Don’t believe your hype.

Ego.

Is it just me or is anyone else sick of seeing people consumed by how fucking marvellous they are? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m ALL for a bit of self-belief and confidence but I swear to God if I see one more #livingmybestlife #inspire #selflovewarrior #confidentaf hash tag I may very well lose my shit.

Newsflash, there’s life beyond loving yourself! Feel proud of achievements, celebrate your successes but when confidence tips into narcissism, believe me you’re suddenly much less attractive.

There is so much more to life than a social media feed – there is family, music, laughter, travel, knowledge, joy, creativity, spirituality to name but a few.

When did it become a thing to have to post about every aspect of your life for the whole damn world to see? Don’t get me wrong, ‘real’ is good but when you’re setting up ‘sad’ photo pictures, gazing off into the distance and posting about serious content, my respect for you will bottom out.

I have bipolar disorder. I have seriously considered suicide more times than I care to admit. But would I dream about posting a selfie of me looking forlorn whilst telling the world that it’s all just too much? Hell to the no.

Some shit is not for social media. It’s just not. Why are people seeking validation through ‘likes’ and ‘followers’? When the fuck did it stop being the norm to arrange meeting for a coffee with a friend because things were fucking shit but instead posting a set-up picture with a post worthy of a diary entry followed by countless hashtags and a public audience?!?

But the problem is, social media is validating this one dimensional existence. We are morphing into ‘perfect hot messes’ to be consumed by the masses which have been filtered to fuck.

Can we just stop?

Please.

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Normal.

What I’d give for normal.

Today I sat in a cafe with my little girl, waiting for our order to arrive. In walked a group of people which is ascertained to be a couple with their newborn, the woman’s mother, aunt and grandmother. They cheerily chatted and ordered and seemed so very normal.

What I would give for that kind of life. A life where my mother can come out for lunch with us. A mother who remembers her only grandchild’s birthday. A mother who is not so all-consumed by depression that she disappears off the face of the planet for weeks on end. Who doesn’t answer calls, who ignores the door each time you knock and who gazes blankly into space on the rare occasion you are able to get into the house.

I am not strong enough to deal with this alone. I have been parenting my mother since the death of my father when I was a child.

There is literally no-one else to help shoulder the emotional toll. I always wished for a sibling as a child. Having the kind of childhood I experienced is not the sort of thing that is easily dealt with alone.

How can I keep everyone else afloat when I am sinking myself?

Never underestimate the power of normal.

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.

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!