I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

(By the way you should totally read the short story the title of this post comes from, but I must warn you, it is a brilliant story, but it is also one of the most depressing things you will ever read)

Today was not a good day.

I was overcome with despair. I haven’t been well all week and felt that I couldn’t take a sick day on account of having a day off this week and also having only something like 10 days left in this role.

I was holding back the tears on my walk into work.

I nearly called in sick when I was at home in the morning.

I nearly called in sick when I was on my walk to work.

I nearly turned round when I was on the campus even though I was only about 5 minutes away from my desk.

I went in. And I tried not to cry all morning.

I sent a message to my mentor at work, saying I was going to cancel our meeting on Friday, on account of how I have lost all confidence and motivation to apply for jobs and as I have no applications to go over I don’t want to waste her time.

She responded with lovely messages. I forwarded them from my work email to my personal email so I could keep the words close to me.

I had bought in soup for lunch. But I needed more. I needed comforting carbs, a cheap source of dopamine. I bought a sandwich and a banana. And I obviously had the soup as well.

I felt better after lunch in terms of my mental health, but began to feel worse physically. I was functioning at about 60% capacity.

I felt weak. I felt traumatised by my 30 minute walk to the station, then my 40 minute train journey, then a further train and a further walk home.

The boy tried to talk to me on the phone but all I was capable of was blunt monosyllabic replies in an oh so quiet voice.

The thing is a bad day isn’t a case of things going wrong for me. A bad day feels like the end of the world for me.

I feel like I am doing too much. Sometimes I have to fight the compulsion to just lie on the ground like the dude in the video for ‘Just’ by Radiohead and not be moved.

I have the urge to do self destructive things. Over eating is self destructive. It may be more socially acceptable then being an alcoholic or constantly injecting heroin into your face, but it is still a stupid action. A stupid source of negativity. I feel bad so I overeat. Then I feel bad about my appearance. Then I overeat.

My trouble is this.

If you overeat you need to find a non food way to reward yourself for good behaviour.

If you are a compulsive shopper you need to find a non financial way to reward yourself for good behaviour.

So what is my reward for being good? I can’t spend, and I can’t eat. I (don’t) shop, therefore I am (not).

Therefore I am losing the motivation to be good. Being bad is easy.

Sometimes I just want to scream. People generally scream because they are trying to attract the attention of a hero to save them, because they need help, because they are scared.

I need to scream.

But I can’t.

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Status: Anxiety

It had to happen sooner or later.

I have had a day off work ill.

It has been 7 weeks since I returned to work after a 28 day absence due to my anxiety and stress levels.

In all honesty I haven’t been in the best of health in those 7 weeks. Just one week after I returned to work I came down with a nausea so strong that when I got home that evening I spent a solid 90 minutes throwing up, took as much paracetamol as I was allowed and went to bed before 9pm. I believed it would be the end of my job if I was to call in sick after one week and was grateful that the day after I felt better and could go into work.

There have been other incidences of nausea and vomiting in the last 7 weeks. In the last 8 weeks there have been three incidences of all night insomnia. I have been awake since 2am this morning absolutely wired.

I have also been experiencing a chronic thirst in the last four weeks, drinking pint after pint of water with it not even being slightly quenched. I have two discoloured patches of skin. I have a large cyst on my face. I have been trying to arrange a doctor’s appointment during some time I had off but I was unsuccessful each time.

It all got too much and I have been awake since 2am this morning alternating between feeling weak, feeling shivery and then boiling hot, having my head down the toilet half the time and having a large mixing bowl near me the other half of the time.

So I called in sick. To be honest I was strongly considering going in even though I would have been on about 2 hours sleep and an urge to vomit at any given moment, but I was too scared of the mistakes I would have been likely to have made.

And now I am getting worked up with anxiety. I am worked up because I am worried that after a 28 day absence I am, unofficially, never allowed to be ill again. I am worried that they don’t believe me. I am worried that they hate me. I am worried that they are marking this against me. I have no evidence that any of this is truth, but I am stressed to the max.

I work in the same department as my father in law.  He phoned me and asked if I was coming in tomorrow. I had been leaning towards not going in and had told my manager as such that I thought it would be unlikely I would be going in due to how ill I am feeling but now I am panicking and stressed to the max and am cursing the fact my blood test is late in the morning and it might make even doing a half day difficult.

I do something very unusual when I am stressed or anxious, and I will share it with you.

When I get worked up, I will suddenly start slashing at the air with my hands, kind of like I am fighting it. Almost like I am trying to destroy the bad thoughts physically. But they attack me in other ways.

I also have a list of catch phrases I say when stressed:

‘I’m going to hide’

‘I’m going to run away’

Sometimes I will try and crawl into the space between the boy’s back and the sofa.

Despite the fact I pride myself on my honesty, despite the fact I try and be truthful and authentic to all people I know, despite the fact I feel uncomfortable telling even a white lie, I am convinced that no one will ever believe me when I tell them the truth.

I am Normal again

I have just returned from a night out seeing friends, this involved travelling to a different city and then getting a late night train back home. The boy and I then had to walk through the town centre, late at night, on a Saturday.

Here’s the thing, in the past, that would have freaked me the f*** out. I would have been in complete and utter panic stations (is panic stations a real phrase or is it a ‘flo-ism’?) I would have been hyperventilating and trying to hide behind the boy and been a complete mess. All because of the amount of people, the alcohol they had drunk and the potential for conflict.

I was fine tonight.

I did not even have the slightest elevated heart rate.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still wasn’t overly keen on the business of being around drunk and loud people who were all chess walking* But I coped.

A wise man once commented on my blog saying that mood and mental health changes and passes from one state to another. He said it in relationship to my despair over feeling bad, trying to reassure me that I could experience happiness again.

I understand that the flip side of that is also true. That my good state of mind could pass and lead back to a troubled way of thinking.

For now I will take joy that for the first time in about 18 months I feel free from the shackles of my anxiety.

Small Life

I used to dream big. I had confidence that everything would work out for me. I was going to travel the world, be a huge success, have a wild social life, get married, live in a beautiful house and have 5 children.

Naturally things change.

My dreams are smaller now. I will take being able to afford the train fare to see my family over travelling the world. I will take finding a job that doesn’t cripple me in terms of stress over being a big success. I will take no longer having social anxiety around being in large crowds on nights out. I will take being in a fulfilling relationship with the boy, even if it results in no ring on my finger. I will take owning a house of any description over a dream house.

I will take the ability to be a good mother to one healthy child over enough for a football team.

My life is in limbo at the moment. I can’t go on holiday or buy a house or get married whilst I am still in debt. I can’t progress in my career whilst I still find a way to sabotage any success that comes my way. I can’t consider doing something normal like celebrating my birthday whilst I am afraid to socialise.

I can’t conceive a child when my menstruation cycle is messed up due to my weight.

My life is small. I ran away from my home town as the thought of remaining there and living there forever like my dad had done, living a small life with unfulfilled dreams, becoming ‘stuck’ was more than I could bear.

My dad told us stories of the many occasions when he tried to run away from home.

I was lucky. I could go to University on a grant when the loans I accrued were a third per year of what they are now. I could move and try out independence in a safe way, with the security of University behind me. My Dad went to University as a mature student. Our lives might have been different if there were more options for my Dad when he was younger.

The options were limited in my home town. A good percentage of the girls in my year were pregnant before the age of 18. Fine if that’s what you want, but I couldn’t help feeling there was something more to do first.

My life is small. But that’s ok. I have reset the parameters of success. I feel success when I can make it to the end of the day without crying. When I make it to the end of the day without taking a ‘chill pill’ (propranolol) . When I am in a large crowd and it’s only when I return home that I realise I didn’t freak out.

And I can still complete an N64 Zelda Game with the mad skills.

 

Say What?!

So…..

Today after a 30 day absence I returned to work.

And……

It was fine, better than fine, it was like a new fresh beginning.

My bosses and colleagues were wonderful.

I had to face the truth at long last. That I am, or was, utterly paranoid.

No one was out to get me.

No one was whispering in a corner about how terrible I am as I made my way into the office.

No one shouted or snarled or sneered at me.

They were all lovely.

My brain had betrayed me. It had led me to believe there was harm and danger in every direction, in every situation, in every person.

I know this sounds unbelievable, but I believed in what my brain was telling me. I believed in the danger, I believed that everyone was out to get me, that everyone hated me.

When the boy tried to gently tell me I was paranoid I genuinely believed he was wrong, that he was naive, that he was lying to me.

I feel like I am finally seeing the world for what it is. I feel like I am finally seeing the truth. I feel like I have been given a lifeline.

I don’t know how long I will be in this job. I don’t know how long this feeling will last. I don’t know what tomorrow holds.

But today I feel strong and happy.

Let’s Not Get Too Excited 2

Further developments.

I have been reading a book from the local Library called ‘Mad Diet’ by Suzanne Lockhart, and in case you can’t tell from the title it’s about what to do if you are both mad and fat. (Like me).

She talks about how depression can be linked to deficiencies in certain vitamins and recommends taking supplements, and while I’m of the opinion that my poor mental health is caused by a traumatic childhood and a poor mental operating system, I am willing to give anything and everything a try.

Lockhart says the key supplements to take are Magnesium, B vitamins, Omega 3 and a Probiotic. So yesterday I trawled across 5 different drugstores making sure I was getting not only the correct supplements (magnesium citrate, not oxide, and equal DHA and EPA in the Omega 3) but also the best price (naturally).

It was a sizeable dent to the food/household budget.

But…I don’t want to get excited but my anxiety has greatly improved.

I can’t fairly say I am not anxious, but it takes longer and more in depth wallowing to reach a heightened point of anxiety.

I will keep you posted of further developments.

Let’s Not Get Too Excited

I had my counselling session and as I was walking home an interesting thing happened.

I was about to turn round a bend tightly, and there were people heading in my direction and people walking in a different direction, but we were all going to cross paths.

Which we did, and I had to do an awkward shuffle out the way.

It was only as I was walking away I noticed something.

My heart rate wasn’t elevated.

I wasn’t playing an inner monologue berating myself for my inadequacies.

I wasn’t hyperventilating.

You may wonder what the big deal is, well when something like that happens-people coming too close to me, not doing something ‘perfectly’ I get anxious and feel bad and often needlessly panic.

It may be early days but I am taking that as a win.