anxiety

Dark days 

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Today has not been a good day for me. 

All day I’ve had an itch to write here but the knowledge my brains been clouded and in a dark place has stayed my hand. You may or may not notice I have forgone my usual starter of ‘So,’ the reason being I didn’t know how to start it, and my brain couldn’t navigate an opening line.

For a little background, I suffer from anxiety, which occasionally manifests into depression. I have good days and bad days, mostly good but easily overwhelmed and then things get harder. My vision blurs, brain fogs and I sink into an emotionless malaise that I can’t just shake. For eighteen months I was on medication, varying doses based on whichever doctor I’d most recently seen, and then three consecutive doctors told me I ‘don’t present as a typical depressed patient.’ The ridiculous notion that everyone’s the same aside, there’s a good reason for this. It’s not constant, it fluctuates. I can’t plan a bad day to see them and sitting for half an hour in a waiting room is a good way of putting your life in order and restoring some calm, enough at least that when the doctors asks how you’ve been, “fine” springs to your lips without a moments hesitation. It’s then not easy to convince them there’s a problem. 

Nearly a year ago this happened, due to my inability to express the extent of my anxiety I wrote a list. It wasn’t exhaustive, just bits that came to mind in the run up to the appointment, so when the time came I sat down, responded to the “how are you?” With “I wrote a list” and put it into his hands. He scanned it, and immediately suggested that due to my ability to compile a list I clearly wasn’t that depressed. Hmm, ok. He went on to suggest the medication clearly wasn’t needed and/or needed and so I should look to come off it.

And I did. I weaned myself off the medication, which in all honesty had no impact on my mood (a few days of odd side effects aside), and I stayed away from the docs, ‘knowing’ they thought I was fine. In the run up to Christmas I went back with a new list, extended this time to include a few physical niggles. Anxiety was discussed, to which the doc suggests I was clearly dealing very well with it. This as aside from the fact I don’t feel fine. At all.

I’ve tried to take positive steps. I’m exercising more, I’ve lost weight, I’m eating better, I’m looking to get back to work soon, I’m trying to be more proactive and productive (not always successfully) and aside from being overwhelmed when the kids are screaming around me I felt I was moving in a positive direction. I was even considering referring myself to talking therapy- even if it does sound awful. And then today happened.

I’m not going to go into details, you don’t care and my brain hasn’t taken them in (a sure sign somethings affecting it). But I woke up knowing it was going to be a difficult day, I could feel the slight detachment I usually feel on a bad day and the kids fighting was digging particularly deeply into my patience. Rox was up late poking after the girl so aside from a quick mention to her that I wasn’t right today I left it, getting on with breakfast, albeit clumsily and a little dazed (bad days see, to affect my coordination and focus). Through the morning the kids were in bad form, fighting, screaming refusing to do as they were asked, this drained my already exhausted patience. Simultaneously, every time Rox spoke to me it felt that she was telling me off or criticising the things I was doing or the way I was doing them. I’m sure that wasn’t her intention, but a tired northern Irish girl can be quite abrupt.

By lunch I was ready to shut down, the fog descended and my tunnel vision pretty narrow. Unfortunately it was about this point the boys refusal to behave pushed Rox past her infinite reserves of patience (?) she went for a sleep and I spent the afternoon watching two kids who used to love each other fight and scream at each other.

Reading back through it doesn’t doing all that tough to deal with, but the fact is I’ve had one of the darkest days I can remember having, even now wishy the kids in ned and some peace in scrabbling for a grip on my usual place,I still feel detached and my emotions are conspicuously absent. The knowledge tomorrow’s a different day and likely not to start the same way isn’t a relief, this hasn’t been a good day for me at all.

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Writers block 

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so, it’s happening again; Iv got writers block, the blog posts I have planned haven’t changed in a few weeks (maybe months) as most of them are personal posts that I just haven’t got to yet. I’m beginning to doubt some of them will ever get written.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, perhaps if I haven’t got the motivation/ inclination/ ability to write them then the reason for planning to write them isn’t there anymore- hopefully for a good reason. The issue is of course what if the reason I haven’t/ can’t/ won’t write these posts is that the underlying reason for planning the post has moved beyond my conscious thought to a deeper more damaging level. Perhaps I’m becoming neurotic.

My personalities definitely changed, I’m less relaxed and calm on a day to day basis, I get frustrated more easily and my brain seems to fog over at time when previously it would have done its weird thing and kept me functioning. Of course tiredness comes into this- I haven’t had a decent nights sleep in years (part and parcel of being a parent). Early wake ups are a regular occurrence and daytime naps are a long forgotten student luxury. I could go to bed early yet my brain won’t allow it; Rox goes to bed between 9-10:30 on a normal day (abnormal days far earlier, game of thrones days later) and it should be easy to go with her and drop off, yet by that point Iv spent so much time watching kids TV or playing with toys that I need some time to myself to reestablish some balance. This means 11, 12, 1 o’clock I’m into bed knowing full well by six I’ll be up again. And that’s assuming no nighttime wake ups from the kids- and occasionally Rox.

My patience, calm, logical behaviour has been completely distorted by having children around, there is no patient time, no calm time, no logical action beyond a child’s warped logic. It’s become apparent that my brain is not compatible with having children, all of the required planning whilst allowing for complete spontaneity and chaos is a complete shift away from anything I have ever done. Even now I know I’m trying to create a suitable analogy yet I just can’t find one, my time in various retail jobs should be an easy point of reference but the spontaneity is accounted for, the chaos doesn’t happen beyond anticipated ‘busy periods.’ It just doesn’t fit. What makes it harder is the shifts- there are no warning signs for an increase/ decrease in activity- it just happens.

At this point I have nothing else to write. That writers block kicking in midway through a thought process. Funnily enough this is another issue Iv been having- attention span. Iv started and not finished books, blog posts, painting projects. I’ll be sat watching TV and feeling agitated and with a need to move. I leave the room and look in the fridge ‘just in case’ some exciting new food has materialised.

Yep, maybe you see the problem.
So let me know- what do YOU want me to write about? Comment with a topic and we’ll see if we can kickstart my writing.

Life, things to say

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So, it’s not writers block. I’m not blocked. Iv got months worth of posts scheduled; all noted and ready to actually write, but I keep having to push their publishing dates forward.
It’s not writers block, but it’s about the same. I think what was initially a really good way of noting things down and venting has joined most of the rest of my life in the ‘rut’ category.
Easy then, hop out and get on with things, make things happen. If it were that easy then I’d be bouncing like a power ball. Instead I just can’t quite drag myself out of it. Theoretically things are better- I’m getting out more, I’m doing things, I’m trying to be happier but still I just can’t shake off the malaise that’s set in.
It’s touch because despite the increased effort I’m not reaping any real benefit, I’m just getting more exhausted and demoralised as I can’t pick myself up.

Ooh, clichés.
Stuck in a rut
Pick myself up
Shake it off
Etc etc etc

Still, I just can’t ‘shake’ (another) it off. For this reason I just this week put in my application for counselling. Now, having read the leaflet I don’t think it’s for me; lots of ‘action plans’ ‘identifying stress’ etc but it’s the thought that counts (cliché). At least I hope so because my positive attitude certainly isn’t in attendance.
The calls due in this week and I plan to tell them the course sounds stupid. Or rather I won’t and I’ll allow myself to be signed up to it.

Then we’ll see what happens…

Life, despair and always being right

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So, today my partner was in tears, disability and the restrictions or brings are getting her down- this is obvious but recently it’s been more so.
She doesn’t have the energy levels to do all she wants to and is too stubborn to take it easy or relax until it’s too late.

This creates a few problems for me,

Firstly, it reiterates my recent post regarding always being right and not knowing what to do, I don’t know how to help her. Or when i do, I don’t know how to switch her ears on to make her listen.
Second, her despair leads to my despair leads to us both struggling, and you can’t be struggling with two kids running around, they sense it, and play up to it
Finally, guilt kicks in again. She has repeatedly referred to me as her rock, the stable calm crutch to her crippled body, and now I feel as rocklike as jelly. I don’t have answers, or even supporting words, you see, all that time I was her ‘rock’ I was just cheating, by constantly reassuring her all would be ok, because all was calm it was. But now, when that doesn’t work I don’t have the answers for her, or the words.

It’s tough to reassure her and keep her spirits up when mine seem so crushed and non existent, but I do feel as though my recent lifestyle changes have had an immediate impact on my mood and temperament, I’m on a fitness kick and I’m making social steps, so with any luck my reserves will stock up again, and I’ll firm up to rock level again

Life, depression and how it makes me feel

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So, I’m currently on a mid term course of antidepressants because I’m suffering from depression and / or anxiety. There we go, I said it, I’m depressed. Saying it doesn’t make me any less depressed, but then again neither does having a good day, or a fun moment. Obviously it lifts you out for the moment, but it doesn’t go away.

So, how long have I been depressed? Honestly, I don’t know. If I knew, then i could work out what’s made it happen and I’d rectify it, the symptoms have clearly manifested since my partner was disabled and more pressure was put on me to care for her and the children, but before that I was in the most stressful job Iv ever had. Before that, was a similar level of stress in a similar job, during that, the birth of my son, before that the post university period where you realise life isn’t going to maintain it’s relaxed momentum for much longer. Before that was uni itself, the pressures of finances, juggling social with academic time, as well as doing my own washing. Before that even was my social downtime, when I worked or I worked, with little time for much else, even my girlfriend was a work colleague (on opposite shifts most of the time). Before that was school, and all the social issues that go with, as well as pressure to go to uni (it’s unrelentless and pretty much the sole reason I didn’t apply right away), and all the silly stresses like worrying about getting sex, or a girlfriend, or being at the right party and not missing something that would exclude you from the first hour of Monday morning.

You see, it goes back a long way, and I can’t pinpoint a cause, which is a frustration for me (probably also making it worse), but I don’t have a solution. Back in January when I was given the medication, my doctor asked me how I cope with stress, “easy,” I replied, “I don’t get stressed, I don’t let it bother me, it just brushes over me and I chill out.” Fantastic, but it would seem that my laid back approach to, oh, pretty much each and every situation I encounter has left me with a glaring hole in my abilities to actually deal with stress, I don’t have coping mechanisms in place.

Now, you could of course argue that letting it go is a coping mechanism, and you’d be absolutely right, but what about when the intensity increases, or the number of stressors goes up? What’s the plan B? I don’t have one, I meltdown. My mood has sunk, my motivation, self esteem and confidence are worn out (it’s largely a very well constructed facade at the best of times anyway), I’m physically drained, emotionally lacking and I just don’t care.
Of course, this is a serious problem, especially when my partner is disabled and equally run down, and the two kids are getting faster, and more physically capable of killing me in exertions.

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This popped up on my Facebook news feed last night, I don’t know if the words are actually from Stephen Fry, but he’s well known for his depression (and of course many other more positive things), and an intelligent guy, so I’m sure he’d offer something like this. The point is, it’s so hard to define what the causes are, what the reasons or even definitions are, and so how on earth can you go on to recover or ‘get over it?’
After reporting the above picture my partner asked if I was feeling particularly depressed tonight, well, I wasn’t, but i have been increasingly more depressed recently, lethargy and apathy and hard daemons to conquer, and the anxiety levels seem to be increasing too, what feels like mini panic attacks are becoming more frequent which is a worry.

And then this morning, she asks me why I’m so tired after having slept last night (I’ll ignore that fact that Iv not had a good night sleep properly pretty much since we met, especially in the last 18 months, and ridiculously so since she now sleeps deeply through the night. To be fair, she’s exhausted too, and suffers the pain 24 hours a day), but her follow up comment hurt me. I mean really hurt me, I don’t think she’s ever hurt my feelings as much as that.
Now, of course, we’ve had disagreements and comments have been made that hurt each other, but this one really cut deep, she said “I need you to get out of this mood because it’s making me feel crap”

Yeah, it hurt. If I could ‘snap’ out of it I would, I wish I had the reserves to be how I was before, but I don’t, and the fact that now I’m bringing other people down to (especially her, who’s a stubborn negative person, and needs all the positivity she can get) it just pushes me deeper and deeper into the negative.

Of course, I’m sure- on reflection- that she meant she feels bad that her issues are causing my depression, she’s a negative bummer like that, though she’s not wrong, they are a part of the cause, but they are also just the latest in a long line of contributing factors.

The fact is, I’m depressed, I worry that actually, I always have been, because I’m a thinker, and I dwell on things.