Week 12

Week 12 has been a bit more of the same. I’ve still been struggling with negative thoughts, although for the most part I’ve continued on regardless of it. It’s hard to describe what these negative thoughts are like. I tried explaining them to my GP yesterday, as the thoughts that I feel generally draw parallels with a decline in well-being. It was hard to try to tell my GP this as well. I think the GP I am currently seeing is probably one of the best I’ve seen over the years, but even she found it difficult to understand what I was trying to tell her. I suppose what these negative thoughts do is they manifest into something almost like a tick. It’s like subconsciously I’ll think “I’m a worthless piece of shit” and my response will be to say aloud (or under my breath) “fuck off”. I even find myself cringing with what maybe embarrassment, or even pain. Maybe it’s a way for my psyche to release some pent up emotions.

 

As you may guess I’m really struggling to put this into words. I’ve never encountered anything like this in my life. I’ve experienced this myself for a number of years on and off. Some times I can live with it, it’s like having a private joke all to your self. In other ways it’s a lot like being an odd combination of a schizophrenic and a sufferer of Tourette’s Syndrome. I think sometimes of it being a coping strategy, or at least it begun out that way. It was a way for me to not have to remain silent in my “pain”. Now I find it very distracting. It tends to mostly occur when I am alone, but I do find myself grimacing on occasion in public. To think of it in terms of a crazy person pressure valve is probably best. There’s some noise when the valve is opened to create space and not to let the craziness of depression run too rampant within my mind.

 

I hope that’s clear enough because I’m struggling for thought on how to describe the sensations.

 

So besides that whole pile of crazy life has generally been quite steady since last week. I’ve certainly had a fair share of low moods this past week (which have certainly been either helped or hindered by the above craziness), but all round things have generally been fairly positive.

 

Referrals arrived left right and centre this week. My Active for Health referral has come good; I begin that in a fortnight. The Mindfulness letter arrived with a start date (next week). I’ve been looking forward to this a lot. As I’ve written in previous posts, Mindfulness takes some Buddhist techniques for relaxation and awareness and helps put them to practical use within mental health. From what I’ve heard there will be some group work involved. I’m never sure what to expect from group therapy, but I hope I find that I’m not alone in experiencing some of the problems I go though.

 

I also got a referral through for physiotherapy. This is to do with a long standing issue with my left shoulder, which actually turns out to be more to do with my neck. Essentially there’s a trapped nerve that’s limiting my range of motion, but also has been causing a lot of discomfort for several years. That’s kind of off topic for this blog, but the more you know, right? Yeeeah….

 

I’ve also got to pull my finger out and enroll in some freebie classes over the summer. There’s a magazine published on my local council’s website called Choices. It’s all mostly adult education classes. Some are to do with the basics. Others are for fun and hobbies. I was recommended to get involved with this through Spectrum/Rethink (whom I have spoken of previously) as this would help begin to orientate my body and mind towards becoming more active during the day and get me ready for 2 years of college. I completely agree with them on this, and want to join one or two classes. I’m a little concerned I’d be treated like some child though, but that’s my overall impression of adult education classes from my previous line of work. I’m probably wrong, and I’ll probably eat these words once I’m on a course. Any way, that needs to be done within the next few days so I’ll more than likely update on that line in the future.

 

So that’s been my week. Not an awful lot to write about really other than trying desperately to describe this craziness occurring within my mind. Hopefully the next few weeks with provide me with plenty of ammunition to bore you silly with.

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Week 11

This week has been an average week, and I don’t mean average in a negative sense. Average is good. It means life isn’t too frantic with events or situations that lie on either side of the positive/negative scale. Average means normality to me. It means things weren’t bad this week, but things weren’t amazing either. It means I’m getting on with life well. That’s how I feel about it anyway.

 

I did some chores around the home. I cleaned. I’ve begun drinking green tea in the hopes of improving some of my physical health. I’ve been managing not to oversleep too drastically still, however it could still use some improvement. I managed to see some friends this week, even though one let me down exceptionally. I think that could have sent me in the wrong direction if I’d let it spiral too much. That said I ended up getting boozed up twice last week, once because of that, the other one being St Patrick’s Day.

 

Wednesday night last week I was supposed to be meeting an old friend I worked with several years ago. He goes through a lot of what I go through, and whilst I don’t fully know what his situation is we’ve always had that mutual ground to understand what goes on in each other’s heads. We had attempted to meet up before Christmas, but he seemed to flake out at the last moment. I don’t know why he did, fortunately I had kind of seen it coming and I think I had arranged to meet with other people later in that evening. I didn’t speak to him for a few weeks after that. I felt like he had been a bit ignorant in cancelling at the very last minute. Perhaps selfish is the word I’m looking for. So going into meeting with him last week I felt very wary of him not turning up. We had arranged it via Facebook as he said he was coming home for his Grandmother’s funeral. He had mentioned meeting up on the Tuesday, but left it too late to solidify those plans, and so we arranged it for the Wednesday evening after the funeral. I told him to suggest a time he’d be happy with so we scheduled to meet at7pm.I arrived at7.10pmfully expecting him not to be there until around then anyway, and brought myself a pint. At7.30pmI began to get the feeling he wasn’t going to turn up. Phoning him at7.45pmI was met with his voicemail. At8.10pmhe replied to a text I had sent after phoning, telling me that he had just got in from the funeral, that he hadn’t expected it to drag on so long and his battery had died. I fully appreciated that he would be busy, and that it was his grandmother’s funeral, I was a bit dubious about the phone dying but I let it slide. I asked him if he was still coming. He said yes. I asked him when. He said he was just waiting on pizza. I thought maybe he was grabbing something quick from the freezer. He’d actually ordered one and was waiting for it to be delivered. By this point it was8.45pm. I’d been at the pub alone for an hour and a half. He asked me if I was going to wait. I told him I was going home.

 

I was absolutely livid with him. As I previously stated, I could completely understand his delay because of the funeral, but knowing he was supposed to meet me at 7pm, not getting in touch with me until 8.10pm, and then saying he was probably not going to be there until 9.30pm because he was going to eat a pizza was in my opinion a complete dick move. It infuriated me because I had really wanted to meet with him. When we’re talking we can talk about anything and get down to really gritty deep thoughts. I don’t get that anymore with any of my other friends who still live in the city. I really needed that conversation to happen. As it turns out I think for me this latest fiasco has ended my relationship with him. If I bump into him in the future maybe I’ll be more forgiving, but I don’t think I’ll ever have the same drive to sustain a deep friendship with him again.

 

So with that said, that’s where my head is now, afterwards is a completely different story. After this all happened I went out with a friend of mine (after getting myself appropriately drunk) into town. He’s not by any means a deep thinker, and we honestly have very little in common besides booze, some music, and TV shows, but at least he turns up and has more respect for me.

 

Since that night, though, I’ve really struggled with negative thoughts. It’s not aimed at the events of that night, nor towards being abandoned by my flakey friend, it’s more introverted. It’s like it is blaming me for the break down of this friendship because I have such low self esteem and I have zero confidence. I think alcohol has been playing a big part in this. The amount I drank Wednesday and Saturday night was probably enough to keep circulating in my system until yesterday and I’m still noticing a few negative twinges today. I think it’s lessened in the last 24 hours because I’ve had a more activity, and less time to dwell. When I say dwell, I’m not specifying situations. I’m dwelling on aspects about myself that my mind has taken a real disliking to. My mindset contributes to this though. It says I’m not the same person I was a year ago, nor the same person I was 18 months ago. I feel almost like I’ve been reset to 12 years old again in terms of my assertiveness/confidence/self-esteem. Trying to rebuild it all is taking time. I think being isolated, with mostly a computer for company, is having an adverse effect on me. Social gatherings are becoming more difficult. They’ve been difficult for some time now, but I’ve begun to notice a strain saying things that are either irrelevant, selfish/self centric, or sometimes rude. At least that’s how I perceive it. I know it’s probably not the case, but there’s this little part of me that keeps telling me to get over myself and to stop talking about myself. In part it’s probably because I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to contribute, or that I feel threatened in some way by other people’s knowledge on subjects.

 

I think the real truth here though is the dangers of alcohol with depression. It feels great the night before, but you end up paying for it days later. I can understand why alcoholics don’t ever want to sober up in some ways. I also know that I’ve been down this road before, and it doesn’t lead anywhere nice. What I need to do is ease back on it again. Drink only to be social, don’t drink to get drunk. Yeah, it can be a side effect, but don’t let it dictate how you spend your night.

 

So to wrap up:

  • Average is good.
  • Remain active as much as you can.
  • People will disappoint you; make sure you discard the ones that do it often.
  • Stop listening to the voices.
  • Beer Bad

 

Got that? Good.

Weeks 8-9-10

I must apologise once again for my tardiness. The last 3 weeks have been a real struggle to get anything done. I’ve lacked a lot of motivation to do much at all. The crux of it all is mostly to do with my financial woes; which you are probably well aware of by now. Fortunately this week I’ve finally organised the Debt Relief Order I’ve needed to do to help alleviate the issue. It’s by no means the end of the issue, but it’s certainly taking a closer step towards it becoming resolved.

 

So what have I been doing to keep myself occupied? Well, as with a lot of cases of depression, I lost interest in a lot of things I enjoyed. This blog suffered for one. Video gaming took a back seat, and I generally paid little attention to what I was watching on TV. It was fun (he says in a sarcastic tone). I had a free month’s subscription to Netflix that generally went to waste. I did have my share of social engagements though. A friend of mine from school got married 2 weeks ago, which I was invited to the reception a few days after the actual day. I had been keen to go a few months ago, but as the date drew closer I felt like I’d be alone there. Fortunately I managed to pluck up some courage to ask if I could bring a friend, months before this, which was met with a comforting, “of course you can.” So I took another school friend with me, hoping there may be a little school reunion on the cards. We spent the night propping up the bar alone before wishing the happy couple all the best and departing a few hours later. It’s not the bride’s fault for this. She just never kept in touch with anyone else we used to mutually know. Which is life, you know? People drift apart. The bride and I had barely spoken in a year because of her own work commitments and my own issues. That is life. I don’t hold resentment towards her, nor anyone else I’ve drifted away from. It’s just the way it is.

 

There are relationships that have grown apart. There are relationships that are growing closer together. It’s always your own responsibility to maintain those relationships, and I think that’s where I’ve been struggling these past months. Not because I feel that I don’t want to maintain them, or that I’m the only one attempting to maintain them, but because when I have felt my worst all I want to do is be isolated. With Facebook and Twitter it’s much easier to remain social, without having to leave your own home. In the last 18 months, however, I’ve felt a rising dislike for my friends on social media. Between reading status updates like “Why doesn’t he like me!” or a comment like “This is why I vote BNP” I’ve really begun to suffer relationship fatigue. It’s probably more in line with over exposure to these sites that have led to these feelings. Having little to no routine to my day, with not much of worth to occupy my time I am constantly checking back and forth between these pages. It got so bad at one point last year I stopped using Facebook for a week in hopes of quelling this rising sense of loathing.

 

This for me though is another symptom of slipping into a deeper depression, anger and/or resentment towards others on social media. Sure people do feel this way towards Facebook, etc, at different times, and there are times in my past I can recall where it was just a resentment towards a flippant comment. For me these days it’s deeper than that. I tend to dwell on other peoples lack of understanding, or their fundamentalist Christian ideals, or their complete selfishness. So what I really need to do is learn to ignore these people’s comments. I need to have something that will occupy my time and not be eroding of my psyche. This is where the Active for Heath programme comes into play.

 

I mentioned this a while back, I’m sure. Essentially what this programme is about is to enable health professionals to refer patients who would benefit from taking regular exercise. This includes:

 

  • Any low risk sendentary patients who would benefit from regular physical activity
  • Mild to moderate and stable diabetes, blood sugar consistently below 10
  • Mild to moderate and stable asthma/COPD
  • Mild to moderate rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or osteoporosis
  • Mild to moderate depression, stress or anxiety
  • Obese/overweight/underweight
  • Back pain – lumbar, sciatic, spodylitis

 

These are just a few of the patients to be included in this programme, and have been taken verbatim from the leaflet my advisor at Spectrum/Rethink provided me with. Most GPs aren’t aware of it (inCoventryanyway), and you do have to dig for it yourself if you’re able. I was fortunate enough to mention it to someone who’s well accustomed to programmes that are available to the public, but are usually buried on the local city council website.

 

What the programme offers is a 12 week exercise programme catered to you. You’ll have a body MOT at weeks 1, 6, and 12, along with expert advice to help keep you motivated. All it will cost you is £2.50 per session. Bargain.

 

I took the pamphlet and all the information that came with it to my GP a few weeks ago, who was more than happy to refer me, knowing exactly who it was she would need to refer me to. I’m still waiting for a referral, but in all honesty we should know by now that the system doesn’t respond straight away.

 

If you would like to consider joining the programme, use the contact information I’ve provided below. Unfortunately I don’t know whether all local councils are providing this, but it may be worth using the contact information to search your local government website. Below are the details for Coventry City Council’s programme.

 

Website:           http://www.coventry.gov.uk/beactivebehealthy

Email:               beactivebehealthy@coventry.gov.uk

Tel:                   024 7683 3148