My nights of how-I-feel-indecision


Every night, I fall asleep feeling two things with equal intensity. I feel like the next day is going to be the end of the world as I am currently aware of it. I feel like waking up will be futile because there will be no change.

I fall asleep feeling as though the morning will find me a changed woman with all the energy and motivation I need to do all the things I haven’t done yet. My to-do list is in a constant state of growth. So many things that need doing, so little capacity for achievement. But sometimes, I fall asleep contentedly, certain in my knowledge that the next day will see me ticking things off the list with a ferocity I haven’t had since sixth form.

I fall asleep charged with terror because after sleep comes the next day, and I’m a day further away from getting anything done. I am overwhelmed, knowing with absolute certainty that tomorrow will find me regressed ever so slightly further into my own personal hell. One day I will wake up and I’ll be living with my parents again, with no freedom or choice, but no pressure. My head is filled with a montage of things that haven’t happened yet, but will eventually – I see myself so vividly as a parent, an awful one; the kind who can’t maintain any continuity for my children. They will think of their father as the star parent who cooks and cleans and teaches them how to ride their first bikes. My Mum is quite distant, they’ll say – they won’t want to call me useless to other people but it will be what they are thinking.

Every night, I know that a thousand tomorrows are possible.

Every night, I know that the tomorrow I will wake up to will be the last day of my life. It will also be the first day of the rest of my life.

Whichever way it goes, as they say, it’s the end of the world as I know it. The only question is how I feel, ‘cos I ain’t fine.

Mutiny


Last night, I put on my best reasonable voice and tried to make a compromise with my brain.

Me – Hey brain, I know you’ve been getting a huge kick out of the whole experiment where you test how many nights in a row you can let me have three to four hours sleep…

Brain – Yeah, you’re surprisingly resilient but I do think I can feel the sanity gnawers getting through the walls now.

Me – That’s great, but listen. You know the pre-release we’ve been looking forward to? Well Imm-

Brain – Woo, yeah! Zombies, vampires and werewolves, oh my!

Me – Please, just shut up and listen. Ok, good. As I was saying, Immune System has let us down and allowed illness into the body.

Brain – Damn that traitorous scumbag!

Me – As we both know, Throat and Chest have never been great at fighting off illness by themselves, so we’re going to need to help out in any way possible.

Brain – Yes! We’ll buy lemsip and strepsils and keep tissues in every pocket!

Me – As useful as all of those things are, one of the most helpful things is plenty of rest. Nice, deep, healing sleep. So, I was wondering if we could have some. Just Friday night, before the pre-release. You can continue the sleep deprivation torture experiments afterwards, but we need to be awake and also alive enough on Saturday to build a deck and play upwards of six matches with it.

Brain – While I see your point, giving you any extra sleep now would throw the schedule of your eventual descent into insanity way out of whack.

Me – There might be prizes, Brain. Extra boosters. More lovely Magic cards. How does that sound?

Brain – Hah, don’t try to appeal to my competitiveness. We both know you’re too rubbish to win prizes anyway. My answer is no!

Me – But…please?

Brain – Nope. Oh look, it’s 4.40am and that means time for you to wake up!

Me – *Throws self off a cliff*

Dinner time


If you’ve read anything I’ve written (almost anything, anyway) then you’ll know I suffer from major clinical depression and anxiety disorder. I was first diagnosed a little while after I broke up with the man I thought was ‘the one’, but it’s something that’s been with me for years. I used to self harm when I was young but I wasn’t sure why, back then. I would pull my fingers back, or close them in doors or stamp on them until the pain was beyond tears. I thought I just wanted the attention, the reason to stay home from school for a day or two – but I didn’t think it was important to work out why. I’ve done a lot of thinking about it since.

Depression and anxiety both come with a troupe of physical symptoms for me. It’s not true for everyone, but I find them almost as debilitating as the mental aspects. I go through phases when it comes to sleep. I will go for months with barely managing four or five hours a night, shambling through the intervening days like a zombie. I try to do things as best as I can but it’s hard to read or play a game or go anywhere or even have a conversation when your eyelids are drooping, your neck can’t hold the weight of your head, and it takes ten seconds to make sense of every sentence, but no matter how sleepy you are, as soon as you lay down and close your eyes, the thoughts start picking at you, making actual restful sleep impossible. Then there are periods of time where I sleep for eight, nine, even ten hours every night, and nap during the day, and lay in bed for hours in a state of semi-conscious tiredness. This happens more often if I’m left to my own devices – people can wake you up and force you out of bed much more easily than they can make you sleep.

Alongside that, I get appetite problems, going days with barely eating anything then having days where I want to constantly eat. It brings a lot of weird thoughts up for me, does eating. Again, people can force me to eat quite easily, but forcing someone to stop eating is harder.

There are other things too. Headaches are pretty much a 50:50 chance from day-to-day, severe ones or migraines less than that but still more often than is fair. There’s also, for lack of a better word, dizziness. Imagine your mind exists on a radio frequency, or several frequencies. Then the dizziness comes and it’s like your head has been put between stations, your mind is filled with white noise, up and down are indistinguishable from one another, the ground is coming up to meet you even as you’re floating away from it.

Then my body stops doing crazy stuff for just a minute and I get a chance to see what’s going on inside my head. And I miss the sleep deprivation and the dizzy spells.

Once again it’s cyclic. Sometimes I will have phases of such intense emotion (usually sadness but sometimes guilt, fear, worthlessness, impending doom, or even anger) that it is all-consuming. There is no space left inside me to give proper thought to anything else, even the most mundane of decisions. I can do things, but no matter what I’m doing, I’m on the verge of breaking down and letting it all out. The strain of being so controlled sometimes swells up over the barriers, and I will cry, or hide, or sometimes I will cut myself, because it feels like maybe there aren’t enough other ways for all this stuff inside my head to get out, and it needs to be bled out.

There is the flip-side to that intensity, a complete opposite – which is what I live with most days.¬† A feeling of numbness and apathy. Almost laziness, but the feeling is coming from somewhere deeper and more vast than just the desire not to do anything. I want to do things, but my brain is caught up in loops and patterns of predefined thoughts and I just can’t break free of the circuits long enough to grab hold of something else. I want to cook for myself and my boyfriend, and wash up, and tidy the house and clean things, but it is as if some invisible, intangible force has me rooted to the spot, brimming over with so much passiveness and lethargy that I feel like a drone. I cannot make any decisions¬† in this state, because I simply care so little about all the outcomes that it becomes a vicious game of working out what others want me to decide.¬† (This applies even to decisions that only effect me, like what to do for an hour to beat the boredom that hounds me). In this state self harm becomes more of a test to see if I’ve lost all physical capacity as well as the mental ones.

There are a host of other, more minor things, like how irritable I am these days, or the nine days out of ten that having sex just seems like too much effort (no matter how good it feels, physically and emotionally, when we do it), the feeling that life is passing me by, that I am a disappointment to my boyfriend and my friends and family, the worry that I will dissolve into a heap of jelly if left alone for too long, or forced into too large a group for too long, and other things too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that no, I don’t know if I want chips or pasta for dinner.