Week in bed.

Week in bed.

I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since I last posted.  Things all roll into one when you’re ill and in bed all week.  It’s been a really bad week for me depression wise and chronic fatigue wise.  The week started with me receiving a letter that said I was unsuccessful with me application for PIP benefit.  I’ve been on PIP for two years since I had to quit working due to my depression and it’s something that I really value because I am too ill to work at the minute, I’ve tried and the money from the benefits gives me a little bit of independence and a lot of support to live my life.  Reading through the decision letter was something that triggered my depression big time because it was such an unfair decision.  I am still really angry and disappointed that I’ve been judged as I have.  I’d had a face to face assessment with a person who was not medically trained at home, because my anxiety prevents me travelling into town.  The assessor had stated that I seemed fine in person and did not seem anxious at all which is completely ridiculous!  I don’t know how anyone can pretend to know what anxiety looks like if they don’t suffer with it, it’s different for everyone!  I hadn’t slept for three nights before that assessment, I was sweating heavily and could only give one word answers because I was so nervous, I was continually pinching myself throughout because that’s how I handle stress, by hurting myself in some way.  Maybe if I’d pulled a knife out and started cutting in front of the assessor she would have thought I was anxious then!

The letter went on to say that my medication appeared affective because I basically had not attempted suicide in the past two years.  This outraged me and made me seriously doubt the future of my country.  It is so easy for some people to get benefits, people who go on jobseekers who don’t look for work and live off the benefits nicely for the rest of their life.  I cannot get benefits because they think my mental health is stable, because I haven’t tried to kill myself lately and it’s really hurtful.  The whole assessment and decision letter was based on the physical side of illness, the mental side of illness was completely ignored and I can really relate to the issues many people suffering with mental health go through when trying to get financial help.  Mental illness should be given the same rights as physical illness, it isn’t any less suffering because you can’t see it! I feel let down by my government and country, I feel betrayed and not cared for.  I’ve been ignored and refused something that I should be eligible for, simply because mental illness isn’t recognised the same way physical illness is.

So my week started off badly and as a result, my depression was worse than it’s been in a long time.  I felt useless, lost and so stressed about life. Tuesday the doctor rang and told me I’ve got a b12 deficiency so now I have to take tablets for that, which explains why my fatigue has been so much worse the past month.  To top the week off, I caught a cold.  It sounds so stupid, the common cold made me bed ridden for three days.  My immune system has been so weak since my chronic fatigue came on, I catch bugs so easily and I just can’t fight them off.  I caught the cold of my mum who got over it in two days and here I am, five days in and I’ve only just been able to get out of bed, and that’s only to lie on the sofa.  It’s really hard getting bugs with chronic fatigue because on a normal day, I feel ill, achy, fatigued and brain fogged so adding a cold to that is just awful, it completely flawed me and I couldn’t fight it off.  So Christmas is going to be an illness filled one this year as usual.

It’s been a terrible week and it’s hard to believe anything well get better right now, my depression is in its element and I’m devastated that I have to live like this.  I’ve just got to hold on to the little things that make my life worth the fight, like my fiancé who loves me, my family who love and support me and the hope that one day, I won’t have to fight so hard just to live.

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The Voice Inside My Head.

The Voice Inside My Head.

I’ve heard depression described as many things and appear in many forms but for me it’s a voice inside my head.  When people hear me say I hear a voice in my head, they do look at me like I’m crazy but it isn’t someone else’s voice I hear, it’s my own.  It’s a voice that lies in wait for a moment of weakness, like if I have a bad day, If I have an argument with a loved one, If someone makes a comment that’s upsetting, If I fail at something.  As soon as I’m weak the voice comes to life and tries it’s hardest to make me give up, it tries to make me stop fighting.

I’ve had this experience today.  My Fiancé asked me to go out with him for a drink, a completely normal request, couple’s go out all the time but I’ve been feeling down the past few days so I said no.  I always feel guilty for turning him down because he’s a social person who loves going out and I don’t want to hold him back.  Anyway, he became frustrated and said that it was hard for him not being able to do things like a normal couple.  It was a valid comment and after he realised it had upset me, he apologised and said he loved me and he didn’t mean to upset me, he was just frustrated that I couldn’t do something that I would like to be able to do.  It didn’t matter though because as soon as that comment upset me, the voice took it’s opportunity to make it worse.  “You’re holding him back”, “He’d be happier with someone else”, “He is only here because he feels sorry for you” “You’re a burden to him”, “You don’t deserve him” “You’re ugly and he could be with someone a million more times attractive”.  I try to block it out but once it starts it’s impossible to ignore, it’s literally my own voice inside my head demeaning me and making me feel like a failure, like there is no point in trying. “You should just give up” “You don’t have anything to offer in life, why are you here”, “You’re a burden to everyone you meet” “You know that you can’t hold on forever, just give up now”, “People would be better off without you”.  My Fiancé can see me struggling and he’s saying comforting things to me, about how he loves me so much and wants to marry me and have a family but the voice just twists it. “He’s lying”, “He’s just trying to make you feel better, he doesn’t actually want to marry you”, “You will fail him eventually”, “He would be better without you”.  The voice is winning at this point, I’ve been bottling things up like I do for weeks and now it’s using all that stress and frustration to take me down, my own voice trying to defeat me.

This is when my Fiancé did something that surprised me, he made a stupid random joke.  It came out of nowhere but I laughed and for a second it was quiet in my head.  Then the voice piped up again “Why are you laughing, you’re a disappointment”, “You’re ugly and fat, you shouldn’t be here”.  My Fiancé made another joke to get a laugh out of me and again I laughed and it was quiet.  I’ve always looked for someone who can make me laugh because it’s important to me and it’s payed off  because it turns out laughter quiets that voice inside my head.  My Fiancé figured out it was making me better and kept saying things to make me laugh, and eventually that little voice crawled back into it’s hole.

It’s still there now, why my mood is vulnerable, popping in and out of my head but I’ve got over that breakdown and I’m fighting it with the help of my Fiancé’s brilliant sense of humour.

That voice is the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with though and I’m sure it won’t stay down for long, it will pop up as soon as I’m weak enough again.  It’s the fact that the voice is my own that’s hard, it’s literally me telling me to give up and it’s hard to ignore your own head.  My mind is my enemy, for some reason it doesn’t want me to be happy and it does whatever it can to make me struggle.  It’s a tiring fight, mentally exhausting to try and keep your own mind quiet.  I hope that one day that voice withers away and dies, one day I want to be strong enough to cut it off completely, but for now I have to fight it and hold on to the feeling of being wanted and loved.  I have to let the people around me support me and help when they can because love and laughter will beat the little voice eventually.  Just got to keep fighting.

Fight or Flight

Fight or Flight

I remember learning about the fight or flight response in A Level Psychology, and I just understood it immediately.  I wish I could say I’m a fighter but I’ve always leaned more towards flight.  It’s something that I’ve really struggled with.  As a teenager I lived just across from my high school and I remember having a particularly bad day and just running home.  I did this at least four times in high school and got in so much trouble for it, My Mum used to always send me straight back to school but it wasn’t something I could control.  I would be confronted with something that scared me and just run home without thinking, I couldn’t stop it and I didn’t understand it.  I felt weird and weak because no one else ran home to their mum when they were having a bad day.

Whenever I was due to give a presentation in school, it made me freak out so much.  I know most people don’t enjoy giving presentations in school but for me it was terrifying to the point that I would stick my fingers down my throat to make myself sick, just so I could get sent home.  There were times I would have a group presentation and it would be with my friends and they depended on me to do my part, they didn’t particularly like doing presentations either.  Instead of sticking with them and being strong, fighting my fear, I would have the day off school pretending to be ill.

If I go into a shop and it gets particularly busy, I can’t handle it and I literally do a runner out of the shop.  I often just leave my fiancé standing there wondering what happened.  When I go out somewhere and a stranger speaks to me I pretend not to hear them and keep walking or I freeze up and my fiancé has to answer for me.

At University I was in a lecture one day when the lecturer said the second part of the lesson would be in random groups, I was so scared I snuck out of the hall and went home.  I did this in a lot of lectures and eventually stopped going to any at all because my anxiety was making me so scared and weak, it was horrible and I hated myself because I am a smart person and if I had got through University, I could have a good career and be doing something that matters.

It’s all examples where my body and mind have chosen to just run instead of face the issue and its so frustrating because I want to be the type of person that just faces my fears and goes in head first determined to get it done.  But it’s something I can’t control, no matter what I do, if I get confronted by something which scares me, I flea without thinking, I do anything to get out of that situation.  It’s why I don’t go out much, here in my flat, nothing can confront me and nothing can make me feel like I need to run away.  No matter how many times I say to myself “You can do this, you’re strong” I can’t.  It’s like an invisible barrier that stops me, it won’t let me carry on, it wont let me confront my fear and fight.

 

Why did you try to kill yourself?

Why did you try to kill yourself?

Why did you try to kill yourself? It’s a question I dread and struggle to answer.  Suicide is an issue which is ignored too much, it’s easier for some people to ignore it and hope it goes away and the stigma that is attached to Suicide makes it a taboo subject.

I was first asked this question after my first overdose, I was in A&E and a Doctor came and asked me.  I remember feeling so ashamed and this defensive urge rose up in me, my reply was “I want to die, that’s usually why people commit suicide isn’t it?” and the Doctor went on to ask me “Why do you want to die?” and I couldn’t answer.  At the time I felt so annoyed, wasn’t it obvious why I wanted to kill myself?  Two more attempts after that and I still couldn’t answer the question.

It has been two years since my last attempt and I think finally I understand a bit more about the reasons behind my actions.  Suicide is an extremely hard thing to attempt, I’ve heard people call it the cowards way out but I think it’s extremely hard to come to terms with the fact that you don’t want to live anymore, that you don’t want to be in the world any longer.  I remember feeling like I was better off dead, that my family would be better off without me, I was a burden and wasn’t worth the time.  I hated myself so much, I hated who I’d become, I hated the way I looked, I hated that voice in my head that kept telling me there was no hope and I’d be alone for the rest of my life.  For me Suicide all came down to my self esteem, I had none, I thought I was worthless and had no future, I thought no one would ever love me and I couldn’t deal with a life like that.  I wanted the pain to stop, I wanted the voice in my head to shut up so I did it. I regret each attempt I made and I am very lucky that none of them worked because I now see what those attempts did to the people around me, the people that supported me.  Suicide is a selfish act, when you’re that depressed and at rock bottom it’s hard to think of anyone else, and if you do you think they wouldn’t care anyway.  The truth is, suicide is always going to affect more than the person carrying out the act.  My Mum rings me everyday, if I don’t text her back she worries.  She still comes to Doctors appointments and asks me everyday to stay strong.  She worries constantly and it’s my fault because I made her watch her own daughter try to end her life.  I can’t imagine as a Mother what it would feel like to know that the person you brought into this world wanted to leave it.

For people who are feeling like I did, Suicide is not the answer.  Think of everyone you love, think of all the people who are supporting you, all the people that have every helped you.  You are letting them down if you choose this option, you have to fight and you have to stay strong.  It’s hard and tiring and there are times when you will contemplate ending it all but it’s about getting passed those times and taking joy from anything around you, enjoy the little things in life.  A life is an enormous gift and so much can be done with it, you weren’t put onto this planet just to waste that chance. Live and find happiness because it is there, don’t let that dark voice in your head win, be stronger than Suicide.

The Fight against Myself: About Me

The Fight against Myself: About Me

My story begins at 18 when I was diagnosed with Depression.  I had a decent life and good prospects for the future but my whole life I’d felt different, like I didn’t fit in anywhere.  I was picked on at school and my self esteem was almost non existent.  As a teenager I was shy and withdrawn, a big change from the happy, confident child I once was, but I always put it down to hormones.  I didn’t know that as time would go on, my mental state would decline and eventually it would become so bad that I would turn to self harm to make myself feel better.  I hated the way I looked and the person that I had become, I became sneaky and good at portraying a happy, excited young person when inside I was falling further and further down.  Eventually my Mum caught on to what I was doing to myself and my GP became involved, I was put on antidepressants and I began to feel better….for a few months and then it would be like the medication had just stopped working, my medication would get changed or increased and again for a short while things would improve and then suddenly stop, I’d begin to sink again.  This led to my first suicide attempt, a memory that still brings back extremely dark feelings.  I promised myself after that I would never do that to myself again but I broke that promise a year later when I overdosed once again, the only decent thing is that I can’t remember that attempt, it’s a blur because of the tablets I took. Two years passed after that, I became stronger,  went to therapy which I hated,  it would give me hope for a few months and then I’d smarten up and tell the psychologist what they wanted to hear, I’d be discharged and on my own again.  I started to work for the first time and I was proud of myself but once again my depression followed me and brought me down, the pressure of work and stress made me attempt to take my own life again at 21.

At 22 I met the man that is know my Fiancé and he supported me and pushed me to be better.  His patience and understanding helped me cope.  I caught Glandular Fever shortly after and some Doctors have suggested that Depression made me weaker and because my body was so run down I couldn’t fight the virus properly which is why I’ve now been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Post Viral Syndrome.  My body is in a constant state of fatigue, I can sleep for 10 hours at night and wake up feel just as exhausted as when I went to bed.  My muscles and joints ache after a short amount of activity.  I feel like a ninety year old woman has taken over my body and my depression still hovers over me, making me doubt my strength and hoping that I will give up again. My blog is my way of letting out my frustration, coping with the constant struggle and hopefully finding inspiration and support from people suffering in a similar way because of so tired of Fighting against my own body and mind alone.