Decisively Unsure, Happily Saddened

Oh my, that’s the thing about mental illness, isn’t it?  You never know from one day to the next how you’re going to react to anything that everyday life, however humdrum, throws at you.  Sounds fun but it really isn’t.

In theory it ought to be going all well.  The job, the security of bills being paid, that feel good factor, after all these years, of being to afford to buy decent Christmas presents and give more and more to the causes than mean the most to me, it’s all there.  And yet ….. gah, why do I do it to myself?

At work, there’s still this almost implacable lack of belief and confidence in myself despite my performance, so far, being comfortably above the expected standards.  It’s that voice telling me how useless I am still there, whispering away, hinting that a cataclysmic error is just around the corner.  I get so annoyed with myself for thinking that too.

It’s got to the stage where, although I haven’t put anything in writing, I’ve told people there I’ll be leaving at Christmas and moving hundreds of miles away.  Is that the action of any sane person, a couple of months into their first paid job in half a dozen years?

The thing is, though, is that at the time, my mind was made up.  It’s certainly true I find living in the area I do unbearable, but that’s down to something other than work, my inability to get over my ex.  Maybe moving out of the area but still able to get into work was logical.  But to say the move was not only out of the area, but to a different country?  That’s pretty much running away from a problem which won’t go away in any case.  And making things worse in the process.

I’ve gone back to the doc and, as ever, filled in one of those ‘Scores on the Doors’ forms so he could measure how stressed, depressed, anxious and screwed up I was.  The points were totted up and were fairly high, into the 20’s.  Apparently I needed help as soon as possible.  Again.

Of course, when I rang up the therapy service, it was a case of ‘Sorry, still too soon, come back just before Christmas’.  Meanwhile, my GP continues his search for an antidepressant that doesn’t react with all the other pills and potions I take to keep the body ticking over.

The obvious response to this would be some retail therapy.  It’s a strange thing though.  When I’m getting something for my lad, or giving him a few shekels to see him through now he’s swapped his summer work for the college year, I get that warm glow of knowing I’m providing.

Depression Napoleon Dynamite

Yet when I’ve bought something for myself, latterly a weekend city break away with friends, a terrible sense of guilt overcomes me.  I somehow get this feeling that, after so many years of living frugally, spending on something for myself which isn’t an essential or £10 or less is a frivolous waste, an unnecessary extravagance.  This morning was spent chastising myself.  Yet again.

I need help.  That I do know.  So what do I do when I can’t get it?  Nine months ago I simply dissolved into tears.  Which was also something I did, admittedly, three days ago, but on a much smaller scale.  Today, though, it was the turn of harmless, gentle films to lighten the mood and my mind.

What usually does the trick is the loose tale of an Idaho man’s teenage years.  If you’re a fan of those high school prom and reunion films like Clueless and the sort, this one isn’t for you.  But Napoloeon Dynamite, despite me being way above it’s target audience age, never fails to make me laugh, smile, and feel good.

I love the fact there’s no swearing in it, no drinking or drug taking, no teenagers dressing like prostitutes or rent boys, but instead an hour and a half of laughing with dysfunctional brothers rather than at them, poking fun at vanity and selfishness, and a tale which shows that sometimes, just sometimes, good things do happen to good people.  It’s lovely and gentle, and when I’m down, is exactly what I need.

So while I sit here, knowing that I don’t know what to do with my life or my mind, I’m happy in my saddened state.  Of course, life isn’t one long gently humoured film, but every so often, it’s lovely to simply step out of life for an hour or two and treat myself.  With something that cost under £10, too, so no guilt afterwards either.

What will the next few days bring?  I dread to think.  I love being me but I hate my mind.  If I want to get better, that has to change.

Of that I’m decisively, happily, certain of.


Broken By My Boulevard Of Dreams

Ouch.  Even after all this time, after all the therapy I’ve had, both by professionals and the cathartic experience of writing what I’m going through (or perceive as what I’m going through, which may be a different thing entirely), it hurts.  It still hurts so very much.

It’s lucky I’m not trying to pass this off as some guide to living and beating depression, stress, low self esteem and other conditions seriously affecting our states of mind.  Whatever I try to do, however I lead my life, there’s this grey cloud hanging over me.

It feels good to convey how I feel, mind, and the hope has always been that if just one person who reads this identifies with only a single thing, realises they’re not alone, and somehow feels a tiny bit better for knowing so, that it will be seen as a help to someone besides myself.

I also know, as does every one of us, that mental illness isn’t only fought and combated during our waking hours, but when we are asleep too.  It’s where I’m having my biggest struggles currently and there’s no doubt it’s really taking it’s toll on me.

Elsewhere in my life, it’s perhaps the same mix of ups and downs as most people.  There’s that extreme lack of self confidence at work, despite the assurances I’ve had from the employers about my abilities.  I have to start believing in myself and other people when they tell me how good I am, but it’s a tough ask to.

Counterbalancing that is that I’m effectively balancing my pay between bills and getting out and about.  To be able to give my lad a wee treat every now and then, as we did yesterday with a day out, and not have to worry about affording even so much as an Irn Bru, feels so so good.

The one thing of balancing the bills and pay is that I really can’t afford to live where I am any more if I want to have even the merest of social lives and afford even the most basic of foods.  Nae bother though.  I have a couple of properties lined up to have a gander at tomorrow evening.  No fuss, no panic.

I’ve surprised myself with how calm I’ve been emotionally to dealing with what could be a stressful situation.  Not only that, when I have been down, I’ve been boosted and delighted by some of the messages and contact that’s been made with me by some people.  When you wake up to someone asking how you are and a kiss, even though it’s of the virtual variety, it really helps.

Depression Road Sign

So far, then, so good, at least when it comes to waking time.  When I head for the Land of Nod, however, my dreams break me down, crush my spirits, and ensure that when I awaken I feel more tired, upset, and fearful than if I’d not bothered going to bed at all.

As ever, the dreams that are most vivid involve my ex.  The one last night, we embraced, content in each other’s arms, but then she soon disentangled herself when a member of the family turned up, became distant, and eventually turned her back on me, despite my outstretched arms.

I don’t need any dream analysts to tell me the underlying meaning of it all.  It’s evident for all to see.  What I do need help with is the deep feeling it creates within me during the dream.  It’s so, so vivid and real, and I can feel the emotions as if she was right there with me.

This carries on into my waking up stage too.  For a few, beautiful, blissful minutes, I wake up convinced that it’s real.  So the morning was spent for a while thinking – against logic, odds, and cold hard fact of the impossibility of it, at least in this lifetime – we were reunited.

When the reality dawned, as I somehow felt and knew it would during the dream itself (but curiously dismissed it in those waking moments), the familiar void within me opened right up once more.  The pain of loss was screwing with my mind and emotions yet again.   I’m in a mess.

Oh what to do?  I’ve read that quote numerous times about the one you dream about is actually thinking about you, but I’ve yet to see or hear a shred of evidence to support that.  This is a one way thought process, and when you’re going the wrong way down a one way street, it’s hellishly difficult to manoeuvre, reverse, and carry on as normal.

Maybe therapy isn’t the answer, perhaps it’s the cards dealt to me for the rest of my days, and that’s what I have to adapt to over the coming years.  It’s not exactly a palatable future, though, spending it tired and upset however well other parts of my life are going.

All I do know is that in my Boulevard, it’s not the dreams that are broken, it’s me.  Somehow I have to mend myself.  There’s plenty of things going well in my life now.  It’s just that one last bit that needs fixing.  It’s always crossing that finishing line which is the hardest part though.

Cross it I will though.  Just you see.