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.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

I came across a question today “How easy is it to forgive those who have caused you pain?” and it made me think about all the people in my life who have hurt me and how that’s had an impact on the person I am today.  My depression is definitely tied to my self esteem, which has been knocked down further and further over the years by people who have made me feel not good enough.  It’s too easy to hurt people and I’ve had too many encounters to remember but the ones I do remember, they had an affect. So to those people, I address this post.

To the girls at school.  I had a hard time fitting in, I wasn’t as girly or outgoing as most of the girls, I preferred reading and playing imaginary games with myself. Because I was different, maybe I stood out more, maybe that’s why you picked on me.  I never wanted that attention, I wanted to be normal and fit in but you wouldn’t let me.  You sniggered behind my back, made jokes about my clothes.  You made it a point to not sit at the same table as me, sometimes leaving me completely alone while every other table was full.  It was fun to you, you didn’t care that it hurt me, that it made me feel disgusting. I was quiet and shy so you’d make it your mission to embarrass me and put attention on me.  You always picked me last for teamwork, and then ignored me completely.  You made it hard to go to school some days.  I still find it hard to be around groups of girls because I worry they’ll talk about me, that they’ll think I’m weird.  I still get frustrated that I’m not more girly and feminine and I worry that people don’t like me and that I’ll never fit in.  You made me a less confident person.  As a teenage, it’s hard and it’s easy to pick on other people for amusement but what you do can have lasting effects and it can hurt.

To the person I trusted.  You were the first person who made me feel like I fit in somewhere, and that I could trust someone.  You made me happier and livelier, you brought me out of my shell.  I let you in on my most private thoughts and worries.  I don’t know what happened, maybe I played a part in it and maybe I deserve some of the blame for the way things ended but I didn’t deserve what you did after.  You broke my trust and used my innermost worries and thoughts against me, you told other people my insecurities and manipulated them.  You made me cry myself to sleep, you made me pick up the knife for the first time and cut myself.  You made me hate myself so much that I didn’t want to be here anymore, you gave me confidence issues and issues with the way I look that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  You destroyed me more than you know and more that I’ve ever admitted.  Trust is easily broken and you broke mine and threw it in my face.

To my Dad.  You were my best friend, the person I could always count on.  You taught me a lot of things and made my childhood the best I could have asked for.  You were the perfect father until Mum left you.  I know it hurt, I know it nearly destroyed you but I was there.  I helped you, I made the effort and stood up for you.  I made it hard for Mum because I wanted her to hurt, I wanted to make it better for you.  In the end though, you left me.  You walked out of my life when I needed you, when I was confused and angry.  You made your life a priory and the life of your children second best.  You were part of the reason I tried to kill myself for the first time.  You didn’t care that I was sick, you didn’t care that I had tried to take my own life and that rejection affected who I am today because I will never feel good enough again.  I felt like no one would want me if my own father didn’t.  I’m broken because you ripped out a part of my heart.  You’re trying to make up for it now, and I’ll give you the second chance but that rejection and abandonment will never fade, I will always feel unimportant and rejected.  You make me expect disappointment from every person I meet.

Those are the three moments of my life I believe had a real affect on who I am today.  My self esteem and opinion of myself is low because I let these experiences effect me.  I wish I could have been stronger and I wish I could tell my past self to stay strong and ignore what others do and say but I can’t.  Do I forgive these people for hurting me?  Yes I do.  It’s hard but resentment will not help me, it will not make me better.  I forgive these people, sometimes we don’t know our actions can seriously harm others.  I forgive the people who hurt me, I just won’t every forget them or their actions and that’s the sad part.

 

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.

Guilt and Shame

Guilt and Shame

Having an invisible illness brings a lot of judgement and opinions from others and a lot of time it’s negative and hurtful.  Living with Depression and Chronic Fatigue is hard enough as it is without other people making me feel worse about something I cannot change.

Before my Fiancé met me, he had never met someone affected by depression and anxiety and I think it shocked him to see how much it affected me.  He didn’t understand Depression and it took a while for him to get used to the condition but he made the effort to learn about it and support me as much as possible.  The anxiety was hard for him to deal with because he is such an outgoing person who loves to socialise and it caused a lot of stress in the relationship but we both eventually learned how to compromise and he learned my boundaries and respected them. The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome took a long time to diagnose and frustrated him to no end because he could see how my life was so negatively being impacted and it seemed like doctors just fobbed me off,  but he supported me through all of it, and he’s still supporting me even though he doesn’t understand how something you cant see can be so life changing.

Some people though aren’t as supportive and understanding, they have the impression that Depression is something I choose to live with and the Chronic Fatigue is just tiredness which I should get over.  I don’t currently work, I have done in the past and I would love to again, there is nothing more fulfilling than earning money for your future.  To others though, I choose not to work and am lazy, they see me sitting at home all day earning no money for my household and putting all the pressure on my Fiancé.  It makes me feel ashamed and I start to doubt even myself, am I weak? am I lazy? Could I do more?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is hard to explain and when people just accuse me of being tired and lazy it hurts me so much because I’m 23 and if I could I would be out there in the world preparing for my future and socialising, doing all the things a young person would do.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome isn’t just feeling tired, its feeling mentally and physically exhausted.  People take for granted waking up in the morning and feeling refreshed and ready for the day.  When I wake up in the morning, I feel nothing but exhaustion, I’ve slept all night but it’s not helped me, it’s not refreshed me, I feel just as tired as I did when I went to bed.  Then there is the constant aches in my muscles, it feels like I’ve run a marathon when all I’ve done is had a shower.  My joints are stiff and my temperature all over the place, I’m sweating one minute and the next I’m freezing cold.  I can’t concentrate for long, my mind feels foggy and I forget things so easily. When I sleep I have such vivid disturbing dreams that it’s surprising I sleep so much. I get up at 11am and by 3pm I need to sleep again, but I fight it because I feel so ashamed, I shouldn’t be tired because I haven’t done anything productive.

So it hurts when people think I am exaggerating or making my condition up, it hurts when people say I should be out working like everybody else because its just laziness.  It hurts when I have to fight for my benefits because Chronic Fatigue and Depression are not classed as long term illnesses.  I shouldn’t have to prove myself.  I have two illnesses that can’t be spotted physically but it doesn’t mean I’m not really ill, it just means I have to try harder to fight.