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Sleep? No Chance!

17 Feb

I feel like throwing a party, the pain has finally lifted and my heart doesn’t feel so heavy anymore. I could complain about not being able to sleep or how my life is still littered with worry mines, but I won’t. I’ll just let you in on a little secret and let you know what I like to do when sleep is too far out of reach. I limp around Youtube digging up videos that bring a smile to my face. Comedy is something everybody needs in their life. It can shine a torch through your soul when you’re drowning and help you cling onto what life you have, however unsteady and unwell you feel. You should always have a little place in life for a large helping of comedy gold.

 

The first time I saw this video I couldn’t believe how true the words were. I was also rather tickled by the teasing portrayal of the Americans, but you do have to admit it’s funny and brings a broad smile to your face. There is a lot wrong with this world when you think about it and I think kickin’ ass is probably just what we all need to do.

 

All I think about when I watch this Monty Python sketch is the following: The London Olympics 2012. The London Olympics 2012. The London Olympics 2012. The London Olympics 2012.

I have to say I’m quite content not being able to sleep when I have comedy gold like this at my fingertips.

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My Father

12 Feb

Dear Diary,

While I’m on a writing roll this evening, I might as well continue to air my deepest, darkest thoughts in the hope it will make me feel better. There’s nobody in my life I feel like I can talk to about these things, so right now you will have to feel the full brunt of my thoughts and I don’t even feel the slightest bit apologetic about that.

I don’t know where to start when I try to describe my dad. He has so many sides to him and he’s adept at keeping certain ones close to his chest. He can be loving, helpful and caring, but he also favours sticking his head in the sand and keeping his distance when things become too difficult for him.

Financial support is one thing, but when it comes to the emotional kind I’m left high and dry. We can sit down and chat about The Beatles or what we think about the latest movie releases and I enjoy that type of chatter, yet when it comes time to discuss anything else about my life or his there’s silence. Silence at both ends, followed by a brick wall shooting up from the ground and driving us further apart.

Somewhere along the rocky path of life we’ve lost the skill to interact at any level above that of two friends meeting for a causal chat in a pub. I feel like I don’t want him to know any of the thoughts I lay out on these pages because they’re personal, they’re mine and I would rather share them with the rest of the world then him. He doesn’t understand or perhaps he does, but struggles to put his feelings into words?

I don’t want him to sigh heavily and shake his head at me when I say things close to my heart. I just want him to be my dad and tell me everything will be fine and promise me I’ll get through this storm.

Maybe I expect too much from my parents? I’m old enough now to weather my own depression and fight until I’m crowned champion of the world.

But a little support wouldn’t go a miss. Really, it wouldn’t.

– Tasha

My Mother

12 Feb

Dear Diary,

Sometimes I wonder if I scare my mum. When I break down into tears and sob my heart out, she doesn’t hug me, she doesn’t ask me what’s wrong, she stands there and acts like I don’t even exist. She won’t even look at me and I can almost hear the cogs turning in her head as she tries to find something to distract herself from me: The biggest disappointment of her life.

I often wonder what I did to her in the past that was so terrible. Was it because I was firmly planted on my dad’s side when the arguments used to erupt in the family home? Perhaps all the years I spent at school bored and uninterested, forever in trouble and always skipping classes pushed her a little too far away from me? It can’t be easy giving birth to a child and having such high hopes for her, only for the girl to never reach her true potential or even make a mark on the world.

At times I’m left wondering if there is any point at all in me trying to forge a relationship with her. We fight like crazy and I feel like I’ve ruined her life. I’ve heard the line,” We’re too alike,” being uttered before but if I ever had a daughter who was hurting as badly as I am right now, nothing would stop me from comforting her until the pain started to lift and the sun began to shine.

I don’t need words or the moments when I overhear her saying she doesn’t want to spend time with me because I don’t help myself and I’m too negative. Tonight my heart broke for the very last time and the conclusion I reached is I’m in this fight alone. My family are background characters and I’m the main act. I might be an emotional wreck sometimes, there can be snatches of pain so deep I feel like I’m being buried alive, but I’ll conquer this fucking illness and then I will sit down and think about this properly.

The possibility my mum is frightened by what I might end up doing to myself haunts my very thoughts. If that’s the reason she’s pushing me further anyway, then I can understand it. But it still hurts having to fight this all alone. It hurts and I’m so tired of it.

– Tasha

Family

11 Feb

Dear Diary,

I’ve never felt so alone in all my life. I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of the earth and if I take another step I will surely fall into oblivion. The sharp edges of life are fading, I’m losing the will to fight and nobody is here to hold my hand and tell me everything will be fine. Even my own family have abandoned me and I don’t have the strength to hate them for it.

“You have nothing to be depressed about!”

That line was just fed to me and I’m so sick of having to defend myself against my own family’s scorn and refusal to understand what I’m going through.  Depression is an illness and one I never asked for. It steals all the happiness away from me, my confidence, my smile, my stubbornness…  My everything and I only want somebody to hold me when I cry.

I know my family is dysfunctional but why does that mean they can’t be supportive? Why can’t they understand what I’m going through and how much I’m hurting?

On Thursday evening I started to wash up and I was listening to the radio. At one point I ended up in a crumpled mess on the floor and sobbed until I felt a wave of numbness crash over me. Detached is the point I’m aiming for because I’m running away from depressed. It just seems that I’m running around in circles at the moment.

Everything is an absolute nightmare right now.

– Tasha

The Sun Has Stopped Shining

3 Feb

Dear Diary,

I feel so utterly lost and my souring mood has been beaten about the head until it  promised to be forever and a day miserable with a sprinkle of ‘I hate my life’ tears. I suppose I’m always pretty unhappy and I can live with that, but when I feel this depressed it hurts so badly I want to run away from myself. I’m struggling to describe even a small percentage of the pain I feel and it’s taken me at least half an hour to write anything.

I cried yesterday, I cried five times. Tears leaked in the Job Centre, while I was walking to the bus stop, as I was sitting on the bus, when I arrived at my volunteer job at Mind and when I returned home. The tears decorated my face all day Thursday and I haven’t had time to feel all that foolish or embarrassed about it yet.

Bottling up my feelings and pretending everything is okay is detrimental to my health and the longer the problems with the Job Centre continue, I know I’m not going to feel any better. I haven’t been sleeping well since I received the serious looking letter from them and even trying to find out the simplest facts from their call centre is a mission best left to Sherlock Holmes. But after living with Depression for years I know a good sleeping schedule is important to keep the black dog at bay, but how can I close my eyes at night and sleep when I know my life is pain wrapped in a blanket of thorns?

When I take a step in the right direction and there’s a stirring of happiness which is a feeling I’d long since forgotten, I feel a little braver and think maybe I can achieve all of my goals, become someone, the person I’d love to be, but then the cold light of day hits me square in the eyes and I realise the world is a cold, dark, unforgiving place where the average person is ripped to shreds.

I’ve still been searching for a job and even applied for one at a hotel/bar in my local town centre. But between you and me, I don’t hold out much hope for a golden reply of, “Yes! Come in for an interview right away. You’re just what we’ve been looking for!” Yet there is a small pocket of hope deep inside me wishing I’d never ever have to darken the doorstep of the Job Centre again. Do perfect jobs even exist and where can I find them? More importantly how can I become confident?

Do you know why I first wanted to volunteer for a mental health charity? I knew I needed to improve my confidence because I struggle to believe in myself. Not only is Mind an excellent place for people weighed down by the world and their mental health issues, but when I go there  everybody is so lovely. I stand there and feel like I completely lack any type of social skills, I’m nervous, I beat myself up and I don’t even understand the concept of small talk. Even when I’m asked to help write a press release I can’t help but type away and then hit the back button until I’ve deleted every single word. I belittle myself, I can’t stand to be given a compliment because I despise who I am and I don’t believe I have anything of value to contribute to the team.

I want to be confident, but I don’t want to become an absolute nightmare. I want to be happy, but I don’t want to skip down the street beaming at everybody I meet.  I want to beat this depression into submission, but most importantly I want to use everything I’ve learned about myself to create something positive, long lasting and if happiness decides to make a reappearance again, I’d be eternally grateful.

To be completely honest with you, I don’t know what to do or where to start. When life begins to close in on me, should I run away or stand my ground with a trembling bottom lip and a stubborn, tearstained gaze? I guess the time has come to make that decision because I’m the master of my own destiny and despite being blown of course by the most ferocious of storms, I’m still standing, if not with a little trouble and a broken heart.

– Raindrops

I want to be Happy

28 Jan

Dear Diary,

On Thursday I felt a fleeting moment of happiness and I loved it. Remember that Mind volunteering job I wanted? The one where I’d get to write and make a difference to those who suffer from mental distress? Well I got the job. I know I don’t get paid but it’s a start and even on the first day I realised I was going to love every moment of being there because people understand me. They’re not going to question me when I feel down or even judge me when I’m feeling so depressed I want to crawl to the nearest hiding place and never be seen again. But like I said, that was a fleeting moment.

Today I woke up to a very serious looking letter with my name on and the envelope was light brown. The colour is significant because it means the Job Centre have decided to do their best to make my life a misery again. At first I thought it was a reply to the complaint I’d made about my job advisor, but do you know what it contained? It was three sheets of paper informing me I was no longer going to receive money because I’d refused to apply for a certain job. There is a set of numbers beside the rambling letters from the typist but I don’t know what job title it’s eluding too and of course the Job Centre has to be closed today! I don’t know what to do or even how to fight the decision because they don’t care about a young woman, who has little confidence, tries her best and was actually happy on Thursday. Why would they care? I’m only one person and when I try to take them on it overwhelms me. Sometimes I think they like it that way. They like people to be overwhelmed or to just say, “I can’t be bothered with this. I’ll let them win instead.” But if I don’t stand up for my rights, what happens when somebody else who suffers from depression or some other kind of mental health condition visits my local Job Centre?

It makes me realise when my mood has slumped and I feel so utterly lost, I’m easily trampled over and the Job Centre have become masters at this. Even my Job Advisor can peck away at me and I’ll dissolve into tears. I sometimes wonder if it gives her pleasure to push until my life begins to sail away from me and my depression rears its ugly head. She will sit there and ask why I’m late, I’ll explain the buses aren’t running on time and she’ll shoot me down before I’ve even finished my explanation. “That’s a story,” She’ll say. “The buses are always running on time.” I’m left sitting there and thinking I’m telling the truth, so why am I being treated like something she’s stepped in? But when she strolls in late from lunch and I’ve been sitting there waiting for over fifteen minutes that seems to be okay.

What I really want is to be treated with respect. Just because I’m depressed and may snap or cry sometimes, it doesn’t mean I’m any different to you, or anybody else. I’m certainly not treated with any such respect at the Job Centre and I guess that will never change. When I’m there they talk to me like I’m a liar, because every time I say something I receive a look and an answer of, “Yeah, yeah”. Then there’s a roll of the eyes and the woman types furiously on her keyboard. Now I’m starting to wish I knew what she was typing on my details because she could be putting anything. Especially when I know I’m telling the truth and she’s there on the opposite side of the desk arguing with me and labelling me as a liar.

Since November my moods have been flying all over the place. I had about four to five days where I was on top of the world, swiftly followed by the most soul crushing depression and then I felt extremely hyperactive again. There’s been almost three solid months where I’ve been forgetful, not myself and I can’t even start to begin to understand what’s happening to me. Then I visit the Job Centre where I’m treated like I’m worth nothing, I’m a liar and I’m a benefit cheat. That is how I feel right at this moment. When I sit in front of my Job Advisor and I know I’ve been searching for jobs and I can’t remember where, that isn’t an act, because I truly can’t remember the dates or times or even names of the places. There was even an entire week where I felt hyper, high and depressed all at the same time and I was still trying to search for a job. If you think that was easy, I’ll tell you right now, it bloody wasn’t. I was falling apart and I was trying to cling onto some kind of semblance when part of me knew it was an impossible task because when your mind is falling apart, job searching when you truly believe you’re worthless is not going to cure the problem, but only make it much worse.

I seem to try but ultimately I always fail and I’m not ashamed to admit I’m in floods of tears right now. If there’s something I truly, truly despise it’s failing and I’m always and forever falling into that trap. I’m a failure, I can’t find a job and even when I secure the best volunteer job in the world, the happiness is torn away from me.

So thank you Peterborough Job Centre. You’ve made me feel like a benefit cheating, waste of space that pretends she looks for work while she also puts on a show and says she has a mental illness.

  • Raindrops

I’m Plagued by Thoughts

21 Jan

Dear Diary,

I’m at my most dangerous when I begin to think and I’ve been doing just that over the past couple of days. It’s strange how I can avoid listening to my thoughts and feelings because I have gotten into a habit of waking up each morning and wanting to cry. Depression has the power to strip your personality down to the bone; it knocks your confidence more roughly than a Tsunami and leaves you with little more than a shadow of your former self. Only now with the help of counselling am I beginning to piece together my thoughts and learning to stand my ground when a problem arises. It’s all too easy to curl up in my bed, tug the covers over my head and hide from the world when I feel like I’m falling apart, but I want to grow as a person and I above all else I have to succeed.

Everything I have ever touched has fallen apart whether it was my family unit, hopes of an education or my mental health. I blame myself continuously for everything that has ever happened because isn’t it my fault I’m depressed? I’ve heard so many clichéd responses to a depressed person, I’m sure I could write a book on it. But common sense usually prevails and I remind myself Depression is a treatable mental illness, I’m seeking help at long last and I don’t wish to be smothered by this black cloud for the rest of my life.

It’s far too simple to allow myself to be labelled as the “Depressed Girl” until the end of my days and if I did that, what would I achieve? And furthermore, wouldn’t I have wasted my life fluctuating between being miserable and downright drowning in my own tears?

Sometimes I can’t help but think it would be easier that way. If I remained depressed and feeling like an outsider each time I stepped out of my front door, I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain and stir up memories I don’t want to deal with. When I hit the age of eleven I was already a master at bottling up my own misery, sealing said bottle and hiding it under my bed. Before I knew it I was sleeping on a mountain of bottled tears and the tip of my nose was greeting the clouds.

Refusing to be drawn on my feelings worked for me at the time and I stuck with that very way of life until the age of seventeen when I became absolutely terrified of my own thoughts. When I look back now it’s obvious to me I became severely depressed by the time I reached eighteen. I was suicidal and wanting nothing more than to leave full stop. I self harmed, I cried myself to sleep, at times I even felt like I was losing my mind because I was in so much pain, but I’m still here now and whenever you hear the phrase “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” take heed, because it’s true.

When I’m faced with another wave of depression now, I see the oncoming signs and I know when to hunker down. I avoid getting into situations that will drag me down further, I cry when I need to shed tears because bottling things up is dangerous and I type my innermost feelings out and post them here. There are many reasons why I do the latter, but the most important aspect is this: I would never want anybody to feel as alone as I once did.

Overall and with almost eight years of depression behind me I know I’m okay right now. I’ve been better and I’ve certainly been worse, but feeling “okay” gives me a foundation to work from and with the correct tools, I will construct a life around me before the year is out.

– Raindrops