All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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The hope that tomorrow will be better

anxiety

So far today has been a day that could be best described as ‘not good’ but most aptly described as ‘effing awful’. It all started yesterday afternoon when I had an appointment with my support worker. Usually they’re fairly uneventful occasions that see us discuss how my life has been (crap) and what could be done to improve it (pretty much anything). But yesterday she decided to assault me with dozens of questions about my anxiety, how it makes me feel and what can be done about it. After two dozen rapidly fired questions I started to dissociate and, as such, was totally non-present throughout the rest of the appointment. In fact, after that twenty-fourth question, I have no memory of what was being discussed at all. All I can remember is sitting on a cloud watching an overweight person speak monosyllabic statements at someone who seemed to be completely unaware of the mental health crisis that was unfolding before them.

I gained nothing from the appointment. In fact, I left in a completely anxious daze that saw me suffer a panic attack in the supermarket within ten minutes, a panic attack that consumed my being and left me, quite literally, a dribbling creature on the floor. By the time it took me to gather myself together and leave the supermarket with a shred of decency, I knew my day was over. It usually is when I suffer a panic attack in the open. It took me nearly forty-five minutes to walk home (a journey that usually takes me twenty) and when I finally crashed in through the back door I ended up lying on my back staring at the ceiling for some two hours, desperately trying to calm myself down and enable me to function at least half as much as a normal person.

Suffice to say, I didn’t, function as a normal person that is. I spent the rest of the evening cowering on the couch with feelings of high anxiety, unable to watch DVDs, unable to listen to the radio, unable to do anything other than my level best not to have another panic attack. Eventually I grew tired of the couch and retired to bed, where I could at least curl up in the shelter of the doona, and slowly drifted off to a fitful, nightmare laden sleep.

Upon waking up this morning I was still overwhelmed with feelings of high anxiety. In fact, they have followed me throughout everything I’ve tried to do today. This morning I tried to watch a movie (Lethal Weapon) but found myself unable to concentrate for longer than five minutes, so switched it off and stared at the wall instead. This afternoon I tried to watch a different movie (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) but again found myself unable to concentrate for longer than five minutes, so switched it off and stared at the ceiling instead. Realizing that I needed to do something (anything) I switched onto my blog and tried to write something (anything), but found myself all but unable to focus on the words, and my fingers stumbled on the keyboard so greatly that I was mistyping letters every few seconds. Eventually – after some sixty minutes – I managed to complete a blog post that felt, for the most part, like I was pulling my own teeth.

Which brings us to now, and another blog post, another teeth pulling session, and another attempt to do something with my day so it isn’t a complete failure. Even if I could write one sentence without mistyping a letter it would be some small victory in a day devoid of them. All my usual coping mechanisms – from distraction to grounding exercises to mindfulness – have done nothing to quell the anxiety, have done nothing to quench the overwhelming feelings of depression, desolation and ineptitude that have consumed me today. Even my favourite musicians – Paul Mounsey, Serena Ryder, Runrig – have been unable to soothe my soul today.

All because I allowed myself to become overwhelmed during an appointment yesterday afternoon with someone I trust, someone I actually like. Why I became so overwhelmed is the reason I’ve been so anxious, because I have no true explanation for it, one minute I was present – the next I was dissociating like a fiend, my brain doing whatever it could to protect me from the onslaught of emotions that were attacking me, an onslaught that has continued and ruined yet another day of my so-called life.

So all that is left is to finish typing this post, publish it to the world-wide web, and then somehow scrape myself together some dinner before once again retiring for the night with the hope that tomorrow will be better. That’s all I have left these days, the hope that tomorrow will be better, which it usually isn’t, especially as this vicious depressive episode continues, especially as anxiety continues its relentless quest to consume my soul.


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[SOC] Demons of depression

I wrote this confused stream of consciousness last night (1/1/13) but was unable to post it due to my current internet issues. I don’t know why I’m posting it today as it’s merely me realising I have once again become lost to depression and no longer know what to do about it. But…at least it’s a post, something that has been sorely lacking from this blog of late.

Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors that occur throughout, they are part and parcel of stream of consciousness writing. Additional apologies for the depressing nature of this post. Not all of us are happy at this time of year.

Demons_of_depression_by_flina

Demons of depression © flina

To say I am struggling at the moment would be an understatement.

On numerous occasions in the lead up to Christmas, and in the only post I have been able to write over this period, I wrote of my hatred of this time of year. The endless stream of articles, radio shows, television reports and newspaper columns devoted to letting us know how wonderful it is to share this time of year with family and friends, with scant regard to the millions of people who have no-one. The people who exist in an isolated state desperately hoping that one day their sentence will end and they’ll finally be able to find some peace.

When I used to write journals, way back when I had a ‘life’, I would always write the obligatory ‘year that was/year that will be’ entry. I would relive the joyous moments I did not want to forget and plan for twelve months that would move me closer toward my goals. But I can’t do that anymore. The only highlight of this year was getting my unit, but I am starting to look on that as a curse, rather than a gift. Years of hunting and working myself to exhaustion finally paid off but for what? All it has done is become my prison.

Every day I wake up to be reminded of how alone I am, how poor I am, how uneducated I am, how worthless I am, and every moment I am reminded of this my abuser laughs her cruel laugh and reminds me that this was all I would ever amount to. That this is all I deserve.

Her, and my other voices, have increased in volume and frequency over the last few weeks. Each and every day a cacophony of voices accompany my every waking moment, rendering me unable to think, focus, work or function. I have done little to nothing of value aside from resort back to alcohol and self-harm in order to achieve even a few moments of peace amidst the din.

I cannot leave the house. I cannot eat. I cannot shower. Smile. Or laugh. And I definitely can’t sleep. The moment I close my eyes the demons rise and the nightmares reign. Over the last few weeks the dreams have become more vivid and painful than ever; no longer flashes of confusion but HD replays of the most painful, regrettable and destructive moments of my life.

All of which reminding me that I have achieved nothing in (nearly) six years. In fact with every year that has passed since my breakdown I have devolved. My mind has slipped further and further into the abyss with every month that passes. Every effort I have made to gain support, education, employment, respect or to achieve something that I could be proud of has failed, and as a counselor put it a few weeks ago,each successive ‘failure’ proving (to my broken mind) that everything my abuser said about me was the truth. All those words of colorful description; pathetic, useless, a waste of space, better off dead, disgusting, repulsive, worthless, evil, becoming much harder to fight, much harder to believe are not an apt description of myself.

Six years ago today she publicly humiliated me for expressing an inconsequential opinion – yet the burn of my blushing cheeks, the sound of the laughter, the shame that filled my heart, the wetness of the water that cascaded over my hair, the dampness of my shirt as it clung to my chest can still be felt as if it were yesterday.

The event played out in my dreams last night, was relived at various moments throughout the day, feeding into the whirlwind of negative thought that has ravaged my heart and soul over the last several weeks, further proving that no matter what effort I make to move past it, my mind is still lost in the trauma and pain of that period.

At least when I was on the streets I could focus on survival; a repetitive cycle that distracted me from the ‘failure’ that is my ‘life’. But now I am in my prison the only cycle is the endless reminder that she was right. That no matter what I do I will never succeed in anything. That her words and actions were not insult or attack but incidents of truth, all of which I deserved.

A cycle that feeds, rather than distracts from, my depression.

Yes, to say I am struggling at the moment would be an understatement. My mind once again has become the residence of the hideous demon that is depression; a demon that with every year that passes is becoming harder and harder to fight.

I cannot look forward to 2013 because no matter what I would like to achieve (return to education, have a holiday, write an eBook, cross item [1] off the things to do before I die list, move past the trauma of the past) I am convinced it will amount to nothing, for all five of these things have been on my list of ‘things to achieve in the year ahead’ since 2007; only now, the trauma of the past is ten thousand times worse than it was then!

I’m tired. I’m exhausted. This endless pain is becoming harder and harder to deal with without external aids (such as alcohol) and, not for the first time, I am losing hope not only for myself but for the world.

You’d think I’d be used to ‘living’ like this by now. That being alone should no longer get to me. That having nothing shouldn’t bother me. That I should have just accepted being inconsequential is my destiny. But I’m not. And I don’t think I will ever get used to living like this.

For no matter how much I’ve been convinced that I deserve all that has happened to me, I still have vague memories of the man I once was; creative, passionate, caring, determined, imaginative, sensual and the things he used to do; laugh, talk, hug, kiss, tickle, squeeze and smile. And as long as those memories are there, however distant, however unbelievable, I will keep trying to prove that the world has me wrong.

That this is who I am – not who she made me believe I was.

So although I’m not looking forward to this year in any way shape and form, I do have one sneaking suspicion. This is the year that will change everything; 2013 will either make me or break me completely.

Simply because I can’t deal with another year like the last six of my life.

I just can’t.

I won’t.