Friday, 10 June 2011

one year on

I can't believe it's been almost a year since I last blogged here.

Welsh is currently lying in bed next to me, snoring amusingly loudly, so I guess now's as good a time as any to revisit this blog.

I think the main reason I haven't blogged here in so long is because I consider this to be my depression blog, and for the last year or so I haven't been depressed. That's an amazing (and a bit scary) thing to admit when I look back on how far I've come.

As the above indicates, Welsh and I are still together after a year and a half (my longest relationship to date). I hate gushing and cheesiness, but things are really amazing. To quote a cliche, sometimes someone comes along and makes you realise why things never worked out with anyone else. For starters, he's the kindest and most loyal person I've ever met. He understands me better than anyone else ever has, he knows all my faults and loves me for exactly who I am. In a lot of ways we're incredibly similar, which is both a good and a bad thing. He has depression issues too, which means that when one of us is feeling low the other understands completely and knows exactly what to do to support them. When both of us are feeling low it can be difficult to deal with, and we've had some pretty horrendous arguments just because neither of us has been able to be strong enough to do what needed to be done to help the other person. But ultimately we both know how much we love each other, and that's the most important thing. I never ever ever feel insecure with him, and that's something I've never experienced before.

I'm also nearing the end of my occupational therapy degree, only one more placement to go. I'm still lacking in confidence sometimes, but that's true of all areas of my life. I'm starting to have more self belief than I did, especially since I've recieved really good comments from my supervisors on placement. Reading over old entries, I came across one where I talked about my confidence crisis over the fact that I hadn't made any real friends on the course, and that's still an issue for me. After 2 years I've come out of it with plenty of acquaintances and not one real close friend. I know that it's not necessarily me that's the problem, I know there are plenty of other factors like the fact that I live on the other side of London to everyone I've come close to making real friends with. But it's still a painful realisation. I feel like I've completely forgotten how to make friends, and although my social anxiety isn't anywhere near the levels it used to be, I feel like I've regressed in terms of shyness.

But the most important thing is that my depression and anxiety are nowhere near what they were. Sometimes I have days where I'm pretty low and hopeless, sometimes I have days where thoughts about how boring and friendless I am and how I'll never be a good OT feel overwhelming. But they're just days, as opposed to weeks and months and years like they used to be. And that gives me hope that someday I'll be free of it completely.

Friday, 16 July 2010

i'm fine

"How are you?"

What I think:
"I'm really struggling at the moment. I'm scared that you don't really know me at all, because if you did you would realise what a worthless piece of shit I am. I'm scared waiting for the day to come that you realise this. I know I'm no fun to be around at the moment and eventually you're just going to get bored of it. I love you more than I have ever loved anyone, and I don't think that's enough. Eventually you'll realise that you could do so much better. And the main reason I'm scared of losing you is because having you in my life is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment. Losing you would be like having the floor pulled out from under me, I know I wouldn't be able to keep it together any more. You're the only thing keeping me from cutting because I wouldn't know what to say if you saw the scars. And you deserve so much better than this. You deserve better than an ugly, stupid, annoying waste of space. If I wasn't so selfish I would let you go find someone who is actually good enough for you."

What I say:
"I'm fine."

Sunday, 16 May 2010


Last week, a friend who I haven't seen for ages messaged me and asked if I fancied going out for a drink. Well I say a friend, when I think about it I think we've only actually met a handful of times. But it was one of those things where the first time we met we just clicked instantly. I hadn't seen him in ages and in my current insecure state, I was convinced that I'd have nothing to say to him. That it would be awkward, that he would think I was boring. I was nervous but I forced myself to go, thinking the worst case scenario was that I could just leave after one drink.

As it turns out, we had so much fun. The conversation just flowed, and it made me realise - I'm not a complete freak. Being on this university course seems to have destroyed my confidence; since September I haven't made any real friends, and it's made me feel like the same awkward weird girl I was at school. I seem to have forgotten how to make friends, and I resigned myself to the "fact" that I'm just not a fun person to be around. I guess this one night out renewed my confidence and made me realise I am a fun, interesting person.

It also made me realise that part of the reason I have so few friends is that I never put myself out there. I never ask people if they want to meet up, I always wait for them to ask me. I'm so afraid of rejection that I never take the chance. So in the spirit of self improvement, I emailed my tutor group at university last Thursday and asked if they fancied meeting up for a catch up drink, since it's been about six weeks since we've been at uni.

Today is Sunday, and not one person has replied. Strangely, it doesn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I feel a sort of calm acceptance - I pushed my boundaries and took a risk and for that I'm proud of myself. I can accept now that these people are not my friends and never will be, but most importantly, that's alright. I have people who love me - it may not be a lot, but I feel blessed to have even one person who truly cares about me. Things with Welsh are really wonderful, every day I feel lucky to have him. I realise now that I am worthy of being loved, I am interesting and fun and a good friend. And if certain people don't like me - screw 'em.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010


I am happy at the moment. And I haven't really, truly, felt that in a long while, so it's nice to say it "out loud" (so to speak).

It's not overwhelming, amazing happiness, nothing fantastic has happened to make me feel on top of the world, but I feel content. I just feel good - I don't feel stressed or anxious or miserable or drained or sad or lonely. And it's sad really how long it's been since I didn't feel any of those things.

One thing that isn't contributing to my happiness is my uni course. It's incredibly hard work, incredibly draining, and half the time I just don't feel like I can do it. I want to be able to do it, but my crappy self belief tells me I'll never be a good OT. But I think for now, just knowing that I want to do it is enough. As long as I know the end result is what I want, I just have to hope it all falls into place in the end, and not get bogged down by it in the meantime. The stress of it had started to take over my life, and now I'm realising that actually it's not my whole world. At the end of the day I need to look at it like a job - I go to work, I come home, and the rest of the time I spend with my friends, or doing the things I enjoy. It isn't my whole world.

However, one thing that is contributing to my happiness, is the new boy I'm seeing. It's been about 7 months since my last relationship which I think has been a decent amount of time to have my own space and get my head together (more together than it was before anyway!) I wasn't even really looking for anything - End Of 2009 Guy really fucked me over emotionally, and it still stings a bit even now. But something about this one seems different (god what a cliche, people always say that before it goes wrong don't they?) I just don't feel insecure at all. I'm not scared that he'll lose interest, he actually wants to spend time with me, he doesn't act like it's a chore to speak to me. We took things slowly and didn't rush into bed immediately. Basically, it's the opposite of all my previous relationships. And it's funny, at first something didn't feel right with him, and I couldn't pinpoint what it was. He seemed so different to my usual type. And that's because he is - but I didn't even realise at first that it's in a good way. He makes me feel special, that I'm worth more to him than just a shag. It's been so long since I actually experienced some plain, good old-fashioned romance.

In fact, it's the exact opposite to EO2009 Guy. I had literally the best sex of my life with him - it was beyond fantastic. Which was great, except he didn't give a shit about me as a person. Whereas the new boy (I think I'll call him Welsh, since he is!) really cares me about me, but the sex isn't so good. At first that bothered me - I like sex, and I have a high sex drive. But when I thought about it I realised that casual sex is only fulfilling for so long. Having someone genuinely care about me is so much more rare and precious.

Monday, 4 January 2010

happy new year

Things are...I don't know. Not good, not bad. Lonely and difficult and anxiety-ridden, but I'm functioning. My Christmas was good, New Years was good.

When I look back at 2009, all I see is a load of relationship disasters. I met a guy at the end of the year who was so ridiculously perfect for me. Like, he was basically the male version of me, we had SO much in common. So we had sex, and then he switched. Changed pretty much overnight. Turns out he suffers from depression too, and is currently in the midst of a bad spell. I could deal with that except he's completely pushed me away; told me he can't deal with a relationship at the moment and seems to have no interest in me anymore (despite all the usual "lets be friends" bullshit).

I am so sick of men. I hate saying that, because I want to believe that there is someone out there who will love me for me and not just because they want to get in my knickers, but where they are hiding I do not know. I'm only 22, and already I'm bitter. If anyone has any kind of evidence that real love exists (especially for fucked up people like me) then I'd love to hear it, cos I'm struggling to believe it does anymore.

""I don't let anyone touch me," I finally said.
"Why not?"
Why not? Because I was tired of men. Hanging in doorways, standing too close, their smell of beer or fifteen-year-old whiskey. Men who didn't come to the emergency room with you, men who left on Christmas Eve. Men who slammed the security gates, who made you love them then changed their minds. Forests of boys, their ragged shrubs full of eyes following you, grabbing your breasts, waving their money, eyes already knocking you down, taking what they felt was theirs. It was a play and I knew how it ended, I didn't want to audition for any of the roles. It was no game, no casual thrill. It was three-bullet Russian roulette. "

- Janet Fitch (White Oleander)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

up and down

So much for "blogging even when you're doing well" - I haven't been writing anything, good or bad. I can't believe how long it's been, time really does fly sometimes.

I've been very up and down since the beginning of September when I last wrote. My course has generally been going well, although I did have several points where I really struggled with myself wondering whether this was really what I wanted to be doing. Although I say that, really I was struggling with whether I COULD do it, whether I was good enough. Of course I never think I'm good enough, at anything. Towards the end of my first term of lectures things were really starting to slip - I wasn't turning up to a lot of my lectures, and on my course if attendance drops below a certain level you can be kicked off. So that really wasn't clever. I'm now a week and a half into my first work placement, and it's only now that things have finally clicked into place. It sounds silly, but I'm really in love with my job and with occupational therapy. For the first time in my life I really have the feeling of "yes, this is what I'm meant to do." I've finally found something where I feel like I'm making a difference and doing something important. And I'm ALMOST beginning to feel like I might even be good at it - although there's big emphasis on the "almost" since of course I never really feel like I'm that good at anything.

I just can't seem to deal with failure and criticism at all. I know I'm better than I was, but if I do something wrong I still beat myself up over it. I can't stand being new to something and not being perfect straight away. My supervisor told me I'm doing a good job, but I still can't quite believe it. But I'm loving what I'm doing so much at the moment that the fear and anxiety isn't completely overwhelming.

Speaking of fear, I read a really good tip the other day - next time you feel anxiety or fear building up in you, just focus on the physical site of it (for me it's in my chest). It's amazing, just focusing on the feeling makes it disappear completely - so simple and there seems to be no logic to it, but it works!

Anyway, after my last blog about not wanting to be in a relationship for a while and wanting to learn to be on my own, I've maintained that. I've been single for about 3 months now and I really have no desire to be in a relationship any time soon. I guess partly it's due to cynicism - I've realised I don't actually know that many couples who are genuinely good together and are genuinely happy. Real love seems so rare. I do believe it exists, but I don't believe it really happens to girls like me. I don't think I'm ever going to find someone who can put up with all my craziness and love me for who I am. So I'm just not interested in all that right now - all relationships seem to do is make me depressed and insecure, I'd much rather be on my own and preserve my mental stability!

Although I have no desire for a romantic partner at the moment, I am incredibly lonely sometimes. I've realised I have no real, close friends anymore. I have people I socialise with, but no one I can really talk to about anything. My best friend is in ED treatment in South Africa and is dealing with enough of her own shit at the moment. As for my other best friend...well, something has changed. I'm not sure what, I just think maybe she's not the person she used to be. She's become really judgemental and harsh, and I just don't feel comfortable opening up to her anymore. So because of that, sometimes the loneliness gets really overwhelming. I've realised I'm really withdrawing from people emotionally - I just don't open up to anyone anymore. I don't depend on anyone emotionally. And for now that's "safe" for me, it means I don't get hurt and sink back into the horrible depression I was in before. But I think it's taking its toll in the long run.

Does anyone have any experience/understanding of dysthymia? I came across the term the other day, and I really think that's what I have. I've had this constant underlying depression for as long as I can remember, at least since I was 11 or 12. Possibly when I was even younger, but I can't remember back that far. Most of the time (like now) it's bearable and I can function just about, but every now and then it'll flare up into major depression. No matter what, it never really goes away. I think suddenly doing a job I love and getting that burst of happiness from it has made me realise that even when things are "OK" I never really know what it's like to be happy.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

light at the end of the tunnel

In her latest blog, NerdOneirik commented on how people with mental illnesses stop blogging as soon as they get better. And how that's the best time to blog, because it shows others that there's light at the end of the tunnel. So that's what I'm doing now.

I've struggled with depression pretty much all my life, and I've never been able to pinpoint exactly why. I was bullied at school which definitely triggered it, but that was a long time ago, so why has it stuck around?

I've just started a Masters course at university, and because of this I've had plenty of doctors and occupational health nurses trying to assess me and my suitability to the course. Part of this has involved asking me why I suffer from depression, and I could never give them an answer. There's nothing "wrong" with my life, people have been through a lot worse and survived. But as I thought about it more I realised it was nothing to do with my enviroment, it was to do with me and how I felt about myself. I really, really hated myself. I hated myself for being so shy and weird no one ever wanted to be my friend at school. I hated myself for being so ugly that no one wanted to go out with me. And even as I got older and boys started to like me and I thought maybe I might be pretty, I still hated myself for not being sexy enough and being so boring that none of them stuck around. I hated myself for never being outstanding at anything, for not being talented at anything and for never having really achieved anything.

And the hatred was so overwhelming. Have you ever really hated someone? So much that you were so filled with fury whenever you saw them, that being around them for even a second made you want to punch them in the face? Well that's how I felt about myself. I self harmed because it was my equivalent of "punching them in the face", and whenever I experienced failure or rejection the little voice in my head would pipe up to tell me what a useless, ugly, disgusting waste of space I was. Sometimes I felt like I couldn't stand to be in my own skin for another second, I was so disgusted having to be around me all the time. There was no escape, it was completely overwhelming.

So that was then, this is now. And I can honestly say it's been a good few months since I've felt that overwhelming hatred. I owe a lot of it to medication - it honestly saved my life, and it infuriates me when people criticise those who take antidepressants, especially since it's always those who have never needed them who feel the need to have an opinion. So if there's anyone reading this at the moment who is struggling and is unsure whether medication is right for them - just try it. People wouldn't think twice about taking medication for a physical problem, so why the stigma against those who take it for a mental problem? Life is so precious, and if something can change your life for the better like it has mine then it's worth it a hundred times over.

As I mentioned earlier, I started university this week. And it's amazing to see how far I've come, I used to be plagued by crippling social anxiety. About four or five years ago, I never would have been able to talk to people. Why would they be interested in talking to me? I would just bore them, or even worse, run out of things to say. If I saw people talking in a group I would never go up to them and join in, why would they want me intruding? But this week I've been able to talk to people, I've been able to hold conversations, I've made people laugh. I've been able to confidently walk up to a group and join in. And the only difference is that I've finally started believe that I am interesting to talk to, that I am witty, that I do have something worth contributing. And I never, EVER, thought I would be able to do that a few years ago.

So I'm not out the tunnel yet by any means. I only just came off my medication a couple of weeks ago, and I accept that sooner or later I will probably relapse. I've been battling with this all my life, I'm aware that it's not going to have disappeared forever. But there are definitely glimmers of light, and even though I may not be permanently "better", I can do my best to ensure the day I relapse isn't today. And to anyone out there struggling: if I can do it, you can do it too. I mean that.