Paradoxical Feelings

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Over the last week I started talking to a new person I met online and had a few nice conversations which you might think would make me feel better but strangely I actually feel worse. I have been trying to break it down in my head as to why I feel like this and it kind of happens in a few stages. First of all I usually expect to be rejected by everyone because it is my honest belief (I don’t just say this to try and make people disagree and reassure me) that I am a boring, worthless person who is fundamentally unlikeable. If this doesn’t happen then I can occasionally have positive experiences, like how I described in a post from last year (I cannot believe a year has passed since that already..) but afterwards I start to get a sense of dread building up. On rare occasions I can fight it for a while but I inevitably end up replaying conversations or things I did over and over in my mind and thinking about how stupid and inept I came across. I usually get the urge to try and correct it by giving some sort of apology or seeking approval in some way. I feel ashamed admitting this because it sounds so pathetic but that’s what it is really. The alternative is what I am feeling right now about the most recent experience, that I feel guilty for deceiving the person into thinking I am more interesting or less of an idiot that I really am.

The main conclusion that I have drawn from this crude self-analysis is that a lot of my problems come from my fundamental beliefs about myself, which have been formed from years of experience both personally and from listening and reading about what people say about others. I know I am the kind of person who is almost universally thought of as a complete loser and looked down upon by pretty much everyone. The thing is, I don’t necessarily disagree with them. I don’t like myself at all, and I’m not just saying that for effect. This leads me to think “if I don’t like myself, why should anyone else?”

This is a big sticking point when it comes to trying to get better. I have been feeling very depressed just lately (but not actively suicidal) and fed up of not knowing how to deal with it. I read a book called Reasons to Stay Alive because I thought it might have some insight. The author gives a very good description of how depression can feel (at least in my experience) and obviously had more acute and severe anxiety than me. I couldn’t help but come away with the feeling that our situations, and the situation of a lot of people whom I have read describing their dealings with depression are very different and come from a completely different place. I think for some people, depression is a completely irrational thing. This guy had a loving girlfriend, to whom he gives enormous credit for helping him through what was a very difficult time. I’m not trying to play down anyone’s experiences, but I can see why it might not be quite so hard to find reasons to stay alive if you have that kind of support.

I find myself in the same old situation of not having anyone besides my immediate family who I can talk to or get any kind of support from. Even this is very limited because I don’t like talking to them about things because I don’t want to upset them any more than I already have done in the past. I never talk to my dad about things, my sister is so busy and stressed out by her job I don’t want to add to her troubles and my mum seems completely unable to understand why I feel the way I do even though it is clearly not a normal situation at all. Even though they are sympathetic, I cannot shake the feeling that it’s because I am related to them and doesn’t really reflect on my value as a person because people often support their family members even if they are truly awful. Maybe this makes me a bad, ungrateful person, I don’t know. I simultaneously crave, but cannot believe that I will ever have, acceptance and friendship from other people who aren’t obligated to give it.

The common thread I have seen when people write about recovering from depression is that they try to invoke the fact that you can return to some sort of state that you were in before you were depressed, and I can see why that is valuable because if you used to be OK then I’m sure it would be possible to be OK again. The thing is that some of us don’t really have those memories or experiences to look at and think “I can be like that again”. I can’t remember any prolonged period in my entire adult life where I have not been depressed. At 18 I felt like my life was falling apart because I couldn’t cope with university and this was the first time I fallen off track from what I was “supposed” to do. 19 to 21 felt like an extension of my school days, at 22 I realised work was just as bad and that people there could hate me and make my life a misery just as much as they did at school. At 23 I spent a year unemployed and isolated (as I have done from 2012 to now) my mid 20s were spent battling suicidal thoughts and actions that I have described in tediously great detail on this blog. The closest I can think of is the last year I was at university. This would hardly rank as a great situation for most people, I spent virtually every day alone and only briefly spoke to one person in my classes every now and then. I didn’t feel utterly hopeless though, perhaps that is the high water mark I have to aim for.

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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

Alcohol and the worst day of my life

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Alcohol and I have a fraught history, but not in the way most people have. I remember back in the year 2000 when we came back to school after Christmas and the New Year (of course it was a special one). I was 14 (and 350-something days) then and it’s one of the first times I remember getting the feeling that I still experience to this day. One of being a child in an adults world, of being socially undeveloped. All my friends had stories of how they got drunk and had such a wonderful time, it seemed everyone did that except me. At that time, drinking seemed to me to be something that adults did, not me. Of course, legally that was true but it’s rare to find people who don’t drink before they’re 18 these days. I don’t know why it didn’t seem appealing to me, I was never one to go out of my way to “rebel” against authority so it had no illicit lure to me.

After that, they became more and more fascinated and obsessed with drinking and how much they could handle. I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision not to drink, I just never started. That was around the time I found myself increasingly wanting to get away from the people I once called friends. The ones who made me feel worthless and shit every day. This was another avenue for them to attack me with. By the time it came to get our GCSE results, they’d planned a piss-up celebration and I engaged my best avoidance tactics to make sure I managed to get in and out of school without bumping into any of them, take the phone off the hook and hide upstairs in case they came round to try and drag me out.

Even when I was old enough to legally drink, I still didn’t really want to. I’m not sure why, I think was afraid of losing control and letting my guard down, the guard which however weak, still defended me slightly from what I (sometimes rightly) perceived as threats. I couldn’t let myself be known and crushed, back then I just wanted to be invisible. I began to loathe the thought of it, mostly because I associated it with those people, those so-called friends attacking me and laughing at me for not joining them at the pub. I don’t know whether they knew how much they hurt me, I doubt they did.

I hesitated about writing this part because it’s to do with my family, but it affected me so severely I think I have the right to discuss it. My mum is normally a fairly quiet, inoffensive person but when she drinks, she acts foolishly. The first time I remember her dragging us into it was when her boyfriend first came to meet us at our house, she ended up arguing with him and shutting herself in her room, leaving him with us at 10pm downstairs not knowing what happened. She imagines things or reads too much into things and gets mad about them. The worst time of all was on her birthday in 2004. Her boyfriend had come to stay the night (he lived quite far away from us) and they had both had some wine with dinner. Later on my mum got angry with him because she said that he was looking at my sister. It’s worth mentioning at this time she was 16 and he was in no way interested in her like that, my mum is insanely insecure and jealous. She freaked out and started hitting him and threw a vase at him. My sister and I were in a complete state of shock, we’d never, ever experienced anything like this before. I can’t ever remember my mum and dad even arguing with raised voices, let alone physical violence. She was trying to hit him and he tried to hold her away and we just didn’t know what to do. My sister and I ran outside in tears and in the panic we decided to call the police because the amount of screaming and smashing made us seriously think that one of them could get injured or worse. They came round eventually but the argument had calmed down by that point, her bf was sitting in his car – he couldn’t drive home because he’d been drinking. The policeman told us that when he went into the house, my mum offered him a piece of cake, that’s how drunk she was.

When we dared to return, my mum yelled and screamed at my sister for calling the police, but what else could we do? When she is drunk like that, I honestly think she could end up killing someone. She stormed off upstairs, packed a bag and walked out saying that she was going to move out and live with her sister. I was seeing my life fall apart in front of my eyes. I had no idea what I was going to do, I’d been hoping to get things back on track after dropping out of uni because of yet-to-be diagnosed anxiety earlier in the year but it seemed everything was exploding right in front of me. I sat at the outside table and cried more than I ever have before. I wept like I was mourning the death of a loved one and I was shaking in full panic attack mode. Above everything else I wanted to comfort my sister, she was only a child and no child should be subjected to that, blamed for that outburst of idiocy. My memory is hazy after that but I remember waking up in my bed with my clothes on from the previous night. When I dared to venture downstairs, my mother and her boyfriend were sitting there like nothing had happened, like it was some hideous nightmare I had. They were opening her presents and playing at happy families but I could never look at her the same again.

I can never forgive her for what she did to my sister. Although she is very resilient (far more than me) I think it hurt her badly too. We haven’t spoken about it much since, except with knowing glances whenever my mum has a glass of wine. My mum hugged me and said “I’m sorry” but that didn’t really cut it. I don’t think our relationship has been the same since. I used to trust her absolutely, she was someone I always loved and never hurt me but that was the worst day of my life and she scarred me forever.

In the following 2 weeks, I had the strangest sensation I have ever experienced. I felt like I wasn’t quite there and I was kind of on autopilot. Words came out of my mouth and I walked around but it wasn’t me who was in control. I later learned that this is called depersonalisation and is a recognised psychological symptom of anxiety. We were planning to go on holiday the following week and it did happen, though I feel like I wasn’t really there for it. Luckily she refrained from drinking for the week. After we came back, it wasn’t long before they broke up, unsurprisingly. Ironically (well it’s not really irony, I know but I can’t think of the right word) it was the day I was starting college after being out of education since my acrimonious departure from university, so when I needed the most support, my mum was off work crying her eyes out because she’d been dumped. Marvellous.

Since then, I’ve never felt the desire to get drunk. I never want to behave like she did and still does (although to a much lesser extent thankfully). I used to kid myself and pretend I was above it all and I’d think to myself that people were sad if they needed to be drunk to have a good time. Of course now I’m the ultimate example of someone who has a chemical dependancy in order to even be capable of going out of the house. I never made my holier than thou attitude public, in case you think that is one of the reasons for my unpopularity by the way.

I’ll leave it here for now because this post is almost essay length already and it’s nearly 3am. I hope you enjoy this insight into the fucked up world that is my life.

Fear and "What I want"

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I was just reading Ruby’s latest post at her blog and it relates to something I’ve been worried about for a long time, even since before I first sought medical help for my problems. I’m scared that I will, once I reveal the extent and massive effects of my craziness, be told that there is nothing that can be done for me. I’m already skeptical about my chances, certainly none of the self help books or mental health professionals I’ve seen so far have any useful suggestions or even concept of what my life is like if I’m perfectly honest. What can almost be considered a standard text on social anxiety,
Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness, doesn’t offer me any real solutions. It seems to start from the premise that you are involved in social activities and similar things already but you just find them to be anxiety provoking. So far I haven’t found any useful advice for people who have been relentlessly told they are not good enough and therefore totally withdrew from society and are now socially stunted, massively inexperienced and have little to no self esteem.

All the books or website that I’ve read only seem to focus on one area, where as I feel like I have 3 main problems that feed off and cause one another to become worse; social anxiety/phobia, depression and chronically low self-esteem. It seems like the treatment for any one of these relies on doing something that the others make incredibly difficult, if not impossible. I have found many guides for overcoming depression, for example, that explain how you shouldn’t isolate yourself and it’s important to carry on seeing friends and going out. Now that isn’t really an option if you don’t have any friends, is it? 

I find the main causes for my depressive episodes are; that I hate my appearance so much and I know it can’t be changed enough to make a difference, I have no friends, I don’t know how to make friends or interact socially, I’ve wasted my life and have no valuable experience or achievements, I’m ridiculously undeveloped and immature for my age, I crave love and affection but know that I will never have either, I know what it takes to be successful and that I am/have none of those things, I feel guilty because I have a comparatively easy life and some people would give anything for the opportunities I have. Lots of these also contribute to my anxiety and low self-esteem. It’s hard to put yourself into social situations when you believe that people smirking at you are trying to suppress laughter, as has happened to me before. I look in the mirror and see a hideously ugly, disgusting person. I simply cannot imagine anyone looking at me and not thinking the same. I’ll admit (because I’d like to think that I am at least honest, if nothing else) that sometimes I do the false modesty thing, but I’m really not kidding or exaggerating about this. It’s unfathomable that anyone could not find me at least highly unpleasant to look at. Now I know that there are uglier people out there, and some of them have even found somebody that loves them, but you must have to have a lot of other good qualities to make up for that.

Being quiet and severely unconfident already puts me way down in the attractiveness stakes, being hideous as well puts me pretty much at the bottom of the barrel. Both in friendly and romantic terms. Nobody wants to be friends with a boring, quiet, repulsive loner. People make assumptions about you from who you associate with, no-one wants the burden of a retard like me hanging around. 

This all weighs heavily on my mind, I don’t believe in fate or anything like that, but I am intelligent enough to know where my life is heading, pretty much. There are people I knew of in school, I always knew they’d be successful and now they are. There are some who turned out to be not so successful, as I imagined. Maybe they’re happy having to look after children at such a young age, who knows? I’m trying not to come off as a judgemental bastard here, but let’s be honest, things are unlikely to change for me at this late stage in my development as a person.

At the psychiatrists, CBT assessment and various other times, I have been asked a question which I find unreasonably difficult to answer; “What do you want? How would you like to be different?”. I think I make things harder for myself and mental health professionals because I know what goes on behind the curtain. I’ll make it clear now, I really don’t know. I couldn’t say for sure at the moment. The way I make things more difficult though, is because I know that if I said something like (random example) I wanted to be able to perform on stage, then they’d set that as some kind of long term goal and make me do things to work towards that.

Trying to think what I want is a tiring and mostly pointless exercise at the moment. If we’re talking magic and time machines stuff, then I’d like to not have been born, please. There’s nothing I’ve ever experienced in life that makes it worth living through all the shit. I don’t see why it’s valued so much (I often wonder if everyone is as depressed as me but far better at dealing with/ignoring it sometimes). More practically (ignoring a lethal dose of heroin shot into my veins) I’m very uncertain and can only think of abstract things such as I’d like friends. It seem pointless to say such a thing though, “friends” aren’t some item that can be bought from the shops, I suppose what I really mean is that I’d like to have a personality and be rid of all the repulsive attributes about myself that make me impossible to like. I want to want to live, if that makes sense.

I can’t go back in time, so most of what I really want is out of the question. I’d like to have had friends as a teenager. I’d like to have gone out to the movies, bowling, whatever it is that young people do before they start buying cider and getting pissed in the local park. I’d like to have known what is what like to feel anything other than unrequited love for a girl. To have belonged. Maybe I wouldn’t be the twisted wreck of a human that I am now. 

I can’t think of where I can go from here. I guess I’d like to graduate but it won’t change how much of a loser I am. I’ll never be able to make up that lost time. By the time I graduate, most people my age will probably have careers and be starting families and doing all that kind of “grown up” thing that people nearing their 30’s do. I don’t know what kind of woman would accept a man with less dating experience than the average 12 year old. 

Apologies, I seem to have rambled on far longer than I intended to.

Deterioration

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I’ve been feeling awful for the past week, I mean really bad – I’ve been planning my suicide seriously. As my university start date gets closer I can’t help thinking about what a disaster it will be if I decide to go. I’m going to struggle for money because I’m having to pay all of the tuition fee myself since they wouldn’t give me a loan for it. I did plan on getting a job as soon as I get there but given how hard it’s been for me to even be considered for an interview over the past 18 months, I wouldn’t hold out too much hope. Then there’s all the other social stuff, I don’t know if I can handle rejection and being a laughing stock to everyone again, I’ve had enough of that at school and work. The course itself is going to be hard, but that’s really the least of my worries.

My life will not be worth living if I can’t get a degree, I’ve already decided that I’m not carrying on living if I can’t go to university now. I cannot stand another year of this, it would be too much. I told someone this, and they said why am I not doing everything I can to get help and go to uni then? The truth is, like I said in my previous post, I truly hate myself and I don’t think that my life is going to turn out any different from the horrible drudgery that it has been for the past 20 years.

Always being alone and unwanted by anyone is a difficult existence. It infuriates me when I hear people say things like “I’ve been single for months now” as if they should be pitied. I have never been loved or found attractive by anyone, I find it hard to pity others when I am fundamentally disgusting and unloveable myself. I’ve never known the happiness of having someone care for me and having someone to care about, I haven’t even ever held a girls hand, let alone kissed anyone. Pretty pathetic for a 23 year old and I doubt things are going to get better, I simply become more of a freak with each passing day.

I don’t want to be saved, and I don’t understand why people insist that I should try to prolong this miserable existence for as long as I can. There is nothing to look forward to except more disappointment. Disappointing my parents with my failures, constant isolation, watching everyone else get on with life and having fun while I just sit here wishing to be dead.

I am a horribly bitter and jealous person now. I feel awful whenever I see people out with friends, and especially couples. It seems as though everyone has at least a little pleasure to look forward too no matter how hard their life is, at least they get to experience friendship and love. I know that I have things a thousand times better than most, I have a roof over my head and food to eat, but it is hard to feel happy when that is it. No living person outside my family cares whether I live or die, I have no experience of intimacy or sharing my thoughts with others. Most people would find it hard to imagine not having a single friend in their teenage or adult life so they probably can’t understand how crushing the loneliness is for me. I recently made a poll on an SA forum that I visit, and even compared to other SA sufferers, I am in the extreme minority because I have gone out to places with people (besides family) less than 5 times since I was 13. Someone there even made fun of me because of it, even to other socially anxious people I am a target for mockery because of my social inadequacy.

Tonight might be the night it all ends, I haven’t decided for sure yet. I’ll have to wait until my mum goes out anyway. Time to finish those notes.

Reality Sinking In

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I got my university accommodation contract to sign this weekend and I have to phone up and pay my deposit tomorrow. This has brought home the reality of the situation to me, I will be leaving the house that I’ve lived in since 1991 and I thought I would probably waste away in. I am so scared about being on my own. I have not lived away from home before and I am starting to doubt how well I am going to cope. I really want to do this and get my degree, I don’t think I’d want to live if I drop out again, I’ll never have a third chance. 

An internet friend of mine told me that there will be other people there who aren’t into the whole partying and drunkenness thing like me, but I find it incredibly hard to believe. I can just envisage myself being an outcast because I don’t like that sort of thing, not to mention all my other shortcomings and weirdness. It seems like that is one of the main reasons people look forward to going to university for, and I am so worried about appearing stuck up or holier than thou for not wanting to be involved with that. I don’t look down on people or think I’m better than them (quite the opposite in fact) but from what I’ve read on the internet, non-drinkers are almost universally reviled.