So, it’s been nearly a week since term ended, and I’ve spent a fair amount of time here at theglaivemaster’s house where it is warm and I am guarenteed interesting and engaging company. I’ve been worrying about people (well, a certain person mainly, but others too.) However, I can’t help but feel I should be worrying about myself rather than anyone else at the moment, given that since term ended my general mood has slipped and I’ve had more down days than up days.
I’ve been contemplating on the subject of depression, anxiety and mental illness quite a lot recently. It’s not really something I’ve ever given much consideration to, until sixthform where I studied psychology at A level. When we covered depression and anxiety, I couldn’t help but think that they seemed awfully familiar, but more or less told myself to stop being so silly and put it out of my mind.
Then when I got to university, at the beginning of the second term last year I started seeing Matt. Matt is a depression sufferer, and I convinced him to go along to the doctors and get help. He went for councilling. But I still ignored my own problems, despite his insistence that I needed to get help. I told him he was being silly and overreacting and that I was fine.
I did however, begin to give it a bit more thought, when Matt was diagnosed, and realiseed how hard it must be for someone with no idea of these problems to understand how someone with them was feeling and what they were going through. I certainly felt that I couldn’t quite understand what Matt must have been going through (because, of course, I was just feeling a bit down and of course there was nothing actually wrong with me.)
So for ten months (or there abouts) I supported Matt through his problems and he unknowlingly held me up when I felt like falling down. And then that all went away. I’d forgotten how to deal with all of this stuff on my own and for a while I tried to ignore it again. That lasted a few weeks of me kidding myself and everyone else that I was fine and coping with everything really well. But it wasn’t long before I started to fade around the edges.
It was a couple of weeks after my life fell apart that I acknowledged what had happened and really stared to feel and miss what I’d lost – the man that I loved, the man that I cared about more than anything in the world, the man that I could see myself with in ten years time. The man that was propping me up. It was the sudden realisation that I could very easily wipe myself off the face of the planet. Everything became a potential way of hurting (or worse, killing) myself, and that was terrifying. I don’t really want to hurt myself, and I know that life is worth living, if even for the beauty of the sunset, or the view you get on a clear day when walking into town from Bowerham (you can see the lake district, it’s incredible). There are so many things that makes this life, the life of Alice Rees an interesting and wonderful thing that the idea of ending it was the thing that finally pushed me into getting some help.
So I did. I went to the doctors, and you know what? He diagnosed me with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder and put me straight on Citalopram and into councilling. He thinks I’ve been suffering from these conditions for quite some time and that the liekly thing is that the massive trauma of losing Matt was what pushed me into the critical catagory of needing to be on suicide watch.
So I’ve been thinking a lot recently about mental illness, depression especially. I’ve really been feeling it this week and so I’ve decided to make this long post for you people to read. I know how hard it is to imagine yourself in the shoes of a problem you have no experience with, so here are some of my views on it.
Depression is an illness of loss:
* Sleeping pattern
* Sex drive
* Focus and concentration
* Sense of self
* Grip on reality
* Ability to choose
* Desire to partake in activities, even enjoyable ones
The list goes on. Being without these most basic things is…an awful thing. I used to be a person who enjoyed to eat. People make jokes that I’m ‘Fat Alice’ despite the fact that I’m a tiny size 8 because I eat like a horse. The fact that I’ve now lost my desire to eat is weird as hell I’ve lost weight, not something I needed to do. I miss eating all the things that I like, but I really just don’t feel like it anymore. The idea of eating makes me nauseous sometimes and it’s just distressing. Being hungry but not wanting to eat, or even worse, just not feeling hungry and having to force myself to eat so as not to pass out is just not fun.
Same goes for sleeping to a certain extent. No matter how much or how little sleep I get, I’m continually tired, so going to bed has become a chore because there is nothing to distract me from my demons when I’m just laying in bed trying and failing to fall asleep. Being able to fall asleep is never something I’ve found easy, but it’s become nigh-on impossible lately.
Losing my libido is another very strange thing for me, because (and I know my mum reads this journal, but she’s old enough to realise that I’m old enough to be saying stuff like this – and besides, it’s my blog!) I’ve always been quite an erotically charged person, someone who enjoys physical pleasures for what they are. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, there is nothing wrong with enjoying sex for the sheer physical thrill that comes from it. Losing my motivation to seek out this pleasure and relief is a disconcerting thing indeed.
There is something quite cathartic about this. I’m not enjoying thinking about all of this, but I’m liking pouring these thoughts onto your screens from my (or rather Sam’s) keyboard.
I’ve never been good at making decisions, especially when it involves other people. I’m always worried about making the ‘wrong’ decision and disappointing people. This has found its way to a whole new level lately though, so much that I can’t even decide what to fill my time with. The idea of angering or upsetting the people around me is one that doesn’t bear thinking about – the last thing I want to do is alienate the people who are helping me to get through this. Sadly, though, I feel that my indecision is just frustrating them instead. This makes me want to hide away so I don’t have to make any choices. I can’t focus on anything either, so I’m having to make choices more often than usual, which is very frustrating. I’ll pick up a book and read a few lines then loose my focus. Turn on the playstation and play one level of a game and then turn it off. Go into town and after one shop wish I was at home again. All very rubbishy.
I feel like I’ve spent the last few weeks in a kind of daze, watching myself through a two way mirror. A friend saw me walking through town the other day and said I looked like I was stoned. Maybe if I was, this would be a lot easier. That’s another thing – I can’t drink while I’m taking these tablets. I’m not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand, being drunk is one way of bringing one’s emotions to the forefront when they are already feeling exposed and raw. On the other, it’s a way of loosening up and maybe having a good time for the evening. One definate benefit is it’s saving me money.
I’m really looking forward to going home and seeing my brother and the rest of my family. I’ve not seen tjem since September and there have been several times recently where I’ve found myself thinking ‘wow, I want to see my mum, she’d be able to make things better.’ I miss my cats, too, and the crazy ball of fur we call a dog. I’m worried that I’ll find it hard to leave Ferryside once I’m there though, being looked after (in a way) by my family. Even when my mum and stepdad are both at work and my brother is at his girlfriend’s house, the newsagent is never empty, thanks to the animals.
This has been a post of fairly epic proportions so I’ll leave it there for now. Kudos to anyone who knows the song in my subject line.