New year, same crap

It’s a sorry state of affairs when someone is nice to you and your brain goes WARNING WARNING DON’T GET ATTACHED. That said, part of me is grateful for that warning, like I’ve just subverted a threat. A friendly woman (who I’ve known a little while) was caring towards me, and it becomes an attack. Stupid brain.

I’ve been reading through some of my old posts here, and current me seems pretty similar to old me so there’s a lot of solidarity high-fiving going on. In particular I’m drawn to that post I wrote when my old care-coordinator finally understood why I was suicidal (‘A strange kind of closure‘) – because I didn’t look forward to anything – and that’s something I said to Dr T yesterday.

Life is just endless cycles of stress. Get anxious about A, go through A, get anxious about B…etc etc. Even holidays make me stressed, so I don’t have any, which probably makes me ill.

I don’t expect to find a job I truly and thoroughly enjoy. Why should I? My one true, lifelong passion, to write science fiction, is over before it began; my creativity died long ago. I’m not interested in relationships.

I’m here because I have duties, to people like my parents, and I’m here because of the meds; the lithium dampens the suicide ideation, and the mirtazapine knocks me out so at least I can be unconscious if I’m not at work. Literally, I wake up, go to work, come home, and take the mirtazapine as soon as it’s socially acceptable for me to do so (I have housemates). I kill any time in-between with Tetris (I may not be cool, but I do have quick reflexes).

Is this a life at all?

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Monday moaning

Life plods on, no matter how good or bad it is. And it really sucks, because if you think about it, your lifespan is a finite thing, and it ticks away regardless of whether or not you want it to. Aspects of your life, or maybe even pretty much your whole life, might be wrong/uncomfortable, making the time that passes ‘bad times’, but you can’t get it back.

I suppose I’ve just described the basis of many motivational posters. And yet I am not motivated. On the contrary, I don’t know what to change or how to change it, nor do I even really believe that change works, if indeed I am capable of it…and suddenly suicide ideation becomes mightily attractive.

(To be honest, there’s not a lot a freak act of nature wouldn’t solve for me right now. Just saying).

The outlook is not bright at the moment.

Tails: Subjective

I function, but only physically. Mentally, I’m drowning. Screaming. Crying. Everything, all at once. I increasingly feel a strong need to hurt myself; to have bruises and blood and cuts to mirror how I feel on the inside. Physical pain just seems to appropriate. Necessary.

The dregs of hope are gurgling down the drain. In my last therapy session I expressed this, and Dr T said he believed I was improving. He listed the specific improvements he was referring to. And it dawned on me that these were the EXACT SAME things he would have listed a year ago. Two years ago.

Nothing changes, except for the scenery. A job. New friends. But the illness, the blackness, it remains.

And I know what that means. I know what I should do. But I don’t think I can try again, and so I just hate myself even more for being so weak, and so trapped by consequences. The blackness roars, and the ‘wrongness’ of this situation won’t leave me. I know that every breath and every heartbeat is a mistake, but it happens anyway.

I was on a train this weekend which was delayed due to someone committing suicide on the track. An old woman next to me starting talking in angry tones about how she couldn’t understand why someone would do that; her son had died in his twenties of some awful disease, and she found it disgusting that someone would voluntarily give up the years her son should have had. I tried to defend the ‘jumper’, saying we didn’t know what was going on in his or her head. But the woman brushed that aside, and I couldn’t bring myself to argue.

I feel like I am a walking contradiction.

An old feeling

Today when I left work, something about the sunshine we’re currently enjoying here made me feel really, really sad. Somehow I find myself right back in touch with how I’ve felt at some of my worst moments – and I’m not talking about being suicidal, but instead the layer of sadness that seems to settle over everything, adding weight to your shoulders.

In theory, I should be feeling pretty good right now, because my future employment is looking more secure than it has done for a while. I’m reasonably healthy. I have plans to see a friend this weekend.

But in reality I feel…strange, in a bad way. The summer sun was making everything prettier, and making people glow, but I wasn’t part of it. The closest analogy I can think of would be knowing that the sunlight is making everyone else’s skin warm, but when the light falls on you, you feel nothing.

This bad feeling hurts. It really hurts. In this moment I can empathise completely with my past suicidal self.

I’m not really sure what to do.

The game changer

I have to write, right here, and right now. If I don’t, I might start crying (and that’s just unacceptable…). I guess you could say I’m in a post-therapy spin; a spin with a sprinkling of deja-vu.

So, let’s back-track. A few months ago, I unwittingly found a new way to cope with depression; I started believing that my life would end (naturally) in a week or two, which meant I didn’t have to bother thinking about the big scary future thing. It worked for a while, but when I realised what I was doing, and discussed it in therapy, I made the decision to put that little delusion behind me and commit to having a real future. That commitment took the form of financial planning, improving my social life etc…

…and then bam, I was told that my work contract would not be renewed (as I was initially led to believe it was), and suddenly the future was ‘dangerous’ and ‘too scary’, and all the *I don’t want to think about it/I want to curl up under a rock* defences kicked in, and I was back to the two-week life expectancy deal. Roll on today’s therapy session.

It was excruciating, because within the first ten minutes we reached a position where all Dr T could do was sit and wait for me to decide to commit to life again. And I didn’t want to. I really, really didn’t want to.

It was also excruciating because we’ve been in this position before, and I know how it plays out. If I don’t commit to life, the only alternative is to commit to death, and suicide presents problems of its own that means it isn’t really an option. So, I end up having to commit to life, after a childish period of holding out and wishing everything and everyone would just go away. Dr T sits, and waits patiently. We both know what I’m eventually going to say, which makes it all the harder for me to say it.

But today brought something new. A game-changer. The depressive thought I have that undermines every attempt to think about having a positive future is that I’m broken. I believe that as I fell ill with depression, something changed in my head, which makes me notice every life-opportunity for positive change, sucking the potential meaning/happiness out of the experience of it (for example, I knew getting a job was supposed to generate meaning and self-worth, and now two months into employment, none of this has materialised). I believe this change is irreversible, and dooms me to a life of depression. But Dr T says it isn’t.

This hadn’t occurred to me. Dr T could be wrong, or lying etc, but if he is right, and I’m really not broken permanently, it would be a mistake to do anything other than try again at building a future.

The choice was made. I had to ask Dr T to stop smiling (if we were following a script, the stage directions would have read ‘Slow clapping from the audience as MQ finally makes the inevitable choice‘). And now I have to deal with this.

I’m scared. Scared of finding new employment, of ageing, of making mistakes, and pretty much everything else there is to possibly be scared of. But somewhere inside me is a very tentative belief that maybe it could work out.

What scares me more than any of that is how close I remain to the danger zone; it would be so, so easy to go back down the suicidal road if I fell. While Dr T is around and I can afford to keep seeing him, that’s not a problem. But if he goes, or I run out of money…well, it scares me enough that I don’t want to expand on that, and I HATE that this stinks of dependency. I need to have a think about this.

Hammering on the door

In my last post I wrote about my instinctive short-term view of the future; that I have an underlying assumption that I only have a couple of weeks ‘left’, helping me to get through each day by knowing I don’t have too many more. Again let me stress that I’m not suicidal. I don’t need to be. This instinct tells me nature will take care of everything.

Except, it isn’t. It hasn’t. I’m still here, and ‘reality’ is hammering on the door. I’ve run out of money; I haven’t been inclined to save or be at all frugal since this imminent-departure theory grew somewhere in the depths of my brain, and now I’m stretching my overdraft to the limit (and lets not mention the credit card bill…).

Today I told Dr T about my theory, and while he understands it, he also says I’m going to have to part ways with it. Be brave. Think about the future. Think about employment, and saving money, and relationships etc etc.

I don’t think I can. If I try, I want to scream.

But if I reject Dr T’s encouragement, I can’t just go back to waiting for my two weeks/month to be up. Technically it’s at least three times overdue. For some reason, nature isn’t doing it’s thing. No sudden illness, no accident, no nothing. I know I should probably take care of it myself, but I have a record of making a right mess of it, which only makes things worse.

So I’m stuck. Part of my brain tells me I’m going to have to grit my teeth and try and more actively seek recovery, even if that means opening up to the idea of a ‘future’. Another part says ‘Hell no’. It’s neighbour tells me to keep waiting, but now I can’t afford to.

No one wins. Let the broken record play on.

Bare truths

The weirdness continues – the low mood that seems to follow me around like a shadow, but doesn’t quite touch me. The symptoms are adding up; in addition to the things I mentioned yesterday, I’m strongly drawn to non-cheerful TV programmes (I’m currently alternating between The Walking Dead and House), sad songs stick in my head, and my self-harm urges are building. Big time. My sleep is broken by unpleasant dreams, so waking early is almost a relief. Sometimes I feel sick, and sometimes I have no appetite at all.

I got a letter today informing me that I have an appointment to see my psychiatrist on Christmas Eve…I think this is a good thing. I find the Christmas period really hard to get through, but if I know I have to go to the hospital on the 24th I can pretend Christmas isn’t even here until the day itself.

It occurred to me earlier to try an exercise – to write a list of truths, about things relevant to what I share in this blog. Bare truths, with minimal thinking. Whatever comes to mind…

  1. I am mentally ill. The specific label is always in flux (based around ‘depression’), but that clinical term will never quite capture the details of this illness. I’ve fallen out of sync with the ‘normal’ world, but I haven’t fallen so far that no one can see me – the WordPress community has taught me that.
  2. For me, the future does not exist beyond the next month. While I’ve lost the worst of the suicide ideation, I’ve believed for a while that my life span probably doesn’t stretch all that far ahead of me.
  3. I am alone, but not lonely. I have friends and I have family, but my social life has shrunk dramatically, and that suits me now that I hold everyone away at a distance…
  4. ...because I lie a lot. They aren’t malicious lies so I don’t feel guilty about it; they’re lies to stop people worrying. I’d feel guilty if I didn’t do this.
  5. I’m terrified of dependency on anyone, to the point that I damage my relationships with people to ‘protect’ myself.
  6. I don’t hate myself. I don’t love myself either, but I don’t hate myself. I’m fine with who I am, I don’t have huge regrets, and I wouldn’t change the things I’ve done in the past – they make me who I am.

Six straight truths, two secrets, and one confession. I think this list really sums me up at the moment.