Bad Blogger. Around the time we last left off I was going through another period of bad depression and finding myself snowed under with work and feeling rather hopeless and suicidal again. A visit to the psychiatrist convinced me to try a different antidepressant to try and get things under control as I was really struggling. This time it was sertraline (also known as Zoloft) and things have picked up since then, at least I’m no longer plagued by constant thoughts and the need to plan suicide, even if it is still on my mind a lot. If I’m perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure that’s the way I’ll die but it doesn’t feel immediately inevitable like it did before. I was sceptical about SSRIs after my previous experiences but it seems like I might have found the one that at least takes the edge off.

Not a lot has happened in the last year to be honest. It’s been the same old thing over and over. Some plus points are that I managed to get through the group project and presentation that I had worried so much about. It was nerve wracking but I lucked out and only had to present to one lecturer, the other scary one who was meant to be there was ill. I passed the second year of my degree with a 2:2 which is considerably lower than the first year, but considering all the problems I was having it’s decent enough. Over the summer I worked at the place I was at last year and got on OK there, was quite sad to leave really. I get pretty much free reign to get on with things and it’s some experience to go on my C.V. so it’s all good.

Going into my final year, I decided to move out of the house I’d been sharing with two of my first year flatmates. It’s not that I didn’t get along with them, they are very nice, but I just felt kind of trapped in my room because some of their friends and one of their boyfriend made me feel really nervous. I didn’t like sharing a bathroom either, or sleeping in the downstairs room. This year I’m renting a flat in a block of student apartments off campus and sharing a kitchen with 4 others. I don’t really see much of them, we mostly keep to ourselves and I’ve only really had one proper conversation with one of them the whole time. The others I’ve barely spoken to at all.

Bad habits have crept back though. I have been buying takeaway food and going without meals rather than cooking because I have this fear of people thinking bad things about what I eat and I don’t like to be in the kitchen for too long. It sounds so stupid to write down but I just can’t help it.

The main problems I’ve been having lately is that I have missed so many lectures and workshops. The third year is really the most important one and I should be attending everything ideally, but anxiety has conspired to make me miss out on a lot. I had to ask for an extension on the first assignment and jump through hoops to get doctors letters and proof that it was a valid reason but I managed it. Thankfully I passed that one (although with a poor grade) but I’m afraid of what will happen with the next ones. Part of the reason I have missed so much is my utterly ridiculous sleeping pattern over the last few months of the semester. I was literally unable to sleep all night and would fall asleep mid morning or afternoon completely exhausted then wake up at night time. On one occasion I woke up at 10.30pm. I spoke my to my doctor about it but they don’t want to give me sleeping pills (for obvious reasons I suppose). Over the Christmas break I’ve managed to get back into some semblence of a routine at least. It is nice to actually see daylight for a change.

I never used to think the weather had any affect on my mood, but the last few times when my depression has been worse has been in winter. I’m not sure if the decreased amount of sun makes me feel worse but it seems possible. The point where I felt so bad that I finally managed to speak to someone about it, back in 2007, was in the winter too.

My main worries at the moment are that I am so far behind on uni work. I don’t know if I will fail some modules, it’s possible I might have to resit them in the summer in order to graduate which wouldn’t be the end of the world but I can’t repeat the year because this is the last one that the student loans company will fund for me and I don’t another £3600 I could pay out of my own pocket. I’ve been so stupid, letting my fears get the best of me and avoiding lectures because of stupid anxiety. My avoidant tendancies have stopped me from even looking at the other assignment deadlines coming up because I know I have so much to catch up on.

I’m going to try and talk to my old tutor who helped me out last time and is somewhat aware of my situation but I don’t want to seem like I’m making excuses for being lazy or something. I know they can’t make special circumstances just for me but I don’t really know what else to do.

I think I’ve probably written enough for one update but I’ll include this quiz about the last year since I wasn’t around to blog about it much. Thanks to everyone who has messaged me and wished me well. Sorry I kept to have kept you waiting, those of you who asked me to write an update.

1. Was 2010 a good year for you?

No not really.

2. What were your New Year’s Resolutions and did you keep them?

No.

3. Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions for 2010?

No.

4. Where will you be when 2010 ends?

I was in London watching Sonic Youth.

5. Who will you be with when 2010 ends?

My friend Vicky and some of her friends who I don’t know.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

To feel like there are things to look forward to, not to be overwhelmed by work.

7. Where did most of your money go?

Mostly on rent. My biggest personal purchase was a new guitar.

8. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I don’t really get excited about anything, though I was looking forward to New Year even though it was tempered by anxiety and depression once it was over.

9. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? about the same.

ii. thinner or fatter? My doctor said she thought I’d lost weight but I feel fatter.

iii. richer or poorer? Still poor.

10. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Uni work, going to lectures, staying in touch with people, getting up earlier.

11. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastination, succumbing to anxiety, avoiding things.

12. How will you be spending Christmas?

I went home to be with my mum and occasionally dad and sister when they weren’t working. It was fairly pleasant.

13. How many one-night stands?

None.

14. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No I don’t think so.

15. What was the best book you read?

Nineteen Eighty Four

16. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I usually listen to older music that I missed out on, so some Pavement albums I guess.

17. What did you want and get?

To not be constantly suicidal. A nice guitar. To see one of my favourite people.

18. What did you want and not get?

The ability to be excited about things and not see only disappointment in the future. Happiness, hah.

19. Favourite film of this year?

I don’t think it was a fantastic year for films. Shutter Island was good I guess.

20. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I can’t even remember, I think I might have gone out for lunch with my sister. I was 25

21. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Can’t think of one thing in particular.

22. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

“Inoffensive”.

23. What kept you sane?

Sertraline.

24. Who do you miss?

Vicky. My old flatmates, even though I could see them I don’t really have an excuse to be around any more. I think they didn’t mind me being there when I lived with them but can’t see why they’d want me around now.

25. Did you make any new friends?

No.

26. Quote a song that sums up your year:

“I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo.”

27. Where were you when 2010 began?

At home.

28. Who were you with?

My mum and her boyfriend,

29. Did you fall in love in 2010?

No.

.

30. If yes, with who?

n/a

31. Are you still in love with them?

n/a

32. Did you break up with anyone in 2010?

No.

33. What was your favourite month of 2010?

August.

34. What was your favourite record from 2010?

Interpol’s self titled album.

35. How many concerts did you see in 2010?

Two.

36. Did you have a favourite concert in 2010?

Sonic Youth.

37. Did you drink a lot of alcohol in 2010?

No, I hardly ever drink. I have enough vices as it is.

40. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2010?

Can’t pick a single moment.

41. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2010 and change something, what would it be?

Work harder and attend more at uni.

42. What are your plans for 2011?

Try to get back on track and pass my degree. Keep practicing playing the guitar. Hopefully travel somewhere interesting.

Escape Plan

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DISCLAIMER: I am fully aware of how easy I have things as a white, western, straight male with no physical health problems. I feel guilty every day because despite being born into lucky circumstances, I’m still a failure. I know other people have things much, much worse.

It’s been a while since I posted properly, I apologise for that. Life is wearing me down mentally and physically. I still cannot sleep like a normal person, I’m awake until the early hours of the morning about 50% of nights and then I’m fighting to stay awake the rest of the following day. I’ve stopped myself from sleeping during the day time and I walk a couple of miles each day to try and get myself back into a regular pattern but it just isn’t working. I have to drink caffeine to concentrate at work, even though I’m only in 4 hours a day.

My new job is several orders of magnitude better than my old one for many reasons. First of all it pays more and is much less demanding. Secondly, I don’t hate my coworkers and they don’t spend every day coming up with new ways to insult me. I’ve only had to endure minor taunting about how quiet I am so far. The thing that I prefer most though, is that it’s only part time. I struggle to manage even these small amounts of hours though. It reminds me of the fact that one day I will be forced to work full time, most likely with people who hate me and I just don’t know if I can stand it.

One month of this was enough to push me into my first serious suicidal mood back in 2006. The first time I wrote my family a note and looked up the most effective way to kill myself. Thankfully over circumstances forced me to leave that job but then followed over a year of depression, unemployment, worsening anxiety and isolation before another crisis forced me into returning to university. I know I’m not going to have that option again in the future (my life certainly won’t be worth living if I drop out again) not many people get a second chance and very, very few get a third and I’d be way too old.

I keep wondering what the point is. I’ve been like this since I was a child, as far back as I can remember I have always dreaded obligations, right from playgroup at age 3 up to going to work. I get the same sick feeling in my stomach, that I have to face the people out there makes me feel ill.

Is life worth feeling like that? What’s so good about life if you have no friends, no-one to share things with, nobody who loves you. Is it really worth me hanging around for 10,500 more of the worthless days? I don’t see why I should want to live, other than guilt.

Don’t read on if you don’t want to see vivid discussion of suicide

I keep staring at the motillium, I have it all planned out. 36 hours of anti-emetic regimine before the amitriptyline and sedatives. I haven’t ever told any medical professionals about my new found tendancy towards pills, they know about my plans to jump but I can’t let them know about this. They’ll want me to get rid of them and I can’t do that. I need my escape route, I’ve gone down that path of no return.

I think suicidal ideation is addictive. Once you have accepted that it is a viable option and your life isn’t really worth living, it’s comforting to have the escape plan in place. I find myself thinking about it every single day, despite what I have told doctors. I see little point in discussing it with them any more. They only have limited options at their disposal, sending the stupid, interfering crisis team round is not going to help me. I can’t relate my entire life story and expose my most deep fears to someone I am probably never going to see again. What good does it do? I’m rarely in an acute crisis anyway, my condition is chronic. 1 hour of chattering isn’t going to change a fucked up life around.

I don’t think I’m unjustified in considering this as a serious option at this point in my life. There’s nothing that gives me any real pleasure or happiness at the moment. I’ve gone through 2 years of crappy drugs that don’t work. I’m sick of being jealous of everyone for having a life, knowing that I’m not a real person and will never be accepted as one by the rest of society. I couldn’t deal with that anyway, it’s easier to be a weirdo, at least I have no image to keep up.

It’s very difficult to explain to people who desperately lonely and disconnected I feel from humanity. I’m sure most people reading this have had feelings for someone but never got to do anything about it and the pain of that. I have experienced nothing except that. A long time ago I stopped even thinking of myself as a person capable of relationships. I’m a hopeless cause, a complete write off. What reason is there to live like this? Would you want to be in this situation?

In answer to why I want to kill myself; There is nothing in my life that makes up for all the shit. It will only get worse from here, why prolong the “suffering”?

edit: taken first one

I'm still here

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I’ve been sleeping terribly, up for days at a time (I know other people have it a lot worse but I am dead after 3 days) even after taking sleeping tablets. I’m coming off zopiclone now though, haven’t had any since that first night.. I can’t remember when it was, days have merged into one long mess. I can’t concentrate, I’m too hot, one of the only people in the world who I can talk to with relatively little anxiety has gone back home so I won’t get to see her again for ages.

The pressure to get a job is mounting and the whole process just fills me with a mixture of dread and sickness. My thoughts constantly revolve around killing myself, I doubt an hour goes by when I don’t think of it once. I almost started taking pills this morning (after being awake all night again) but if I want it to work I have to make preparations. I can’t risk failure, my life wouldn’t be worth living anyway if I survived, it’s lose/lose.

I hate myself, I disgust myself. I can’t bear to look at myself because I am so repulsive. I’m so wrapped up in my own world that I am impatient and snappy to my own family. My mum keeps asking what’s wrong but she doesn’t really want to know. She wants to fix things but nobody can do that, it’s not like when I was little and could count on her to get me out of things. Every time real life rears it’s ugly head, I fall to pieces. I’m simply not good enough in every possible way.

I don’t know what to do, some part of me must want to be here still otherwise I would have done it already. I wonder how long I can put off the inevitable crushing reality.

Changes

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I have a very vivid memory about a lot of aspects of my life, maybe because I have so few life experiences. When I think back, every major change has led to me becoming more unhappy and some other emotion I can’t quite describe. A lot of people hate school or their job but most seem to settle into it; I never have and I always feel an intense desire to be away from those kind of situations. I don’t know if it’s a fear of being trapped or something…

From the first time I went to preschool, when I started school and high school and finally university (the first time I tried..) and work I have always feared the change and always had those fears become “justified”. I can’t help but feel the same thing will happen to me again when I go to uni tomorrow. Reading comments between 2 of my future flatmates has already made me feel uneasy since they seem so alike and I can tell they will more than likely get on well. They are exactly as I had pictured everyone that I will meet at university, there is no way they will like me or want anything to do with me. I think I can handle that but if they dislike me so much that they start to make horrible comments and jokes about me then I don’t thank I will be able to cope.

My mum wanted to spend the evening with me today (she usually goes to her boyfriends house on Saturday nights) I don’t know whether it was wholly to spend some time with me before I go or whether a part of her wanted to check up on me and make sure I didn’t do anything “stupid”. Those fears will not have been unfounded though, I have thoughts of running out and jumping off that bridge going around my head. I’ve managed to get myself into an impossible situation; if I tell anyone, then I won’t be able to go to university and they’ll keep me here. I can’t live with that either so it leaves me with 2 choices: try to bury the fears and suicidal ideas and go to uni pretending everything is fine or sneak out and do it without telling anyone.  If I can’t sleep tonight, I hope for my family’s sake that I can keep these urges under control.

Crisis Team

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Just had the visit from 2 crisis team workers that I wrote about earlier. It wasn’t too bad, I said and heard a lot of things that I have done before and now I can’t help but feel I have wasted their time. I could’ve done with talking to them a couple of weeks ago really when I was at my lowest point. It’s probably bad of me, but I held back some of the truth about my suicidal thinking, but then I can’t really describe it properly anyway. I don’t know how everyone else thinks, but for me there is never one consistent mode of thinking or conscious thoughts that can easily be put into words. I don’t sit there and think “I might throw myself off a bridge tonight”, it’s more of an overall feeling that comes in waves.

At the moment I’m not seriously planning anything for the very near future, but those thoughts and feelings are still in the back of my mind. For now I am going to try and last the next week and see how things go at university if I can. It’s probably not knowing how I am going to be received by people that is causing me the most anxiety, after all it is 2 years since I met a new group of people whom I had not spoken to and got to know on the internet first.

How I got on

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The appointment was surprisingly short, I spent most of the time there sitting around in a tiny waiting room trying to avoid catching peoples eye. The first doctor I saw was a junior psychiatrist, she asked me the usual questions that I’ve been asked many times before about my anxiety symptoms etc. I asked about diazepam but nothing came of it unfortunately. After talking about my suicidal feelings, she decided to discuss with the consultant and then asked me to come and talk to him. He was very intimidating, I felt like I was being interrogated. This just made me anxiety worse, I stumbled over words and my mind went blank several times but I think I managed to get my point across. There was a particularly painful moment when he asked if I had any close friends or girlfriend, to which I answered truthfully; no, and then he asked “Why not?”. My mind was overcome with all the hatred I have for myself and if I wasn’t so tongue tied with anxiety, I could probably have spent half an hour listing the many reasons why not. Eventually though I had to settle with “probably because I am so weird” which led to further questioning about why I think that, and of course why I think that I look weird which I couldn’t answer because I felt tears coming to my eyes. Thankfully he stopped the interrogation at that point and asked me to wait outside while he talked to the original doctor.

I went back to see her and apparently they are concerned about me, maybe it was the way I answered their questions because I was not feeling actively suicidal like I was the last time I saw my MHP who just sent me on my merry way. The outcome of it all is that I have got to have someone from the crisis team visit me at home today, which I didn’t really want but I couldn’t bring myself to argue with them about that. They also changed my medication to venlafaxine, an SNRI so hopefully that might make a slight difference though I am not expecting miracles.

I had hoped that I could relax slightly after the appointment was done but now I have to worry about this person coming round. Of course I had to tell my mum, but I didn’t say why they were coming exactly because I don’t want her to know how close I was to killing myself. She’s now gone on a mad cleaning spree that usually happens whenever we are expecting visitors. I just hope that she will give me some privacy because I don’t want her listening to me talk about such personal and potential hurtful things.