Journals: Good or Bad?

Journals: Good or Bad?

I saw something on television today about how keeping a journal is potentially harmful because it makes you stew in your own feelings and accept negative emotions rather than confronting them and changing it.  It was all about how writing about your feelings and emotions doesn’t actually affect them and that there is no advantages of writing about your misfortunes.  While I accept that opinion, I don’t agree with it.

I started writing in my first journal when I was 12 years old and I have every journal I’ve ever written in, saved on my bookshelf.  At first a journal was just a way for me to express my frustration and feelings during my teenage years and moaning about school and friends, talking about who I had a crush on and how I planned to make them marry me.  It was immature fun and it gave me an outlet, I didn’t have many friends as a teenager and my journal was in a way, my best friend.

As I got older my writing became more serious and reflective, it was about expressing feelings that I couldn’t express to people, talking about my worries and fears, and my dreams and hopes. I felt lighter and free after writing about my feelings, it made things easier for me.

Now, reading back through my journals has proved really useful, not only does it remind me of little happy moments I’d forgot about, it showed me how depression entered my life.  I was diagnosed with depression at 18 and I’d always believed that it had started at 16 after my parents divorce and after I’d been through some bullying.  Looking back at my journals though, I can see now that it affected me long before I realised.  When I was 13 years old, I wrote about killing myself for the first time and periodically after that, I mention not wanting to live and wanting to give up on life.  I wrote more often between the ages of or 12 and 15, and it was all very depressing and now I’ve come to identify my depressive behaviour, I can see that I was depressed long before I realised.  It wasn’t just normal teenage hormones and mood swings, it was a constant feeling of darkness and I described it in my journals as this blackness inside me, that tried to ruin any happiness, I wrote about not enjoying life and feeling not well.

Reading back has helped me, it’s showed me that my depression isn’t because of my parents divorce or being bullied, it doesn’t come from a negative or traumatic experience, it just is.  I didn’t believe in depression as a biological illness, I always thought it was triggered by trauma and I felt guilty for having depression when I knew that some people had experiences a loss worse than mine, people have it a lot worse than me.  Now I think that maybe depression was just always there in me, maybe I don’t have to feel guilty about feeling the way I do when I have so many good things in my life.

Reading back through my journals has also helped me understand where my anxiety stems from, I was always a shy child and I preferred books to people and I enjoyed learning new things, which made me different to other kids and kids can be cruel to someone who is different.  I let classmates walk all over me, I let them say mean things and laugh at me, and I did it because I wanted to fit in.  I tried to follow the trends and change myself to be more like my peers but it never worked, I was always still singled out and it caused me to sink into myself and choose to avoid rather than confront.  I started to run away from situations instead of standing up for myself and that’s why my anxiety has come to be as bad as it is.  One of the things that stands out most to me in my journals is the days I would fake being ill to get out of school because there was a presentation that day or a group project and I was terrified of being humiliated so I did whatever I had to do to fake sickness and get the day off.  I wish that I could go back now and just face my fears because by avoiding them, I never gave myself the chance to prove I was good enough, I made it impossible to build my self esteem and confidence because I found it easier to hide away.  It’s really sad to think that I was so terrified of my classmates opinions and actions towards me and I wish that I had been stronger and stuck up for who I was instead of hiding and trying to change myself into someone else.  I’m 23 now and ever since the age of 12, I’ve avoided any experience which I thought could cause me humiliation, and by doing this, I’ve never given myself the chance to prove my fears wrong.  Just because some kids at school laughed and said horrible things, doesn’t mean everyone is going to do the same and even though I can see that logic, it doesn’t help me because I’m too used to thinking that people will dislike me, so I avoid people and situations where I could be vulnerable.  Just being in public makes me panic, because I have so little confidence in myself and I see people laughing, and think they’re laughing at me, I see people talking and automatically think they are making comments about the way I look or behave.

My journals have shown me where I went wrong, they’ve shown me that I shouldn’t feel guilty for being depressed when I’ve had a much better life than some.  They remind me of better times and make me proud of some of the things I’ve overcome. That’s why I think journals are beneficial, especially when you suffer with a mental illness because you can track your mood and identify triggers and behaviours that may signal a relapse.  It’s like writing this blog piece, it lifts a stress from my shoulders and allows me to say what I want to say without that face to face fear of judgement.  It allows me to reflect and think clearly which is really helpful.  I don’t know how I would have got through most of my life, if I didn’t have a journal to write in.

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Everyone has their quirks….

Everyone has their quirks….

I definitely have some odd habits, that I never realised were odd until I started living with my Fiancé (Johnny)  I like to think of them as my quirks, and they make me more unique.  I’m sure everyone has their own little quirks and when other people see them, it makes them stare in horror or confusion.   I thought I would list a few of my little quirks and rules that I live by and see if anyone else out there shares the same odd behaviours.

  1. Never shower or have a bath without looking the front and back doors of the house.  I never noticed this until I moved out and began living with Johnny and its something he still laughs about.  I sometimes double or triple check the locks on my doors before I have a bath, because I actually worry that someone may just walk on into my flat, straight into the bathroom and see me naked.  It’s not a rational thought, but I can’t seem to set my mind at ease, I cannot step foot in the bath if the doors are not locked.
  2. When closing the curtains, make sure that there is absolutely no gaps.  This stems from a childhood fear of seeing a face between the gap in my curtains and now if there are any gaps in the curtains then I am convinced that someone will be able to spy on me.  It doesn’t even help that I live in a first floor flat so someone would literally have to levitate to reach my window, I still can’t have gaps in the curtains.
  3. I cannot finish a drink. This is something that drives Johnny crazy!  I buy 2 litre bottles of fizzy pop, or a litre of juice and I can only drink three quarters of the bottle. Once it gets past the three quarter line, I cant drink anymore because it tastes wrong.  I literally have five bottles of drink in my fridge at the end of the week with only a quarter left in each of them.  It’s the same with drinking out of a glass, I will always stop drinking a few sips from the bottom because after that it starts to taste wrong to me.
  4. In my bedroom, I have a big built in wardrobe and I cannot sleep at night if those wardrobe doors are open.  It doesn’t matter that the only thing in the wardrobe is clothes, or if the doors are ajar, I cannot sleep without them being shut tight.
  5. Never go in an empty shop.  This probably stems from my anxiety problems but I can’t go into a shop unless there is another customer in there as well, because I feel like the shopkeeper is just watching everything I do and then I have to buy something so I don’t seem rude.  I will stand outside a shop and wait for someone else to go in first, before I enter.  On the opposite end of the scale, I also can’t go into a shop if there is a large crowd of people in there, or my anxiety just triggers panic attacks and I can’t cope.  So basically I can only enter a shop with a minimum of 1 person and a maximum of about 5. Frustrating!
  6. I hate touching food that has gone cold.  You know that situation where you’ve eaten dinner and just want to relax so you leave the plates on the kitchen worktop and promise to clean them later, I can’t do that.  Once cooked food has gone cold, I cannot touch it, it literally makes me gag and flinch in disgust.  It’s the same food I was eating an hour ago but once it’s no longer hot, I can’t bear to even look at it.
  7. The milk to cereal ratio is critical in my house.  Johnny cannot make my cereal because it’s just too stressful for him and I end up having to do it over anyway.  So I have to have about 3/4 cereal and 1/4 milk, there needs to be enough milk to wet the cereal but not enough to make it soggy because once it starts to go soggy, I can’t eat it anymore.  I know people that absolutely drown their cereal in milk and it drives me mad.
  8. The before bed ritual.  Again this is probably something that comes from suffering with anxiety.  Before I can attempt to sleep, I have to run through a checklist of things and it something that really frustrates Johnny because he’s just drifting off to sleep and then he hears “Did you lock the door?” and he grunts yes “Are you sure?” and he grunts yes louder.  “Did you turn the lights off?”, “Did you turn the cooker off?”, “Did you turn the heating off?” and it goes on and on, did you do this and did you do that?! It almost always ends up with Johnny getting up and going round the house checking everything which he knows he’s already done, because he knows I’ll end up getting up and triple checking it all myself.
  9. My serial killer bookshelf.  I sincerely hope I am never investigated for a crime because my shelf of serial killer books will definitely give a bad impression.  I can’t help but enjoy people’s reactions though when they run their eyes down by shelves and it’s all Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Classic Literature until they come to the bottom shelf, this is when their face turns to one of worry and horror because there is a whole shelf filled with crime books, serial killer stories and forensic textbooks.  I do have a diploma in Forensic Science and Profiling so it’s not that odd, I am just interested in the reasons behind crime and how crimes are solved.  I do like to remind Johnny when he’s annoyed me though how I have a shelf of ways to kill him and hide the body…….
  10. Eyeliner will help me survive in an apocalypse.  I have an addiction to buying eyeliner, my sister does AVON and every order I put in has at least one eyeliner.  It doesn’t matter that I have a perfectly good eyeliner that’s brand new, if I see a slightly different one, I have to buy it in case it’s better than the one I have.  The funny thing is I rarely go out because of my illness so I don’t wear make up regularly.  I literally buy eyeliner and add it to a box of about a hundred I already have.  I’m convincing Johnny that when the apocalypse happens, those eyeliners I’ve spent so much money on will be useful somehow.

 

So there are ten of my quirks and behaviours which make me a unique person.  They might be odd to some people but to me, they are a part of me and I embrace the crazy.  It’s good to have something which makes us different and sets us apart from everyone else and it’s also fun to meet someone else who shares one of the same quirks.  So let me know if any of you have similar quirks, lets all be quirky together.

Unfair Benefits System

Unfair Benefits System

Be prepared for a bit of a rant here because it’s a subject which I have had experience with recently and I can relate so much to the story I am going to share.  First, here is a link to a story about a woman who has just committed suicide because of an unfair PIP assessment.  It’s really heart breaking.

Article

This woman suffered from ME which is something I also suffer with.  It’s a debilitating disease which makes you exhausted constantly, it causes sleep to be unrefreshing which means sleeping does not help or rid the exhaustion.  It causes muscle and joint pain which requires a lot of pain killers and sometimes cannot even be treated with that, it leaves a lot of sufferers bed bound.  It causes a lot of symptoms cognitively, like memory issues, brain fog, lack of concentration.  There is no known cause for this disease, I contracted it after having Glandular Fever.  There is no treatment and barely any research, a lot of Doctors believe the condition to be a mental illness in which the brain signals pain when there isn’t any but recently studies have been carried out which show it could actually be a problem with the immune system not working properly.  It is an invisible illness though, which means it is ignored and misdiagnosed a lot.

I recently had my PIP claim (Type of benefit in UK) reassessed.  I’d been receiving the benefit for two years, due to the fact my severe depression and anxiety had prevented me working.  I have been suffering with ME for close to two years and it’s been a nightmare getting any treatment or help, I have to sleep almost constantly, I get about three hours a day where I am able to do household chores and that’s it.  I suffer with horrible back pain and pain in all of my joints and muscles which I take strong painkillers for and I rarely am able to leave the house.  Despite this my reassessment was rejected.

Like this woman in the above article, I had a face to face assessment.  It was carried out in my home because my anxiety prevents me travelling to places I don’t know.  During my assessment I felt extremely uncomfortable and my anxiety was so bad that I could only give one word answers.  What annoyed me about this face to face was, the assessor never asked questions from a mental perspective, my main issue is mental illness yet she only asked me physical questions “Can you get in and out of the shower”, “Can you dress yourself”, “Can you use the toilet”.  I can do all of these things but as people with depression and ME know, just because you can physically do these things, doesn’t mean you do.  I have no energy to get dressed or take showers, which means I  an go a week without washing sometimes because I am that exhausted and can’t get out of bed.  I need a lot of prompting to take care of myself and this was completely ignored.  I was asked one question about my ME and the assessment was over in 40 minutes.

Three or four weeks letter I received a letter to say my claim had been denied.  I received no qualifying points and the letter I received which explained the decision was disgusting!  It stated that the face to face assessor had written I appeared completely relaxed and showed no signs of anxiety.  This was completely false, I was sweating profusely, my heart was beating erratically throughout and I couldn’t talk.  The letter also stated that because I had not attempted suicide in over a year, my mental state was fine.  This comment is extremely offensive to me and I am so disappointed in my countries benefit system.  Suicide is such a sensitive issue and they basically told me I don’t deserve help because it’s been over a year since I tried to take my life.  The letter went on to say that physically I was able and healthy and did not warrant any further financial help.  It was a completely false report of my condition and it left me devastated.  My Mum went out of her way to appeal the decision and luckily I have a great GP who wrote a letter also.  I know how the woman in the article felt, because I felt the same way, I felt so betrayed and unfairly judged by my country.  These people are supposed give benefits to people who need them, they are supposed to help.  How many people sit on jobseekers allowance and don’t lift a finger to find work, yet they get money ever month no problem.  I suffer with illnesses which may be invisible but they are extremely real and I don’t deserve to be ignored and shoved aside simply because my illness are to complex for the benefits system to understand.

The woman in this article took her own life because some person in an office somewhere decided she wasn’t worth the trouble, that her condition was to complex and since it’s invisible, it can just be ignored and turned away.  I don’t know how this assessor can live with themselves knowing that they ultimately made a decision which ruined someone’s life and made them give up on life and choose death. I used to think my country was a fair one, I used to be proud of my home but I am utterly disgusted by it now.  The government doesn’t care about how unfair their system is, they spend no time investigating the people that claim benefits fraudulently and instead spend their time taking if off people who are vulnerable and can’t stand up for themselves, they force people with invisible illness to suffer and struggle because it’s easier to ignore something you can’t see than to address it and take it seriously.  The woman in the article took her own life surrounded by her benefits letters stating that she was healthy and able, basically calling her a liar.  I know how this woman felt and it’s so saddening because these assessors made her feel like her life was worthless and unimportant, they treated her like a case number and not a person.  People suffering with illness deserve respect and understanding, they deserve to be listened too and treated with kindness, this woman was given none of this and yet nothing will be done about it, the government and the benefits system will lock it away in some filing cabinet and forget about it.

I’d like to say at this point that my own benefits decision was overturned and I did receive my claim.  I had to fight tooth and nail for it, I had to send piles of evidence and statements from people who know me.  It made my mental state deteriorate badly and my illnesses were made worse by the stress and anxiety I had to deal with.  I got no apologies for the way I was treated, no sorry for the completely false statement given by the assessor and no support during the time I had to wait and worry about the decision.  It may have come out positively in the end for me but it doesn’t for a lot of people, so many people are put through more suffering and ignored because their illnesses aren’t common or easy to see.  I’m disappointed in my government and I’m disappointed in the people that are supposed to help us, who are supposed to make out lives easier and help us live independently despite out illnesses.  It’s unacceptable.

 

 

Sometimes, Opposites really do attract.

Sometimes, Opposites really do attract.

I’m not sure how I, the shy, antisocial bookworm ended up with my Fiancé Johnny who is outgoing, sociable and ambitious.  We are opposites in every way, he enjoys going out with friends, meeting new people, keeping fit.  He is positive and ambitious, always looks on the bright side of things and keeps himself motivated.  I on the other hand hate socialising, I always see the negative in a situation, I prefer staying in to going out, reading to socialising and my expectations of life are low.  Despite this, we seem to work.

I met Johnny online shortly after my third suicide attempt.  My family had encouraged me to join online dating sites because my anxiety and depression really limited my abilities to meet people and I’ve always been extremely shy.  I’d had a couple of bad experiences with online dating before meeting Johnny and I wasn’t really looking or hoping for anything.  I was in a really bad place, I’d attempted suicide a month before and as a result had to give up my job.  His message was straight forward and simple, he started off commenting on how we both had an interest in the WWE, it was innocent and not at all like some of the inappropriate cheesy messages I’d received before. Talking to him made me forget what was going on around me and I felt like a normal 20 year old.  It wasn’t long before he asked to meet me and he lived half an hour away so it was perfect.  I almost didn’t agree to that meeting, I was struggling with depression and I didn’t want anyone being dragged down by me, and I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  It was my Mum who pushed me to meet him, she told me that sometimes we have to take a leap in life, and if it didn’t work out then at least I gave it a go.  It was at this point I told Johnny about my anxiety, I couldn’t just go out to dinner like normal people and for the first time, it didn’t put someone off and we agreed to meet at a park which was quiet and pretty.  My mum drove me and I begged her to turn around and take me home, my anxiety was crippling me and I didn’t think I would be able to go through with it but my mum pushed me and dropped me off.  I’ll never be able to thank my Mum enough for pushing me that day.

Three years later and we’re engaged.  Johnny came into my life at an extremely tough time and sometimes I think he was meant to find me then because he saved me.  I had resigned myself to being alone, depression is a hard illness to cope with and it takes it’s toll on the people around you.  Johnny never swayed though, he remained patient and understanding.  He came to my doctors appointments and learned about my medication, eventually taking over the responsibility of making sure I took my medication and keeping it locked away so there was no risk of me overdosing again during low periods.  There is a six year age gap between us and he’d experienced a lot more of life than I had, he’d been through all the partying and dating, he’d had lots of girlfriends.  I’d never been to a club, never really drank alcohol and had one relationship in my life.  We couldn’t have been more different but it worked because he pushed me and encouraged me to do things I’d been too scared to do.  He took me shopping and to the cinema, he pushed me to go out for a meal with him and to stay at his place at weekends.  It seemed like nothing to other people but my anxiety had stopped me doing these things for so long and he pushed but never forced me to try new things and he never left my side doing them.

Johnny is the most amazing man I’ve ever met, he’s been through his own share of troubles but he’s always made sure I was okay first, he’s done everything he can to support me and help me recover.  Depression is a terrible illness and it doesn’t work on a schedule, I’ll have good months and bad but Johnny never gives up and he reminds me every day that he’s not going anywhere.  For the first time I feel comfortable being who I am in front of someone, I don’t have to put on an act or pretend to be anything I’m not.  Johnny continues to be this upbeat, positive and ambitious person who encourages and motivates me.  He may be my opposite but I’m thankful for that because If i’d ended up with someone just like me, I’d never have had the courage or motivation to be better, I’d never have experienced some of the things my anxiety prevented me from doing.  It works both ways too, being with me has calmed him down, he’s not the same party animal who enjoyed drinking too much alcohol and being an idiot. Johnny helped me recover and heal and I helped him settle down and realise what he wanted.  We may clash and argue about the little things, he may listen to his dance music too loud and bore me with his football talk and war movies but I’d never want to be with anyone else.  He is my soulmate and no matter what comes at me, I know he’ll be there to help me through it.

So sometimes, opposites really do attract.

Confidence and Self Esteem

Confidence and Self Esteem

My confidence and self esteem issues started in high school and have such a strong impact on me even now. it’s something that follows me and triggers my depression a lot, and in turn, my depression takes advantage of my low self esteem and makes me hate the person I am.

As a child, I was a complete attention seeker, always in front of the camera singing and dancing.  I was confident and adventurous, I loved making friends and I was slightly tom boyish but happy with who I was.  When I look back at photos and videos of myself back then, I feel a lot of things.  I feel a happiness at seeing my old self and seeing how much I enjoyed life.  I feel jealousy because I’d give anything to be that little girl again with all that confidence.  I feel sadness because that little girl I was, isn’t here anymore and she didn’t deserve to be broken down and made to feel worthless.

High school can be a hard time of life for some, while for others it’s the best years of their life.  My high school life was a mix of the two.  On one hand I loved learning, I was a bookworm and I loved to soak up knowledge and express my opinions.  On the other hand, my classmates made me dread going to school and that’s where I began to lose the confident, adventurous girl I was.  I wouldn’t say I was bullied, I was never physically hurt by my classmates or singled out and targeted by a group of people.  The problem was, I didn’t fit in anywhere and although I had friends, I drifted between groups and never really found my place which meant a lot of the time, I was left on my own.  Group projects or gym class used to bring dread to my heart because I knew I’d always be the last to be picked.  When paired with me, my classmate would snigger to their friends and complain in whispers because I was the quiet shy girl who always got on with the teachers and did well on schoolwork.  To everyone else, I was uncool and no one wanted to be associated with that bookworm who actually enjoyed schoolwork.  When speaking aloud in class, I became nervous and blushing had always been an issue, my classmates picked up on this and whenever I had to speak up, my classmates would laugh quietly to one another and whisper about how red I turned and how I would just look at the floor.  Eventually I felt like my opinions and my voice wasn’t important and it was easier and safer to stay quiet and instead of answering teachers, just pretend I didn’t know the answer.  I was always a bit tom boyish and the popular girls made comments about my clothes and asked me where I shopped, they’d giggle and judge me.  The boys would make comments about how I wasn’t girly and eventually changed my name from Heather to Hector because they thought I was more of a boy.

I thought college was my chance at a new start but it was more of the same, I was quiet and shy so people found it easier to ignore me and pretend I didn’t exist.  There was none of the teasing and insults that I’d experienced in high school but being ignored and rejected was the same.  I’d end up sitting at a table in class all on my own because no one would sit near me, they thought I was odd because I wasn’t as confident and outspoken as them.  I never got included in group work, the rest of the group would just talk amongst themselves and do the work without me.  This was also a time in my life where I was bullied by a single person who chose to pick on the way I looked and my weight.  I wasn’t overweight, I’d never been sporty or skinny and I’ve always been very short.  Nevertheless, I’d always worried about my appearance and when a girl started to call me fat and post pictures of me on the internet with insulting names and comments about my weight, it really destroyed me and it was the final straw.  I’d held on and tried so hard to fit in and be like everyone else but all I got was rejected, made fun of and ridiculed for being different.  I hated myself so much at this point that self harming came easily to me, I wanted to hurt and scar the ugly person I was, I hated my body and my appearance so much that I physically sliced into my skin with knives or scissors to make the pain go away.

High school and college was a constant period of my life where I was ignored, left out and isolated by others because I was quiet and people didn’t want to know the shy, quiet bookworm.  This left me feeling like I would never be good enough, that my life wasn’t important and that I was below everyone else.

I hate the person I am now.  Lot’s of people are insecure about themselves and have things they wish they could change about the way they look.  For me though, it’s a hatred of everything I see when I look in the mirror.  I hate that I’m not skinny or in shape, I hate the my hair is frizzy and not straight, I hate that my nose isn’t straight because I broke it when I was 12.  I hate the stretch marks on my skin, the way my skin never tans, the colour of my eyes, my chest size, my ugly feet.  Everything about the way I look is disgusting to me, it physically makes me sick thinking about myself.  And it’s not just on the outside but the inside too, the self loathing I feel because I’m not out going or bubbly, the feeling that I will always be that girl sat on my own because no one wants to know me.  I’m worthless and not good enough, I don’t fit in anywhere and I’m just disgusting .

I look in the mirror and I feel sad, I feel broken and I feel disgust.  No one knows how their words affect others, sometimes people speak without thinking.  At school, no one thinks about how, they way you treat someone can affect them in the long run, it’s all just gossip and being cool.  I just want someone to read this and think next time they see someone sitting on their own, next time you see someone being left out and ignored and make the effort.  I wish that someone had made the effort to include me, even once.

 

 

Privacy

Privacy

I noticed today’s word prompt is privacy and it got me thinking.  This blog is a way for me to vent how I am feeling and be honest about my depression and anxiety without feeling scared of what people think.  I don’t know why it’s easier to talk about how I feel here rather than in person but it is.  In my normal life, I’m a very private person and I don’t like anyone knowing things about me.

With my depression and anxiety, I’ve been referred to talking therapy a few times where I could go through CBT and talk about my feelings in order to change my mind set and hopefully get better.  Talking therapy for me is a nightmare and subsequently has never worked for me.  I used to dread going and when I was in a session, I would say whatever I needed to get out of there fast, even if it wasn’t the truth.

I don’t like to be the centre of attention and I find it hard to talk about my feelings, I don’t even tell my family or Fiancé what I’m feeling most of the time because I just feel like, why burden someone else.  To me, my issues are my issues and I don’t want to tell other people how I am feeling in case they turn around and say “That’s it?”.  I never had a big tragic event to trigger my depression, it just became something that affected me and people find that hard to deal with sometimes.  I know there are a lot of people in the world that have bigger issues like poverty, starvation, abuse, death etc. and I don’t want to seem selfish.  My life is a good one and I don’t have a reason other than dodgy brain chemicals to be depressed, and it makes me feel like I shouldn’t complain, I should just keep it to myself and suffer alone.

So when I’m sent to someone to talk about my depression and the things that affect in, I find it extremely daunting and I find it impossible to convey just how much I’m suffering.  I will simplify it and make it seem like I’m coping when I’m not because I don’t want to bother other people.  In therapy I used to do whatever I could to get discharged, I learned the mood questionnaires and I caught on to what the therapist wanted to hear and said it, I made them think I was recovering and that therapy was working for me, because I wanted to be discharged and not cause a fuss or be the centre of attention.

I’ve recently been referred to a psychiatrist because my depression hasn’t improved in five years and I have a history of suicide attempts.  Medication helps but when my mood gets too low, it’s ineffective and therapy has done nothing so now I have to go and see someone who is going to want me to talk about myself and my feelings.  I want to get better and I want someone to help me but I’m stuck in that place where I want help but my anxiety about being a burden stops me from expressing myself.

Privacy to me is important because I like to keep things to myself and be self reliant but it also makes me very hard to get to know.  Privacy makes me a very closed off person with a fear of being too much trouble and being judged for how I really feel.  Privacy is a good thing but it’s also a problem that affects me every day.

 

One best friend is better than a bunch of alright friends.

One best friend is better than a bunch of alright friends.

One thing depression and anxiety are good at is pushing people away and isolating you so it has its chance to make you feel worthless and alone.  Before depression, I had a group of about six close friends that I spent time with.  We were a close group of friends and enjoyed going on days out, camping trips and just having fun together.  It seems like a really long time ago now and I miss the days of being able to enjoy days out and socialising with people.  Socialising now brings feelings of fear, panic and general anxiety, and it’s just easier to avoid it, so that I avoid panicking and making myself worse.

After being diagnosed with depression, I hid it from my friends.  It was easy to hide because I became a very good actress and almost became two people, the one I was with friends was happy and confident but once I was home I’d shrink into myself and become quiet and withdrawn.  I began to avoid socialising, cancelling on my friends and making excuse after excuse to get out of plans.  This was about the time I began to self harm because I hated myself, I hated that I was avoiding my friends and isolating myself but I couldn’t stop doing it, depression was in control and I was just left trailing behind doing whatever I could to bring some sense of peace.  Self harm was my way of getting rid of the frustration I felt at losing control and it was away to take out my hatred of myself.  I hated the way I looked, I thought I was fat and ugly so I wanted to rip apart my skin and cause pain and make my outside look as ugly and distressed as my inside felt.

As the months passed by, my friends stopped inviting me to go out and I’d see pictures on the internet of them enjoying themselves and going to events and out for meals, and it made me feel worse.  Even though I was the one who pushed them away, it still felt horrible and I was angry at them for letting me push them away, why didn’t they try harder? why couldn’t they see I was struggling?

In my close group of friends, there was always one who I was closer to and I’d say we were more like sisters, we spent everyday together and she practically lived at my house.  She came on my family holidays and was the one I always went to first for advice.  During the time my depression got worse, she kept asking me about things, she was the one who carried on trying to get me to socialise and get out.  Unfortunately I was too far gone and I refused again and again.  Then I attempted suicide, a stupid and horrible decision I made which I regretted straight after, by that time though the pills and alcohol had started to kick in and I felt myself falling unconscious, this is when I called my friend for the first time in a while, luckily she came straight away, found me and called an ambulance which probably saved my life.  I don’t remember a lot about the hospital, my heart had issues and I was out of it but I do remember she stayed with me all night, she slept in a chair and refused to leave my bedside.  I think it was a shock for her to see me like that, with sliced up arms and practically unconscious, I regret that she had to go through that because of me.

After I got out of hospital I went through therapy and I got in touch with my old group of friends and told them what had happened to me, they were surprised and promised to be there if I needed anything and offered to talk anytime I needed it.  It’s about four years on now and that group of friends became more and more distant as my depression flummoxed between manageable and not manageable.  That one friend who stayed by my hospital bed though, she stuck by me through everything.  I didn’t deserve it, depression made me an awful friend because that’s what it does, it makes you selfish and care less about the people around you.  I pushed and pushed her away, I was distant and horrible but she kept coming through for me, she kept arranging to come and visit me.

In fact, I saw her today, while I’m going through a really awful time with my depression and CFS, and she really made me realise how lucky I am to have her in my life.  She is the only one who stuck by me and pushed back and even though I don’t see her as much as I’d like, she is there when I need her.  I did have a group of good friends and it was great but having that one best friend now surpasses that by far.  I think it’s way more important to have one best friend than a group of friends who when it gets tough, fade into the distance.  I owe a lot to my best friend, she probably saved my life the day I attempted suicide and she has continued to be there for me and make me feel loved when I haven’t deserved it.  It takes a special kind of person to stand by someone with depression and she is my guardian angel.  Depression is a horrible condition, it destroys who you are and makes life so hard, but the people that support you and love you make it a little bit easier to fight.

So thank you best friend, for never abandoning me and for always being there when I’ve needed you.  I haven’t been a good friend in return and for that I am sorry but I will continue to fight and be there for you, the same way you have always been for me.