Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Mind Wander 2.

So here I am. It's a Tuesday again. Like I've said before, my least favourite day of the week is a Tuesday. Everything bad that's happened to me has happened on a Tuesday. My grandad died on a Tuesday. He was buried on a Tuesday. The Breakdown started on a Tuesday. I spend most Tuesdays alone. They're just not good days for me. For a while I didn't have to spend them alone, but now I do. So here I am. Sat on my own, in my room, in pyjamas with pictures of cakes all over them, drinking water and watching TV.

I had my first counselling appointment last week. Turns out there is something wrong me, and it has a name. Weird to think that my personal inner demons have a title. For a while it made them seem more normal. But right now it doesn't. For future reference guys, I have severe social anxiety, causing a consistent low mood. I have to continue with my Fluoxetine for the foreseeable. But there is an action plan in place with my counselors etc to help me. I'm going to be having CBT to help me recognise triggers, and try to change aspects of my thoughts and behavior. But once again, it's not a cure. I'm still never going to be a normal person. Anxiety and "low mood" are going to plague me for the rest of my life. But one day maybe they won't be the big scary monsters they currently are. Maybe one day they'll just be a tiny little speck on the horizon of my future. I'll learn how to live with them, not to constantly fight against them.

Also different from the last time I wrote on here is that I have a job. I have an employer. I am an employee. I have my name and fingerprint set up on a little machine next to the sign in book. I have to do training. And I can't explain how much I am enjoying learning how to do something. When I went for my first day of training last week (on a Tuesday actually) I was terrified. I nearly didn't go. I fully expected to wake up that morning, refuse to go and stay in bed. But I didn't. Some how I managed to be brave enough to wake up at 8am, get dressed, eat, leave the house, walk to work, and stay there all day, in a place I didn't know, with people I didn't know. I should be incredibly proud of myself. And I am, sort of. I like that my day goes really quickly while I'm there. I like that no one knows much about me so no one treats me differently. I like that everyone there is older than me, so the topics of conversation are totally different from what I'm used to. I like having things to say to other people when I get home other than "today I played Sims and took my niece for a walk." I like that I will eventually have my own money and I'll be able to get my mum a nice birthday present this year. But I also still miss everything that I lost.

I normally like to try and make these as positive as I can. So where else have I improved? I've been wearing makeup and nice clothes again, where I can. I've not cried for a while. I've found tiny things that I enjoy again, like having a nice bath or watching some films, that kind of thing. I sleep nearly every night before 1am. For the last 3 years I have been awake until 2 or 3am every day.

Something still just doesn't feel right though. And I don't know when it will either.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Mind wander.

It's midnight in May, and it's currently 17degrees outside. All my winter clothes have been abandoned, and I'm laying on my bed with no duvet on and the fan practically in the bed with me in a desperate attempt to cool down. Unfortunately I am the kind of human being who hates hot weather, with a passion. When the sun comes out and the temperature goes above 15, I don't want to celebrate. I could hibernate all through summer with no problems. I am a total cold weather bunny. Anyway, got weather means that I don't sleep, so I basically spend all of summer in some fog of sleep deprivation desperately waiting for a night when I can snuggle up in my duvet again. Not sleeping means that my brain tends to take itself for walks down thought trails I can avoid during the day, but at night times become lit up with neon signs and make themselves impossible to ignore. So here I am. 

Thoughts I Am Having Right Now. 

1. Just, why? Why me? This is a thought I had when I hit a low point during my Scoliosis diagnoses, treatment and recovery and a thought I'm having again now. The way I see it sometimes (in my horrendously selfish moments) my body already betrayed me by going off and growing an 'S' shaped spine. Why did it have to betray me by also growing a brain that can't function like everyone else's can? Why not one or the other, why both? 

2. Does my ability to run away and hide make me a strong person or a weak person? I know I have the tendency to lose my shit quickly with someone, but after that I tend to never speak to them again. Does that mean I'm weak, because I can't bring myself to face further rejection, and I will take extreme (I haven't looked at my phone for 3 weeks now) measures to avoid someone or something? Or does it mean I'm strong because I can see where I've crossed a line somewhere and step back, and leave people to do what they wanted to do? Is it a mix of both? Maybe the things I'm running away from are best left alone. Maybe they're happier with out me, or moving on better without me. Maybe even if I went back to these situations they wouldn't work now for them. Maybe they wouldn't work for me? 

3. Maybe 'life' (or fate, or God, or whatever higher being you believe in) gave me something and then changed it to help me learn about myself, to stop the denial I was in over how bad my mental health was. Maybe life decided I needed to lose something I cared about through my own faults to actually be able to see them? I've been coasting through life for the last 4 years, more just existing than actually living. I ignored the signs I needed to change for so long that maybe fate decided I could no longer ignore it? In the last few weeks I've achieved more than I have for years. Not massive goals by the average persons standards, but to my own personal anxiety and depression demons, they are huge goals. I went 'public' with my depression. I wake up every day and leave the house. At the weekend I did an hours bus journey from a place I didn't know on my own and stayed quite calm. On Wednesday I went and had a conversation with someone I didn't know, on my own and filled in an application form. On Friday I got a phone call telling me when my training starts. But would I have done these things if it hadn't been for The Breakdown and subsequent events? Or would I have just carried on coasting? Am I doing all these things now for the right reasons. 

4. What are other people making of this whole thing? I made the decision to not hide how I feel anymore and everyone I've spoken to has been hugely supportive. But unfortunately I'm the type of person to always worry about what the people who aren't speaking to me are thinking. Do they think I'm attention seeking? Do they think I'm just being a pain in the backside? Do they wish I'd just shut up? Do they know about the big steps I've made? Do they care about them? I know the majority don't care. Not in a horrible way, perhaps I just don't know them well enough for my problems to be an issue to them, that kind of thing. 

Anyway, it's 12.37am now, and still 17 degrees but I need to try and sleep. Sometimes writing actually helps me once I get back in to bed, hence why most of my posts have been written between the hours of 11pm and 2am. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

How I Coped During & After 'The Breakdown.'

I am not cured. I have reached a few mile stones over the last few weeks and I'm slowly finding ways to keep me going. Wether they will keep me going for the long term or the short term, who knows. But at least they're working. So here is my Easy Breakdown Survival Guide. 

1. Cry. Cry. Cry. You need to cry (or scream or shout, anything physical) to get your emotions out there. If you don't get the first wave of emotions out, everything will pile up, and you'll have so many emotions you won't know what to do with them all. So yes, my first piece of advice is to cry until you can cry no more. I cried every few hours for three days, then just when I was alone, then just at night times. I needed to cry, without the crying I would have caused even more harm to myself than I already was. 

2. Accept that people won't know what to do while you're crying/screaming/hyperventilating/all of the above at the same time. Some people will disappear during this time, and trust me, the indentities of the ones who disappear will surprise you. Some people have avoided me for weeks now whom I've been close with for years. Yet some of the people who have been there for me every day I hardly knew before this happened. A quote I've been remembering a lot is 'if they can't be there for you at your worst they don't deserve you at your best.' And it's true. 

 3. Some 'simple' things will be hard for a while, but that's okay. I haven't opened the text message app on my phone for a month now, where as before I was a texting addict. You need to do, or not do, what you can. You don't want to do something? Don't do it. The need and ability to do these things will come back. For a week post-breakdown I barely slept or ate. A few weeks down the line I'm still not eating quite like I was, and sleeping is easier but still a nightly battle. Which brings me to 4...

4. Sleep, if you can. The one sleeping tip I have for you is don't go to bed until you're actually tired. Your bed may be the softest, most beautiful place of comfort for you during the good times but when it's 2am and you're unable to sleep during a bad patch the bed suddenly becomes a cold, dark, hard place of nightmares and uncontrollable thoughts while you're trying to drift off. Try not to properly get in to bed until you can barely keep your eyes open. Do whatever you want to do, read, message friends, watch a film, paint your nails, anything. Try and minimise the time you spend doing nothing.

5. Leave the house. Even during the good times before, I could easily go days without leaving the house and not question it. During The Breakdown and after, I have left the house every day. I go anywhere, to the supermarket, a walk with my niece, my sisters house, the cemetery (where my grandad is buried, I didn't stroll around a random cemetery but hey, if that works for you then you go). I went out in the rain, wind, sun, any weather. It broke up part of the day and I'm sure there's some scientific explanation somewhere about a Vitamin D and being outside and feeling better as well, I'll have to look that up. 

6. Distract yourself. It took me a while to work out what distracted me. I'm a big fan of colouring books, and colouring is a brilliant form of distraction. You're using your brain to chose the colours and where to put them, and using your hands to actually put pencil to paper. I also play The Sims a lot as well (I know, I know, please don't laugh), and I can easily lose myself for a while in building a house or something. When all else fails and my brain is really busy I have resorted to watching films. Not happy films though mind you. Zombie films, apocalypse films, alien invasion movies. How ever if you're struggling badly with anxiety this might not be the best thing to suggest for you. One of my fear triggers is ghosts and the paranormal, so I've avoided those type of films. Find something that absorbs your mind and keep doing it. 

7. Lastly. Ask for help. I'm lucky that my mum and sister are incredibly strong women who were able to be there for me during this. If you have people around who are anything like them, you will be okay and you should make sure your cherish them. I also had to seek a medical intervention during The Breakdown though, like many other people have, and will continue to do as well. It's hard to get a doctors surgery to understand the importance of mental health so you really need to be quite forceful with them. A day after The Breakdown and I was already in the doctors surgery being given medication and referrals for the things I needed. 
Please, if anyone is reading this and feels like I do or have done, please please PLEASE seek out some help, from where ever you can. 

Like I said, these are just things are helping me right now. These things could change tomorrow, next week, next month or they might be things that work forever. And remember I am still in a bad place. I'm saying what makes me feel like I can live through the day, not necessarily what makes me feel better or 'normal'. I know some of these points are followed by an element of pessimism, and that shows how much more time and help I still need. Working out these points however is a big step in learning to cope. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Tuesdays, again.

Right now on top of everything else, I have a cold. I think it's a cold, it could be a chest infection. Every time I breath I wheeze, and I've been coughing for 2 straight days now. I'm not loving life, and I'm not sure what I can take for it because I don't know what is going to mix with my antidepressants, and I'm not willing to screw those up right now. It's also a Tuesday, so I am home alone. For the last God knows how long I've had company on a Tuesday night, and before that I was in the frame of mind to go and seek company if I wished to.

So whats new? I said I'm now on the repeat prescription for Fluoextine, I think? I'm taking it at night times before bed, because the doctor reckoned it would help me sleep. It's not really working, for the last 2 nights I've woken up every hour on the hour, but that could be the cold. It's another thing I can't judge for a while. I still haven't looked at my phone. I have it turned on in case someone calls me, or in case of an emergency but it's been a month now, and I haven't needed it. I don't miss it either bizarrely. I know how not normal it is to be avoiding it, and it's something I'm planning on working on with my counselors when that starts, which is in less than 2 weeks now I think. It's just an assessment appointment. They're often the worst one, but they're the first step to any help.

You have to sit in a room with a total strange you've never met before and be totally and completely honest with them about how you feel. Thought about hurting yourself lately? They need to know. Wanted to kill yourself again? They need to know. Cried yourself to sleep for how many days? They need to know. This absolute stranger has roughly half an hour to access your deepest, darkest thoughts and assess what they can or can't do for you. It's terrifying.

I'm going to speak to someone about a job tomorrow. Don't get too excited, it's not much, but it's something. I know it needs to be done, it will get me out of the house, and get me speaking to new people. But the pessimist in me can't help but think it's too little too late. My lack of a job led to losing so much and I didn't even realise. Can I get those things back? I'd love to. But those people/situations or whatever it is aren't going to want me anymore and that's what I have to deal with.