Some brilliant news

Having finished my university exams a few weeks back, I’ve just received the results: I’m graduating with a 2:1 !!!!!! Anyone who followed my blog during the exam period will know why this result is hard to believe; I was going through a terrible low patch, and struggled to do any kind of revision. Turning up was thought to be the real achievement, and I felt I knew I was going to have to be happy with any degree at all.

I can’t stop smiling, and after those difficult months of suicide ideation and general misery I’m going to do my best to hold onto this. I think it says something really encouraging about my brain – despite all the times I declare it to be broken, in truth it must be really good in some ways if I can get a 2:1 with very little revision.

It’s a low 2:1, so I haven’t met the requirements to take up my place to study MPhil Criminology, but I decided a while ago I wasn’t mentally healthy enough to dive straight into another year of academia. Let the job hunting begin!

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The window opens

I sat my last exam yesterday, and now I’m done with academia – goodbye undergrad, hello unemployment. 

To my immense surprise, when I left the exam building suddenly people were cheering my name, and I had friends there waiting to shower me with confetti and silly string. I couldn’t believe it. Originally my brother was supposed to be coming, but he bailed the night before, so I wasn’t expecting anyone at all, and it was a bit of a sore subject so I was just going to slink away. But no, I didn’t need to. People came to celebrate with me.

I can’t tell you how much that meant. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider myself friend-less at all, but my ‘network’ is small, and I didn’t think it was particularly strong. Not in my uni town, after Jane’s slander.

So that meant last night went a lot better than I expected. In the exam hall when the invigilator told us to stop writing, everyone was smiling but I was quiet, aware of a dual meaning of ‘time’s up’. But the depressive forces gave me a night off, and I’m grateful for that. 

I’ve done all my exams. I kept my promise. 

Now I’m getting ready to go to my parents’ home for the weekend. I don’t have the words to describe how scared I am at the thought of things I need to say to my parents, albeit silently. I don’t know what’s going to happen next week, but my head is telling me to be prepared for ‘endgame’. I don’t want to mentally be saying ‘goodbye’, or ‘thank you’, or ‘I’m so sorry’. I will see Dr T and my GP on Wednesday as agreed, and I will be as honest as I can, but two years on I don’t know what difference their words can make anymore. 

The window opens.

I expect it’s going to hang on whether or not my mood swings low.

And take a breath

I’m pleased to report that I’m feeling a little better; the last few days have been horrible mood-wise, but in therapy today I was able to share the depth of this with Dr T, and he didn’t brush it aside like he did in our last session. It always surprises me how much sharing your struggles can help you cope with them. Unfortunately they haven’t disappeared, but they don’t seem to carry as much weight. It feels like I’m having a breather.

I have one exam left, which is on Friday afternoon. I’m slightly ashamed to say I effectively wrote-off my last exam; stuck in a nasty low, I wasn’t able to revise at all, so I just showed up to the exam hall and did what I could off the top of my head. It couldn’t be helped. Now I’ve seen Dr T though I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things before the next exam.

I’m still terrified by the thought of what happens after exams; part of my brain screams at me to get rid of my bottle of X while I’m halfway stable, but I don’t have the motivation to follow that through. I don’t know if the low mood is going to drag me back under, or if I’ll feel better with all the exams out of the way. Perhaps it’ll be a mix of both.

The only other piece of news is that Dr T reckons that ‘zoning out’ I’ve been experiencing recently is a form of disassociation. That’s kind of new for me, but ‘detaching from reality’ sounds spot on. 

Eating me from the inside out

I don’t fully understand what’s going on with me right now; all I know for sure is that it feels horrific, as I tried to express in last night’s post.

I’m not sure how to describe this, but I keep…zoning out. Before, I’ve had instances where my brain almost literally seems to take a break, but this is different – I start spacing out, and then the world goes all fuzzy, and I wonder if I’m going to faint, although it’s not the same as being dizzy like in the old antipsychotic days. And now I’m not on any meds except propranolol, which I highly doubt could be the culprit here, so I’m wondering if there’s something psychosomatic going on. But hey, what do I know – I don’t even know if this paragraph makes sense. 

As per usual, I can’t concentrate on anything, except now the ’empty time’ is filled with tears. Tears at the immense pain, and the thought of what I’m building myself up to do. The goodbyes, and all those other words that will never be enough. But I haven’t properly cried (I make the distinction when my breathing changes, so tears alone don’t count). 

Sadly though, I came very, very close to crying today. I had an appointment with my GP this afternoon, who has always been a trusty support. He insisted I made an appointment to see him during the exam period because he knows I still have my bottle of X, and he’s (rightly) worried about me using it once exams have finished. I think what I wanted out of this appointment was to vent – as I’ve said, I feel like I’m drowning at the moment, and my GP is one of only a small handful of people in my life who can appreciate what that feels like. Obviously I wouldn’t tell him about the ‘plan’, but I desperately needed to express at least some of this pain, if only for a minute.

Cue disappointment when I was asked how exams were going, and was then shown the door (albeit with instructions to make another appointment for after exams). 

I feel like I don’t exist as a person struggling with depression; in the eyes of those around me, I’m a ‘student doing exams’. And this is such deja vu – back when I was writing my dissertation, I was only ‘interesting’ in respect to how much I’d written, and how much I had left to do. Any other kind of struggle, or element to my existence, just didn’t exist. At least Dr T didn’t treat me like that…and yet following last week, it’s like he’s abandoning me now. 

I don’t have anyone left. 

Depression is eating me from the inside out, and I can’t contain it. And yet somehow I need to contain it for five more days.

Part of my brain tells me that the second my last exam finishes, I need to go to hospital, either directly or via Dr T. But other parts of my brain remind me that all that achieves is me being trapped for longer in an existence I no longer want. 

I think I might be cracking out the sleeping pills tonight. I don’t know what else to do.

I’m stuck

I am ever-so-slightly freaking out. I have an exam in 9 hours time, and about two or three hours of work left to do before I can consider myself even halfway ready. The sooner I do it, the sooner I can go to bed, and the more sleep I’ll get (I’m already feeling like a zombie)…

…and yet, I can’t bring myself to do anything except stare.

Bad thoughts are smothering me, and I can feel the cloud weighing me down. It’s penetrating my brain, turning blood to a sticky ooze that slows everything. Am I already just too tired to work? Maybe. Or maybe I’m too tired to hold back the things I’m hiding from. I’m proud of myself for being strong and largely managing to ignore my mental health crap for the last few days, but it’s been one hell of an effort, and I can feel it failing.

It doesn’t help that tomorrow’s exam is really important to Prof A. It’s her paper, and she wants me to do well. Pressure.

I don’t want to do this work – I want to turn out the lights and sleep. But if I do that I throw tomorrow’s exam away. Something else inside me wants to scream. Or cry. Or cause physical pain. Or run. But as much as they appeal, I won’t.

Come on fate, intervene. Knock me out/give me some drive/tell me what to do and give me the ability to do it.

Not the best start to the day

Today is one of those days where I’m running on empty. I had a grand total of three hours sleep last night mostly thanks to revising, and today’s exam paper was awful so all that work didn’t amount to very much.  I hate it when you revise a topic, and then the exam asks for an essay on a tiny part of it. You end up desperately dredging your brain for information, and I ended up writing some rather disturbing things about ducks (post-mating sexual selection essay) that I’m too scared to Google and check incase I’ve misremembered them and look crazier than I actually am to the examiners!

But, it’s a miracle I could go to the exam at all, because I woke up at 5am this morning with HORRENDOUS *time of the month* pains (of course). I’ve inherited this from my Mum, and every two or three months it’ll be so bad I’m curled up on my bed, groaning and rocking in the foetal position. I think I’d swap for another trapped gallstone.

For some reason today the ibuprofen wasn’t helping, and after an hour of desperately willing it to work I started panicking about this morning’s exam – I couldn’t go if I was unable to sit still/moaning all the time, but I could hardly phone up uni and explain the situation. In the end a little cocktail of painkillers did the trick and I was able to attend, so that was relief. Now I’m just tired, and I need to prepare a whole subject from scratch for tomorrow. Joy.

Happy Thursday everyone

Distracted

My brain decided not to get with the programme today; I’ve never been so distracted in an exam. My attention was literally anywhere other than on my paper. I watched other people working hard, I watched the invigilators marching around, and I stared at the scars on my arm for a long time (our uni makes us wear a uniform for exams, and my arms are exposed). I stared at the clock. I stared at the genetics questions that I struggled to answer, and at my half-written, and then abandoned, answers. 

I don’t know why. Genetics has been my nemesis for the duration of this course, and I could have been much better prepared, but neither of those facts were dragging my eyes away from my desk.

I saw Jane before the exam began, but I don’t think my distraction was her fault. As an invigilator asked us to enter the hall I briefly turned and saw her standing a few metres behind me, and I immediately turned back to face the front. I don’t know if she saw me. And I certainly didn’t like seeing her, but it didn’t bother me too much. I’m not alone in the ‘holding area’; it turns out my classmates don’t mind me saying hi and standing by them. 

Is my distraction a lack of interest? Am I back to the classic ‘disinterest in the future’ of old; the fight I’ve lost so many times? Thinking about it, it could well be this. I’m two days into a fortnight of exams, and I’m generally unprepared due to starting revision only a few days ago, so this is going to be 14 days of relentless cramming. Tiring in the extreme, but fine. Regular readers will know that I’ve been worried about what comes after; potentially ‘the end’, and if not ‘the end’, nothing I’m looking forward to. 

So there we have it: inattention in exams, partly because they’re draining my energy, and partly because there’s a good chance this is all going to mean nothing. It seems ridiculous that I’m even doing exams, but again, I’ve posted my reason. I won’t be misunderstood, even if that means putting up with the current slog. 

Tomorrow is a day off exams, and I have therapy. For some reason, this terrifies me. I may have to filter out some of the truth.