Sunday, 8 December 2013

Depression: 10 Months and out, Sleep Terrors: We're still here!

Its odd to realise that you are no longer in the midst of a depressive episode. i only noticed a few days ago and thinking about it it seems to have ended in the beginning of November, usually i would know given how severe the depression was, perhaps i did not notice this time as it was mild and it disappeared quietly.

The timing is interesting too as normally this is the time of year for it begin rather than end, in any case this episode lasted 10 months which is rather longer than my average ones and the last time i had an episode that lasted so long was back in 2006 when i had my breakdown and stayed in a severe and suicidal state for around 18 months.

However the sleep terrors haven't gone, I've had a couple over the last month and the cause cannot be attributed to the depression or anxiety as i was neither depressed or anxious (cue a psychotherapist: "you've repressed something and its coming out via the sleep terrors!") entirely possible but there is no evidence of that so the causes remain unknown for the time being.

Also a small point, I'm certain these sleep terrors began before i was 11 years old, the significance being the depression started at that age, the psychotherapists i saw back in 2007 maintained their opinion the depression is the cause, i was never convinced and I've got a couple of fleeting memories that existed before i was 11, one where i was maybe 5 or 6 where i was at my grandparents and was lying on the sofa, it was early in the morning and they had called a GP out to see me, i remember screaming and crying, i was ill but don't recall what the illness was.

A second one, this time i was maybe 8 or 9, i woke up in my bedroom at my grandparents where i stayed when my Mother worked night shifts, it was pitch black and i was terrified, i screamed, screamed and screamed for what seemed like a long time before my uncle came rushing in, he must have been there a while for suddenly i remember the lights were on and he was trying to console me, i was sobbing uncontrollably, my grandparents were at the door, i don't remember anything after that.

These were very isolated incidents at that age, the older I've grown the terrors have slowly increased in frequency, no doubt the depression, anxiety and a few incidents in my life have contributed to it but not the cause, trouble is is getting the mental health professionals to accept it, they tend to fixate on what appears to be the obvious cause, though at some point i will try again to see one to establish the cause of these bloody things, for i feel these terrors are now a bigger threat to my psychological state than the depression as i have good handle on how and why that occurs but how do you combat something as mysterious as what i have described?

8th December 2013, the journey continues.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Dear Kelly...

I feel condemned by you for what others did to you, all the self sacrificing patience and forgiveness over the years was for nothing. Why though? I wasn't the guy who promised you the world and left you, the same guy who poured hot coffee over you over an argument, the same guy who manipulated you into having a threesome with himself and someone else (after trying to involve me, I refused).

I wasn't the step father who raped you when she was 14, the same creature who abused your Mother in every way possible until she ended up committed to a psychiatric unit for over a decade. I wasn't those social workers who allowed it all to happen. I wasn't all those others who were happy to use you for sex even when you said we could be fuck buddies, I told you I wanted more than that, I wanted to commit to you, commit to bringing up your child with you, you said I'd make a great boyfriend and I was a good father figure for your child....yet you deemed me unworthy WHY??

Because i was sexually inexperienced? Because I wasn't able to do what others did as I was/am terrified of the intimacy involved?? Why didn't you help me? Why when I told you I feared you would lose patience with me you did exactly that? Why did you take my virginity and then tell me you were making up your mind on whether to be with or another guy? Why did you go to him? He called you self obsessed, he refused to deal with the problems he had, why did you choose him over me? Because he was a single parent too?? How could you do this to me, what did I do to deserve it??

I thought it was you who sat next to me at the Derby v Leeds football match last Saturday and for a good hour and 15 minutes i was afraid until i realised it wasn't you just someone who resembled you! Why after almost 3 fucking years can't I just move on from you?? Why when I started my full time job last November did I wonder if you would be proud of me why the fuck should I care, you're gone and you ain’t ever coming back.

Only I’m afraid if you ever did get in touch again I’d weaken when you'd tell me how sorry you are, what a good man I am, I deserved better, how lovely I am, how much your child misses me and the really frightening thing is I’ll fall for it, I’ll tell myself again it'll be different this time, I'm at my most vulnerable around you, you know this and you exploit it, but why?? To make yourself feel better about what was done to you?

Happy Birthday by the way, I always remembered it, of course you hardly ever remembered mine but what the hell.

7th October 2013, the journey continues.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Day 163 of depressive episode: My Thoughts: Forsaken.

Took quite some time to find a word, or words, to express how i feel, well it came to me today...forsaken...I feel as though I've been forsaken.

The crushing despair and utter helplessness i'm feeling over my existence will ensure this is a short post, sufficient it is to say that when people say they've been busy or they've got a good thing going they actually mean I've been excluded and forgotten about...and the way i feel right now I'm done making an effort with them just like my family who forsaken me.

Majority of my existence I've been alone in my survival, I'll fight on alone and one day I'll die alone.

Nobody will notice.

5th July 2013 the journey continues.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

My Thoughts: Mini updates of the past couple of months

Well a fairly busy time lately (relative to my usual schedule anyway) and what seemed to offer some kind of opportunity...chance of breaking into a career in the mental health field as a support worker, the exam for my philosophy course, attending the 'Road to Recovery Event' hosted by Rethink Mental Illness in Leeds and successfully registered with Angard Staffing to be a casual worker for the Royal Mail, I'll talk a little bit about each in turn.

Lets start with the support worker bit, I got an interview with a local supported accommodation provider/hospital for women with mental health issues. To start with the person who emailed me the date got it wrong and said it was it the 9th June (a Sunday) when in fact it was scheduled for the 10th, thought it was a bit odd and wasn't surprised when I turned up on the 9th and got told it was for the next day, no matter at least I knew where this place was.

The place itself uses the Biopsychosocial model which is encouraging as it means they look at the people they support in question from more than one angle or approach, altho I don't in-depth knowledge of the model yet I do understand the basic principles of it and is in my intended approach if I ever become a mental health professional.

The interview went very well, I was able to demonstrate how my experiences of mental health gave me the empathy to understand, to a certain extent, what people go through during their experiences of an mental illness, the internal and external obstacles to recovery. Also having the experience of being a service user and working with a support worker gave me some insight to what the latter can do to help the former realise what goals they may set for themselves.

After filling out the health declaration form the two people interviewing me informed I was the best interviewee they had so far but as I had no experience of actually working as a support worker they felt this job would be too big a step for me as a first job in this area, however if I can get six month's volunteering experience then they would definitely have a place for me, the two who interviewed said for me to keep in touch with them as well, so no job but it was a productive exercise and further reinforces the confidence I have about doing interviews as I seem to perform very strongly there.

Angard Staffing, an agency set up by the Royal Mail to handle their recruitment needs contacted me to see if I was still interested in working for the RM (I did previously register interest for the Christmas period but seeing as the DWP offered me full time work first I went there instead) I said I was, interview arranged. Get there and it was pretty standard stuff, checked all my documents and ID, the guy raised two issues, first the picture ID wasn't from a passport or driver's licence but a citizen-card and as the RM are strict about what they accept as picture ID it probably wouldn't be accepted, secondly the change of name deed-poll I supplied (as my surname now is different from birth) wasn't valid he reckoned the person who witnessed and signed the declaration wasn't a police officer or solicitor...he was wrong on both counts.

So they mailed me the zero-hour contract for me which was signed and returned in May...its now July and I've heard nothing from them. Contacted them yesterday and the excuse I got was they tried my landline and couldn't get through and they didn't have my mobile number...evidently the guy at that interview had quite the off day as I supplied my mobile number along with the landline. Urgh feels like a waste of time with this agency but you know might as well stick with it until I can get full time employment again.

The Road to Recovery Event hosted by Rethink Mental Illness in Leeds seemed like a good idea to attend, members of the charity over varying places would be there, they had a psychologist there, basically seemed a an ideal place to get some networking done. That didn't happen and I didn't get a lot out of it which was disappointing, altho it as amusing to see how much of a hammering they gave the DWP. Probably the most productive bit of the event was when we got into groups for the workshops they had and we talked about who we were and why we were there. We had a fair few relatives, friends of people who had mental health issues who were there to get an understanding of this insidious entity 'mental illness' and how they can help those who suffer with it.

In my group we had a housing support worker who was there to get an understanding as he dealt with a number of service users with mental health issues. In particular he was concerned about he should approach the issue of if and when he went with a service user to a an appointment with a psychiatrist, a few of us recounted our experiences and a consistent theme emerged, namely medication and how forceful some psychiatrists (and other mental health professionals) can be about it. Ultimately we told him that while the service user retains the final say on whether they will take medication or not some service users won't have the confidence to challenge any assertion made by an mental health professional about what may the best treatment for them, that he may be able to support them should they feel unsure about it.

Ah, the philosophy exam, this happened the day after my interview for the support worker role so a fairly taxing two days. For this exam I had to answer three questions from ten, I had three hours to do so and had to hope I could actually remember anything I had revised. I'll find out if I passed it or not in August. Do I think I passed it? Not sure, two of the answers I gave I feel were okay, the third wasn't as I simply couldn't remember anything else and I ran out of time so I'm hoping the two answers I gave will be enough to pull me through, if not then its very likely I can re-sit the exam as my coursework scores stayed above 70% all the way through so its grounds enough that I do understand the subjects I'd taken (remembering them is another matter during an exam).

Well also for tomorrow I will be attending some volunteer training on speaking to the public about mental illness (and the stigma attached to it) during an art gallery display by artists who paint to express their experiences of it, this is for the charity MIND and it will be hosted in Leicester in August, should definitely get more out of this than the event I went to in Leeds.

2nd July 2013 the journey continues.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Day 127 of depressive episode My Thoughts: The first two appointments

Not much to say from these which is a concern considering the limited amount of appointments i have for this therapy. The first one is as you might expect is an introduction and a general overview of what you are going through, the second appointment though was pretty a waste of fucking time.

My appointment time was 12:30, i got to the bus stop at 11:25, expecting a bus to turn up at or around did not show up until 12:03, now as the journey into the city centre can take upto 20-30 minutes and on top of that its a 20 minute walk from the centre to where this therapy place is, so thanks to Trent Barton i was going to be late.

I called the place to say i was running late, the receptionist informed me that if i was more than 15 minutes late the therapist may not see me. So the challenge is on, i gotta get to this place by 12:45 at the latest, lets face it i don't have enough of a challenge as it is, dealing with the anxiety of wondering whats going to happen in the therapy session in addition to going right past Kelly's place on the way.

Finally the bus gets me into the centre at 12:30...12:30, ridiculous. So after much forced speed marching and jogging (with inflamed lungs making breathing extremely difficult, my lower legs went numb and my hamstrings felt as though they were going to snap) i made to this place by 12:44. The therapist comes in and says there is no point doing the appointment as there won't be enough time for him to cover everything he wants to, now if i wasn't so busy trying to get my breathing and heart rate under control i'd said 'you got be fucking kidding me, i've just about killed myself getting here'.

In the end he saw me for a few minutes I think out of appreciation for the fact I had rushed to get to there asap, after asking a few times if i wanted a drink of water he told me the therapy would be focused on the trauma of me being mugged (and a few attempted muggings) years ago, he reckons its these that are the root cause of the night terrors. He also gave this thing to look up over the internet 'Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing' (EMDR) which I’ll go into in a bit.

That was basically it, I wasn't happy I rushed to get there for all of a few minutes, the next appointment is in another two weeks, I walked back, it was pissing it down with rain and I wonder why I bother at times.

Now for this EMDR, copied from Wiki;

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro, which emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology [1][2] and alleviates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced severe trauma which remains unresolved.[3] According to Shapiro, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli are inadequately processed, and stored in an isolated memory network.[4] The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories, reducing their lingering effects and allowing clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms. This is done by having clients recall traumas while following the therapist's hand movement.[5] The use of EMDR was originally developed to treat adults suffering from PTSD, however, it is also used to treat children.[6]
Just to be clear, the therapist is not saying I have PTSD (well he said I don't have 'full blown PTSD' whatever that means), I most certainly do not. I hadn't heard of this before so I learned about something new, I imagine the therapist will want to try this treatment and I have have no issue with doing so, some studies have shown some positive results and has the added benefit with having no negative side effects.

Bearing in mind its a CBT therapist I am seeing its interesting to see he's using a treatment from the psychotherapy side of things. Not overly keen on accessing the disturbing memories I got in here but if it helps to lessen the impact of these night terrors then its got be done.

30th May 2013 the journey continues.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Day 119 of depressive episode My Thoughts: Keep moving forward.

This scene struck quite a feeling within myself given where i am currently;

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!

The underlined bits highlight what is most relevant to me. At the moment i feel as though i'm taking hits, being made unemployed again (okay i said i was relieved when the job came to an end but its still not a great feeling), feeling isolated from my closest friends, the night terrors which occur from time to time, all added to the depressive episode it can often feel like i'm taking a beating psychologically.

My CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) appointment is today it will be interesting to see if and how much of an impact it will have, bearing in mind I am only receiving a handful of these appointments whatever has be done will need to be done quickly, I had previously gone through a group psychotherapy course so if nothing else it will be intriguing to note the differences between the school of thoughts.

No doubt I will be asked what I would like to get out of the appointments I will have, honestly I just don't know, how do you set a goal on dealing with night terrors? The cause isn't clear, the triggers themselves are pretty vague, stress is one but then I’m not always stressed when they occur, I’m not always depressed, anxious, sad, whatever and I haven't watched any zombie films or tv series lately to explain away why I have dreams of crowds of people trying to lynch me (they are not zombies either).

So ain't going to have much time to establish something to help at the very least to reduce the frequency of the terrors, then again the frequency is random as well, I can go months without them before I suddenly end up getting at its worst at least one a night. I wonder though if night terrors is even an appropriate term anymore considering I had one lately that occurred during daytime...

I'll probably write a quick post on how the appointment goes later on today (its 3:30 in the morning, I can't sleep so just casually browsing the net and watching Rocky Balboa) now as Rocky said earlier;

Keep moving forward.

Wednesday 22th May 2013 the journey continues.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Day 104 of depressive episode My Thoughts: Bite the bullet

My contract with my last employer finished on the 26th April and so unemployed once more. I felt a mixture of feelings about leaving, on the one hand I found the job itself draining as I have anxiety about talking to people over the phone (I often wondered about the wisdom then of me taking a full time job where I am on the phone on the majority of the employment, however as a close friend once said I am a glutton for punishment so that probably explains it well enough) and given the nature of the work I was always afraid of making a mistake, the mistakes I would make in this case would affect people and I’ve been in that position of being stressed due to the mistakes of others.

In particular though there were times I felt I was part of the problem for some of these people I spoke to, I couldn't help them and had to tell them so, the bearer of bad news for people who were in poor (at times desperate) circumstances, one call will always stand out for me, a woman called to make a claim for JSA (Jobseekers Allowance) having been disallowed from her sickness benefit despite her stating she still suffered from the sickness in question which would greatly impact on her ability to work, also due to some bad advice she had waited for more than a month to make a claim meaning the whole process would take much longer for her than had she called within a month.

This woman was upset from the beginning about the whole situation, it sure felt horrible for me to say to her that the only way I could help her was by taking a new claim and under the circumstances this isn't help at all, anything else I can't do anything for her. She constantly re-told me her situation in the vain hope this would somehow change things for the better, of course it didn't and so it came to the question where I asked her how her sickness or disability affected her ability to work (I already knew but I wasn't allowed to answer for people, they had to answer every question no matter how bleeding obvious the answer was) so she told me, she however went into detail about why she suffered from panic attacks.

The previous year she was raped and during the attack the rapist had stubbed out cigarettes on her. At this point (bearing in mind I already felt guilty about the whole thing, it just didn’t feel right to me what was going on for this woman and I was part of it) it sent me over the edge, feeling so guilty I just couldn't carry on taking the call, the whole situation was just wrong, so I got the deputy team leader and explained to her I couldn't continue the call, she took over for me. This happened on Friday 15th March, I remember the date as on the 16th I went to to watch Derby County beat Leicester City 2-1 (the first time I saw Derby win in almost 3 years) and straight after I went to a friend's birthday night out, so the 15th was an awful day, the 16th being a very good one.

By far and away the worst call I ever experienced during my time there. For the most part most of the people I dealt with were okay and many of them took the time to thank me at the end of the calls. What ensured I kept going through the difficult times there was the support I had from the people I worked with, in particular my team leader and deputy team leader I doubt I’ll get as much support or understanding I got from them from another employer which I why despite the fact I far from enjoyed the job I am sad I am no longer working there.

As to what I will do next well I think its time I bite the bullet and attempt to get into working in the mental health field despite feeling crippled by self doubt that I would be able to cope in such a role (after all I didnt cope at all with the call I described above) then again not long before I started the last job I had the feeling I wouldn't be able to do it, well I bit the bullet and did it, did it well.

7th May 2013 the journey continues again.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Day 88: My thoughts: When night terrors and anxiety attacks...

Friday 19th got off to a very bad start, within minutes of the beginning of the new date i had a night terror where I saw some kind of creature crawling on the wall close to where I was resting my head on the pillow, I’ve no idea what it was supposed to be as in my shock of seeing something (which only exists in my mind as i haven't realised by this point I’m actually awake )suddenly appear, i used the duvet to to crush it against the wall, at first it appears as though I have crushed this thing as theres some dark substance smeared across the wall...normally I’ve regained full consciousness by this point and realised what happened, didn’t. Only the creature is still alive and has now crawled into a gap in my duvet, now I’m panicking as I can't see this thing and I’m afraid its going to crawl onto my face if I go back to sleep, finally at some point I’ve woken up and realised its a dream, I'm trying to calm down, my hearts threatening to explode its going so bloody fast and hard, i'm telling myself I’m fine nothings happened yet I remain feeling a sense of dread as I go back to sleep.

That was bad enough but the next nightmare I was to have (that I remember) made a mockery of it. Through all the dreams I was having at what seemed like a million miles an hour all one fast never-ending blur when everything slows down and I have a female voice say to me “(friend's name) has been murdered” this friend I have known since I was 15 years old and I regard him more than a close friend he's family to me, now obviously in this nightmare I’m really upset and the overwhelming feeling of grief hits me, whoever told me this isn't there anymore, its just me in my flat and I try to call my Mother first and then somebody else (don't know who) but none answer, I begin crying as I need to talk to somebody, to tell them what's happened to my dear friend, i'm alone with the knowledge of something incomprehensibly awful.

And the worst is yet to come.

Now I’m in a street at night time watching a taxi slowdown in the middle of the road, I recognise the street, its where I lived for a few years some time ago, this friend of mine lived with me for a year or so during a difficult time of his life. He's in the backseat of the quickly dawns on me the full horror of what I’m about to see.

My friend being murdered.

The driver (only thing of him I can recall is him wearing a grey polo shirt) locks the doors electronically, the sound of the door catches all thumping downwards, the driver turns and moves towards my friend, who isn't moving, its as though he's paralysed, the driver is almost on top of him and I’m privy to his final thoughts before he dies, firstly that he's going to die at the hands of the driver and secondly that I am nowhere to be seen...

And so I wake up late and I got 10 minutes to get dressed, have a quick wash, grab my stuff and get out of the door to catch the bus to work, which I manage and I haven't thought about the second nightmare really, at first I’m too busy rushing to get out on time and when i'm on the bus I got my walkman blasting music into earphones, I do briefly ask myself the question of why the fuck I would dream about something like that but I can't even begin to identify a trigger for that.

Off the bus I have a 15 minute walk to my workplace, the music is still going but by now the adrenaline is helping to walk very quickly and I’m hyper vigilante, scowling at every passer by as though they are threat to me, part of me wishing for somebody to give me the slightest excuse to unleash the aggression that is straining within me. I get into sainsburys to buy myself a sandwich (as I didn’t have time to make my own) and I go for a meal deal, or so I thought, I picked 2 other items, a drink and a snack to go with the sandwich, a meal deal that is supposed to cost £3 but I end up being charged at the self service checkout for £4.46, now I’m sure the previous day I got the same items and it cost me £3, initially annoyed by this I just told myself to stop being a mardy miserable prick and just get on with it, what difference is £1.46 going to make anyway? So get out a tenner and feed it into the note spits back out my tenner, well okay the tenner was folded in one corner so correct that and put it back, nope it still spits out my tenner, its not accepting it.

“fuck this!” I snatched the note back and left the items I was going to buy on the checkout and stomp out. I get to work and turns out theres an I.T issue which means we have to work around it and I just can't be doing with it even so the changes are simple enough and its no big deal, yet i'm enraged by this point, first the checkout machine wont take my money and now this bullshit at work.

So after some minutes (7 or 8 maybe?) I’ve finally calmed down, the anger is gone, the adrenaline is gone and I’m okay now...actually I’m not, I’m at the mercy of the anxiety that is about flood over me.

The thoughts of the nightmare I had begin to crawl back into my mind, I’m just staring into space waiting for a customer to come through to my line and the feelings that linger from the nightmare are now making themselves known as the anger is no longer there to suppress it, I can feel the tears welling up and I try to hold it all back but its no use, the first couple trickle out and the floodgates open, the deputy team leader notices after borrowing a document to photocopy from my desk, she's asking me whats wrong and I cannot get any words out as i'm just sobbing away, eventually I manage to get up from my chair and half run into a empty training room, where I half collapsed to the floor and carried on bawling away meekly telling her that I was sorry, finally managing to say to my deputy team leader about the nightmare I had (or rather I just vaguely said I had a nightmare about a friend of my mine being murdered, how can I possibly explain the whole thing, it seemed absurd to me, it just wouldn't make sense to anyone else and it still probably doesn't).

So its established my friend works in the same place and my deputy team leader asked if it would helped if I knew he was in work that day, I said yes and she went off to find out (in fact my friend came to see me a few minutes later, he was told by her I was upset and we talked for a bit, I didnt tell him the full story of it either, I didn’t know how to even begin trying to explain it, it just seems so..wrong somehow.

Seeing the state I was in (altho I had managed to stop crying by this point but it was obvious I had been) he told me for one thing I shouldn't be at work given how I’m feeling as it would the last place I wanted be and that I was invited to stop over with him at his place for the night when he returns from having a drink with a colleague so I’m not alone (turns out I’d be invited to the drink later as he was concerned about me being alone for too long), after getting over the initial overbearing anxiety I felt on the bus on the way to meeting with him I actually had a good time.

Its Sunday morning now and the feelings from the night terrors haven't disappeared, the feelings are still there and its difficult to explain, after all I know the terrors are not real, the creature didn’t exist, I didn’t smear it over the wall and it didn’t crawl into my duvet, my friend wasn't murdered, I know this and yet the horrible feelings from them linger and whats really frustrating is I can't work out the trigger for them, the CBT therapy I’m going for at the end of May seem a long time away.

21st April 2013 the journey continues.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

My thoughts day 80 of depressive episde: Its still going, guilt and CBT.

A month on from my previous post and while things improved for a couple of weeks, to the point where i believed this episode was over (the last week though has shown it most certainly is not, now i feel like such an idiot for publicly saying it was over) however things just keep coming up adding to the stress I'm under.

Yesterday i went to see my Grandfather (the closest thing i've had to an father) for the first time in over four years (with the one exception when i saw him on the bus and spoke to him some months previously) for two reasons. Firstly he got injured by a startled horse that bolted out from the stable and trod on him, leaving him with a fractured eye socket and cheekbone as well badly hurting his leg. However its the second reason that i mostly went for.

Recently a court had ordered that my Grandfather must sell the house as part of the divorce proceedings. Standard stuff but was also ordered to give 50% of his private pension to my Grandmother, a ruling that has outraged the entire family, of course he can appeal the ruling but he won't, he's a broken, depressed old man who doesn't see the point of fighting a system that is biased against him. (a minor matter, the marriage ended after my Grandmother was caught by my Mother having an affair with my Grandfather's best friend). Granted my Grandfather was a long way from being the best husband or father in the world but he wasn't evil, abusive or anything of the sort and doesn't deserve what's happened to him.

Anyway, my Mother told me that he intended to give me some of the money he would get from selling the house. So i went to tell him i don't want the money from him for the simple reason that by the time the courts, solictors and my Grandmother are done with him he'll have little or nothing left and the whole thing leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, i just can't accept it and i won't no matter how much my mum tells me that i deserve some money from him (i don't, i haven't seen him properly in over 4 years for fuck's sake).

Its bad enough knowing that people are crawling out of the woodwork as they know my Grandmother is coming into some money (my Grandfather's best friend in particular). I already feel guilty about going to see him for the first time in ages to just tell him i don't want his money but i know i'll feel a damn sight bloody worse if i stay quiet and just take the money, i just hope he doesn't think its because i hate him and want nothing to do with him, the reason i never go to see him is because its very painful to see what has happened to my Grandfather over the years.

For now of the 27th of this month my full time employment will end unless i get something else lined up and so far i haven't, I'm still undecided on what i should do, on the one hand i want to get into working in the Mental Health sector and its likely i would need to do some voluntary work to get some experience, i don't want to sign on for JSA and be at the mercy of the DWP and in particular the Jobcentre Plus staff. On the other hand whilst getting another job would ensure i stay out of their clutches, however I'm soon to be 29 years of age and really feel like i need to make the career shift now.

What may or may not complicate matters (besides depression) are my night terrors, now i got an appointment to see a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapist) in May about them but really don't feel its going to be of much help, so far when i talk to people almost all end up trivalising it to the point i feel like telling them i'm not a fucking child thats having bad dreams here, i'm having nightmares where i experience the sheer terror of people trying to hurt or kill me (that is when i remember them, often i don't remeber what it was thats got me woken up in the middle of night feeling utterly terrified), i wake up lashing out and screaming at things that are not there.

Who knows though maybe this CBT will work, i have to try don't i, what else can i do?

13th April 2013, the journey continues.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

My thoughts: Day 48 Losing

Its getting on top of me now and the last few days the balance has tipped for the worst. So tired physically and psychologically I can't concentrate for any decent length of time and now I can't even recall basic things, this morning I called my employer's sick line to say I wasn't come in and the person asked me for a phone number for my teal leader to call me on later...i drew a blank and couldn't remember, in the end I guessed, too ashamed to say I couldn't remember (imagine tho if I gave the wrong number and my team leader used it?). In the event the deputy team leader called me on my mobile instead (don't if she tried the number I gave before, if she did she didn't say anything) and she again implored me to call their counselling line when I can't get to sleep at night.

To rewind a bit I had dragged myself into work yesterday after going to my local GP as I felt so bad when I woke up I decided I had go before tomorrow (Wednesday, I booked that day off) and get a blood test arranged to begin with to rule out any physical reason for how tired I am lately. In addition I mentioned to the GP (with trepidation) about the night terrors I sometimes get, I’d mentioned it previously but nobody took it seriously in its own right, the last mental health professionals insisting its part of my depression and its that we (they) should concentrate on, the last GP I mentioned it to simply dismissed it as being normal...yeah me waking screaming the place down, soaked in sweat and lashing out at things I’m still dreaming about (despite being awake, just not fully conscious) and thats when I can REMEMBER what it is that has gotten me so terrified in the first place, often the only indicators I have I had an episode of a night terror when I don't recall having one is unexplained markings on my body and that I feel especially aggressive for the rest of the day.

The GP at least took on board what I said and gave me the PTS (Psychological Therapies Service) handout to call them in regards to my night terrors, my experience of dealing with them isn't good but I figure at this point I don't have much of a choice but to try them again, after all what is going on is affecting my ability to my job, while I can't be blamed for that I can be blamed if I don't take steps to rectify it.

It hasn't been unnoticed by others either that I’m struggling, my team leader and deputy team leader in particular. After getting into work yesterday after visiting the GP we had a quick meeting just so I could update the deputy team leader on what is happening, she was keen to refer me to the occupational health people (Atos Healthcare, god help me) so said yes to it but I honestly don't expect they will be able to help and only because it won't go on record anywhere I was referred to them.

She was also keen to find out what it is that is bothering so much, I didn't know what to tell her other than I didn't really know, I have previously said the stress of working full time isn't helping as I have to cope with it alongside everything else, I didn't tell her that as it feels as though I’m assigning blame, not to mention I already have fears of future prospective employers deciding that I cannot in fact cope with working full time.

I had to fight back tears during the meeting, she was being supportive (or trying to be) and I wasn't honest with her, also I felt ashamed I do in fact need support and I’m ashamed that I’ve taken it, I feel like I’m not coping, I feel weak and I feel like I’ve let the depression win again, most of all it makes me a hypocrite as I’ve told do many people so many times there is no shame in reaching for help and support when you are struggling, as you shouldn't cope alone and it doesn't make you weak, that's exactly what I tried to do and I’ve failed.

12th March 2013 the journey continues.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

My Thoughts: Day 34 of depressive episode Attrition

After a mini recovery during a week or so after the Friday its back to the attrition that inevitably arises with depression. The familiar pattern is there, sleep has become lacking and the little I get is often disturbed as it is broken as thoughts become like monster tornadoes causing an almighty whirlwind of noise of many bad things from my past I simply cannot keep locked away, unstable emotional responses ranging from rage (strong desire to strike back at people who had hurt me, violence prevalent in many of the fantasies I have of what I would do in this state) to despair (hopelessness of my life, Kelly still tormenting me over my failures, my inability to form any semblance of a romantic attachment).

So far my appetite has held fast and is probably (in combination with the weekend breaks from work) the only thing thats giving me the energy (the little I have got) to drag my weary carcass into work day after day when all I want to do curl up into a ball and stay hidden from the world in the laughable hope that everything and everyone would forget I actually exist and I have no obligation to do anything anymore.

The hardest part so far is travelling to work. So tired when I wake up I just dont have anything to get up and do the basic stuff that I should do, like take a shower, have a shave, have a cup of tea and some breakfast, nope I do none of this I scramble when I have only 10 minutes left before my bus arrives, its bloody freezing for me first thing in the morning and this no doubt isn't helped by my lack of sleep. In particular I sometimes wonder if I should just throw myself under the next lorry that passes by, this isn't really a serious suicidal tendency its just me wondering why I’m stood or walking in the cold, tired, hungry and miserable dreading the prospect of working for the next 7 and half hours.

I wonder about just calling in sick and facing the disciplinary to justify why I’ve had taken 4 days off sick since I started working for them, I mean fuck it with all the shit I’m going through they won't have a leg to stand on and will only embarrass themselves, even in this state (often I’m on autopilot during calls, I don't even need the script anymore I got it memorized word for word, often I don't even remember saying half of the bloody things I’ve said when I actually force myself to stop and ask myself what I remember about the call I been on for the past 10 minutes) I’m still performing better than what was expected of me.

Only I fear it'll become a habit, besides which I’ve lost so much time to this damned illness already why should it win out yet again? Not this time I struggled for so long to get where I am, the only way depression is going to stop me now is if it actually kills me.

Yet the worst part of all this is knowing this is no where near the worst this can get. This is only moderate, it could get severe before the end of April (when my employment contract runs out) I’m struggling now, if it becomes severe my appetite will disappear, sleep will become non-existent and suicidal thoughts will be constant and unrelenting day and night, in addition to the minor things like my mood being persistently very low for a greater length of time.

I could say I don't know how I will cope if it happens but I know I will as I’ve survived so many episodes before with each one hardening me with each survival, its simply seeing who has the resilience and courage to hold out longer than the other, if history is anything to go by then depression will lose this one...again.

26th February 2013 the journey continues. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

My Thoughts: Day 15 of depressive episode: Collapse

The last two days my mood has collapsed.


i took a gamble on something good happening and what happens instead is the opposite...bad. Yesterday and today have absolutely brutal to get through as the depression is biting hard and i have to get through a full day at work constantly talking to people, some taking out their problems on me and others who are truly in an awful situation. Its not all bad though some do actually take the time to thank me at the end of the calls.

I said previously in a post i knew i was going to through hell soon enough but i didn't realise how quickly i was going to enter it, this is only day 15 its frightening how quickly I've descended, already i'm wanting to curl up into a ball and just hide from everything and everyone. I'm exhausted right now and i got one more day of work before the weekend to get through and i am dreading it, i don't want to go, i don't want to do anything right now but just hide in my place.

Unfortunately if i did that (as far as I'm concerned i would have every right, screw my employer they have no idea how bad this is, not a god damn clue) the long term consequences for my employability will be dire as it'll appear i can't handle the stress of working full time (granted its not helping me right now) and I've no intention of being reliant on crappy benefits for years on end like last time just because potential employers get scared shitless when the words 'mental health issues' get mentioned about my big gap of unemployment.

Life is crap as i got something to fight for but I'm fed up of it, i don't want to fight i don't even know if its bloody worth it anymore but what i want doesn't matter, its always something that gets in the way;

I don't want depression - i got it anyway
I don't want nightmares and night terrors - i get them anyway
I don't want to fight - i have to
I want to give up - i can't
I don't want to hurt anymore - i do
I wanted to cry for the homeless man without a penny to his name - i couldn't.

This is going to get so much worse before it gets better.

7th February 2013...the journey continues.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

My thoughts: Latest depressive episode day 10: Deterioration

The unrelenting stress continues to pound away at me physically and emotionally, so far little damage is done, hell I can even appear to be happy, laughing and full of life, as though it isn’t there.

But it is.

The usual pattern is at work here, my immune system bears the brunt of it all, it becomes weakened to the point I catch everything going, this year I got the flu and if that wasn't enough this flu has now triggered off a problem with my sinus, leaving the right side of my face in a good deal of pain for most of the day, consequently I feel like crap all the time (physically) and eventually it impacts on me psychologically.

So far the depression is mild and is often only fleeting in the moments its having, the odd thought about how wrong this is all going to go, the worst is yet to come. Notwithstanding throughout the flu during its first week I ended up having to allow a relative to stay with me and stay hidden from the rest of the family after a huge row that broke out which ended up with the relative in question being allegedly assaulted by another, however true to form I’m helpless to confront the aggressor in question as I’ve been made to promise I would stay out of it.

In addition informing my team leader at work that an episode has just begun is looking as though it going to backfire as the leader falsely attributed part of the reason I had two days off work (due to the flu polaxing me for those days) due to the depression...they put on the 'welcome back' form that I was 'very depressed' despite me making it clear it was the flu that kept me off work and nothing else. I mean blimey, if they think I’m very depressed now they going to be in for a rude shock when I get there. In fairness the team leader is trying to be supportive its just bemusing to me that they put very depressed on that form, they at least agreed to remove the word very when I pointed I'm only mildly depressed.

My appetite is going down making eating an unwanted but necessary chore, I procrastinated on my Open University assignments so much I’ve wrote them whole on deadline day, last month I still scored 70%, this time I doubt very much I’ll manage that and at the moment on I’m on the path to a self fulfilled prophecy if I don't pull my finger out and actually study this course. Hell I don't even feel better talking about anything any more, either I’m feeling guilty for letting others know what is going on with me or I feel I’m just seeking attention by doing it (then again what else to do, I tried suffering in silence it doesn't work unless you can lie to yourself convincingly).

In a state of deterioration physically and emotionally, unless something changes its going to continue all the way to severe depression and suicidal ideation. This week could very well see arrive at the next stage...moderate depression, however having read what I have put here I’m wondering if I’m actually there already?  Pushing on i cannot escape...

2nd February 2013 the journey continues.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

My thoughts: Latest depressive episode Day 1: All good things come to an end...

A good run of depression-free months comes to an abrupt end today and the next 3 months at the very least I will be going to hell and back. While its the same old story with the same trigger for this episode (continuous and unrelenting stress) there is something different this time, 2 things in fact, I have a full time job to cope with and the fact that going into this I have never felt so alone and isolated in all my life.

I feel so disconnected with my closest friends right now, they have their own things to be dealing with and I can do nothing but 'be there for them' but despite a telephone call to a counsellor who tried to reassure me its all I can do and as I’m doing it I'm doing everything I can do, I felt screaming at her ITS NOT ENOUGH!! I didn't though it just didn't help to hear it from someone else, after all I know this and I have to come peace with it but I can't, in fact I won't.

Compounding this new episode is I’m also almost delirious with raging temperature (I’m heating up the room better than my radiator, not that difficult at all mind you) my vision is blurry, I’m dizzy and full of cold, yet in all likeliness I will have to go to work tomorrow (I really don't want to) however given my employer's sickness policy I got one more free day where I can take a sick day, any more before April and I’ll be pulled up on a disciplinary, now given I have mental health issues any official record of me taking sick days isn't going to look good especially when it comes to idiots who decide that those of us with mental health issues are really just skivers (and some employers do think this way and discriminate accordingly).

A big thank you to John for commentating on my previous post, means a lot I really mean that just hope this isn't too much of a downer for you. Derbiean will go marching on regardless of everything and fight the depression, after all what else I can do anyway?

22nd January the journey continues.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

My thoughts: The sufferings of others.

The only thing I find more difficult than my own suffering is to see the suffering of another, especially of those closest to me. Right now there are three who are going through bad times (and another who is suicidal) while I am there for them it feels as though I’m watching from afar as they go through it whilst i  look on helplessly, powerless to affect the circumstances, beyond being there for someone what can one actually do?

Nothing and I hate that more than anything.

Being there for them just isn't enough I have to offer some worthwhile piece of advice or insight that helps the circumstances surrounding them or their current emotional state, I never manage to it seems, part of me says its because there is nothing to said or done beyond being there, the other part says its because I’m actually not that good of a friend I’ve been so wrapped up in my own problems over the years I actually have no clue how to help anyone else, I mean how could I? I couldn't help myself most of the time.

Quite often they tell me of what is going on (or not going on that should be) for them and a lot of the time lately I’m wondering on what I can actually say, often nothing comes to mind other than “thats crap” “thats not right” “im so sorry to hear to that” etc and I keep saying to myself “thats all you can say? A bog standard go to response?”

Often mental health professionals asked me why it is so important to me that I’d often allow it to consume me to the point I was a emotional wreck, I’d say it's because I care about these people, I know what its like (sometimes) to go through what they are going through, one of the four said its because I am a 'glutton for punishment' and the fact I can conveniently forget about my own troubles and avoid having to deal with my own things.

I still have to figure out how to cope with seeing others struggle and accept the awful fact that often there is little or nothing I can do about it, how I manage this will be subject of much intense introspection for a very long time to come.

17th January 2013 the journey continues.