Failure

I’m pretty familiar with many of the typical traits of depression – they’ve kept me company for many winter months over the last 2 decades or so…

Low mood

Changes in appetite

Changes in sleep pattern

Irritability

Confusion/poor concentration

Suicidal ideation

Decreased energy

None of the above have been strangers to me – they have become so familiar that even when I am not an emotional wreck I still know that I am in the grips of a depression because of my total fucking apathy.

In recent months I have missed so many opportunities/events that ‘normal’ me would be buzzing about with zero fucks given.

But this time is different. This time is scaring me because now I am ticking all the boxes.

For the first time ever, I am completely absorbed with feelings of guilt and failure. I am fucking failing at life.

I know where I want to be but I just can’t seem to get there. It feels as though I have fallen through the thin ice of a frozen lake and whilst I can see where I need to be in order to resume my life, every time I reach for it, I am plunged under again as everything that I try to anchor myself to falls away from beneath me.

This scares me. I have never lost sight of my worth before. Feeling shame for my pathetic existence.

As I laid in bed the other night, hoping that I would be told the following day that I could return to work soon, my mind cleared of work-related concerns.

All I could focus on was my obituary. What good could even be said? Who would even come to my funeral?

I have never had such a strong urge to stop existing.

Just stop.

And that fucking terrifies me.

I feel I am losing the fight against this darkness.

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Not even close…

I’ve been signed off work for some time as I battle to get through this particularly persistent episode of depression and anxiety. This one really wants to be pals and won’t leave me the fuck alone!

I was told to expect a phone call today from occupational health which had been arranged via my employer.

I hate phone calls at the best of times, let alone when I’m ill!

I had been working towards the date of returning to work (I teach children with autism) next Thursday. I’ll admit the thought made me anxious but I hadn’t realised just how anxious until I received the call.

The idea of the phone call was to ascertain which steps could be put in place by my employer, in order to help me, upon my return to work.

However, we never even got that far.

Within a few minutes, the lovely lady who had called me asked how I was coping with regular, daily routines. Sometimes you don’t realise how bad you are until you say it out loud to another and your voice shatters as you break down.

She quickly ascertained that there was absolutely no point in discussing strategies for work as I was nowhere near well enough to even begin to think about returning.

I was devastated and thrilled at the same time. Devastated that I can’t just be normal and cope with life like a normal person, yet thrilled that I was not having this pressure dumped on me prematurely when I was not even close to being in the right headspace, no matter how much I tried to convince myself otherwise.

It was such a relief to be told to stop thinking about work. That work comes second and before anything else, I must just focus on getting myself well again.

We so often face stigma on a daily basis and are expected to “just suck it up and get on with it!”

It was such a relief to have someone who is working for my employer say, “You are not ready. This is a real thing and it’s going to take time to get yourself back to feeling well and that’s ok!”

I doubt my employers will be thrilled but it is what it is. I’m sick of feeling shame and guilt about this illness.

Bring on the wellness…

Sick of being the freak…

Ever wish you could erase your previous communications/conversations with people? I always manage to come off looking like an intense weirdo. But I’m not. I’m really not. But sometimes when I’m happy, my brain works at a millions miles an hour and the words just rush out. My eye for detail and remembering the random stuff can come off to others like I am more ‘invested’ than I am.

Does that make sense?

I drove past a guy I went to school with earlier. At least I thought it was him but knew it was gonna bug me until I knew whether it was. So I sent him a brief message. His first response was friendly and thrilled to see me, asking all about how things are, followed by an almost immediate message thereafter telling me he was just reading back through my old messages and that he would speak to me another time.

Fuck sake.

God only knows what my previous messages said, it has been years since we spoke but judging by his need to shut down the conversation so rapidly, I clearly had said too much, or had come across in a way that I didn’t intend to.

Fuck.

So frequently I find myself being humiliated by my mere existence. Why is it that I just can’t grasp normal interactions without coming off as a freak show. I am the person whose messages remain unread – the sort classified as ‘just pretend we haven’t seen it’ archive.

Is it any wonder that I isolate myself from the outside world?

Flashback

It’s funny how a dark time from your life can be suppressed and forgotten about as if it never happened. Yet suddenly, one second of sound can transport you back to that place.

As I stood by my car scraping the ice from my windshield, I heard the unmistakable sound of a black London cab. In a heartbeat I was transported to a time of anxiety, despair and darkness.

Fuck you black cab!

Striking a balance…

I have reached the conclusion that mood stabilisers and anti-psychotics are not for me.

Over the years, my consultants have always been amazed at how sensitive I am to medication (I am often floored by a mere paediatric dose) There is a good chance that this could be ASD-related as apparently that’s pretty common too…

Several months ago my anxiety was so high that I had stumbled over into mania – my mind was working at a million miles an hour and I was taking stress after stress in my stride while everyone around my questioned, “How is she still smiling?” At that point, Quetiapine was a God-send. It took the edge of my vibrating thoughts which made my head hum in the middle of the night. That excess energy finally mellowed and I’d find my self enveloped in a cloudy loveliness each night as I’d drag myself sleepily up the stairs to bed.

The mania passed and I stopped the quetiapine. It had served its purpose.

Fast-forward to now. The midst of a cloudy, Black depression. The will to live has gone. I simply wish to cease existing.

Every winter this happens. Every year a little worse that the year before. Sadly the experience doesn’t seem to help, only suck me lower in the knowledge that this dark fucker ain’t leaving me alone any winter soon…

My consultant tells me I need more than just an antidepressant. That someone with Type 1 Bipolar needs a cocktail of meds in order to contain the evil motherfucker. I agree, in theory. Yet in reality, not so much.

For the past couple of weeks I have taken my quetiapine as instructed, just before bed and have fallen into a restful slumber. However, every morning I wake with a tight chest, fear of leaving the house and unable to think my way through the simplest of tasks.

The other night, I forgot to take it. It triggered hypomania which although feeling fabulous, is no way to combat the fucker. It was clear that I needed to sleep but I feared that lovely ‘alive’ buzzy feeling would be replaced with the black fog the moment I took the quetiapine again.

And so I skipped the dose again and replaced with a pill from my emergency stash of Lorazepam. I fell asleep and the edge was taken off my hypomania buzz and I woke in the morning feeling brighter than I had in days.

So now I ponder, is the quetiapine making my anxiety worse? Is a medication which was so helpful at knocking mania out of the park last year, the cause behind my worsening depression and anxiety?

I hate meddling with my medication and doses but here an ‘emergency’ appointment can take a month or so to get. I don’t have weeks to waste before seeing someone again.

Is it just coincidence? I have started keeping a diary stating what I have taken each night and the state I wake in each morning. Hopefully a pattern will begin to emerge and I can get back to living sometime soon.

Fuck this illness.

Skipped

Fuck this disorder. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going! Last night I forgot to take my quetiapine dose. I didn’t sleep a wink. I literally tossed and turned all night. I figured there was no point taking it in the middle of the night as I needed to be up early with the kiddo.

This morning the tightness in my chest isn’t there and I don’t feel quite so massively overwhelmed as I have recently. But why? Is it the missed dose or has the lack of sleep merely triggered a little hypomania?

Fuck sake! 😩