April/May 2016: Red Flag

Hello darkness my old frind - I'm not your friend

Things with my mental health (and health in general) have continued to take a back seat as I recover from the perianal abscess of doom. To update the situation, the wounds from the drainages have fully healed, I had an MRI scan several weeks ago, and yesterday I had a follow up appointment with the Outpatient’s Clinic. The bad news from the MRI is that it showed a canal system was left by the infection trying to work its way out.  This created something known as a “Fistula”. This sort of guarantees that there could be a reoccurrence with chances of around 60%. However, because it appears to have healed on both ends much better than would otherwise be expected, the consultant believes that reoccurrence is now as low as 20%! This is incredible news as it was the single most painful experience of my life, and I saw BvS.

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As I said, stuff with my mental health has been on hold whilst I’ve dealt with that. I’ve also had to get final assignments submitted for uni with extremely little time to do them. It should also be mentioned I had to drive back to Kent last week to move my stuff out of the house. In fact, as of late, I’ve made myself extremely busy. Perhaps I’m overcompensating for being incapacitated for so long. I now have a massive list of projects I want to complete over the summer, mostly stuff to help my Mum out around the house – like sorting out the gardens for her – but it’s really about keeping my mind busy. Really too busy.

In a way, I think I’m trying to clutter my time with projects so I don’t have to think about my mental health issues.

Before the abscesses at then end of March I had a partial breakthrough in CBT, so much so that it likely called for more personal therapy. Sadly, in Kent, I wouldn’t be able to access it for 12 weeks, but that didn’t matter because as soon as I began looking into therapy I was hospitalised with the abscesses. So during recovery it was low on my list of priorities. Now I’m recovered and I’m looking at time scales/costs and it just doesn’t seem feasible. I just won’t get anything out of it in the time I have before having to leave Coventry in August.

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The shame about this is that the breakthrough was realising, or rather being able to verbalise a rule I had built for living, and then telling someone about that rule. Finally speaking it actually brought me to tears because it made it something real, something that could be dealt with. What is that rule?:

I must keep my distance from people, even though I feel abundantly alone, because they will only leave me in the end and I don’t want to get hurt any more.

This ‘rule’ stems from a long list of negative experiences, from my childhood, all the way up to Matt’s death in 2013 and ‘W”s incarceration last year. It’s about feelings of rejection from when I was younger, and rejection in my adult years. I’ve known I’ve had some abandonment issues for some time, but I hadn’t quite realised the my had manifested themselves so deeply.

But if you look at everything I’ve done since Matt died, it has all been about containing pain. Even my ex, ‘Starbuck’, has noted that even though I could be loving and caring, I would be distant and often cold about things. That in of itself is a symptom of my foreseeing that our relationship had no future and I was already in damage control mode to avoid pain. After Matt died I didn’t keep up with nearly as many friendships as I had previously, and in fact after major episodes of depression in 2011 and 2008 there was a steady decline in maintaining good friendships.

What I would need from therapy is to untangle this, and other rules I have created and to get help in modifying them to live a healthier, social life.IMG_1698

Because the thing is, each time I go through an episode I lose a part of me. Often times it is my confidence, which currently is no where near its peak of 2009/2010. Engaging with society is just difficult. I find it hard meeting new people, or striking up conversations with strangers. I’ve fallen into a default “be nice and polite” to help engage, but it doesn’t help with rebuilding confidence. “Faking it until I make it” just doesn’t work. ‘t’s just another rule for living so “I can please people and not be immediately rejected by them”.

In the end it’s probably about searching for approval from others, but fearful that those I seek approval from will leave my life one way or another. And somehow, even though that is partially a fact of life, I cannot reconcile any of it. Thus: the need for therapy.

Hold the Door (2)

Perhaps I can deal with it better knowing it is there, and I can hold off getting therapy until next year. But I know one thing for certain, I can’t live in fear of rejection for the rest of my life.

Until next time,

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem first make sure you are not in fact surrounded by assholes

Much love ❤️

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