Medication

You know, I just really needed somewhere to get my thoughts out.

This Tuesday, I had a far more successful appointment with my Psychiatrist. The first is another story entirely that I don’t feel comfortable going through just yet.

The psychiatrist and I talked about a lot of things, and there were a fair few of them that really surprised me. I thought it was a little strange that he asked me what age my parents were, and whether or not they were married, and what they did for work. Weirder still, he was very intent on getting a thorough history of where I’d been on my travels the previous year.

I talked a lot, and as is the case for me a lot of the time at the moment – I questioned the diagnosis of BPD. It’s silly, really. In one breath I feel like I relate to the diagnosis completely and utterly. Thinking about the relief it gave me, and the clarity that it provided when I looked back on the rest of my life meant that to me it just made sense and from that moment on I felt suddenly incredibly empowered to keep moving forward.

Thankfully, the psych was kind enough to take a moment to let me know that if the diagnosis had done all this for me, and still explained so many of my behaviours then I probably needed to accept it. I do. I wish I did all the time, but there are moments when I’m reading about other people who also have BPD, and listening to other people’s stories that I feel like somehow I am cheating them out of their diagnosis. Like there has to be something else that I should be identifying with.

That thought alone is enough to make me angry with myself. Everyone’s story is their own personal timeline. I tell myself, and others quite often that even identical twins have different thoughts, feelings, wants, needs and issues. This is the same for everyone.

Also, during my meeting – we discussed the other thing.

Depression is something I know I’ve also suffered with, and I’m beginning to wonder whether the onset of it was something completely removed from BPD. My memories of childhood don’t stretch back far enough to determine whether borderline has affected my life far before my teenage years, but I could certainly say that I displayed plenty of traits I recognised now well before I was depressed.

By the end of the session, I’d not only had my fears sated, and my concerns discussed – but there was something else hanging between us that I almost didn’t want to have to hear.

Going back on medication is a decision I promised myself I wouldn’t make lightly, and I don’t think for one minute that either myself, or the psychiatrist would even think about it if it didn’t make sense.

It’s scary though. For so many reasons and some of them not as obvious as the others.

I’m worried about my ‘self’. The person I have learned to accept in the last year is more often than not, peppy and upbeat. I get excited about the most ridiculous things and act so often like I know there are other people watching but I just don’t care. I’m happy not caring, and I’m concerned that I’ll lose that part of me I’ve grown to accept and love.

I’m scared of the vivid dreams I haven’t had since last October. I’m scared of appetite changes, sleeping pattern shifts. I’m scared of suicidal thoughts and depressive thinking. I’m scared that they will make me feel sick, and worse – I’m afraid that I’ll stop being able to feel.

To me, feelings and emotions play such a huge role in my every day life. I love life. I smile at buildings, for no reason other than I’m happy.

Knowing that there is another side to me sometimes doesn’t feel like it’s enough to justify potentially changing this attitude.

“Depressed Ollie” is not pleasant. For me, or for anyone else around me. I dislike her, and I know that sometimes that’s not the best attitude to have when you’re trying to overcome living with a part of yourself but I cannot help but question whether some of the things that I have become used to are simply down to the fact that I am depressed. Will going on medication change me so drastically that suddenly I’ll be able to accomplish the things that have felt too difficult or scary?

Will I find the strength, without those underlying thoughts and feelings, to do things I don’t feel capable of yet?

Has this last year been an exercise in ‘mastering’ my understanding of my life with Borderline, and now I need to work on Depression as a whole… other thing that impact so much of what I do, and try to do.

Personality is such an unbalanced concept for me at the moment anyway, and there’s a defeatist part of myself that wants to lean back and let it happen. After all, my traits and habits and thoughts seem to change depending on the weather anyway. Why shouldn’t I just throw caution to the wind and try this? Give it a go, what’s the worst that can happen?

I have a feeling that I’ll go ahead with this decision. It felt right on Tuesday morning, and I know in my heart that things aren’t ‘right’. It still doesn’t stop me from feeling uneasy about it.

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The Importance of Recording

One of the most useful things that I do now, is to keep a record of my daily ‘accomplishments’.

Right back in the beginning it was something that I attempted, but found that it was demotivating when all I did – day in, day out was sit and watch Netflix or play video games. Since then I’ve been able to learn to forgive myself, be kind to myself and show the same patience I’m capable of offering complete strangers.

Now, it feels like my most valuable tool.

For a long time I focused on working through a Bullet Journal to record and motivate myself on a day-to-day basis, and although I absolutely adore the concept and the work and fun that goes into keeping a journal like this, I found that a very different approach was important to help me to put together the foundations for my recovery.

A Bullet Journal actually created a wall between myself and my goals. When I would start a day with a beautifully thought out spread and only one goal to mark off I found it difficult to be attached to it, and equally difficult to go through the process of writing that same, single task over and over for days on end.

Giving up just wasn’t an option, so I chose instead to re-think my approach to keeping a daily account of my life.

My therapist was the first person to suggest that I keep a log of my daily activities. On a simple A4 gridded sheet of paper, with two boxes for morning, afternoon and evening I vaguely accounted for the ‘major’ things that I did every day. At first, they were incredibly basic. I ate food, I watched TV, I played video games. I met with a friend, I went for a walk.

It was the first time I’d recorded my day-to-day life as retroactively, and there were a few days when I completely forgot to write about what I’d done and therefore entire days were forgotten. I’m pretty sure that usually there was nothing significant about the things that I’d done, until I walked back into therapy and re-counted my week. Little things that seemed important when I’d done them, and then insignificant when I came to write down the last few days of activity were forgotten.

That important phone call that I’d been putting off for months to the bank, that form I filled out, the brief discussion I’d had with a friend or family member. Each and every single one of these things were important to my overall recovery from a very dark place that I’d managed to put myself in.

I kept these diaries for four weeks until I decided that enough was enough. My Bullet Journal had fallen to the way-side and turned into something like a book of lists (Books I owned and wanted to read, Holiday Destinations for the future, DVDs I owned, movies I’d watched) and I knew that whilst I was using those relatively small A4 sheets to log my weekly comings and goings it wasn’t going to satisfy me.

As a lover of notebooks and stationery, it wasn’t difficult to rifle through my ’empty notebooks’ drawer and find something to use to start logging my days, and even better that I’d found the perfect use for a notebook. (One of the reasons I have so many is that they’re all in there waiting for the perfect purpose. Sorry, notebooks.)

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So it began.

Almost 2 weeks later, I’m still swearing by it. Claiming that this act, and this act alone is the one reason that I’ve managed to pull myself up out of the funk I’d fallen into is a huge stretch of any imagination, but I feel very strongly that it has contributed to my continued improving mental health and will keep doing so much!

I write the time my alarm went off, and the time I actually got out of bed. Writing it down makes it a fact, and gives you a solid thing to refer back to. I find that when I am struggling the most I lose all sense of time and feeling and life. It’s easy for me to forget how I felt only a few hours ago, when I’m so preoccupied with the current moment, and the thoughts that are in my head at that time and in that place. So I feel it’s very important (for me) to be able to refer back to previous days, not to make negative comparisons or to judge the ‘value’ of the things I’ve done in the present day but to be able to look back and see, from hard factual evidence that ‘things’ over all are better now than they’ve ever been.

Thinking too hard about the shape of my life exactly a year ago would only promote a desire to reach out and take ownership of how I felt back then, in a time when my recovery was in it’s very early stages, and I feel very strongly that it would be detrimental to my health, but if I’d kept the same log I have now I might be able to recognise instantly the stark contrast in my mental health. Of course, it’s arguable – that if I’d kept a log back then, like I do now that perhaps my life would be very different but I also believe very strongly that it’s taken all of these incredibly small steps over the span of a year to get here at all and without them it just wouldn’t be possible.

We can’t fast forward progress, and we can’t force it. There are clear steps in any recovery that have to happen before you can continue on your way. That’s why we call them steps. It’s quite easy to visualise for example, the steps that might lead up to the second floor of your home and to accept the reality of the fact that before you can get to the tenth step, you have to make it up all the ones before that first.

Extreme Emotions

When you’re bombarded by extreme emotion, it’s not just the extreme emotions that you have to deal with. Most of the time, when something unexpected happens it’s because you’re in a situation you can’t control.

I like ‘my’ time best. When I’m on my own and completely in control of my environment. If I don’t feel like washing dishes right now, I don’t have to, and I know that if they stay there all day the only person I’m upsetting is me. 

There is pressure, of course. I don’t like living in a messy environment, but some days I’m happy to let things pile up until such a time when I feel ready to deal with it, whether it’s dishes or laundry.

When you live with others, the pressure changes entirely. Things have to be done, or at least that’s how I feel about things. Leaving one dish isn’t enough to throw me head first into a mood swing, but leaving just that one dish isn’t easy because I know that if I don’t clean it right away, it’s highly likely they my housemates will when they do the dishes. Although I know I do my fair share of the dishes, and often offer to do them all in one go (mine and my house mates, in an evening) the notion that I am putting someone else out brings on a world of stress that is not easily ‘pushed aside’. People lie, people tell white lies all the time and I’m still undecided about how I feel about it. I tell them too. We all do. 

“Sorry, I forgot to wash that plate.”

“It’s okay!”

It’s okay? Is it though? Is it really? Are you not just seething inside? This is the third time this week I’ve made myself a sandwich and left the plate there and you’ve washed it with all your dishes. There are days for me, when nothing is okay. Sure, you can dismiss it, whatever okay. It’s just a plate, but it’s not. You left it on the table and that’s not where it belongs. How lazy are you? You’ve walked into the kitchen twice and not bothered to take the damn plate with you and it’s on the way. It’s. Not. Hard. 

Some days, it’s easier to let go of those uncertainties than others. Some days it’s okay to leave the plate there, and perhaps that’s down to confidence rather than mood? Having confidence in the things that other people tell you comes and goes. 

“No worries, I was washing up anyway!”

On a ‘good’ day it’s easy to have confidence, to accept the word of others without question. In the same vein, it’s likely not to happen on those days. On a good day, I’m on the ball. I’m the one clearing up dishes and engaging in normal conversation, I’ve probably hoovered, cleaned and done dishes already or at least contributed in some way that feels valid. That in itself makes a huge difference to general mood. 

‘Good’ days come with their own set of ‘base’ emotions. Positivity, excitement, and enjoyment of simply being. It’s a state of mind and on it’s own, apparently, (because I haven’t noticed a pattern), uncontrollable. It’s the difference between waking up in the afternoon and feeling like there is no point in showering, dressing, eating, doing out and doing something – and waking up feeling like you can get something accomplished even if you don’t get out of pyjamas. (Which I hasten to tell you! Doesn’t happen very frequently!)

Of course, this is before you put into consideration the great number of environmental factors that can so drastically destabilise whatever mood you happen to wake up in. Like anyone.

There are simple, every day things – the weather, the state of the bank account, what day it is, what plans you have, what letters arrive in the post. 

Then there are things that I find the most difficult – social engagement. 

I have strong feeling for a lot of my friends and family. People exist in ‘my world’ in very different extremes. There are people I love. They are sometimes family, sometimes friends and mostly animals. I’m compassionate, mostly toward those whose voice is not as ‘strong’ as others. Animals, children, and so many others who have enough on their plate, or are unable to voice their feelings, worries and fears. 

Then there’s this huuuuuge gap. To exist in that space is impossible, and it’s what makes social situations so complicated for me. I’m focusing on anger, and a sensation of hatred, but it’s equally applicable to a whole range of other emotions.

On the other side of my ‘scale’ there is hate. I’ve been taught, from an early age not to use that word, especially by my Dad, because it is such an extreme and to this day I’ve been unable to accept that there could be a better word to fit the way I feel. It’s lonely, to go from feeling intense affection for someone who is a friend and then feel so deeply hurt and frustrated by them or something they have done or said that the feelings inside you switch and develop, consume and utterly control you. 

I can only describe it as hate, and it’s an awful sensation. It comes with an intense desire to be away from them, to hurt them, to make them realise how much you’re hurting and to hurt them back. You become unable to focus – words and almost impossible to muster, and because you know that the feeling is only temporary it’s so important to be able to get out of the situation without saying anything damaging. The anger is so finely and specifically directed at this one particular thing, but to control the emotion feels like a mammoth task. 

It’s followed instantly by the desperate need to GET OUT. Whether you’re there in person, or talking on the phone, text messaging, or talking through e-mail or online messaging. 

Everything becomes impossible. This anger is the sole emotion. There is nothing else. Even though you might fight desperately within yourself for rationale, there is nothing. Struggling to stay ‘level’ takes a lot of effort in itself. Often, in the time it takes to fight the wave of emotions a host of other thoughts, feelings and general awarenesses happen to further confuse the situation.

You can’t just pause time, and often that need to explain yourself is too difficult. You know that you shouldn’t be angry, but in the time it takes to try and reel in your emotions it’s just too late. Whoever you’re with, or talking to knows that there is something wrong. So the question comes. Rarely, is it understanding, slow, careful. Usually it’s defensive or provoking. You don’t want either of those things. A defensive question brings the clarity to understand that yes they know you’re feeling something – and the wave of concerns comes all over again. 

I often have strong feelings, and I prefer to keep them to myself because that’s just easier.

I have many friends that I have simply had to leave or hang up on and almost always it’s without a word because formulating words is physically impossible. 

It’s not easy, but I’ll try to explain how complex the things that rush through my mind in those moments are. 

First of all, there is the ‘thing’ itself. Whatever the trigger has been. Meltdowns happen much more regularly on a ‘bad’ day, as if the chemicals in your brain are just so unbalanced that the only things that come from it are negative, low and depressed. 

A ‘thing’ will happen and all the possible causes, consequences and potential from that thing play out in your head all at the same time. Each new possibility tends to be worse than the last. You go from feeling upset that you can’t do this simple thing to feeling sad about what that means. Then the worry steps in. Will you ever be able to manage this? In fact, have you ever actually been able to manage it? Were ‘they’ right all along? You are not able, you are not capable, you are not useful, you are not accomplishing anything, you are a burden, you can’t even keep the promises that you make to yourself, never mind the promises you make to anyone else. In fact, why do you ever make promises?

It’s at this point, you’ve effectively cancelled out all the future plans in your life. Nothing is achievable. You’ve gone beyond all your basic needs, there’s no need for any of them so there is only one question. 

Why am I even here?

The ‘truth’ – that you don’t know is so soul destroying. It’s like everyone you love breaking your heart at the same time because they’ve let you go on like this. Believing that you could be something when really you’re just going through the motions. The belief that everyone you love hates you is strong, and difficult to cope with. Perhaps if you’re lucky there is a slither of desperation. The need to reach out, to make a phone call, message a friend, go to someone but it’s such a fragile moment. Calling someone and ending up with their answer machine is difficult, especially. Do you leave a message? In the state you’re currently in any friend will know that you have a problem and where does that leave you then? You can’t possibly leave a message because if you end it all you cannot imagine the guilt that you will leave them with. 

So you don’t leave a message. You just hope that they’ll call back. 

The ‘next thing’ is there though. It’s hovering over head like a dark cloud because once you’ve reached why am I even here the next step is obviously ‘I don’t deserve to be here’, so often in conjunction with ‘I can’t do this anymore’.

Getting out is difficult. Escaping those feelings usually means completely escaping. I personally feel lucky, that for whatever reason, I haven’t turned to drugs or alcohol. A quickly as I reach ‘critical’, I can come back down. I’m the first to admit to extreme behaviours and responses in those moments, and it’s embarrassing to know that so many people have witnessed them. I do get scared, that one day the ‘off’ button will be too close, too instant, and too permanent. That one day I’m going to be somewhere potentially life-threatening when something drastic happens to me. 

I’m happy knowing that I am most likely to go home, curl up in bed and cry until it hurts. The emotion comes out so easily like that, even if the act brings along with it a whole host of other intense feelings so self-hate and loathing. As soon as it’s done it’s as if the sun has come out and there’s a rainbow and everything is good. 

By the time that’s happened, a different set of problems arises. Crying doesn’t just seem to rid me of the emotions, but it also acts as a tool to forget whatever I was so emotional over in the first place. I want to forget, and move on – staples those feelings down so that they don’t get thought about any more. It leaves a ‘gap’. I often struggle to remember whether I’ve upset someone, and obviously – the act of leaving a friend in the lurch isn’t a terribly kind thing, but coming to terms with what happened is equally difficult. Admitting to the extreme emotion isn’t simple. I have a lot of pride, and something akin to ego too, and letting go of it to talk things through isn’t easy, especially when – all things considered, maybe that friend doesn’t want an apology? 

That friend deserves for me to be in control of things well before they escalate, and sometimes it feels that the only way to do that is to only interact with others when I’m in tip-top form, and that doesn’t happen very often.

With time, and therapy I’m really hoping that I can learn to control the things that impact the extreme emotions I have. I’m well aware that they were intimately linked with my own expectations and presumptions, whether they are directed toward myself, my friends, or other people around me.

My Story – Melbourne

I was ‘diagnosed’ with Borderline Personality traits at the ripe old age of 29.

Honestly, at the time it was a massive shock – but not for any of the bad reasons that you might associate with a life-changing diagnosis.

At the time, I was trying to ‘live’ in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia. I’d managed to find a city I loved, where a few good friends of mine happened to be. The hostel that I’d chosen to stay in due to awesome reviews (United Backpacker’s if you’re headed that way) needed someone to fill in a position four hours a night, for four nights in exchange for free accommodation and I was incredibly lucky to be chosen for the position.

Only, nothing else was ‘working’. There’s a long story, but the short one is like every other story of depression, really. I needed to see a doctor, and that was that. I’d already been on Duloxetine for well over a year, and had a GP for that purpose anyway, but the attitude of those working in the Australia Health Care system was such a pleasant surprise, I had no idea that things would work out so well.

My G.P had already seen me a few times, he even went as far as to remember the name I’d introduced myself to him as ‘Ollie’, and not the name on my records ‘Olivia’. It was the first sense I got that this was someone who saw beyond just another patient looking for a quick fix.

After some coaxing, my wonderful G.P decided to make me a health care plan. Accustomed to long and arduous assessments, forms and conversations I expected that the ball would need a bit of a push to get rolling. I think even he was a bit surprised to see the look on my face when he quite simply printed out all the notes he had on me and handed it over with instructions to call a psychologist to have a discussion with them. He even recommended someone, and of course – as soon as the appointment was over (and I managed to get over the shock of having such a powerful document in my hands) I called the psychologist.

Two weeks later, I sat down in her office and told her the same things that I have always told people. Tensions with family, struggles relating to others, anxiety over expectations, the frivolous spending, the lack of desire to do anything that wasn’t playing video games. On, and on. At the time, I recall focusing a lot more on relationships. I wasn’t in Australia on a whim, exactly – although I didn’t recognise just how much of it was an attempt to run away until later.

Forty minutes rolled along, and I expected the usual. CBT comes in bite sized 6-8 session chunks. Anti-Depressants are useful. The waiting list is as long as fifty arms and there’s probably not much point in me even being there because I only had another 4 months left on my visa.

Instead, she said three (not so little) words. Borderline Personality Traits.

I’ll be honest – I just stared at her.

Even as she began to explain where her suspect diagnosis came from I was struggling to keep up. Borderline? Border-what? What was I on the border of, and why hadn’t I heard whisper of it in connection with me? I was given recommendations, along with the sad news that this particular psychologist didn’t feel that working with me on my issues was something she felt fully trained to do. Her focus was on other mental health issues, but I had this golden ticket.

As soon as I got back to the hostel, I did the very same thing I always did. The laptop was out, but this time I had an incredibly clear goal in mind.

There are far too many metaphors to share with you to try and convey just how it felt to learn about Borderline Personality Disorder. Every single article I read hit home in a way that I’d never felt before. Suddenly I had access to a world of information about me. The experiences that others had shared, the difficulties that they were facing on a daily basis, the intensity of the feelings of self-hate, almost every anecdote was relatable.

This new understanding that I have of myself has completely and utterly changed my life, and although I’m not quite back on the horse again – I knew one thing for certain. I had to make my voice heard.

I am one of a suspected 5% of  people with a Personality Disorder.

Understanding, awareness and knowledge about Personality Disorders are pivotal in a person’s ability to cope with, and learn to live with them. Clearly, I speak on behalf of myself as someone with Borderline – but I have seen a huge difference in myself that is completely and utterly down to this new, eye-opening diagnosis.

I hope that by blogging, writing and sharing information about My Story – I can help to raise awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder and the ways that it can be overlooked, and mistaken for depression, especially in the UK.

 

Nothing.

Today is a nothing day.

I woke up, and didn’t go back to sleep at 5pm, mostly because my Mum came in to tell me what time it was and also because the dog decided to come in and say hi. So I chose to wake up.

Not that I did anything after that. Mum made me dinner, then I had ice cream, and came back to my room to watch more of the Blacklist.

Everything is just sort of blank I suppose. I’m not really bothered by anything, there’s nothing I really want to do. I’m not motivated to do anything at all. Honestly, I feel like I’d be better off just going back to sleep or something, really.

I want to be able to write though, like I’d love to just type and type and see what comes out of it, not that I’m having any particular creative thoughts – mostly I think I just want to eat chocolate and sweets so maybe I already know what the problem is. :/

I think I would love a cup of hot chocolate. So I’m going to go and get just that.

When things are steady

Yesterday was the busiest day for me in weeks, and I didn’t actually ‘accomplish’ anything that I’d set out for myself.

A friend from Brisbane was in the city, and along with two other mutual friends of ours from Melbourne, we spent the day together. Despite the huge amount of things on offer in Melbourne we ended up doing the very thing that I think Melbourne should probably be most famous for.

‘Brunch’ was an instant requirement. Melbourne Central has a really convenient food hall, so that was where we headed first. I think I’ve had food from most of the food establishments that have set up shop there, but I tried out Oporto. I try to avoid burgers, mostly because unless you go somewhere like Grill’d you have no choice but to have their wheat-full bread buns. I’m not a coeliac, but I’m intolerant and usually I pay for it for the rest of the day but it was a risk I took. (I think I’m paying for it now it’s ‘the next day’ actually, which is unusual, but I suppose that’s just how your body works sometimes.) I actually really enjoyed it, but I could have quite easily just done with the burger rather than the chips and drink I added. Why am I always hooked in by meal deals??

After that we went to look at the Little Library. There were far fewer books than normal, which made me wonder if the school holidays had anything to do with diminishing numbers of books. I wish there were an easy way to count how many books there are there… or maybe I ought to start a book counting project. I love numbers, but without a regular count it’s just figures without any pattern. (Still, it might be fun!)

After that we went for Froyo. This is easily one of my favourite things. I love the stuff, and even though I have the same thing every time (with the singular difference in what kind of yoghurt I choose) I still really enjoyed it. There’s something about strawberries and white chocolate chips that I really love, and despite trying to recreate this at home, there’s something about frozen yogurt that sets it apart from yoghurt out of the fridge. It’s a rather expensive habit, to be honest. I rarely manage to pay under A$10!

We debated for a long time what to do with the rest of our day. The weather wasn’t particularly awesome, and we were hoping to avoid anywhere that was terribly expensive. Walking was quickly knocked off our list of top-ten things to do after finding out what one of our number had kicked a thing and hurt her toe so we went to EB Games. This, was unfortunately, a disappointment. I love the Nintendo Experience in EB Games on Swanston St, mostly because it’s the only place I can get free wifi for my 3DS automatically, which means my gaming experience is vastly improved! We attempted to play on one of the Wii U units they had on display – but the two old Wii controllers severely lacked battery power and with no obvious method of recharging them we were left sitting around discussing the state of our friend’s food, whether one of our friends who was clearly incredibly tired was asleep or not, and occasionally talking about a few games we played and what we liked about them.

Inevitably, our stay didn’t last long.

In the hope of inspiration we took a trip on the Number 35 tram. It’s a free ‘circle’ tram that takes you right the way around the CBD in a loop. We spent a bit of time looking at the map whilst we were on our way and talking about which buildings were which and whether we ought to go to them. Most of the things we’d like to have done involved either a lot of walking, or breaking our vows to boycott certain places (Not naming any names, SeaWorld and MelbourneZoo. Sorry not Sorry.)

We ended up in a coffee shop on Flinders Street an hour later.

It was so nice to be able to spend an entire day with like minded friends, to talk about ridiculous things that we were all interested in, to debate the validity of every single chapter that possibly existed after Naruto 699. (It’s all fake. :\) To talk about games, and jobs, and careers and families with absolutely no pressure.

One of our number left us, and we were joined by a friend of mine that I’ve known for well over 13 years. The fact that I’d known him for 13 years was a point of discussion and two of my friends were quite happy to remind us both how old they’d been at the time we’d started talking. What amused me was the fact that I’d met them all through the same medium. Roleplaying online has been a hobby of mine for well over a decade, and I’m not sure when I’m going to give it up. It always, of course, relates back to writing so I can’t see me giving it up any time soon no matter how much I’ve tried in recent years.

Dinner was a joint affair, at a Japanese Restaurant attached to the QV building. I had ‘gyu don’ or beef with rice, and although it was nice, it was full of other things that weren’t rice and I didn’t REALLY enjoy it which made me sad, and also made me miss Wagamama’s back home.

My two friends from much, much earlier left us after dinner – leaving myself and one of my dearest friends to catch up after what must have been a month. It’s always so good to see him, and I’m going to hate it when I have to leave Australia. We chatted, caught up and he finally asked me about my mood.

I talked. Openly. He commented, honestly and I wish I could say that I found accepting his advice easy but it wasn’t. Again, the difference between knowing something intellectually and accepting it as relational to yourself is huge.

One of the biggest things that I feel I need to take away from my chat with him is that Depression is a valid illness. There are such huge differences in the way some people struggle and cope with depression, and I think that hearing about some people with depression who maintain a steady job, relationship and do all kinds of other things makes me feel like I’m a failure for not being able to manage it.

I was very easily able to understand what he was saying to me about trying to hunt for something else to label myself with. I have friends with bipolar and I know, without a doubt that I do not have it, but I questioned myself despite that. I’m terrible with money, and incredibly impulsive about the things I do, buy and say. This is often classed as a trait of bipolar, and an example I used with him yesterday but he suggested that perhaps that’s just a ‘normal’ trait of mine. He’s right, and I think that my impulsiveness goes hand in hand with my compassion. Just today I turned a corner in the local Coles and I saw a man who was bleeding. I didn’t stop to ask myself whether he was a danger, or who he was, or whether he was of sound state of mind – I just went over and instantly asked him if he was okay.

I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the person I am and I know I need to focus far more intensely on the things that I am, and what makes me, me. Rather than looking for something that I need to slot myself into. Yes, I’m impulsive, yes – I use instinct before I use knowledge and wisdom. Yes, I tend to look for the negative before I hunt for positives.

I’m Ollie, with depression. I will never not be.

All the negative thoughts.

I’m really struggling with people at the moment.

I should probably have prepared more for this, considering I’m in a completely different country to 90% of my friends right now.

It feels like everything I say to people is the wrong thing at the moment. When I’m being daft and stupid people seem to take it seriously, when I try to keep the tone light it’s seen as irresponsible and unsympathetic. I say the wrong things, I laugh for the weirdest reasons and I just feel like I’ve been completely alienated from everyone.

My decisions seems contradictory to what is expected and acceptable and worst of all I’m sure that people are purposely avoiding me. Most of my conversations with others are just small talk, even the people I talk to online. I wish it were easier for me to reach out to one of my friends back home just to catch up and chat but I don’t want to have to talk about what’s going on with me. I just want to sit and listen to other people talk and not feel like I’m a third wheel.

I miss coffee with my best friends, and I miss car-chats on the way to or from home. I miss sitting in a room with a friend, playing video games and babbling about random stuff happening online. I miss having people to babble about my ideas with. I miss watching other people play video games.

This feels too much like a diary than a blog right now, too – and I think that further enforces this idea in my head that I’m ‘doing the wrong thing’ socially. It seems that ‘something’ has happened to me recently to totally flip my personality upside down. I feel like I’ve been shoved into a mixer and someone keeps pressing the button that just mixes you for a short burst and then just when you get used to being that way they press it again.

I have to admit my self-care habits are not the best right now. I’ve been eating 1-2 meals a day, sleeping at ridiculous hours, finding that I stay awake too long. I sleep between 8 – 14 hours most days, and then seem to be able to stay awake for 20+ hours every day. I’m supposed to be going back to work this week now that schools are back but already I’ve written Monday off. It’s 2.22am, and I need to be ready for 7.15 to get a call for work. :/

I thought I was getting better and getting a good grip on what I was doing but now I’m not so sure.

Uncontrollable Crying

I feel really strongly that I need to offload about my latest episode in ridiculous crying.

Tonight has been terrible. What happened was actually pretty tame. I talked with an online friend about something I’ve been feeling/thinking for some time now – and at the same time I was talking to another close friend about my money situation at the moment.

The two things were pretty much completely overwhelming and the sense of hatred I had for myself was so intense. I’m in a public a place whilst this happens, or at least the lounge of a hostel in Australia and my nose was running because I was crying. So, naturally I went off to blow my nose but the moment that I got there I locked the door, grabbed some toilet roll and proceeded to sit down against the wall. Crying is nothing something I’ve ever seen people do gracefully, and I hate myself even more when it happens.

My mind was racing, mostly and it’s difficult to convey that in words. I’d already done the damage though. Called myself out on my worst features. My two-facedness, my cowardice. Talking about the fact that I can’t DO what it seems that I’m supposed to do. I’m in a place right now where I feel comfortable but it isn’t ideal – it’s not what other people could accomplish and I feel so pathetic knowing that I just cannot, for whatever reason achieve what other people do. The phrase ‘one day I’m just going to die and it will all mean nothing’ stuck with me and I suppose that’s where the suicidal thoughts come into it.

It all got worse whilst I was crying though. It was uncontrollable and every time I started to think about something I felt the pain rise up in me all over again. The kind of sobbing where you whine and whimper. Pathetic really. I couldn’t cope with seeing things around me. I pulled my hood up over my head, turned my face toward the wall but the tiles in the bathroom are reflective so I could still see the stuff around me no matter how much I turned my head. So I had to close my eyes, and I’m still crying and trying to stifle the sound with my hood because I both do and don’t want people to hear me crying.

When it gets to the point that my throat is dry and hurting I get mad with myself. I press my knuckles against the wall and recoil instantly because I know that sensation of pain will maybe make me feel better but I don’t really want to hurt myself. So I rest my palm against it instead, but I’m still crying. Still thinking about the things I can’t do. The future I can’t think about. I want to pound my fist against the wall this time – and I do, just once, but that makes me stop, because I don’t want to hurt myself. I don’t want to have scars and I don’t want to damage the things around me.

I’m still crying, and it just seems natural to bump my head against the wall now – but I’ve done that before. Against a concrete lamp post some years ago in the middle of my home town and it hurt, but it didn’t make me feel any better. I can recall what it made me feel at the time physical pain was better to think about than the crushing pain in my chest. I don’t think banging my head against the wall is going to help anyone.

I’m still crying. My abdomen is starting to hurt because of the sharp breaths and my back hurts from the way I’m hunched over and struggling to make the feeling go away. It’s only when I’m thinking, completely focused on making myself stop that I wonder if I will ever stop. Is this going to be like the time I completely blacked out a few months ago? Didn’t this happen then? I’d started screaming and what if I start screaming now? It’s 3am, in the basement of a hostel.

The desire for someone to find me strikes me hard, and it’s both a desperate need and something I don’t think I’d be able to handle. I just want someone to wrap their arms around me and rock me until I stop. I think about something a friend once said to me, and it soothes me for a moment before I remember that it’s the same friend who I feel like I’ve let down. By being so unable to achieve social norms. I hold on to the memory of the words they spoke months and months before and very slowly I can feel myself begin to calm down.

I’m still thinking about that time I blacked out though. I’m thinking about the thoughts I had then, and I’m thinking about the children I’ve worked with, and I’m thinking about the link via mental health and I’m thinking maybe we need to make sure our quiet, calm spaces are clean because I can see dust on the floor here and just the fact that is is there is making me cross. I’m cross that I have to think about it, that it’s THERE when it shouldn’t be and all I want is darkness and calm and I turn toward the tile again and I can feel it’s wet from the condensation I’m creating.

The tissue in my hand is nothing but a wrinkled mass of paper, it’s not going to be any use for my nose, but I press it under my nostrils to try and get rid of anything there because at one point I swear it was just water coming out of me.

At least I’m not thinking by this point. Except that thought alone is a reminder of what I’m trying not to think about. It comes again in a wave I’m really not expecting and that just makes everything worse. Is this ever going to stop? It’s got to stop at some point. I’ve done nothing ‘wrong’ with my body except forget to take my meds and that wasn’t going to have that much impact on this, it wasn’t like it was AGES ago that I last had them, only 5 or so hours overdue.

Eventually I conclude that the only way I’m going to stop crying is if I really try hard to. Deep breaths. I’m still sobbing ever other breath but that means it’s working. I’m going to be okay though. Even if I sit here all night, eventually someone will knock on the door and reality will be here again to wake me up. Do I want people to think I’m crazy though? I don’t want the people that I know are currently on shift to think that there’s a huge problem here. I don’t want to worry them. Yes, I wanted one of them to hold me until it stopped but without the questions.

It’s only when I’ve stopped that I hear a knock on the door. The guy on duty asks me, by name, to open the door. This is okay, because I know him. I can’t stand up though, so I crawl to the door and right when I get there I can feel the urge to cry overwhelming me again. I want to just turn the lock and leave the door, but I manage to pull the door open and he steps in, but I can’t see above the bottom of his shorts. Am I okay. I will be. Of course I will. I’m always okay. I never hurt myself, and I never do anything with any finality. I’m not sure what it is that keeps me hooked so deeply to life. Whether it’s the promises I made when I was 17 to a person I’d never met before, or the lives of the people who didn’t deserve to die but did that remind me how precious life is. If it’s just because I am a coward, or because I still hope it will get better or because these outbursts AREN’T what I am. I’m still alive, and I’m still breathing.

I say I just need five minutes and he’s gone. Promising to be back in five minutes if I don’t. There’s a pressure for a moment. Can I regain enough composure to be out of here in five minutes. I kind of need to go to the toilet anyway. Getting up is hard though. A part of me thinks I could stay there all night, just staring. Just thinking about the fact that I’ve worried someone I barely know and interrupted another person’s cleaning schedule by sitting on the floor of the toilet he was going to clean and suddenly I just want to beg for forgiveness and apologise over and over and over.

By the time I’m on my feet, relieved and washing my hands it’s got to have been five minutes but I just can’t. What do I say? What if there are questions I don’t know how to answer? What if I just start crying again? They’ll think it’s something serious but actually, some of my friends talked to me about some stuff. That’s it. Some friends talked to me about things that needed to be discussed. I’m supposed to think about my future, and the things I’m doing with my life right now and those are the things I was talking about. Normal every day things.

I steel myself, try on a smile and decide that it’s the only way I can get through this. Smile. Let them know I’m okay. Hope it’s enough to act as a thank you. I still feel badly for disrupting their evening’s work. I still feel ridiculous.

Then I sat back where I’d been – as if nothing had happened. Except my nose is the same colour as my lips and it makes me look so pale, and I’ve written a post semi-publicly that I need to delete and this deep need to write about the experience.