Perfectionism

Relevant song lyric of the day: “I’m not afraid of dying, any time will do”

I had to call and cancel my crisis team visit, I can’t handle having to talk to people at the moment, I feel ill (cold coming on, it wasn’t just the meds) and that kind of flat, empty depression has taken over. I don’t feel desperately sad or like crying as I sometimes do, just lifeless and bereft of happiness and will to live. I had somewhat of a revelation which I wanted to write about but I am too tired to get into it properly today.

I was thinking about the time when my first psychiatrist asked me if I was a perfectionist. My first reaction was to almost laugh in disbelief; I don’t know how anyone could look at me and ask that question. I don’t exactly look like someone who wants to be perfect. When I think about it more carefully though, I think that I am sort of a perfectionist, in my own twisted way. My (subconscious, or is it unconscious? I can’t control it anyway) idea of perfection is different from what most people would think of as perfect, and I seem to hold myself and others to this ridiculous ideal.

I want to conform to societies ideas of where and what I should be, even if I don’t actually want the things themselves, if that makes sense. I want to want to be a normal person. This probably sounds insane and it most likely is. I don’t think I could actually give up certain aspects of my life, I could never be one of those people who always has to be around others, I need time alone a lot more than others even when I’m not anxious. 

Having something like social anxiety makes you analyse everything to a huge extent, I remember details about inconsequential conversations from years back and a million other useless things that would pass most people by. It’s quite odd really, you can almost appear psychic since people tell you things and then forget that you ever talked about it but I remember most things (probably on account of the fact that I have about 1000x less conversations than the average person). 

I don’t know if I could give up my level of self awareness and the things I know about how people manipulate you, but while I have these dubious qualities I don’t think I can ever be happy or “normal”. When I think back to the time when I was actually happy, when I was a child, I had no idea about how cruel the world was and how people take advantage of any weakness you show. I hate this site, but the description of stages explains what I mean better than I could, the blissfully ignorant stage. I don’t even want to consider the advice that it preaches, maybe I am embittered and destined to be like this forever but I just can’t become the person that it seems I need to be in order to fit in.

My twisted perfectionism makes me want to be all things to all people. I realise that everyone probably does this to some extent, but I change who I am based upon who I’m with. I don’t know who the real me is, maybe it’s the person who write this narcissistic, self obsessed drivel. This is the only place I am honest after all. I can’t be that person in real life though, I can’t express myself verbally. I’d be too scared about being thought of as a stuck up snob, which maybe I am.  I come across huge problems when I don’t know what people want me to be though. I think this is a big reason why I am so scared of meeting new people, I don’t know how to present myself because it’s been so long since the real me has been allowed out, it has withered away.

To fit in, you need to expose yourself, part of your personality and let people know about you. I find this terrifying, even giving away the slightest details about my opinions is often beyond my comfort zone. I can’t offer any opinions on music or anything else that most people talk about without a second thought. I’ve been through so much mockery and psychological grinding down that I can’t give away any chances for people to do that to me again. 

I’ve spoken to my online friends about this before and they always try to tell me that I’ve been unlucky with the people that I’ve been around and that not everyone is so malicious and cruel, but I can’t honestly put all that down to luck. I could start thinking that I’m the unluckiest person in the world, something my dad seems to do and I want to avoid. There’s no point in trying to pass off my own failings as someone else’s fault, I don’t want to blame the world for my problems. If there is one good thing that can be said for me, I want it to be known that I take full responsibility for my own actions and I realise it’s my own fault that I am such a wreck.

In the past I never considered myself to have a short temper, but recently I find myself being increasingly frustrated with people. I hate banal small talk, I don’t want to try and sound superior – I know that I’m definitely not. I just wish that I had some kind of flash cards I could hold up to save answering the same old shit over and over.

I think I expect everyone to be “perfect” like a robot, like I am. It might sound ridiculous, on this website I probably come across as a histrionic maniac, but in real life I am extremely reserved. I can’t stand to do things “wrong”, I’d rather not try than fail. This is one of my biggest stumbling blocks. I am terrified of making mistakes in all areas of life. To pick a random example, we used to have a pool table in the sixth form common room. I never played a single game on it even though I used to like it when I was younger and I always wanted a snooker table of my own but we had no space for one. I was so scared that I’d make a mess of it and everyone’d laugh that I never once played. I could list a million other examples of how this has held me back. This is incredibly difficult for me to say (being the master rationaliser that I am, I think I have avoided admitting this for other reasons) but perhaps one of the reasons that I have never had a girlfriend is that I’ve never asked anyone out or shown any interest (irl). I probably never had any friends because I’ve been too scared to approach people in case I make a fool of myself and so kept to myself and my group of abusive associates (I refuse to call them friends any more). 

One of my sisters friends once had a birthday party at one of those places with bouncy castles, ball pits and slides etc to which I was invited. I can still remember vividly being afraid to go on any of the things or do anything other than sit at the side. I was scared that I’d fall over or do something else to make the other kids laugh at me so I did nothing. I was probably under 8 at the time, but I can remember the feeling and it’s the first time I can remember someone explaining the concept of “regret” to me. My mum told me I’d have a good time if I went and played and that I’d regret it if I didn’t (I just realised that sounds like a threat haha, it wasn’t said in that way). How right she was.

My whole life is littered with examples of wasted opportunities, I never did anything at a young age while it is still acceptable to be less than perfect and you have chance to learn. For example, I never used to play football with the other boys. When I got to secondary school this would return to haunt me as we were forced to play in PE and I was obviously awful, embarrassingly awful at it. I used to get so worked up and anxious in the days leading up to PE, begging my mum for sick notes, forgetting my kit on purpose and ending up with my first detentions. It seems like most of my readers are women so maybe this sounds pretty inconsequential (not being sexist, I just think society seems to push boys and girls into different areas around that time in adolescence) but not being good at sports is a great way to make yourself unpopular and an outcast at that age.

There are literally hundreds of other things that I avoided rather than risk embarrassment which have hurt me massively in the long run. Not attending any social events is probably the biggest of these.

I wonder if it’s too late to repair this massive damage. I am literally an empty shell of person, devoid of any life experiences, significant or otherwise. At the moment I feel that it is too late for me. Maybe if I was 16 or younger then I’d have a shot, but I’m supposed to be climbing the career ladder and buying houses now, not worrying that I don’t know how to kiss or any other basic life skill that should have been learned 10 or 15 years ago.

This post is all over the place, I’m sorry. I only got a couple of hours sleep last night and I’ve barely eaten again so my concentration isn’t exactly brilliant at the moment. I highlighted the main bit in bold if you don’t want to read the whole lot.

Media Coverage

Yay another article describing social anxiety disorder as a made up illness. I really wish people who say things like that had to deal with a mental illness for just a week and see how they like it. Yes there may be a lot of antidepressant prescriptions in this country, that doesn’t mean that we suffer any less now that more people are being treated instead of suffering in silence.

If they really think “normality” is starving yourself because you’re too afraid to go into a kitchen full of people and wanting to kill yourself because you’ve spent over a decade without friends, then I don’t know what to say. They are more fucked in the head than I am.

Sick

I don’t know if it’s the venlafaxine but I feel incredibly nauseous.  I feel even more sick when I think about myself and my life instead of distracting myself from things. It’s going to be hard if I have to keep distracted in order to stop feeling suicidal.

I have to go back and meet the damn crisis team tomorrow and I feel stressed about it already, all I want to do is sleep tomorrow, and forever really. I don’t want to be me, it’s too depressing.

There’s no future for me, not one I want to live. The same old things haunt me and bother me every day, things that can’t be resolved. I feel like I want to scream but of course such outbursts of emotion aren’t for me. There’s no way I can explain it to the stupid crisis team, some people who I will probably never see again. It probably seems easy for me to complain, goodness knows I do enough of it on this site, but in real life it’s incredibly hard for me.

I can’t just come out and say that I want to die and I feel ill when I see myself in the mirror and knowing I will always be alone and unloved makes me want to cry. I couldn’t look them in the eye after saying that. I don’t know what they could possibly do or say, not to mention my flatmates could overhear.

It’s not a crisis, there’s no urgency here, just a tiredness and realisation that I’m going to have a shit life (by my own ridiculous standards, I know other people have things much harder and a billion times more problems than me). I don’t know how much longer I can deal with it.

Ugh

I can’t think of a good title. Stupid as I am, I forgot to take my mess last night so woke up this morning feeling like crap. Vaguely unsettling hungover like feeling, dull headache and I have no energy at all.

The damn crisis team phoned me on the train and talked me into having another home visit on Monday. I don’t really see the point, I don’t like or feel comfortable with them so I can’t tell them anything relevant or new. I just want to get them out of there as quick as possible.

There isn’t anything they can do. My problems are too long term and deeply ingrained to be solved in a 30 minute form-filling session.

My brain is fried today. It’s taken me about half an hour to write this rubbish. Coming off venlafaxine is going to screw me up badly. I’m supposed to be down to 75 this week but I don’t know if I can do it. Suicidal thoughts are constantly swirling around my head. They are chronic, not acute (if I may use a probably misinterpreted medical phrasing) and there is going to be no easy way to stop them.

I’m going to have to wait ages for cbt and I probably won’t even be in Lincoln by the time it starts so moving places will have been pointless. I just hope for my families sake that I can keep on treading water for a while longer.

Anxiety and CBT

I’m absolutely tired out but I wanted to write a post, so forgive me if it’s even more haphazard and depressing than usual. I got up early to get the two buses I needed to arrive at my CBT appointment first thing this morning. After meeting the therapist last time and my relatively good week I was in quite a positive mood but she then explained to me that having spoken with her manager and the crisis team at Lincoln, they found out I have been referred for CBT there instead and so I can’t see her any more 🙁

After I bared my darkest fears and thoughts, I’ve yet again been shunted along to someone else. It seems that every time I have any form of appointment I have to start explaining things from scratch and by the time any kind of connection is made I’m moved on. In one year I had 4 different GPs at home and one at uni, seen 4 different psychiatrists and 6 different crisis team people. It’s beginning to get rather tiring and disheartening.

Later on I started feeling incredibly anxious, not in an obvious shaky-hands way like when I’m forced into a dreaded social situation but it was bubbling beneath the surface. I felt like I had to keep moving, keep thinking and acting quickly. If you know the feeling you get when you know that you have to leave the house or you will miss a train or whatever but you can’t find your keys, it was like that. I’ve managed to calm myself a bit now, feeling the venlafaxine withdrawals kicking in though as it’s more than 24 hours since my last dose. It’s an odd sensation, your brain craving serotonin or whatever it is.

Had a meeting with the psych last Friday and managed to convince him to slow the withdrawal down a bit so I’m on 150mg for another week at least. He wants me to move down to 75mg after that if I can, but I don’t know if I can do it. At least he didn’t talk to me about sex this time. One thing he did say was “It sounds like this crisis you were in is over” and I understand what he means but I don’t think it explains the whole picture.

Like most things, it is not a black or white situation. I may have felt in an acute crisis at that time but not now, but that doesn’t mean everything is fine. I should throw the pills away but I can’t. I still want to buy more, more components of a lethal cocktail.

No medication can change my situation, the psychologist who I could’ve had for CBT said that today and I can’t agree more. When the possibility of me going back there after I finish university was mentioned, it dawned on me that I may be like this forever. Of course I have thought that many times, but no-one has ever said it to me implicitly like that before. I don’t want to think about being 30 or 40 and still having the social capabilities of a child. That fear will always be there in my mind and that is what keeps me planning my escape.

Good day

Stayed at uni last night and didn’t really accomplish much (including eating 🙁 ) but I went out this afternoon to meet a friend from a social anxiety forum who lives a few miles away. We’d only met once before but we went to see a film and had a fairly long chat in Starbucks afterwards. It was really nice to see her again and I think we got on quite well. I managed to talk quite a lot by my standards and I don’t think she was too bored.

Back home now in preparation for my CBT on Monday, but I’m annoyed because I forgot both my phone and my meds 🙁 I found one 150mg tablet here but that’s going to have to last me 2 days.

Things have certainly improved since this time last week when I was probably at my lowest point for 6 months. I’m going to try and stay positive and keep working at CBT and aim to spend a bit more time with my flatmates (though I have a creeping feeling that I am starting to annoy them when I am around more, like they can’t really enjoy themselves if I’m in the room).

Crisis Team Visits

Not much to report over the past day or 2, I haven’t had any strong suicidal feelings which is good but I have been quite emotional. I’m glad to have the distraction (though I’m not sure that is the right word) of uni to keep me occupied. I have managed to speak to at least some of my flatmates each day so far and I’ve made dinner (in the oven, not the microwave!) a couple of times. I even ran into a few of them in the supermarket and we walked back together, so I’m feeling quite satisfied with my small steps towards spending more time with them.

The crisis team was supposed to come and visit me here today but they phoned me and asked me to come and meet them at the car park in McDonalds because they couldn’t find anywhere to park at the uni (the only place is for disabled people and you get clamped for parking there if you aren’t) so I sat discussing things in the car with them. It felt a bit like conducting a dodgy deal and I hope no-one who knows me saw me.

They didn’t have much useful to say. I say “they” but it was only the man who spoke, he seems fairly distant and alarmed me a bit by saying that I looked much better physically today and that last time he came round I was white as a sheet and was concerned about leaving me there alone :S I don’t know if I was walking around like that for ages, apparently what I see in the mirror isn’t a reliable guide according to some people so I can’t say for sure.

I’m gonna stay at uni this Friday and Saturday, hopefully I am meeting up with someone from an SA forum who I have seen here before. We haven’t made final arrangements yet and SAers are notoriously difficult to get to commit to plans, I should know… I’m hoping not being totally alone like I am at home on Friday night might stop me from becoming so depressed. That has been my worst time of the week for a while now, it’s usually when my suicidal feelings are strongest and I’m safer here, away from any high bridges and car parks

Looking forward to my next CBT appointment on Monday, I’m glad to have been allocated a therapist who I feel like I can speak honestly with. The feeling that progress is being made is the only thing that keeps me going and keeps that small bit of hope alive, I just hope it can continue.

CBT Session 1

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.

First CBT session

I have my first CBT session today but I am so scared about it, unlike I have been scared of a medical/mental health thing for some time. I want to try and get better, I wish I could be normal or see myself as normal but it is so difficult for me because of how ingrained my beliefs and self hatred are.

I’m scared about making it there ok. It’s a long way and I can’t remember exactly where I need to get off the bus and I keep thinking I’m going to get lost and be late and start panicking like I do when I’m in that situation. My nerves are already shot, I keep crying and can’t seem to stop. Maybe it’s partly down to the venlafaxine withdrawal; my psychiatrist told me to drop down to 150mg this week and 75 next week and then stop altogether. I’m not sure about his schedule, it seems rather abrupt especially if it is having this much effect on me already.

Mostly I am sad because I fear I have lost a friend though. I don’t know if I can repair the massive damage I have done by being so foolish and I’m hurting so badly even though it was my fault. I’ve never lost a friend who I actually cared about before, I was glad to be rid of the people who were supposedly “friends” at school, but I have never felt like this before. I’m struggling to write this without making it into a guilt trip. I really don’t deserve forgiveness but because I am so childish and socially undeveloped I don’t think I can cope with the consequences of my actions.

I hope I can make it there alright and be able to show them the things I have written, otherwise it is going to be extremely hard to explain how I feel and it seems to me like this CBT is my last shot at the start of a solution and I am desperate.

I never want to feel so suicidal as I did over the weekend again but at the moment I can’t tell when it will happen again. It has begun to make other people’s lives worse and that is too much. I can’t let that happen, I need to try and overcome this but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it.