Changes

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I remember sitting on a bench with my dad some time in the early 2000s talking about how England were bidding to host the 2006 World Cup and I started thinking how I would be 21 by that time, which seemed a very long way off, and that I would probably have a good job then and would hopefully be able to pay for me and my dad to go and see some of the matches. Back then people used to tell me that because I was good at computer stuff I would get a good job and have a lot of money and I foolishly believed them. As it turned out, that world cup was eventually hosted in Germany and by the time it rolled around I had already dropped out of university, gone to a virtually useless college course and was about to begin an extremely low paid (less than the minimum wage if you worked it out hourly) tech support job that I hated and have written about at great length on this site.

One of the traps that I fell into then and several times afterwards was assuming that, given time, things will work out or change for the better. Many times in the past before I was depressed, I used to think about things might be better in the future. The thing is, unless you can do something about it then nothing will change. I have wasted so much time and that’s why I still find myself in virtually the same situation (except massively in debt) as I was back in 2002 or whenever it was.

I don’t know how other people do it. There must be something (or many things) that I am just incapable of doing because I can think of no end of people who I used to know in the past who you would think didn’t have things together as much as me, but they have turned out vastly more successful than me (not that that is difficult, but you know what I mean). It sounds bitter and I supposed I really am bitter, to talk about this but I can’t help but feel defeated when I think about the people I knew at school that were very far from being the most intelligent or hard working, people who probably got bullied as much or more than me for being weird, who have managed to make something of their lives.

I hate showing these ugly emotions, but when I think about how I used to be thought of as clever and was picked on for that reason (among others) I feel fucking furious that I have absolutely nothing to show for it all. Why did I have to get all the downsides of being intelligent but get none of the supposed rewards?

What changed? How did they do it? I know what changed for me: nothing. In some ways I am the exact same person I have been for years. Hating myself, terrified of what people think and say about me. I think I might have been mistaken in the past. I probably could have made something of myself if I’d been able to get some kind of help and know what I know now. I didn’t used to be a completely lost cause, but with each passing day I crept closer and closer to what I am now.

I have written about this before but it bears repeating. The easiest thing in the world to do is nothing. Things will never change if you don’t make things happen. I don’t know how to do that any more, I don’t know if I have the chance to change things for the better. I will address this in a future post but there is a vicious cycle keeping me where I am and every part of it makes it impossible to break out of any of the other parts.

When I first seriously contemplated the idea that I had social anxiety and depression back in 2007, I can distinctly remember sitting exactly where I am writing this post now and I reading a forum about social anxiety which essentially started me off on what I think of as a new “chapter” of my life. One of the people who I met on that forum eventually gave me the courage to think about going back to university and even moving away to a different city, which had previously been unthinkable to me. The next two years saw probably the biggest changes I had been through in my life, including it almost ending.

That I have been on a backslide ever since I left university causes me a lot of anguish. To some people it doesn’t mean a lot, but even though I went through some enormously testing times including long periods of feeling suicidal, it was the best time of my life. I felt like I had a purpose. I sometimes wonder now if it was just escapism, but back when I was there I didn’t feel like I should be ashamed just to exist. I would not have described it this way at the time, but I was proud to be a university student at last. Nowadays I feel like I am looked down upon just for walking along the street. People here have an almost psychotic hatred for those without a job.

A few months ago I went back to the city where I lived while I was at university and it was the first time I had returned since I went to my graduation ceremony in 2012. I didn’t write about it here, only in a personal journal thing. It stirred up some strange emotions though. Last year I had seen a photo of the view I used to see from the road that led to my flat and I felt very sad that I didn’t live there any more but I wanted to go back there. It’s not an amazing place, just your average English town really. I thought about going back there a few times but I didn’t know if it would make me too sad.

Almost on a whim one day in July I decided to get the train and just go for a few hours since it doesn’t take too long to get there. When I got there I realised I could conceivably have started and finished another bachelor’s degree in the time since I left. I wrote in my journal that it felt like a dream, and it really did. I almost went back into the same routine, walking down the same part of the pavement I did for 4 years and almost as if I was on autopilot. It seems odd to write about it like this because it’s probably not a special or deeply significant place to anyone but me, but the whole experience was so surreal. I walked past where my old flat was in the halls of residence and up to the university building itself. It’s changed a little bit in appearance but it felt different somehow.

At the time I wrote how I felt as though people knew I shouldn’t be there any more, this was no longer my place to be. I walked along the roads I still knew so well but I didn’t feel welcome any more. Nobody said anything to me of course, why would they? but I felt so sad that this was no longer home to me, I was just a visitor now. I was glad I had sunglasses on because I actually got tears in my eyes.

As I returned to the train station this feeling was underlined. I used to go there most Friday’s to come back to my parent’s house for the weekend but I knew I’d be heading back to uni in a few days. This time I was going back for good though, I was only here temporarily. In my journal I wrote that, with hindsight, I was wanted here. I was welcomed by people I never thought would want me to be there, they asked me to share a house with them. I had members of the university staff fight for me to get my fees waived for the year I had to re-sit. I didn’t know how lucky I was at the time and I feel a deep sadness now that has all passed.

I don’t know if I will ever have anything like that again. I did not appreciate it at the time and I now feel like an idiot for ignoring all the good things I had back then.

I sit here, right back where I was in 2007, on the same bed, feeling the same feelings of hopelessness. This time I am older and have let another chance at making something of my life slip through my fingers. I was ridiculously lucky to get a second chance in 2008. I don’t know that I will ever be afforded another opportunity like that again.

Year of Nothing

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2014 was probably the least productive year I have ever had. I don’t think I accomplished anything of note and it just seems to have flown by. I remember being in this exact same place a year ago, thinking about how I really need to go back to the doctor if I want anything to change for the better. This time last year I wrote something about worrying that birthday would be my last but the truth is I don’t have the energy or drive to feel like killing myself. I haven’t been able to think about things without being overwhelmed by just how pathetic I am. I don’t even know if it would help if I had anyone to talk to because I am at the stage where I am so embarrassed to say out loud how pathetic I am because it hurts so much to contemplate. If I talked about the reality of my life, there is no way anyone could honestly not think I was a complete loser. At best they could pity me.

I did manage to make one tiny step towards changing things. I decided to ask my sister to help me try and resolve the problem I have been having with doctors. I have found myself yet again slipping through the cracks and not being registered with any GP that I can get to. I decided to try and phone my local GP here even though I hate the phone so much and have been putting this off for over a year and of course no-one answered. I tried calling back several more times but could not get through. In the end I asked my sister to come to the reception with me and try to explain the situation to them. I managed to get a form to re-register (even though I don’t know for sure if this is the right way to be going about it) but ran into more problems because they need to know the name of my previous GP who has subsequently left the practice I was registered at before when I was at university. The whole thing is an administrative nightmare, doubly so when you using the phone is such a difficulty.

I am going to try again to phone up and get an appointment if I can face it tomorrow. Why does everything have to be such a struggle? I hate saying things like that because I know I bring a lot of it on myself, but I am getting so tired of my mental problems making everything such a colossal pain to deal with.

I don’t really know why I am bothering to be honest but I have run out of options. I did manage to turn things around at university and I don’t think it is a coincidence that I coped best when I was taking those antidepressants. It also helped that I wasn’t surrounded by negativity that I have at home though. It’s not that anyone is overtly mean to me but just constant comments and things that make me feel worthless. I need to get out of this house but that requires about a hundred other things to be in place first and this cycle means I am stuck here.

I can’t even write coherently now so I am just going to leave it but I will try to update again soon when I am not so strung out.

Trying to Stay Positive

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I will admit that for a long time now I have not been trying to stop myself from slipping into depressive thought patterns. I have just let them wash over me and it colours my mood constantly. One of the things I find hardest is to stop myself from just being overcome by these thoughts and trying to entertain the idea that there is any possibility things might ever be any better. It probably sounds unusual to people who don’t think like me, but I find it easier, comforting even, to just be accepting of the fact that I will never not be miserable (I don’t want to say happy, because it is unrealistic for anyone to expect to be happy all the time). It’s one difference that I think there is between unhappiness and depression. When I am unhappy there is a reason but there is usually some kind of outcome that could change it. Depression to me is the feeling of complete hopelessness, when everything feels lost and there is no path out of it. I used to hate being asked by people what I would like to change about my life because there is no realistic things I can think of that would alleviate my depression.

There are degrees of depression though (in my experience, I don’t want to speak for everyone) and I have gone through several points where I just wanted everything to end right there and then. Strangely, these are not the times when I have felt worst. At the times when I have been at my lowest, I just didn’t have the mental energy to think like that. It’s difficult to put into words. It is returning to this state that I fear more than anything. In 2006/7 when I was at my first job, I cannot express how miserable and defeated I felt. Every day was excruciating in a blunt sort of way. I hated getting out of bed in the morning, I hated the long journey there, I hated entering the building and more than anything I hated being around people who made me feel like shit and not being able to do anything about it. I was trapped and that is my biggest fear.

I don’t know if it’s because I was younger and less prone to self-destruction back then, but I only ever had brief thoughts of suicide then. I thought about it but never seriously considered it. It frightens me to think what I would be like if I was in the same situation now. I have little self-control when it comes to self-destruction. Part of this is because of the incredibly straight-laced way I used to act, which I became completely sick of. It feel so self-indulgent to admit this aloud (in a manner of speaking) but since I accepted that I was never going to be acceptable to society, why should I carry on like that? I feel resentful towards the people who would have me carry on like that and pretend to be fine, dragging myself through soul destroying days with a smile on my face for a derisory salary.

OK I am getting away from the point here, which was supposed to be about the last week. I have been trying to stay in a positive frame of mind and I have been reasonably successful. I really enjoyed something for the first time in many, many months and that was being with my friend V and her friend whom I hadn’t met before. It was the most “normal” I have felt since I was at university with my flatmates. I feel like I managed (albeit with the aid of valium) to behave like a fairly normal person, even by my own harsh self-judgement. I didn’t try to seek approval afterwards, which is a trap I have fallen into many times before. I usually end up apologising for some minor mistake or something to try to get whoever I was with to reassure me that I was ok.

It is a strange feeling, I am very conflicted. The first time I have really felt happy for ages – it was nothing special, we just had a few drinks and watched a film, but to be around nice people and not feel as though they hated being there was a big deal to me. I wish they didn’t live halfway across the country from me. The thing is, now I keep having to battle thoughts about how infrequent these occasions are and I will most likely just be alone again for a long time. I can’t really discuss these feelings with anyone, I am still not seeing any kind of therapist but I doubt they would be helpful anyway. I feel like I used up all of V’s patience with me back when I was suicidal and I don’t really want to act weird towards her by going on about how nice it was to see her.

What is making me conflicted is my unwillingness to believe that maybe I am not such a terrible person after all and that my prior experiences were not a true reflection of my “value” as a person. I am aware of how bizarre this probably is, but I am trying to work through my thought processes. I don’t really know why I don’t want to believe that. Surely it would be a good thing, you may think. I’m trying to work out what scares me so much about it. I think it’s because I would have to admit that I have been wrong about myself and have wasted so many years isolating myself for no good reason. I also don’t want to change my view of myself, only to have it destroyed again by other people who hate me.

Is it possible that the few people who I have met and enjoyed being with in the time since I left school/work people who made me feel worthless are the only exceptions, that these 4 or 5 people are the only ones on the planet who would feel that I am likeable? Logically, probably not. It pains me to even type this out, I don’t want to admit it. It’s so much easier to believe that I am inherently awful and unlikable.

As a kind of experiment I am trying to force myself to behave as if I am not the hateful loser that I have spent the past 15+ years believing myself to be. It has only been a week, but I am going to try to carry on. It isn’t easy though. I can’t express enough how deeply I completely accept that is how I am perceived and how many painful thoughts need to be challenged. At the moment I am feeling sad because I really wish V and her friend lived closer and I could see them more often, and that I had other friends like them. There’s a lot I have to hide about myself to appear normal, I mentioned before how this can feel deceitful but I think everyone engages in this to a certain extent, and this makes it very hard for me to meet new people. I am also easily threatened by people especially if they are loud. I don’t know if it would be possible to make any new friends here, but for the first time in a long time I am going to try to believe that it is possible.

 

Another Psych Appointment

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I’m seeing the consultant psychiatrist tomorrow and I’m getting quite worried about it. First of all, I have to explain why I got my mum to phone and ask for me to see someone different to the new Dr I was assigned to (see this post for what happened with him) which is going to be difficult because the consultant is so intense and intimidating to me. I’m also not looking forward to talking about my suicidal feelings. It makes things so much harder because I’m living in two separate places. The crisis team here won’t be able to check up on me at university, and I haven’t had any dealings with the mental health services at Lincoln so they don’t have any of my notes or whatever else they need.

I have mixed feelings about discussing it, I’d really like to stop feeling like this is my only way out of feeling so depressed and miserable but I honestly can’t see how anyone can help me. I don’t want to have the option taken away from me, I need to be able to know that I have an escape. If I tell him about how I have obtained the pills then I fear what might happen to me. I don’t want to be taken to hospital, I can’t afford to miss any more university.

Sometimes I wonder what the point is, I have no reason to believe that anyone or anything can help me with my particular problems. An hour of CBT once a month isn’t going to make me into a normal person. Even when I’m not feeling actively suicidal, I still think that there is no hope for me and I still want to die. I just can’t let people see otherwise I’ll upset them. Is there any way to escape from long term suicidal desires? It seems like it’ll always be with me. I wish I could be killed in an accident so that I could escape without having to inflict the extra pain on my family of them knowing it was self inflicted.

Back

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I hadn’t got the energy to write last week, I had an assignment to complete but I could barely get out of bed most days and was constantly worrying that I was going to fail. Fortunately I applied for an extension and have been given an extra week to finish it.

My mood has been up and down again, never above “just surviving” though. I still haven’t been able to discuss how I’ve been feeling with any medical professional though, my attempt to get a GP appointment was ruined. I phoned on Monday morning and they couldn’t give me one until the following Monday, which I couldn’t take anyway because I have to be at home to see my psychiatrist. I’m not sure I am up to telling him (the scary consultant) about my plans to kill myself, about how I ordered a lethal overdose quantity of pills. It’d be best to say something, I suppose, but I don’t think I can quite reveal all.

The last few days have left me wondering what exactly can be done. Obviously they can’t change what bothers me, my enormous lack of life experience, repulsive appearance and boring personality. All they can do is try to help me cope with being how I am. I’m not sure if “accepting” who I am will be part of what they want me to do, that’s what my mum wants me to do apparently, but I can never do that. I don’t want to do that. I can’t settle for being such a horrible, vile waste of space. I really would rather be dead than have to live like this for years. I’m sorry if this is controversial,  but it brings to mind “fat pride”. I can’t understand why people want me to adopt the same type of cognitive dissonance or delusion. I know I have problems, I know I’m an awful person but I’m not about to say “That’s how I am. Fuck you, I’m brilliant.” I can’t pretend everyone in the world has a problem except me, that would be delusional.

I tried talking to my sister but she tries to minimise what’s wrong with me. I’m tired of people saying “Oh I don’t have many friends either, most people don’t” but I simply don’t believe it. I can see hundreds of photos of her and her friends together on Facebook, she tells me stories about them, she has a boyfriend and recently went on holiday with him and some friends. That’s so far removed my situation that it’s not even funny.

To give an example, when I was at school, sixth form and college (and now university I suppose) whenever there was a holiday, I’d never see anyone else apart from my family. I wouldn’t go to anyone’s house or be invited anywhere. Nobody would come to see me. When I went back after summer, the people I hung around with (who bullied and psychologically tortured me) would belittle and laugh at me for being so reclusive and hiding away at home for months at a time.

Please tell me if this is a common experience, I’ve been mocked on a social anxiety forum for revealing this before so I doubt it, but people seem determined to convince me that I’m not unusual.  From age 11, when I started secondary school, I’ve had no-one I could call a proper friend. I saw no-one outside of school. Every day I’d go home and do things by myself or with my family. At weekends I would do the same, holidays were the same. I’ve never been out on Friday and Saturday night, never been to a party, until this year I’d never been to a “club” (it wasn’t even a proper one really), never had a girlfriend, never kissed anyone, never held a girls hand, never asked a girl out. I’ve never been on holiday apart from with my family.

I can’t help but be depressed by this horrific waste of life. Maybe I don’t deserve to have been so cruelly deprived of a life, at this point I can’t see why I’d deserve anything other than bad things. In any case, I feel massive crushing jealousy towards everyone I see around who gets to do these things. Anyone who has a life, people who have friends, people who have someone that they can actually talk to beyond saying “Hello, how are you?” which is the limit of my relationship with anyone. I wish I had a friend who I could call and talk to, even that seems beyond the realms of possibility.

People say that it takes time, but I’m 24. Twenty four years old and I don’t have the social skills or life experience of the average 12 year old. Some people tell me that I can learn, but how do you do that? Normal people get that kind of thing out of the way when they are younger. They have friends going through similar things. I can’t imagine many people in their mid twenties are still worrying because they don’t know how to kiss, not that I’ll ever have to worry about putting that into practice.  It’s pathetic to even think about it.

I’m so ridiculously immature, no psychiatrist or therapist can change that, and that is one of the main reasons I am so depressed.