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)
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.
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.
Morale seems to have reached a nadir, again… Everything, my uni project and Organisation work alike seems to be a constant battle, and I’m just feeling so down.
I’ve been bad. I promised myself that I would make a doctor’s appointment to talk to someone about this, and I haven’t. So tomorrow, I’m going to try to force myself to get my arse in gear. Because this is getting stupid. I can’t work out if I’m feeling bad because everything is going wrong, or if it’s something else, and I’m rapidly approaching burnout. About half an hour ago I nearly withdrew my application for the Youth Leader role, swiftly followed by my notice of stepping down from my Youth role. Which is rubbish, because I love working with the kids at my unit, but at the moment I just don’t know if I can do it. Something has to give, and that may have to be the first to go. Which really sucks.
I feel like I need someone to talk to, right now, but I know it will turn in to a rant, and that’s not fair on Valentines Day, not when the people I would be talking to have loved ones to be spending time with.
So it’s time to follow my own advice, and reach out for help. Because if I don’t, I’m going to crash and burn.
It’s easy to make New Years Resolutions. Not so easy to keep them. I could make the usual ones:
- Exercise more
- Eat better
- Keep up with my studies better
The list goes on. Add in my particular circumstances and I could add:
- Come out to my parents
- Blog more regularly
Again, the list could be a mile long.
I’ll say right away, the first item in the second list isn’t likely to happen any time this decade, and the latter really depends on how much inspiration I have.
However, the first list shows some potential.
If I want to get anywhere in my ambulance work without damaging myself, I need to get fit, and I need to get stronger. I noticed that my fitness was going down when I stopped cycling to work. Suddenly, the cycle to uni, which used to be pretty average, is a nightmare. Well, the few times I’ve tried it before the snow got bad. In short, more exercise is needed. I’m at a uni that has amazing sports facilities. Shouldn’t be too hard, as long as I stick with it… That, unfortunately, will be the problem.
As a student, the eating properly think is always a problem. Hopefully that’ll get better as I get a bit more free time. More importantly on the health front, I think I need to see a Doctor.
I should explain more thoroughly… A few months ago, I had a chat with a GP about my mental health. To cut a long story short, I’ve been self-harming for quite a long time, now. In fact, I can’t really remember when I started, it was so long ago. At first I just saw it as a bad habit, but looking back, at my behaviour, my feelings, everything, I got a bit concerned.
Now don’t misunderstand. I have never done myself lasting damage. Never anything that risked my life, and I’ve never considered suicide. I have no visible scars (at least, none that were deliberately self-inflicted), and nothing that you’d see in everyday life.
I had a feeling that something wasn’t right, and when I went to the Doctor, she agreed that something was wrong, possibly depression, or it could be anxiety. She gave me a questionnaire to fill out, and told me to see her in a week.
I missed the appointment. Not intentionally. I honestly thought she had said two weeks, not one. More importantly, though, I didn’t set a new date for the appointment. I could have done. I have thought about doing it, more than once, and have seen a GP about other things since. It’s just never happened. If I’m honest, it’s probably because I’ve never worked up the courage to do it again. It was hard enough having the conversation the first time around, why would I want to do all that again…
Except I need to, because the harm hasn’t stopped, and I’ve not miraculously started feeling better. I would be lying to myself if I said I was. I have trouble sleeping, I am still harming myself (even as I write this post, and that scares me because I know what I’m doing, but still do it), I always feel run down, and am always feeling generally ‘low’.
So my New Years Resolution is simple. Look after myself better. And I can achieve it. I have to believe I can achieve it. Because if I don’t, I’ve already lost the battle.
And I can’t let this get any worse…
I am most impressed that Wikipedia has a page on the dreaded Freshers’ Flu.
I would argue one point though: it’s not just caught by freshers. Those of us who work closely with them during Freshers’ Week (tech crew, first aiders, helpers, nobody escapes) are just as susceptible…
Funnily enough, we got through a lot of paracetamol during the week!
For the past week, I have been tech-crewing and first aiding at my University’s Freshers’ Week. The main aim of the week (publicly) is to allow the freshers to get to know each other and get settled in before starting lectures. Unofficially, some freshers, and some of the Freshers Crew that look after them, see this as an opportunity to get as drunk as possible as regularly as possible.
From my point of view, this is a highly enjoyable week of rigging, first aiding and derigging. This year I also got the chance the run the lighting desk for an evening (and had a complete panic when it starting doing things I didn’t ask it to do…), as well as having a go being Assistant Stage Manager (more stressful than I’d like, especially as the main act turned up about an hour after they were supposed to be on stage.)
From a first aid point of view, it’s dealing with drunks, drunks and more drunks. Oh, and the odd assault, but they’re usually drunk as well…
This year we had three people drink themselves into unconsciousness, along with the normal round of alcohol poisonings and other drunken injuries (fractures, possible head injuries, etc.)
As well as Freshers’ Flu, which seems to afflict anyone involved in Freshers’ Week, whether or not they are a fresher, the week successfully screws my sleeping patterns over for a month. This year I caught the Flu early, and seem to have got over it quickly. However, it is currently 0040, and I’m still quite comfortably awake. This is extremely annoying, particularly as my lectures start tomorrow.
On the bright side, it means I can get some posts written, but I have a feeling life (especially the bits of it that occur before 1100) is going to be a bit difficult for a while.
Dear Mr Immune System
You’ve served me well over the last couple of years, and I’ve not exactly made life easy for you.
My parents don’t subscribe to the ‘Dettol everything’ philosophy, and neither do I. Yes everything was and is visibly clean, but no disinfectants touch our surfaces. When I cut myself or grazed a knee, tap water and a plaster always sufficed. None of this ‘kills 99.9% of bugs’ and antiseptic wipes malarkey.
Then there was a year living in halls on campus, with all the mess and bad cooking that entailed. You protected me so that I never once got a stomach bug, even though I did get Freshers’ Flu twice! And again last year, the first time I first-aided Freshers’ Week. In your defence, I got away with last year flu free.
So yeah, I’ve not been that kind, but you’ve always prevailed, and I am forever grateful that I don’t have to count myself among the immunosuppressed.
So what have I done to deserve this current blatant over-reaction. It’s only pollen, for goodness sake. It’s not like it’s a real disease, and we all know here are many out there, just look at the Dettol advert!
I really could do without the itchy eyes, the sneezing and the runny nose. I dislike constantly having to carry and take anti-histamines to counteract your over-excitement, and then have to try to resist the sedating side-effects. Why can’t you just let me go outside without such hassle?
So why not give me a break, at least for a few days. Then, hopefully, we’ll have a nice big rainstorm, preferably overnight, and I’ll be a bit happier for a little while.
The Walking Plaster Dispenser
P.S. Yes, I do have a problem with Dettol and their adverts. Talk about scaremongering!