It’s ride or die… all or nothing

(Trigger warning: suicide)

I’ve been off work and doing nothing with my life for almost 10 weeks now.

I cry less, but maybe that’s because I feel as though a solution is on the horizon.

And though I’ve tried to rest, I can’t seem to properly, because I am so stressed about money and family all of the time.

My solution seems to be ride or die. All or nothing.

I can either die, or start living again.

I have some serious issues with high-functioning anxiety, depression, burnout, stress and exhaustion.

But, if I go back to work, maybe I’d be too busy to feel any of it.

When I was working I had some sense of purpose. Right now I have none. I feel worthless.

I’m trying to tackle these feelings of worthlessness, but it’s not easy.

I have to be honest with you, killing myself is not the easy way out. It’s incredibly difficult to think about it, and though I have prepared for it, by leaving ways to settle my affairs and working out how I am going to do it, it’s still so hard to do. People who have done this are so brave. I am weak.

So, keeping myself busy in life by working a semi-decent job seems like the next best option. And though my anxiety and my depression is killing me slowly, at least this way I can feel like my life is worth something, than nothing at all.

My feelings will kill me one day

Today I woke up, feeling slightly better than last night; where I tried to take a knife with a serrated edge to my arm and draw blood.

I didn’t fortunately, but I have a weird scratch from where I drew the knife along my bare skin.

I’d spent most of the day feeling terrible. And the question of what to do with my life hung above me all day, like a very big, very heavy, rain soaked dark grey cloud.

I spent the day off sick watching movies and feeling uncomfortable though I was lying on the sofa. Then, my mother said something along the lines of “You’re lucky your brother doesn’t ask you to pay your way” and then I got angry.

I reminded her that I have just got back into work after a year studying. This came hours after she told me it’s okay to resign if I’m suffering THIS much.

So last night, I rocked back on forth on my bed, and repeated all of the nasty things the people who were meant to be close to me over the years said.

Anyway, I went to sleep, had a dream about my ex, and woke up this morning feeling equally as rubbish. And then I checked my email, and suddenly decided to go back to work.

I rang to tell them I should be in tomorrow and then I rang my bank to sort out a spiraling debt.

This anxiety is ripping me apart. Depression is it’s best friend, and eggs it on.

But, I’m a stubborn person, and I won’t let myself give up. Because I know that, that dark bottomless pit of self loathing and no hope is waiting for me. And once I’m in it, it will be very hard to come out. And I see a rope, or a bridge in my future if I take that path.

So I take the harder path. I do the brave thing and I get up in the morning, do my job, and come home only to watch the clock counting down the hours to the next day. But doing nothing at home would be equally as excruciating.

This is currently my resolve. This is the inner strength that comes out from time to time to tell me to pull my socks up. Nobody does it but me. And on weekends when I have some time off, I spend the day time watching. Desperate not to force myself to face my overwhelming feelings that will kill me one day.

And they WILL…kill me one day.

But for now my battle with anxiety continues.

 

 

Why Hattie Gladwell’s Twitter video of her snivelling pathetically annoys me

I’ve been posting about anxiety for a while now.

So basically it follows me around like a dark cloud of doom, and for years I have battled it.

And it’s true when I was younger I couldn’t handle certain situations like go out into the street or go visit relatives.

But you know what? I grew out of it.

I’ve been following Hattie Gladwell on Twitter, she is a reporter for Metro, a media news organisation in the UK. She regularly writes about mental health. And I cringed at her video crying about not being able to go to an event she’d been looking forward to.

The truth is, if you have enough willpower, you can train yourself out of pathetic little tantrums like not being able to get trains. You can train yourself to handle situations and feelings. You can rope them under control. Believe me; I’ve done it.

Sure, I get tired sometimes but I fucking make the effort. I will always go out of my way to go out into the world and challenge my anxiety.

The thing is, anxiety is something you can beat. I used to cry like Hattie when I was 17 or 18 years old. I’d tell her it does get better, but this victim-like stance mental health sufferers claim is getting tiresome now. There’d probably be some sort of backlash on me. You can’t choose how badly anxiety affects you! They are the same people who say that many would forget about mental health when the awareness week is over.

I know you can’t. My panic attacks and ‘death anxiety’ (waking up thinking that you’re dying) during the night affects me too. It’s just that I don’t sit around crying about it. I beat my anxiety, put one foot in front of the other; and just GO.

Watch Hattie’s Twitter video here https://twitter.com/hatttiegladwell/status/997151813597089793?s=12

Challenge yourself … I promise it’ll be worth it

Here in the UK it’s mental health awareness week. So never has it been a more appropriate time to say – I’m winning my battle. You can too. Let me tell you how.

I’ve suffered with anxiety since I was a child.

It’s manifested itself in so many different ways, with the major one being social anxiety and regular feelings of failure and doom.

But I never stopped challenging myself. At first it began with little challenges. I made myself go back to college to study my A levels. From there I found some solace within the protective walls of a university to study my bachelors degree.

At first I didn’t make any friends. But I eventually got talking to people on my course and I fell in with a group.

The next challenge was to find a part time job. Let me tell you how a few years previously, before I went to college, I went through the stages of not being able to function. I couldn’t answer the phone at home. I couldn’t walk outside without the fear that there were pairs of eyes on me from every direction. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. I felt so inadequate, so ugly. Especially in front of my relatives. I lacked confidence in myself.

But as I grew older, I continued to push myself. Oh, I suffered…My, how I suffered. But I persisted. Because I didn’t want to fall into that deep, dark pit of depression. There was always a cloud of doom following me around sure, but the dark pit was out of bounds. I didn’t want to feel what I felt previously down there. I stayed out of it. I just about managed to keep my head above water, because I forced my legs to continue to kick; no matter how slow.

After I got a part time job in retail things began to look up. In my interview I actually told the assistant manager that the job would give me confidence in myself. This was my first proper job. I told them the truth they gave me a chance. Don’t be afraid to let people help you. And I made all the right noises in terms of capability too. So I got the job. I remember the day I got that phone call. I couldn’t be happier.

What followed were years of a series of challenges from then on. One tiny challenge led to a cascade of bigger ones. And bigger ones. Until my anxiety was well and truly under control.

I finsihed university; I got another job which pushed at the boundaries of my anxiety. Every day was a struggle but I did it. Can you believe I ended up speaking to hundreds of people a week in my job in customer service? From zero to a hundred. Literally!

As my job progressed, so did my confidence. But though I was moving away from customer service and into digital relations in my job, I still had a sense of failure. I didn’t want to just be able to work, and make friends, and have a boyfriend, and a social life, all of which I had some of. It wasn’t great but hey – it existed.

I wanted to succeed. I didn’t want just a job, which by the way for someone with severe anxiety since childhood was a mighty achievement. I wanted a career.

And so, with a little financial help from the UK government, off I went to study a Masters degree at university. Guess what? I went all the way to the other side of the country. Yep. A northerner travelled south. My biggest challenge to myself yet.

It’s bloody fantastic. I have enjoyed every single minute.

In my next blog I’ll explain the amazing thing that happened next. But in the meantime challenge yourself. Even if it’s tiny. Go out of your comfort zone, even if it’s for ten minutes.

Take a leap of faith. I promise you… it will absolutely be worth it.

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Take your time, and confidence will come

We both talked about how we were introverts.

I met a friend face to face whom I met online previously for the first time yesterday, and we got on pretty well. We had a lot in common.

Although I didn’t talk about my anxiety, he did not seem to mind talking about how he was quieter than his friends. Not laddish. The night air was cool, and the water smelled sweet. The boats were deadly still, as if they stood on firm ground instead.

I agreed. I was introverted too, I said, I turned to look at a yacht stood among the others. It was larger than the rest, and held a sort of foreboding presence. And when he went on to discuss how he feels held back at work in his professional life I couldn’t make any more agreeable noises if I tried.

I too have been held back because of my introverted nature, my social anxiety. My anxiety full stop. But does this prevent our ultimate success?

“It gets better in time.” I turn to him as we walk at a leisurely pace. ” With age comes wisdom.”

He seems to listen to my advice. And it’s true. It does get better in time. As we grow older we learn to deal with our anxiety in a way no one can teach us. We are self-taught in how to manage certain situations; and those that continue to prove elusive – it’s only just a matter of time before you get the job you’re looking for.

“Shall we take that yacht and sail away?” He smiled mischievously, pointing to the biggest one in the marina.

“Where would we go?” I laugh.

“Caribbean.” He says, without hesitation.

The key is to never give up. Introverted or not; take your time, and you will surely get there. Think: the hare and the tortoise. Slow and steady… whether you win the race or not.

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