Tag Archives: Depression

Searching, Always Searching

20 May

I’m sorry I’ve been so utterly unreachable and quiet this past month or so. First the crushing defeat of depression was nipping at my heels and running me ragged, and then I went on a month long trip to America. I visited friends, I met my half brother, but still I couldn’t shake the drunken, depressive devil free from my shoulder. I think he must have talons the size of fifty states because whatever I did the bastard and his friends wouldn’t leave me alone. But I’m home now, I have been for weeks. Has anything changed though? No, nothing apart from the sights, sounds and silence I’ve surrounded myself with.

Last week I had another appointment with the psychologist. In my previous appointment I was what she described as “hypomanic”.  This time around I was anxious, in floods of tears, incredibly depressed and apparently I looked “ill”.  Yes, that would be because I had ventured out the day before and spent the better part of a lazy afternoon in the pub. I was self-medicating on alcohol because the thoughts, the feelings, the paranoia, it was impossible to live with.

The woman, the psychologist as she calls herself, tried to palm my symptoms off on drinking. I was sitting there stunned, alone, crying and wondering if there would ever come a time when somebody would listen to me. I mean really listen. Listen to what I have to say about the way I feel and respond in a manner that tells me you understand and you’re going to do everything in your power to help me banish this fucking illness from my mind.

She then murmured on about me needing to stop drinking because that’s why I was feeling so terrible. Fine, I understand alcohol can be a depressant because I’ve been told that a million times before. But no, feeling that way was what led me to the local pub in the first place. I’ve been feeling like this without drinking, goddamn it! I drink because I can’t stand myself and I don’t want to be left alone with my thoughts!

My mind scares me when I leave the house and I’m convinced the two people ahead of me on the pathway are conspiring to murder me as I pass them by. I’m worried when I overhear people talking close to me and I think they’re discussing how ugly I am or why they don’t like me. I don’t even think I can return to my volunteer job now because I spent the best part of three weeks drowning myself in thoughts of how everybody in that office wanted to make me leave because they didn’t want me there anymore.

I saw that my local Mind office (The place I volunteer at) had released their first newsletter. I read it, scanned the pages and when I saw another man had joined the ranks and was doing the same job as me I was convinced it was a conspiracy. That was their way of telling me I wasn’t wanted, I thought. They haven’t mentioned me and I’m now reading between the lines. I came to the conclusion so quickly and the feelings were so powerful I’m still having trouble processing them. I know its paranoia now, but at the time I didn’t. It was real to me and I started to frantically think of what I could have done wrong. Why did I do that made them want to cut me loose? I wrote charity letters for them, I did everything they asked! Were they just using me for a while? Were they planning on doing this all along?

Thankfully these feelings have subsided since and I’m no longer caught so tightly in the grip of paranoia. I deleted facebook friends because I was convinced they were gossiping about me, I’ve hidden myself away in my room, I refused to listen to my iPod as I walked home in case somebody attacked me, I’ve done all these things because of incessant worrying and fears.

Is this another symptom of Bipolar disorder? Does paranoia go hand-in-hand with the manic stages, the crashing lows and this strange tingling across my skin when my mood begins to skyrocket?

The psychiatrist continued her appraisal of me and said I needed to start a course of anti-depressants. Her tone of voice was dull, lackluster and made me think I was either the most boring individual she had ever had the misfortune of meeting or her mind was elsewhere. As in, ‘Oh God, when I left the house this morning did I lock the door?’ I’m pretty sure that was where her mind was at.

My mind was on an entirely different level though. “Anti-depressants?” I said, staring at the woman with red rimmed eyes. “But… What happened to Bipolar?

I know I need anti-depressants to keep the low moods at bay, but the way she was announcing this I had a feeling she was sweeping the whole Bipolar diagnosis under the carpet.

“Who said you had Bipolar?” The woman, allegedly a psychiatrist, asked me.

Well, she did. But my counselor was the first person to broach the topic so I told her he had suspicions that I could have it.

“Hmm,” She drawled, looking through her notes. “What anti-depressants have you taken before?”

It went on like this until the meeting was thankfully over.

“Do you want me to ring and let you know what’s happening?” The alleged psychiatrist said to me after she had informed me she would talk to a colleague about what depression medication I needed to take.

“Uh, yes.” I answered, dragging my feet to the exit and willing myself not to break down and cry.

“Okay, I will.” She replied, stopping at the exit for a spilt-second. “Goodbye.”

I didn’t bother to watch her walk away; I just left as quickly as I could and swallowed the lump in my throat. The tears started running down my cheeks and I was so frustrated at the meeting I’d just encountered I dialed the number of my counselor. My God, I was standing in the street by a busy NHS walk in centre and I was crying for all to see.

I talked to him, all but begged for an appointment that same day and was told he had a free slot in an hour and a half. I walked to town, not wanting to sit on the bus and cry. It was a slow walk and I was falling into paranoia over the alleged psychiatrist. I couldn’t understand why she was doing this to me! Why was she suddenly not taking me seriously? And why wasn’t her colleague in the appointment like she was supposed to be? I’d been told that she would be there and it was even in the letter I’d received.  Did they think I was pretending to have all these symptoms? But I wasn’t doing this for attention, I was actually ill.

I willed away some time in McDonalds with a Diet Pepsi and I stared into space for what seemed like forever. Soon I caught the bus and was ranting away in my counselor’s office about what had just happened. He wanted to ask how my holiday had gone but I was more interested in venting my fears.

It’s actually thanks to him I have now started a course of medication. He was unhappy with what had happened and said he would contact the alleged psychiatrist if she hadn’t contacted me by Tuesday. I rang him on said Tuesday letting him know I still hadn’t heard from the woman, even though she had been saying she would fax the prescription of anti-depressants to my doctors the very same day. He couldn’t get in touch with her either, but had my file opened, the prescription found and it was finally sent to my doctors where I could pick it up.

The strange thing is I’m not taking anti-depressants…

My medication, Quetiapine: a Bipolar med.

I don’t understand how I was prescribed this when the alleged psychiatrist spent a lovely amount of time going through different anti-depressants with me. Does this medication also work as an antidepressant or just as a mood stabiliser to stop my hypomanic phases? I have absolutely no bloody idea either way. What I do know is I would love a string of answers for once. A sharp, solid answer I can digest and then I won’t have to Google my questions in hopes I will find some closure.

I think I have Bipolar, the people around me think I have it, so why can’t the alleged psychiatrist put me out of my misery? I have another appointment with her later next month and I’m in two minds not to go. A definitive answer means I can work on myself and strive to fight this illness and all it throws at me while on medication. No answer leaves me swimming blind, alone and with a severe cramp in every limb. The woman, let’s call her ‘Alleged’ doesn’t contact me when she says she will, doesn’t fax my prescriptions to my doctor, seems bored when I speak, can’t give me a definitive answer, leaves me feeling unsure of myself and rather paranoid… The list goes on!

Perhaps I need to kick Alleged to the curb and ask for a new psychiatrist or maybe even a new brain?

Why Me?

21 Mar

Dear Diary,

My mood slumped last night and I could feel it happening. That happy-go-lucky heart of mine lost its hypomanic sparkle and I crashed to a place where worry, anger and tears are the norm.  I read about Bipolar II Disorder and I wondered if that’s what’s wrong with me. My eyes drank in the words until I felt like my head was going to explode and then I slammed my laptop shut because I couldn’t stomach anymore. The list of symptoms I was reading, they were describing how I’ve been feeling! The depressive lows are becoming worse and I’m scared one day I will drown in my misery because the suicidal feelings are stronger and stronger each time the darkness infects my mind. I’m not saying I’m depressed now, just slightly miserable, but I know the depression is coming for me.

I woke up today and sighed because I had to contact the psychiatrist again. They said they would call yesterday, there was no phone call, and so it was up to me to see what the hell was happening. I realise when I look back now that I’m starting to get snappy with people again. I’m irritated at the slightest of things and that isn’t normal. I’m usually more pleasant in social circles, but my brain isn’t having any of that today. I guess I’m going to have to live like this until early May because they won’t give me medication until I sit through another appointment. Joy of fucking joys, I thought, this is just what I need! Now I’m going away on holiday none the wiser and wondering if any doctor will ever take my worries seriously.

Yes, I’m off to Heathrow next Tuesday and part of me can’t wait to get away from England because I need some time to pull myself together. I’m scared of a diagnosis like Bipolar because it’s a lifelong illness and even with medication, it’s always going to be there. I’m scared my life will never change for the better and most of all, I’m scared because I’ve always known I was different, but I never knew it was a mental illness making me act this way. I’d come to terms with the depression label a long time ago and now that process has to begin again because pitiful lows signal major depression, but coupled with those beautiful highs I’ve been experiencing, I feel completely out of my depth.

Yesterday I was convinced every time I stood at the bus stop a bus would come hurtling down the street right away because I was lucky. I had two days of this, Monday and Tuesday, where I felt on top of the world and I could do no wrong. I would stand at the bus stop for no longer than a few minutes and the transport would arrive and I’d be grinning manically. I even told a woman as we were standing there that I was lucky and she wouldn’t have to wait much longer. She was complaining because she had been standing there for twenty five minutes and I told her not to worry because each time I arrive at the bus stop the bus soon rolls in. Of course when that happened straight away, I became even more convinced I was on a lucky streak. I should point out I no longer feel this way at all. It vanished when I came back to Earth with a bump and now I’m left wondering what the heck I was doing Monday and Tuesday. I mean, I know what I was doing, but why was I acting that way?

I’ve never believed in luck before and I certainly don’t court it or babble about it when I’m depressed or my usual miserable self. So is that a symptom of Bipolar, a tie in with hypomania or am I losing my mind completely? I’m sitting here right now thinking about all these things and I don’t know what to do. Part of me doesn’t want to be patient and wait until May because I need this all to be sorted right this second. Another part of me wants to run away from this because I don’t want to be told I’m crazy and that’s how I feel, absolutely crazy.

I tried to talk to my mum about everything and she shot me down straight away. She said I shouldn’t be listening to other people because there’s nothing wrong with me and I need to get a job and get on with my life. If I was being honest I would say it crushed me to hear those words because all I wanted was a little support. But I’m not being honest though, so not one word bothered me and I don’t care what she has to say on the subject. I’m not lazy and I’m not selfish, I’m hurting, I’m scared and I feel all alone.

I’ve been told families are supposed to be supportive and if that’s the case, what the hell happened to mine? I think mines broken, just like my brain and I can’t fix either of them. But what I am going to do is try and focus on the positives. I’m going on holiday in six days and if this is Bipolar I guess I’m in good company. Perhaps there’s a reason why I’m far more creative and like to toss around words until I’m the puppet master of paragraphs? Whatever the reason, I’m thankful I find the writing process so therapeutic because it helps to post here; it really does, especially on a day like today.

Well, Well, Well, What Do We Have Here Then?

19 Mar

Dear Diary,

I don’t know where to start really, my mind is racing at such a speed, I feel like my neck is going to break. This morning I had an appointment with a psychiatrist and I was finally given an answer. I guess I should see this as a positive experience because the lady was lovely, but I didn’t really receive the answer I was hoping for. Somewhere deep in my heart I knew it was always a possibility because my moods aren’t stable and haven’t been since November, yet when those words left the woman’s lips, I couldn’t quite believe it. Me? I thought, but I have depression! I’m depressed! The doctors I’ve spoken to have always told me I suffer from depression! 

When I left the stark white office I didn’t have the time to digest the information because I had to rush to the Jobcentre. Yes, all that trouble I caused myself when I snapped at the sullen faced advisor has been dealt with now. My local Jobcentre relented and I’m still searching for a job. But now I have this niggling feeling inside me because Christ, who the hell would want me to work for them?

After the Jobcentre, I went to Mind and I sat in another office, but this time I was in front of a computer. I like my volunteer job, I really do. It’s helping my confidence and brick by nervous brick, I’m beginning to shed my terror at holding another job.  And the brilliant people at Mind helped me snatch my benefits back after I lost them due to no fault of my own. Well, those snappy words did leave my lips, the depressed tears did roll down my cheeks and I did have a little breakdown at my local Jobcentre, but now I have a reason for that!

I left Mind early today because I felt like the walls were closing in on me. I knew I needed to go home and put everything I had learnt today into perspective. Of course with me being my usual disorganised and clumsy self, I’m still trying to come to terms with the tsunami in my head. My brother did take me out to lunch though, which was a sweet gesture and the baguette was beautiful. But back to the main point I’m trying desperately to explain before my head implodes…

The psychiatrist said I was currently in a Hypomanic state. Add the severely depressed episodes into the equation and what do you have? A mood disorder, possibly Bipolar.

Well, fuck.

FUCK.

FUCK.

FUCK!

Why does this have to happen to me now!? I was beginning to really understand my depression, the triggers and what I could do to make myself feel a little better. But now my life has another twist, a turn and everything is up in the air. I know there are different types of Bipolar disorders and I don’t know what I have. To be honest, I think it’s difficult to diagnose in the first place and I just want to tear my hair out. Although there is one side to this illness I’m quite taken with: The creativity. I’m being doused in flames of words, thoughts and ideas to the point where I’m jumping from one thought to another. It’s a constant rush and it’s making me feel queasy but compared to depression, this is a walk in a pretty, little park with ten foot flowers and a famous Beatle on every corner.

I love the creative side to this, even though I just stopped myself from decorating the house the other week. There are these small tubes of paint downstairs and I really wanted to splatter the walls with bright colours and express myself like a true artist. I should probably note here that I’m not an artist and I can’t paint, draw or create masterpieces. Although if I tried… You see what’s happening?  My thoughts are so pure, happy and fluffy they’re telling me I can do anything or be anyone! It’s only when I write these things down do I wonder if my brain is trying to get me in trouble.

Oh, bollocks. I don’t know what to do right now.  I slept about four hours last night, I fell asleep for at least an hour and a half earlier and although my body tells me I need sleep, my mind is hurtling away from me and I don’t want to wrangle with it. This isn’t depression and I don’t want to die. There are no deep, dark, bleak, black thoughts so why should I be trying to calm myself down? This is a much needed and loved run of happiness and long may it continue!

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