This is a personal and current discussion on my anxiety and depression. Having said that, if anybody want to share this for whatever reason, I am not going to stop them. Sorry to everybody I should have told before.
I decided I had to write this about 3 days ago. Since then, I’ve been putting it off, because it is, without a doubt, one of the least pleasant things I’ve ever made myself do. Which is strange, because, in another way, I’ve been writing this in my head for weeks. Every time I’m alone with nothing to do, before sleep, whenever things are allowed to creep in. I imagine how this could go. Certain turns of phrase. Eloquence and certainty that I can never quite remember.
I’m not going to match that eloquence. This is going to be messy and pointless and dirty, but it needs to be said. It needs to be used as a pressure relief valve.
Writing as relief is not something new to me. PUBLISHING something written as such is. It’s a fucking stupid idea and I’m going to regret it immediately, but there it is. I need to do this to show I still have some fucking control. Forgive me my self-indulgence. Please.
I suffer from anxiety. I suffer from depression. I suffer from all the unpleasant little results of the two mingling together and feeding. I can trace it back to September, to the start of this academic year. At the time I was in and out of hospital, for liver problems, which I was happy to speak about, and heart palpitations and tachycardia (a fast heart), which I wasn’t. In fact, for anybody outside my family reading, this will be the first they know of it. The liver sorted itself out, and the heart was diagnosed, eventually, as normal. In fact, the symptoms were most likely part of a horrible feedback loop: I was anxious, which sped up my heart, which made me more anxious, cycle ad infinitum. I spent my first term of my second year at uni terrified. Anything I did, any little excursion out of my house made me acutely aware of my heart rate. Eventually I was afraid to leave my house at all. Even when the heart issue was nullified, and I stopped being worried about that, the fear of leaving my house remained. It had morphed into a general fear of being around people, of being somewhere unfamiliar, of not feeling comfortable. I stopped doing anything outside of university. I’d go to my lectures, I’d come home. I’d only leave my room for essentials. Then I stopped going to uni unless I absolutely had too. I spent weeks at a time never leaving my room. Making up illness or hospital appointments to escape lectures, or just not going in at all.
After Christmas, when I was back at uni, I realised that nobody was even trying to invite me out any more. I understand why – after 4 months of me assuring everyone I’d be there and then making no attempt at all, after 4 months of slowly disappearing, I’d have done the same. I am absolutely not the person I used to be. I can’t remember how to be that person. I’m terrified that next time I go home, the next time I actually see all the friends I’ve left, they’ll realise that. We won’t understand each other any more. I’ll be alone.
I am in a horrible pit where I can’t bring myself to leave my flat, and then hate myself for failing to do anything. I am in a place where I cannot tell anybody how I feel because I’m afraid they might desert me, and in doing so I am simultaneously forcing them away and making myself feel stupid for doing so. I would rather ‘choose’ to be alone than be driven away.
I am writing this because earlier this week I nearly had a full-blown panic attack in a supermarket because I believed an entire building full of random strangers was looking at me and judging me. Earlier this week I couldn’t have a normal conversation with one of my best friends in the entire damn planet because I was afraid of socialising, of making real contact with one of the few people I ever really talk to. I told them I wasn’t up to it and then spent an hour calling myself stupid for driving them away. For not taking the opportunity to talk. I am writing this because sometimes, when going down the stairs to my door I find myself shaking, nauseous, because I am about to go outside. I am writing this because the times I’m actually okay are shrinking on a nearly daily basis.
I am writing this because otherwise I will continue to put on a facade when I’m acting fine with people who might notice. Because otherwise I will continue to isolate myself and that is something I CAN NOT do anymore. I am writing this because it is a safe way for me to relieve the pressure in my head.
I am writing this because even when you’re isolated, and even when you don’t want to tell anybody how you feel, you are not completely alone. As long as people still share stories, such as Allie Brosh [Pt.1, Pt.2] (of Hyperbole and a Half), Zoe Quinn (developer of games including the free ‘Depression Quest’), and various others (you may have seen these before), you’re forced to realise that nobody is alone in feeling like shit over this. But you can still be alone in DEALING with it.
I’ve tried that. It’s fucking dumb. I can’t recommend it to myself any more.
My choice of links there might seem strange. They might seem specific, unnecessary. Each one of them resonated with me hugely. Each one left me in tears because I wasn’t expecting to read something that hit me close. They are there because they are more eloquent than I am. They say what I want to, but cannot.