So, I think I should do a bit of an update.
I’m currently in the middle of my final ever exams at Uni. I’ve done one, and have another three to go. I’m a bit stressed, as you can imagine.
It goes without saying that all the depression and anxiety are acting up, with all the problems that entails, not least because I still haven’t got around to doing anything about it…
On the bright side, I have just received confirmation that I have a graduate job with a big engineering company, doing pretty much the engineering I think I want to do. How it pans out remains to be seen, but at least its something to go in to while I worry about everything else. My plan has always been to get a graduate job, and then see what happens next. I can still go into nursing (or something else) later if things don’t work out, and in the meantime I can build up my savings, ready to go back to uni if the need arises.
Typically, now I’ve got this all sorted, I’ve got my project supervisor pestering me about doing a PhD with the uni. I’ll admit, the idea is slightly attractive, but not enough to make me abandon my longterm plans. I can’t justify further expense that could be on a doctorate in something I’m not that interested in as a career ( and I have no desire to be an academic…)
With the Organisation, it feels like we’re on the verge of mutiny with the local Adults. One member (who I have already introduced as CycleGuy) has jumped ship to join my youth unit, and the feeling is growing that two more may be planning to leave. To add to this, I have heard through the grapevine that the Adult leader may want a word with me about ‘stealing’ CycleGuy, after having both of us make it clear to him that the unit he held his membership at was his choice, and neither of I nor the Adult leader minded what he chose. The fact that CycleGuy and I both found this out through a third member doesn’t help the matter. Needless to say CycleGuy is slightly miffed (and I’m far from impressed).
I also know that CycleGuy (as well as HistStudent) wants to become my 2IC. I am a little sceptical, mainly because I worry that he doesn’t have the Youth Work experience, but my alternative is HistStudent who I know (at a gut level that is difficult to explain in words) would be wrong for the position. I have been putting off re-opening the position (long story…) because I can’t really face the interviews and the stress they’ll cause, but I don’t think it can wait any longer. I could be off for good in a few months time (sad times 😦 ), and someone needs to know what to do if I go.
I think that’s a catch-up of everything that’s been going on over here. I have an exam tomorrow, so I can’t stay up too much later. Fortunately I’m reasonably confident about this one (at least, everything is making sense).
It is difficult to describe what it is like, the low mood and other things I’m feeling right now. It is difficult to imagine (even for me), which makes it hard for people to empathise, (or more importantly for me, understand).
It’s not just feeling sad, though that is definitely part of it. Everyone feels sad from time to time, and most people get through it without it being a problem. It’s also not just feeling lethargic, or lazy, or just not bothering to do anything. Again, everyone gets days like these.
But, in my case at least, it’s not just feeling sad all of the time. And it’s not just feeling apathetic all of the time and accepting it. It’s more than that. At least these would be something concrete to fight against.
For me, it’s somewhere in between. Some days I feel fine. If I keep myself busy, through myself in to my work with the Organisation, get lost in a good book, or am snowed under with work, it seems to go away. I don’t really want to get up every morning, but I know that if I do I’ll get out of the house, get paid, and be able to do important things like eat for another month. On a good day I’ll be full of energy, whipping around the house, tidying, finishing paperwork, generally getting things done. On a good day I can achieve a lot, and by keeping myself busy I don’t give myself time to sit and mope. Through me in to the deep end of an event, and I’ll be so busy doing things I enjoy that I won’t notice it’s been a good day until it’s over. For a while I’ll forget.
On a bad day, it goes completely the other way. I’ll sit on the sofa, mope around and do nothing. I’ll have work satin front of me, waiting for me to finish it, and I’ll just put it aside and pretend I’m busy. It’s not even just procrastination, just a complete lack of motivation. Given half a chance, I’ll spend the morning in bed, only getting up when I’m seriously hungry. I won’t eat properly, snacking on stupid things because I can’t muster the motivation to cook properly. I won’t bother to shower. I’ll generally neglect myself, leaving everything I can get away with. If I bully myself enough, and I have a close enough deadline, I might get a little work done, but only enough to scrape through. It’ll be a struggle to even get that done without putting it off.
And to top it all off, most of the time I’ll just sit and think. Mostly about how rubbish I’m being, and how I need to get stuff done. Things will go around and around like how I’m a useless Youth Leader, a rubbish engineer who’ll never enjoy his work, anything that’s getting me down. I’ll beat myself up over every little mistake I’ve ever made, agonising over how I should have done it differently, and imagining terrible consequences for it all.
Which is when the harming tends to come in. I try to keep myself away from things that can seriously hurt me. I’ve never done myself serious damage. I don’t plan to allow myself the opportunity to start. I almost allow myself the small things, as a pressure release, to stop things building up. It’s not good, it’s not a solution, but under the circumstances, I can think of worse things.
If I can muster the motivation, and I have the time, I try to go for a cycle ride at this time. A bit of mindless cycling, having to concentrate on everything going on around me and not what’s going on in my head helps a little, at least for a while.
I need someone to talk to. Someone I can sit down in front of, real out everything to, and get some honest advice (and probably a kick up the backside) in return. The problem is, everyone who really meets those requirements is an Organisation member, and so immediately I run them in to a difficult position. And of cause, even the thought of this is enough for me to not talk to them, because I don’t want to drag someone else down with me.
And so the cycle goes around and around. I am desperately trying to get myself sorted, but time and again the general lack of motivation defeats me. I’ve got to keep trying and keep trying, and hope this won’t beat me.
No, that is the wrong attitude.
This won’t beat me. I won’t let it.
I can’t let it.
- Mental Health – Continued (walkingplasterdispenser.wordpress.com)
I’m feeling a little frazzled at the moment, so am struggling to compile any one thing in to a post. Just a bit of a stream of consciousness. Sorry…
Work is being stupid again. After trying to lay me off once (and nobody has admitted they were responsible for that monumental cock-up), they now have us working over the bank holiday weekend and through a University holiday (not just a student one, the entire uni, in theory, is shut) while they go off and have a holiday. They’ve left one poor unfortunate soul to try to sort everything out. I’ve tried to help, spotting a couple of things that appeared to be wrong, and in thanks I got ignored, then shouted down (irritating) and finally patronised (infuriating). In the end they listened, but only after someone else joined in with me, and we finally got on.
Next, I’m trying to organise Organisation stuff against a close and inflexible deadline, and I need two people to get in touch with me. I’ve emailed, I’ve called them half a dozen times each and I still haven’t had a reply. If I don’t hear back, it’s very likely that they’ll not be able to go on duty next year. This will not make me popular. Well, it’s that or I try to guess clothing sizes, which probably won’t end well…
Next is my house-mate again. This time he’s brought someone over (without mentioning it to me…) and is continuing to attempt to impose his taste in everything on me. So far he’s tried to change how I cook my food (and what I eat), the sort of TV I watch, the sort of films I want to watch (for the thousandth time, I am NOT interested in that comedy) and he doesn’t seem to get that I’m just not interested. He also complains when I go and hide away in my room to get some peace and quiet, whines when I don’t drop everything and answer my phone when he’s calling and doesn’t seem to get that we don’t have a huge amount in common. Not to mention that continuous complaints when my cooking/eating stuff is dirty and he wants to eat (and can’t be bothered to dig out his own) or to wash it up himself. Sufficed to say, this is going to be an interesting year…
Oh yeah, and all this stuff is starting to get me down again, and I’m getting stressed and losing faith in my ability to cope, and then call myself stupid because I know I can cope, and it all breaks down in to an argument of the level of ‘I know you are, so what am I’ running through my head.
Yeah… I seemed to have developed a comma splice… Never mind…
Time to go buy some ice cream, hide in my room, and hope everything goes away.
And then get very busy tomorrow when it doesn’t…
So, it appears that putting the CBT leaflet where I can see it every morning hasn’t helped. Months have gone by and I still haven’t done anything about it…
Today has found me feeling particularly down. No particular reason, I’ve just done nothing but sit and mope and start to self-harm again.
I hate this feeling. I don’t normally have too much trouble being ill, but that’s because I normally only get colds which a healthy dose of paracetamol will handle. Being ill, and the illness making me not bother to get the help that would make it go away… This has got me feeling more sorry for myself.
It would help, I think, if there was someone to talk to. The problem is, my best friends are all members of the Organisation. This means, if I talk to them, I put them in the difficult position where our friendship has to fight with their obligation to report safeguarding concerns. I don’t want to put them in that position, and I don’t want this to have to go to the safeguarding team. The last thing I need is someone considering me to be a vulnerable adult, not least because of my leadership role (and I don’t think I am vulnerable in the way safeguarding worries about. I am perfectly capable of looking after myself…).
Now, if cause, I’m stressing, and so can’t really sleep, which really won’t help.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll call them, and make an appointment with my GP for a follow-up.
I’m currently living with only one of the three people I share a house with. I have a full set of new housemates this year, and I’ve never lived with any of them before, so I’m already expecting a little friction, but I hope that already being friends will help us get along okay.
I came out to this particular friend about a year and a half ago. It happened without a hitch (from my point of view) though he was a bit drunk at the time, leaving him with the difficult ‘did he really say that’ question to sort out for himself. Up until now, it’s never really caused a problem.
Now, he is a bit of a lad. In fact, he’s a lot of a lad, and makes no secret of it. He regularly treats me to stories of his exploits with women (past, present, and future). Now, as I have no real interest in women (at least, not in that way), I just tend to tune him out. I’ve gotten reasonably good at making all the right ‘yes I’m listening’ noises, without encouraging him in any way to continue. For the most part, these were mostly infrequent comments.
Emphasis on ‘were’.
I’m now treated to almost daily reports on what’s going on in his personal life, and I almost dread watching any TV program that even suggests at sex. It seems that he just can’t stop himself. And, on a regular basis, he then makes a gay comment.
Individually, they are pretty innocuous. Just the normal blokey comments with a slightly different twist. But put them all together and it’s driving me up the wall. I don’t really want to discuss my personal life , particularly not with someone who I’m pretty certain would make no bones about spreading it around if it suited him. He doesn’t seem to have any sense of the sort of questions I just don’t want him asking me. Fine, he might just be interested (or feigning interest) but I really wish he would just can it.
I’ve got to work out how to pass this on to him tactfully. I don’t want to fall out with him (particularly as the academic year hasn’t event started yet), but at the same time the way he’s acting just makes me want to go and hide in my room whenever I’m at home.
Oh yeah, and I need to work out how to stop him making comments along the lines of ‘cheer up you miserable git’ on a fairly regular basis. I haven’t discussed anything to do with mental health with him, and don’t intend to, but comments like this are almost more annoying than the rest. And all the more difficult to sort out…
I have a member of staff. I’ll be honest from the start, I don’t like him. I don’t think he’s a suitable person for a Youth unit. Some of the time I wonder if he’s a suitable person for the organisation. However, that is not my decision to make.
I have sat in some of his training sessions for our young people. Some of them are very good, particularly the youth led ones. A couple of sessions where he had his group discussing different types of punishment, I’m told were excellent. However, some of them really aren’t. On more than one occasion, when I’ve been in the room while he’s been training first aid, or event while I’ve been training and he’s been sitting in, I’ve encountered areas of his knowledge that are sorely lacking. The last time it happened, I did something about it: I have made it so that he always has another qualified member in the room when he’s training, to support him (or so I put it).
Of cause, he’s not happy, and I’ve heard (gah, the organisation is terrible for gossip and rumour) that he’s been grumbling in the presence of some important people in the county. Not people in my direct line of management, but close enough to cause me problems. And of cause, all the certainty I had about the decision at the time has evaporated. I know that I don’t like him training first aid. I know that there are gaps in his knowledge. But, I can’t be specific enough to justify what I did, or to solve the problem. And now, I’m starting to second guess myself, and I’m not even sure how I separate my gut feelings from the objective things I can actually put on paper.
This isn’t the first time this has happened. Previously I’ve made a decision about someone (well, two someones in this case) doing something that I thought was wrong. I acted on this decision, attempted to get them to stop doing it, and had the whole thing slapped back in my face. So hard, in fact, that I vowed never to be on the committee of that unit again.
I think what I did was the right thing to do. However, I just don’t think I can justify it anymore, or at least not in a way that would convince me, if I was some other person. I don’t know if I can even convince them that it’s not just a personal issue between me and him, or that I’m not just trying to bully him in to leaving the unit.
This has really thrown me in to a spin. I’m not helping myself, as I’m now questioning my ability to make these, and other, decisions. I have a duty coming up where I’m supposed to be in charge, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’ll muck that up as well.
I can’t everything I’m feeling in to words. It’s all going round and round and I’m just getting in to a mess.
That doesn’t help as much as I’d hoped…
The British Summer Time shift has thrown my sleeping patterns off a bit, so I’m getting a bit of organisation done while I have the chance… On my desk I have a stack of letters that need to be posted tomorrow (including one I should have sent off four months ago, eep!) I have a good start on the final part of my project (though, of cause, I completely forgot to do the business section, which I hate, and had planned to email someone about and forgot…). I also have a ton of rubbish, but it’s slightly organised rubbish, so that’s okay.
I have my plan for tomorrow sorted. The washing machine is loaded, I have my phone on charge, my lunch waiting for me in the fridge, and my alarm (suitably updated) set. I even have an idea about my next post (I actually got to treat a patient a couple of days back, though typically it was while I was off-duty…)
I also have that leaflet about the CBT…
Which I’ve still not done anything about…
So that CBT thing I was supposed to be referring myself to. The one whose leaflet I’ve had sat on my desk for more than a week now.
Yeah… That thing that I keep telling myself ‘I must sort that out.’ ‘Must do that, but tomorrow’.
I promised myself I would keep on top of this. And yet, I keep putting it off.
I think I know why. I’m afraid. It’s scary admitting that I have a mental health problem, and going to seek out help from somone I don’t even know. That’s terrifying. So I put it off, and put it off, until I forget about it. Which is a crap way of dealing with it.
‘Don’t be stupid.’ I tell myself. ‘You’ve faced down threatening patients. You’ve worked in a major incident with no second thoughts.’ Except, of cause, one way or another, I have been in control of those situations. Either by sheer force of will, or by continuous training and work. I can cope with that, because I know what will happen.
With this, I’m all at sea. I have no idea what is going to happen, and I don’t seem to be able to control my situation either. I’m terrified that everything is going to slip away from me, and I have no way of pinning these things down.
‘So’, I tell myself, ‘it’s time to take control. And that means take that first step.’
And it’s easy to tell myself that. Easy to promise myself that I’ll do it. Easy to push it back and push it back. Easy to let the leaflet get buried under everything else on my desk.
This isn’t going to be easy. I have to remember this. It’s probably going to be scary.
I’ve told patients (mainly the very young ones) that it’s okay to be scared, as long as you are brave.
I’m good at handing out advice like this. That’s the easy bit.
No comes the difficult part…
So I did it. I went to see a GP last week, and then had a follow-up appointment the week after.
After a couple of questionnaires and a LOT of questions, she told me that while it wasn’t very serious, I am displaying symptoms of minor anxiety and depression. Which is pretty much what I expected to hear.
Moving on to what I could do about it, she described counseling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She quickly touched on anti-depressant drugs, but to my relief just as quickly dismissed them as not helpful in my case. After much umming and ahhing and questioning, I decided to follow her advise and go for the CBT. She told me that she would post me some information about it, and that I should make arrangements to self-refer myself to the local unit.
So I now have a leaflet from the local Psychological Therapies Service on my desk, placed where I can’t ignore it. And tomorrow, I will be calling the number on the back. Because I’ve got going now, and I am not going to let my nerves or self-consciousness hold me back.
Even thinking that I’m doing something is making me feel a bit better. I feel like I’m building up some momentum, and almost that nothing will stop me now. Time to make it happen.
I still haven’t made that appointment. Every time I’ve thought about doing it, something has come up and I’ve done something else. Mañana, mañana.
This afternoon, I received a massive kick up the backside. It appears that my particular self-harm has started being visible to my friends. To them it looks particularly innocuous. To me it was an unpleasent surprise.
Tomorrow, I have an appointment with the nurse to get my wounds checked on. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to try to get an appointment with my GP to fit in shortly after. Because enough is enough. This isn’t getting better, no matter what lies I tell myself. Today, I got home, sat down in front of my computer, and despite having a reasonably good day (aside from one rant which is going to follow), felt like crying. No real reason, I just felt really upset. And this isn’t right. I deserve better than this. I have to believe that. I do believe that.
So, it’s time to do something. Because at this rate, I’m going to hit rock bottom so hard I’ll never get back up.