Illness and Depression

One of the things I struggle with when I’m physically sick is depression. Right now I’m fighting off a sinus & chest infection and I’m taking up a lot of my energy to not spiral down into the mental dumps. The thing that bothers me the most is that I’m forced to take time off work. I hate having to take time off work for illness, it’s just something that wracks me with guilt even though I legitimately shouldn’t be at work.

Here is how it’s going in my mind – “It’s only a little cold, man up and go to work”. But in reality it’s not just a “little cold” in reality I’ve been up half the night coughing and gasping for air. I can’t talk for any period of time without descending into a painful coughing fit. My lungs and stomach ache from all the coughing. The doctor has prescribed me antibiotics, and ordered me to have bed rest at least until Friday.

And yet, I still dragged myself into work today because I hate taking a “sick day”. I’m not a workaholic, I’m really really not. I just have an impossibly high personal work ethic that doesn’t include sick leave. But apparently it doesn’t matter what I think I can do – my boss has (and I’d say rightly so if it were anyone else but me) sent me home. And while my body is glad for it – my soul-eater aspect is starting to needle it’s way into my consciousness and attempt to convince me that the people at work think I’m just slacking off, and are talking about me behind my back. That all I’m going to be remembered for is the girl who faked being sick.

Yes I know it’s ridiculous, but I know myself well enough to know that the thoughts I have aren’t always logical and definitely not necessarily healthy. But I also know how powerful my mind is, and how it can make me believe practically anything it wants me to. It’s really quite annoying on one hand, knowing one thing but on the other still persisting in believing something totally different. This is where the fracturing of my mind into different aspects is really stressful.

Please excuse this abrupt ending, I need to lie down.

Today The Loneliness Hurts A Little

I’m feeling a little melancholic today and I’m not really sure why. I’m not depressed (not yet anyway) it’s just that there is a little heaviness in my heart. I think it’s the fact it’s getting close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It really sucks feeling lonely at this time of year.

Three of my team mates at work became engaged over the past couple of months and so they do a lot of gossiping about their upcoming weddings and all the plans they are making. I’m not jealous, I’m really, really, not. I don’t want to get married, not really. It just seems like too much of a hassle and too much money to invest into a single event.

I just want someone to love me. But I know that can’t happen until I love myself. I really don’t have the energy to devote to anyone else when I am still so fragile. And I can’t honestly say that I have any love for myself. I don’t hate so much anymore, but I’m still a long way from love. Indifference I think it where I am at in my feelings about myself. Oscillating between sheer indifference and vague dislike.

And until I can find at least a shred of love to give to myself, there is no way I could even begin to let another person into my life. That would be dishonest and irresponsible. I couldn’t expect anyone to love me when I haven’t any for myself. But how do you make yourself love something you are so heavily programmed to have negative feelings towards? That is something I don’t yet have an answer to, but I’ll keep looking I guess.

Unfortunately logic and rationality doesn’t ease the nagging sadness in my heart.

I Choose This Life (But I Don’t Approve)

I often write my blog sitting alone on my bed. Tonight it occurred to me that though I’m drawn to spending all my spare time in bed, it’s a place haunted by misery and pain. It holds the painful memories of sharing it with the person I loved more than anything. It is a constant reminder of the emptiness both in my bed and in my heart.

I am lonely. I hate admitting that because I consciously choose to make my life this way. I choose to exile myself from the world. But even though I choose this path, it doesn’t exactly make me happy. It’s so difficult to explain. I don’t like being around people – they don’t understand me. They don’t think the way that I do or feel the way that I do. So I withdraw from the world. I lock myself away, thereby creating my loneliness.

Why would I choose loneliness? I think it’s because reality doesn’t compare with my imagination. I know it sounds like I have incredibly high expectations, impossible ideals, but why would I settle for harsh reality? Why would I settle when my inner life has so much more to offer me? If I can lose myself in my imaginary world for long enough I can conjure up peace: both of mind and soul.

It gets harder to leave the sanctuary of my imaginary world. The disappointment of reality burdens my heart. When I’m in the real world I am painfully aware of my loneliness and heartache. I’m aware that I don’t have a connection to someone special, that my heart isn’t entwined with another. So it’s too easy to retreat into my fantasy world, where I can dream up perfect love and perfect acceptance.

This loneliness always goes the same way. I’m (half heartedly) trying to convince myself that I am in love with someone who … ugh I don’t even want to explain this because it’s too embarrassing to admit even to myself. He is a person who exists on earth. But he doesn’t know me, I don’t even really know him. We’ve not actually met, not actually spoken to each other – but I’m infatuated with his voice, his eyes, his crooked grin. Honestly he may as well be imaginary because he is just so out of my reach.

And it’s even more hilarious (in the most self insulting way possible) that I’m acknowledging this train of thought. Clearly I’m not in love with him. I’m just lonely, so I imagine and project these false feelings onto him because he is unattainable. And by falling in love with the impossible I’m protecting my vulnerability. Because in my warped mind it’s better to be hurt by loving someone who doesn’t even know you exist, than it is to entrust your heart to a real person and risk them breaking it.

Thus I am in a perpetual circle of hurt and loneliness. I justify my self-imposed exile with the belief that if I put myself in reality I’d only end up hurt and lonely anyway. This circular “reasoning” is so draining. I put the word reasoning in quotation marks – because clearly the turmoil inside my head doesn’t have even a single iota of reason about it. Nothing about what I have typed is reasonable – except maybe my admission that this entire post is unreasonable.

Round and Round the Carousel of Hell.

I’ve been a lot more anxious recently. So much so that my psych has temporarily increased my meds dosage to help me get by and sleep at night. At least this time I know and understand what my trigger is – my 8 year old son. I mentioned a few posts ago that he’s recently been diagnosed with an overlap of ASD & ADHD, and that at least I know what I am working with now.

However recently his behaviour has been going backwards at home and most noticeably at school. He’s been devolving into very toddler like temper tantrums of crying and shouting and banging his head. He’d not done these things to this extent since the first half of the year. It coincides with his finishing up at a program held at another school last term. He spent 2 days a week for 2 school terms at the other school where they focussed on behaviour and social and emotional skills. It was a small group of six kids. There were 2 teachers plus a handful of helpers, so he had lots of one on one attention on those days.

During that time he’d really matured, and stopped having these ‘meltdowns’. But since the program ended he’s started to slip. I think it’s because at his school he doesn’t have someone dedicated to bringing back his focus when he loses it. It’s not possible for the teacher to give her undivided attention to him. So his excessive energy gets him out of control, he can’t come back down and it’s hell for him, his teacher and the rest of the class. And it’s showing at home too.

We go back to the paediatrician in 3 weeks time, and hopefully she will have a strategy in place to help him deal with the ADHD (and as an extension hopefully also the ASD). But until then, having a diagnosis isn’t helping as much as I imagined it would.

I haven’t been sleeping. I’ve been anxious, and stressed, losing my temper quickly. Unable to think straight. I’m exhausted. I’m snappy. I’ve been digging my fingernails into my palms, leaving them bruised and sore. The rubber band on my wrist hasn’t been helping me much. My wrist has dark shadows of bruising mixed with angry red welts where I’ve snapped the band so hard. But it’s not bringing the relief that it should. I’m one or two steps away from playing with knives … and I don’t want to go down that blackhole.

Hopefully the med increase will help me out. It had better because I’m getting closer and closer to the edge. I’ve told my ex that if he doesn’t help me more with the kids and what’s going on it will come to a point where I dump them on him and take off and never come back … or I end up in hospital, or dead. I love my kids with all my heart, but I can’t sustain the stress of raising them all on my own, of coping with the problems they have in addition to my own illness.

I hate that my threshold for coping under duress is so much lower than other people. But it’s just the way that I’m wired. I can’t change it, no matter how guilty I may feel about it. And I judge myself more harshly than anyone could ever judge me. And I’d never ever presume to judge anyone to the same degree of harshness I apply to myself.

And the stress of what’s going on with my kids, coupled with my inability to cope – triggers my guilt over my inability to cope. And round and round the carousel of hell goes. A never ending cycle of anxiety and self blame, triggering more anxiety and self blame.

et cetera. ad nauseam.

I Went Out Last Night.

I haven’t been feeling so great lately. I’ve been in a bit of a depression, and haven’t wanted to do a whole lot. It’s been hard enough to get up and go to work the past two days. I’ve just wanted to be a hermit and sleep my life away.

But last night, I did something different. I went out to dinner. It was a sort of work function – one of the companies that my work partners with (they are underwriters for the general insurance we sell) wanted to thank us for meeting our sales targets over the past financial year. So they treated the insurance team (including a few people who are now in different departments) to a celebratory dinner. Normally, I would make up an excuse and avoid this kind of outing like the plague. Especially when feeling the way I’ve been feeling. However, I didn’t make up an excuse, not even at the last minute, not even when it meant sticking around town by myself for an hour & 1/2 after I’ve finished work, waiting for the rest of the team to finish so we could have this dinner.

I went. And I talked. I made conversation and I listened to conversation. I stayed until the end. And I even enjoyed myself! It was a very pleasant evening, and I am glad I went. I am very proud of myself for not avoiding this evening when it would have been so easy to just find an excuse not to go.

Sitting around a table with eleven other people in a social context isn’t usually a situation I am comfortable with. At work, even though we do chit chat a little between calls, it’s a very different experience to sitting around a table socialising. It’s difficult to explain, but when it’s work related I can deal because there are parameters for the conversations I have. There is a work context – I am conversing about work matters so it’s clear and straightforward. I have a purpose for speaking, I don’t have to try to maintain or participate in idle chatter. In work related conversation you know what the boundaries are – I don’t have to wonder if they’ll be bored with what I am saying, or whether they will laugh at my joke or think it stupid.

When it’s a social situation there aren’t those parameters – communication relies on organic flow of conversation. It is unscripted, and purposeless, and requires instantaneous reactions to words being spoken. Because I always have to think (or maybe overthink) things through – I can end up either making the conversation stilted and uncomfortable while I think of a response, or in a group situation I remain silent and possibly seem aloof or disinterested.

But last night, I muddled through. Mostly listening to everyone else but I did talk too! Of course me being me, today I need the entire day of solitude to unwind, gather my thoughts, reenergise, etc. So I am lucky I have today off work. But even though I am feeling wrung out, I have to say it was still worth it. I managed to relax a little bit and simply be, just for a moment.

The Negative Spiral

Oh joy of joys. I’m headed towards a depression again. I fucking hate the fact that I can see my mood swings ahead of time – because even though I know they are coming, I am powerless to stop them. In many ways ignorance is bliss. But I can see the train wreck coming, and there isn’t a fucking thing I can do about it.

It starts. I’ve been grudgingly getting up in the mornings with just enough time to get ready for work. I do as little work as possible so that I avoid trouble. I come home and go straight to my bed where I lie around until I have to get up to get dinner for the monsters. And it’s straight back to lazing on the bed until I fall asleep. I’m letting the house get messy again, I just don’t have the motivation to tidy up. Worse yet I haven’t even started packing up my belonging even though there are only weeks left until I move house.

Instead of being productive – I have been retreating from the world and spending way too much time in the dark place of my mind. The unhealthy, unhappy section where I evaluate my life so far and realise I’ve wasted it. I haven’t done any of the things I would measure success by.

I thought I had all the time in the world, to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m 35 and I’ve fucking wasted my life and have next to nothing to show for it. Now I’m sitting here wishing I could go back in time, return to the time I finished high school and choose a different life path. I feel like my life is over and I’ve zero to show for the effort (or lack thereof).

I’ve been told “you’re only 35, you’ve still got the rest of life ahead of you”. Right. My stupid brain says I’m 35 with personal neuroses that have totally fucked up my mind. I’m a single parent of an 8 year old and a 7 year old – it’s not like I can make life changing decisions without being concerned with what impact it will have on them. Even if I didn’t have them binding me here – I’m so far introverted that I don’t actually have any friends. I have work colleagues (all interactions stay at work) and family (who I try to avoid where possible). How could I go out into the world and do anything when I can’t even deal normally with people around me?

In my mind it becomes so dire that I even take to wishing, genuinely wishing that I could be anyone else. If I had one wish in this entire world – I wouldn’t wish for money, or fame, or love, or whatever makes people happy. I wouldn’t even wish to be free of my mental illness. No. I would wish to be someone else. To be a completely different person in a completely different life. I’m so unhappy in this one, and don’t see anyway to make it change, to make it better. I’d like to give up and begin again. I wish life was like a video game – where if you got stuck, or fucked up you could just start again. Totally erase the save game and begin fresh.

I don’t like being 35 and full of regret. It’s really sad and pathetic. But I’m too afraid to change. My fear holds me back from doing the things that I really want to do. I’m terrified of making the wrong choice and fucking things up – so I make no choices and fuck things up anyway. Yeah I know it’s not particularly logical. But that’s how it is in my overcrowded brain.

I guess the one saving grace of my current situation is that I’m not in a full blown depression yet. Just heading there. I’ve still got feelings – even though they are negative ones – but just having those means I’m still present. It’s the numbness I hate, not feeling anything. Because when I don’t feel anything, when I just don’t care about anything – that is when I do the most damage to myself, and to the people around me. When I don’t feel anything, when I retreat into oblivion, I stop eating, I stop showering, I stop going to work, I stop getting out of bed. I stop everything – except thinking. Thinking about ending the nothingness and the urge to cause myself physical pain just so that I feel something, anything. Because at that point, even emotional torture has lost it effect, and I’ll need to make myself feel pain in other ways.

In my warped mental state if I feel pain, I can convince myself that I’m still here, that I haven’t slipped away into a sort of purgatory where there is no escape. But even more frightening than the self harm, is the notion of wanting it all to end. To slip away into nothingness, cease to exist. I’m not suicidal as such – I don’t actively want to die. But when I am numb I just want to cease to exist, to close my eyes and float away effortlessly and painlessly. I want to fade away, be forgotten, just a faint memory carried away on a breeze.

Right now I remember how bad it was the las time I felt that way, the last time I fell into the darkness so far I almost didn’t make it out alive. And that scares me more than anything – the thought of slipping back down there unable to save myself. I don’t want to go back there – but I’m terrified that I can’t stop myself. Because even now – there is that part of me the soul-eater who whispers in my ear that the dark pit is where I belong. She attempts to convince me that self destruction is inevitable and I should give up and give in. She’s urging me to let the darkness come, that this is what I deserve for whatever wrongs I’ve done to the universe.

It’s not true. It can’t be true. I know this, logically I know this. But knowing one thing and feeling something else makes my existence almost impossible. The conflict, the war, sometimes I think that self destruction is the only way to make the shouting in my head stop. The only way to bring peace of mind. That’s what I most desire: peace of mind.