My Crazy Confessions – Extremes of Stress and Anxiety

Hello Again!

Another week, another blog. Another chance to get stuff off my chest.

I was to splurge out some things that happen to me when my stress, anxiety, and depression are at their worst.

One of so many reasons mental illnesses like these go un-diagnosed for so long is because many symptoms seem like personality traits.

“You’re always multi-tasking and on the go!” – that’s because I constantly feel I should be doing something.

“You know so much, you’re so intelligent!” – that’s because even when I finally do sit and relax and watch TV it’s always a documentary or a quiz show so I’m always learning something.

“You do so much for charity!” – that’s because even when I had next to nothing I still had something more than others and not to give would be selfish of me

 

Now, I do want to do all these things and more often than not I enjoy the hell out of them. I love me a good history documentary, and charity is a duty (I feel anyway ha) however there gets to a point where these things aren’t done for enjoyment, they’re done out of fear or shame. The fear I should know more about the degree I completed 7 years ago – you have a degree in it so you should know EVERYTHING. The panic that if I have free time, you don’t actually have free time. There’s always something you should be doing (cleaning, reading, sewing, etc.) so if you’re sitting you should be utilising the time. If I have £10 in my account, that person in the doorway has nothing – you’ll only spend it on a Costa coffee or a Cardigan.

These actions are beautiful things, great things I’m proud of. However, if you take these traits and turn them up to 11 they become damaging. Multi Tasking becomes never resting. Giving to charity means putting yourself at risk of debt. Never switching off leads to exhaustion.

Then this happens…

“HOW can you be tired? You slept for 9+ hrs last night!”

“You’ve been in PJs ALL day?! You’re so lazy”

“You backed out last time! You’re so flakey”

“You complain all the time, think positively!”

“You’ve changed. You’re not the person you used to be. You’re so selfish now!”

 

The thing is, I never used to complain. Or back out of plans. Or sleep all the time. Or put myself first, for anything really. I didn’t complain about my life even when my home was leaking water through electrical sockets and was dangerous. I was anxious that I had a roof so it would be selfish of me to complain to others so convinced myself it was all fine as some people would beg for a home, even a leaky one. Even when I was in an abusive relationship, I was anxious that there were people dying at the hands of their partners. He only hit me every now and then, and I was sure him telling me about how everyone only valued my body and only he valued my mind was just him looking out for me. So I convinced myself everything  was fine because I was ashamed to be seen complaining when so many others had it worse. Now the thing is, for now, someone will always have it worse. This is a sick result of austerity, global politics, sexism, homophobia, greed, and so many other factors. We’re taught to feel grateful for what we have because we could have it worse. So, many people tolerate violence, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and other abuses because “it could be worse”.

I’m not standing for this anymore, and I implore you not to stand for it either. If selfish means putting my health before other people’s convenience then print me a T Shirt:

I’M SELFISH.

You can only give if you have something to give. You can’t pour from an empty cup. I’ll always be there if I can – always. If I have something to give, it’s yours. Just let me develop something to give.

I’m terribly sorry if my disability is an inconvenience for you, but I don’t want to ever feel like I did back then. I don’t want to be so exhausted by just waking I want roll back over asleep and never wake up. I don’t want to rather be asleep because I can’t bear to simply exist. I want to be able to go to work, make money, come home, enjoy life, to love and BE loved.

So sue me for wanting to live, and not just exist as a means to your end.

We’re all mad here. You are worthy.

Katie B x

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

 

Advertisements

My Crazy Confessions – Depression; it’s a bit sh1t.

Yea. What’s new? Let me explain. The other morning I literally wanted to walk into traffic. En route to work, I stood at the curb of a main route into Manchester and thought… “I could time this just right…not to die…just…”. (I didn’t, by the way. I’m not writing this from a hospital bed or anything.) Compare that to the very next day, where I felt sort of normal. Its hold on me isn’t suffocating. WTF depression? Literally a day’s difference?!

Now I don’t mean that it fleetingly changes day to day. For example, I’ve been battling this particular bout of depression a couple of weeks; just the Saturday before I confessed to my partner I felt I was drowning (see here for the treading water explanation ha). What I do mean, however, is that after weeks of feeling like I’m failing. Running Out. Flailing in the open waters desperately trying to survive with seemingly no end in sight, one day I can breathe. One day I have a bit of fight, a bit of energy. What used to take 3 spoons is now only taking 2, meaning I can sit in the lounge when I get home from work instead of climbing straight into bed at 7 pm and blocking the world out.

My depression is a series of peaks and troughs, and my journey out of troughs of always seem to start with a bump. As if some sort of veil is lifted and I can start see properly. Like putting you glasses back on ha. As I’m sure many people and attest to, it’s a slippery slope into the pits of depression. A helter skelter downward that is smooth but quick. Getting out of the trough is a hike. A sheer climb that rarely runs smoothly. Maybe the worst day, what feels like the lowest of the low, is actually that first big step up again?  Who knows.

Try to remember, We’re all mad here.

Katie B x

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

 

 

 

Treading Water – my attempt to explain my mental health

You know when you go swimming with school and there’s that lesson where you have to swim with pyjamas on? The lesson where you learn to tread water and not die until help comes in case you fall in a canal or something? Picture this…

I feel like I’m constantly treading water. I mean life is a bit like that anyway isn’t it? Always a bit of effort. Though, where some people are in boats, I’m in the water. Always. Now if the water is calm, it’s fine. Takes minimal effort to keep my head above water, and feel the sun and interact with other people swimming or in boats.

Then storms hit. You can’t see anyone else, or the boats, or the sun, or anything. All you’re aware of is you and the fight you have. Riptides drag you around, pull you under, waves crash down on top of you and you struggle for breathe. To stay alive you constantly exert effort, kicking, fighting, just to to the same things you’ve been doing for weeks. Forget trying to do anything else. All your energy just goes on surviving.

Drowning is a slow death, apparently. A dragged out period of pure panic, with seemingly no way out, until eventually your body can’t take it anymore. So when I say I feel like I’m drowning, this is what I mean. I’m filled with panic, and dread, and can’t see a way out. A terrifying experience that I really don’t know if I’m going to survive. The fact I’ve survived previous times is little comfort, this is going to be the time. I’m exhausted.

Then for no reason the storm stops. You take what you think it going to be your final breathe and…you’re able to take another, and another.  You survived. God knows how but you did.

And just that like you’re pretty much fine again. Bit bruised and battered, most likely, but overall fine. Then over time you start to forget exactly how the storm felt. It’s not so much you forget about the storms, you’re just surprised every time they hit. Every. Single. Time. Similar to storms, they can come with little to no warning. Little hints here and there of the oncoming front,  but can often be missed, or mistaken as something else. Unlike storms, however, these aren’t quick intense flashes in the pan. They can last for weeks.

So that’s how it feel for me.

Remember, you’re worth the effort. We’re all mad here.

Katie B x

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.

My Crazy Confessions – Anxiety

Why hello there!

So, here the therapy begins. A diary. A journal. (Feeling very Dr. Watson.) I wanted to start writing my experiences with mental issues as the one thing I’ve learnt in the past year or so, is that more people than you think live with some sort of “condition of the mind”, so to speak. Yet given the statistics regarding mental health, the stigma still stands. So screw the system. Down with the Stigma. Here we go.

I myself have an interesting combination of Anxiety, Stress, and Depression. Usually in that order, too, if I’m honest ha. What makes me a wonderful empath also makes me a nervous wreck. I think; more often than not far too much. Admittedly it has it’s uses. It creates a compassion in me that many admire, a way of seeing varying perspectives, stuff like that. However what it also does it scare me into submission.  Rule my life with an Iron Fist of fear, worry, and embarrassment. What I am most terrified of is being misunderstood by those in my life – my family, my partner, my boss, my peers. Those who are closest to me who you’d imagine I’d be most comfortable around are actually the people my anxiety targets.  I can, most often, fake it to the masses. To Joe Blogg on the street. I can smile, and wax lyrical, and tell the guy selling  Sky TV I’m running late for the train. But to the people who are close to me, the people I feel I owe, I crumble. Go weak at the knees.

I’ve learnt really that many of my Characteristics are actually symptoms. Many that I’ve had for years and not realized. Like always being ‘on the go’. Always working on something, projects everywhere. Which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but it’s like anxiety has creeped in to my life, taken my Characteristics and turned them up to 11. To the point where I start to wear myself out. My plate spinning act has too many plates and things start to wobble (Here is usually where the Stress kicks in, but that’s another post for another day). So you rain check the coffee with your bestie from Uni you haven’t seen in years, or tea with your parents.

“What if they think I’m blagging it?”

“What if they think I just can’t be bothered?”

Familiar? Then comes the feeling of self loathing and hatred for being a shit person. Oh the joys.

Then there’s work!

“What if the boss doesn’t believe the train was really late!”

“What if I’m not as good as I think I am?”

“Boss called a one on one meeting?! a.k.a. Your dismissal. They’ve figured you out. You’re gone.”

That stomach in throat feeling when the boss asks “can I borrow you for a minute?” Bleugh! Nausea inducing.

Then you try to apply logic and rational thought to it. Yea we’ve all tried haven’t we ha. It works eventually, but it takes time and practice.

 So what’s the point of these ramblings? These confessions, of sorts. Well, firstly I find vocalizing or externalizing these inner turmoils makes them seem as un-probable and silly as they really are. Keeping them inside spirals and they become very real, big monsters that envelope all they see. Also, the past year I’ve learnt that a lot of people suffer with “conditions of the mind” so to speak. To read other’s experiences helps validate your own, I find. Particularly when you read something that you yourself do and you get that feeling of relief wash over you; “I’m not alone!”

Just remember, you’re worth the time. We’re All Mad Here..,.

Katie B xx

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.