Week 52

Barney Stinson to Barack Obama - Bro... Don't Touch the Suit

So here we are, 1 year later.

In trying to wrap up a year’s worth of postings I’ve read over a few of my previous entries, trying to work out how this year could be summed up best, and I think I can do that in one word: growth.

This year there has been a lot of change, and not just in this blog (which looking back was quite painfully written in the early days). I’ve grown as a writer, I’ve learnt how to be a better writer (at least I hope). I’ve grown as a human being; I’ve begun to understand to greater lengths as to how my psychology works, and how to be a better person. Instead of being spiteful about the past I think I’ve managed to overcome a lot of failures and shortcomings.

I like Turtles

That said, I know that I still have areas to improve, and there is always more room to grow (so says my waistline after Christmas).

eagle baby

Whilst the last several weeks have been quite difficult coming to grips with some extremely bad news, overall this year has been a good year. I kept writing this blog for a start. I also began writing more in my free time – although finishing is something that I’m still no good at. I’ve begun college, and I’m still attending, which is insane! I drove the length and breadth of the United Kingdom without owning my own car. Hell, I even crossed the border into the Republic of Ireland! My problems with debt have more or less been resolved, and I still have a roof over my head. I have a family that still continue to support me, regardless of how I sometimes perceive their behaviour towards me.

I shit you not -- a fucking Eagle

I may still be using an ancient computer, but at least it still runs and allows me to write and run programmes. Life isn’t all that bad.

So looking ahead to the New Year what do I expect, and what should you expect from this blog?

Well, firstly this blog will continue, that is until the title becomes moot when I hit my 30s – but that’s still a good few years away. 😉

Secondly, this blog will still focus on my grappling with reality, but also to continue in the same vain it has done for the past several months. I’ll be attempting to talk more positively about anxiety and depression, and hopefully begin using more of my experiences to talk about mental health, and above all remain honest about it and my own strife.

Finally what I expect of myself next year, without declaring them as New Years Resolutions:

  • To quit smoking for good
  • To increase my fitness and health – so more gym time and less take-away foods and booze, eat healthier
  • To remain in college and be on course to a successful completion – Distinctions would be a plus
  • To find some means of income – being an unemployed full time student sucks.
  • Not to let anything happen in the next 12 months stop me from achieving any of the above goals

That last one exists because I know myself. In the past I’ve allowed problems in my personal life to interfere with my life goals and ambitions, be it relationships or deaths they’ve changed my views on life temporarily enough to throw a spanner into education or work. This time, regardless of what it is that happens I won’t let it stop me from doing what I want to do.

Meme (72)

So with that sobering message, I want to leave you with 2 songs. The first is Frank Sinatra singing “My Way”, a song I listened to whilst writing this post. If you were wondering why some of this post felt a little preachy this is why.

 

The second is a cover of “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?” by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschannel. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have the past 2 New Years.

 

Happy New Year guys and gals, I’ll see you in 2013.

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Week 51

Surprise Motherfucker

Well, surprise surprise, we survived another apocalypse. I guess this means we have to go through with Christmas and New Year then, huh? Which is a shame, because, y’know, I was really looking forward to not having to do this holiday at all. I guess the only thing to do is to hold tight, and brace myself…

Brace Yourselves The Relatives Are Coming

Look at that, I managed to fit in a Dexter and Game of Thrones meme in one post! Amaze-balls!

(Yeah, I won’t write that, ever again.)

So I’m trying desperately not to write anything meaningful because I know I’m beginning to feel really shitty. I feel like I’m about to explode at any second. I don’t know if it’s because it’s Christmas, or because there’s been so much shit going on these last few weeks (See weeks 49 and 50). Let’s be honest here, there’s going to be a little of both.

We’re 2 days away from Christmas, it’s also the night before Christmas Eve, and I don’t feel in the spirit of things at all. Yeah, present have been wrapped, mince pies have been eaten, and trees have been decorated, but to me this all just feels like another holiday – just some time off to distract from the monotony of daily life. Maybe that’s overly pessimistic, or perhaps it’s more to do with growing up, but fundamentally I think it’s because I just don’t care.

I’m sick of the stress around this time of year, of the high expectations where you have to interact with family you don’t really like, or buy presents for people you realise you actually don’t really know that well – and to be fair it probably shows in what I bought people. I literally just bought the first thing that came to mind. Why stress about getting someone something perfect when you can get them a gift card that they can then spend on what they actually want, you know? – This whole holiday just fucks with heads.

Maybe that whole paragraph sounds selfish, and arrogant, and obnoxious, and a lot of other negatively connotated words, but why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be these super-people that know exactly what everyone wants, and to be strong enough to be socaially active for an extended period of time? Why is it that at this time of year we expect so much more of ourselves than any other time of year?

This is quickly snowballing ( +1 poor pun point) into a cynical piece and I do apologise. To be honest, if a lot of the last few paragraphs come across as a cut and pasted it’s because this grew to around a 2000 word rant about how the world sucks and I how I just need to rule it, but I don’t want this post to be a negative one. Not this week.

I think the thing most really is to remember with what ever mental health problem you have to not forget about your own needs. There’s no point in wrecking yourself for this holiday if you’re only going to spend the next 51 weeks putting yourself back together. So take don’t forget to give yourself a holiday this holiday, because it’s probably you that needs it the most.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Stay strong.

Snoop Dogg Christmas

Week 50

This week's Mayan forcast

So this week has been insane, right?

From my point of view this week has just been the worst. I’ve spent the majority of the week in sheer shock at my friend’s diagnosis (see Week 49) and then this whole thing with the kids in Newtown, Connecticut – it just seems like there’s just so much crap out there at the moment.

With it being Christmas as well in a matter of days doesn’t help someone with any mental health disorder, so the only solution I can find is to be curt about this.

My week has been horrible, but others out there have had an impossible week, and it is weeks like this that you need to be reminded of the good that is in the world – because good things do happen.

So with that said I’m going to leave you with this link to 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity and my obligatory signing off meme.

I hope it restores a little of your faith in the world as it did me.

(Sidebar – Thanks to all the new followers to this blog and a welcome, it really means a lot)

(Sidebar 2 – Fuck the Mayan Apocalypse, I’ll see you back here next Sunday)

2012 Apocalypse Check List

Week 49

Old computer games couldn't be won. They just got harder and faster until you died. Just like real life

So… Erm, this week I got some bad news. I say I did, but it was really my friend who got the bad news. The tumours in his head have increased by up to three times and the outlook isn’t good.

They can’t do radiotherapy more than once, and nothing else seems to be working, so they’re going to give him one round of intravenous chemotherapy and hope for the best. So, this is it really. If this doesn’t work then nothing will. There’s no more treatment to give.

He and everyone around him are now facing up to the reality that he may die, and how it could happen to quite possibly the nicest person in the world.

We’re trying to remain positive, but no one’s saying that it’ll be ok, because there’s every bit a chance that everything won’t be ok. The only thing I can think to say is it isn’t over until the fat lady sings, to which he says if I come into his home next week dressed as a fat lady and begin to sing he will end me! So at least we’ve still got our gallows humour.

It’s an insane thing this. To happen just before Christmas, and to happen almost 4 years to the day of his initial diagnosis is just astounding.

The hardest part is, of course, not knowing whether any of this has worked at all for another 3 months. Yes, he’s not getting another MRI for another 3 months. How do you carry on your life when the future is that uncertain?

Events like this always put everything into perspective. Earlier this week I was speaking to another friend of mine who recently lost a friend to a sudden brain aneurysm. There was no signs, no warnings, she just dropped in the middle of an airport on the other side of the world and died within a week. She was also about my age, she was recently married, and her career was just beginning to take off. What my friend said of it was it was like being hit by a bus, only the bus was inside her head. It could have happened to anybody, anywhere, but it happened to her.

When things like this happen it’s easy to feel that living is futile, because dying is so inevitable. Why carry on living when life is so cruel to so many?

Quick, insert a cat break!
Quick, insert a cat break!

With all this suffering, and pain, and death, the only real thing to hold onto is life. You have to embrace it and not take it for granted. You could try living each day like it’s your last, rob a bank, steal a car, but that’s not really living, that’s making yourself happy at the expense of others. I think to truly appreciate the world is to heed the words of Ferris Bueller,

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and take a look around in once and a while you could miss it.

Dying is easy, living is hard. Finding five minutes to just appreciate the little things, like the beauty of a sky at night, or the new couple walking down the street hand in hand. That’s what’s worth living for. Becoming bitter will leave you only alone and miserable.

………..

Although if push comes to shove I’ll say this now – I came into this world kicking and screaming covered in somebody else’s blood, and I’d sure as hell go out that way if I have to.

How Funny My Girlfriend Thinks I am Vs Time

Week 48

Airplane Coffee Quote

So this is another fly-by-post just to update things. There will also be lots of pretty pictures… Well, funny ones anyway… well, I hope you find them funny.

Unhappy cat Suicide

My mood is a lot better than it was 7 days ago, but looking at things my mood has been stupidly up and down over the last few weeks.

I won’t see my GP for another 2 weeks, but I don’t think it’s a medication issue. There’s been a lot going on, as well as lengthy periods of inactivity. I’m quickly finding that I need to keep myself occupied in order to stay healthy. With college cancelled that provided a lot of time in which nothing would happen, especially with no real work to do or complete for college without some group input.

Also having problems finding funding for the gym has left me with no activity. To the annoying people who say “Well, go out and walk.” – Go fuck yourselves.

Have you watched Pulp Fiction, it's a great film

I’ve been finding ways to keep active, getting out doing things like, shop, or going to college, but it’s not enough. I’m hoping to get some money together this week and pay for a full year’s membership – then I’ll never have to worry about paying for a membership again… at least for anther year.

No work and no play make Jack go something something
No work and no play make Jack go something something

My friend with cancer seems to be doing better. He lost feeling in the right side of his body for a while, but he says (after 2 weeks of suffering) that he’s around 80% back to normal. Also due to the numbness in the right side of his body he had an MRI this week instead of it being put off for another 3 months. The thought among a few of us is that the doctors were worried he had either had a stroke, or that the medication had inflamed the tumours. I’m hoping it was neither and it was just a reaction to the medication that has never been documented in patients before.

So, fingers crossed.

Otherwise, welcome to December, the single most depressing month of the year!

That’s my opinion at least. Christmas and New Year have over the last few years really bummed me out, and often I’ve felt quite low. Last year was better, but even living in a house with 3 other people it’s strange to still feel genuine loneliness at this time of year.

Anyways…

Thanks for stopping by, I’m trying to be more upbeat with this blog, and I am feel more upbeat, but I guess at the moment when I’m reflecting on things I feel fairly negative.

Until next time…

let your past make you better not bitter

Week 47

Guys, I’m not going to lie, I almost didn’t write a post this week.

Over the week my mood has gradually deteriorated to the point where today I didn’t get up until 5.30pm. Not because of medication of external forces, I just couldn’t face getting up and getting on with another day.

Part of this reason is because this week I was given a week off college whilst the rest of my class had to do a short course. This left me with little to do with very little planned.

With Active for Health ending a fortnight ago I was also left without a gym whilst I try to figure out how I can pay for a membership. These factors, along with ZERO money to spend, have left me mostly isolated at home for the better part of 9 days.

Sure I’ve spoken to a few friends over the phone and by text or Facebook, and yeah I’ve seen glances of my family within the home, but mostly for 23 hours out of the day I’ve been alone stuck in my bedroom.

The cynic would say, “Why didn’t you leave your room then, sit with your family or go for a walk?!?” I tried that earlier in the week, I went into town to run some errands, I even tried mixing with the family a few times but it didn’t work either.

So the problem really is me. What is wrong with me? Depression usually manifests for very real problems that you usually aren’t addressing. So what is it that I’m not addressing? I know I’m a poor student who can’t get a job. I know I’m at an age where life should have progressed further, that I should probably be living independently by now. I also know that my friends are preoccupied with their lives and it’s not their fault that they don’t necessarily have time for me.

So what else is there? Is it college? Am I worried that I still don’t know what I want to do with my life even after I finish college? Yeah, I guess that’s one thing, but is it really that big of a problem that I could barely drag myself out of bed most of this week? Why would that be the problem?

Depression is frustration. You’re angry about something, but you don’t know why you’re angry, or who to be angry at so you turn that anger inwards.

Maybe my anger is a direct result of being alone and that I have thought about all the variables of my life and concluded that I still have no idea what I am doing, thus I am still stuck in the rut that I have been stuck in for however many years it has now been.

Maybe I’m still floating through life listlessly with no goals or ambitions, or maybe I’m too afraid to pursue those goals because I might fail – I really don’t know at this point. All I know is that something doesn’t feel right at this moment and I just don’t know how to fix myself.

Week 46

This week was another relatively ok week! Huzzah!

That is until Thursday, when I received some rather shitty news: a friend of mine who has a brain tumour learnt from his doctor that not only had it grown, but that they had also found another growth which maybe cancerous.

Yup, that was some rather shitty news.

Additionally, due to the chemotherapy and medication they put him on immediately he’s been so unwell he’s barely been able to hold a conversation via telephone. He called me the day after the diagnosis because of the difficulty he was having coming to grips with this news, and now the side effects are hitting him. I’ve been trying to see him for the past few days, but because of how ill he has been on this new treatment he hasn’t been up to seeing any visitors.

This whole thing has been crazy. I guess we all knew in the back of our heads that this thing was still serious, but everyone, including my friend, became quite blasé about it. In all honesty, considering the close calls I’ve had in the battle with depression, I thought there was more chance he would outlive me!

Hearing the news only brought home the truth. That again, no one is indestructible, and whether I like it or not there’s a very good chance someone close to me could die quite soon. I’m trying not to be fatalistic about this; chances are he will recover, and still out live me. And I’m trying not to make this about me, but this is a blog about me and my depression and so I’ve got to talk about this from my perspective.

The reality for me is that I have a sort of abandonment issue. I don’t know how it developed when I was younger, but I became more and more aware of it over the past 10 years with close family passing away and relationships ending. I have a fear of being inadequate and that unless I behave in a correct manner I’ll drive people away. This is something I have only really begun to understand within the last 12 months or so. It took a therapy session to connect the dots between major episodes of depression and people leaving my life. It was also a reason why I had struggled to move away from home for so long – it was a fear that I would lose my family.

With my friend  having received his new diagnosis I had to really assess myself. I had to ask myself if I would be ok with this, and, fatalistically, will I be able to cope in the event of his death?

It’s really not easy. To be honest, I really don’t think I would be ok – a guy in his mid-twenties dying from cancer is just absurd! Where’s the justice in that?

But I’ve also got to think, how is he feeling? I’m probably not the best person in the world to be a friend at this time for him, but he’s going to need support now more than ever. So for now I need to be that good friend for him, I need to be that optimistic person for him, and I need to be there for him regardless of how I feel.