I’ve wanted to blog for a while as it’s been a turbulent week, but all of the thoughts I would want to write about are forgotten by the morning. I will therefore summarise what I think has happened to me, in terms of my mental health, then describe several events in the past week and hope that they trigger the thoughts that I had before.
Back in January 2010, I first went into a depressive phase. Thoughts focused entirely on everything being pointless and that I was worthless, partially as a result of upcoming GCSEs. It involved crying most nights but little going on in the day – part of the issue was that whenever I went to bed I knew it was the time when I was upset, so I became upset. After 6 months or so this subsided, after GCSEs.
Then to replace mild depression (in the clinical sense, albeit not diagnosed; I am fairly sure no-one would ever call their depression mild) I had a swing way too far the other way into arrogance. I felt as if I was better than everyone else, that if they were better than me at something they were fortunate, or that it just didn’t matter. I was intolerant and intolerable but managed to maintain a social group. I think because I wasn’t someone that was easily approachable, and that the people I was friends with needed friends themselves, that they never thought twice about moving away from me. Maybe they did like me for my sense of humour etc., but I feel that beyond being insulting and sarcastic (‘banter’) I didn’t really contribute that much.
This quickly reversed when I got into a relationship. No longer was I the best, instead it was her. It was effectively depression, except that instead of being pointless I had one – and only one – reason to live. I was horribly insecure and being wrecked from the inside, thinking about her every 5 or 10 minutes (even in school), wanting to burst into tears and living a 24-hour day for at most a 2-hour Skype call. When we met up I was worried the entire time about what to do, everything was forced and so nothing ever worked. But each time this happened the next one would be the time it would work. I questioned whether the relationship was good for me a couple of times, but of course it wasn’t her so I shouldn’t break up. I never seriously considered it, but the thoughts did enter my mind.
Once things ended I tried to keep in touch as I felt I couldn’t go without her but soon I realised this wouldn’t work. We went no contact for a bit and in this time I had something close to an epiphany (see: “A Change of Worldview”). My mindset was completely changed in an instant, from depressed and suicidal to absurd optimism. But this was not based on strong grounds, I had not gotten over her. I had been upset, which is clearly insufficient, yet felt that it would just never improve and I would just get over her anyway whilst talking to her.
Within half a month or so I had completely fallen for her again and for the next 4 months, I was the happiest I’ve ever been despite having no real evidence to suggest it was reciprocated. I asked about/mentioned it a couple of times but never was the answer no, rather “I don’t know” or just not wanting to talk about it, so my heart persisted. This ended at the beginning of term. I went back into being entirely arrogant and as such have wrecked my first impressions with my entire social group. I accept that quite a lot of my sense of humour involves being fairly sarcastic and insulting but last term that was all I ever did. It almost feels wrong to try and change that and I really don’t know how I can go about it, I can try (and have succeeded) to be nice to people and ask them how things are going, but I don’t think it will affect anything. They won’t notice the subtleties and probably won’t think of it as an attempt to be kind as my first impression says I’m not kind.
Towards the end of term this began to crack. I maintained fairly resilient by being entirely misanthropic, criticisms can’t get to me if they’re not from something worthwhile. It’s fairly impressive that the subconscious thinks to avoid criticism by making the entire human race devoid of meaning. That’s seemingly how far it felt I had to go to avoid what I am now and I can entirely understand why it was trying so hard to avoid it.
The system entirely cracked at some point over the holiday. I had made an extensive – and entirely unrealistic – holiday work plan which by day one I was behind and by day two I was a day behind. I kept telling myself the next day was the one, but it was always the same failure. On top of this I was forced to answer questions by saying things like “I don’t need people”, which started to really make me doubt my outlook on things. It didn’t go overboard until a few days later when I started having physical health issues as well as depressive phases. These were, and continue, to be of an angry nature at times. It’s not generally directed at anyone or anything, it’s just there, in the same way that I often feel like crying without having a specific reason to be crying.
The physical symptoms have since almost entirely subsided, in fact this happened a day or so after being certain I had an anxiety disorder. Some things continue, such as restlessness at times and at others entire fatigue. I exaggerate it sometimes, just because I want to feel helpless in some way. I want to feel as if my failures are justified so my condition must be exaggerated. I suppose this is part of anxiety, it’s not that I make a conscious effort to exaggerate things but I never try and stop it.
That’s the general overview, now to the last week. I had previously felt as if maybe my issues were going away, albeit with very little certainty as I haven’t had this for sufficiently long to know its nature. Then I went out with a friend to the Jewish Society (was invited) and met quite a few people but I felt quite out of place. Partially that was because of the religious aspect, though mainly it was social awkwardness on my part. It’s just way too frequently the case that I feel I have nothing to say.
Then on the way back I was told that I “shouldn’t try to change myself”. I was fairly close to speechless. The justification was that I (or anyone) “can’t be perfect”. I just completely disagree, if we can improve ourselves we should, and just because we can never be perfect doesn’t mean we can’t do better, indeed surely there is some imperative to do so. Perhaps that’s just me as I’m not fully content with myself whereas other people are and as such don’t have a need to change themselves, but I do. It was a fairly quick remark and not meant maliciously but it was still meant seriously. What also struck me was how the same person said before that I’m “snarky”. I agree, I was (am), but the two together are only reconcilable if being snarky is okay to be which I don’t think it is, at least not in the amount that I did/do it.
Of course this is a massive over-analysis and I’d like to point out that I do get on with this person and it’s not as if there’s just abuse hurled at me, it’s just that’s always going to be something I remember. Nevertheless it was important to mention as this helped to set off a fairly serious depressive moment that evening which lasted for over an hour and became very aggressive at times. I was then very tired the next day, which meant when I was walking past a friend I kind of just let myself lean onto a wall, much to her bemusement. I just said I was tired, she asked why. There was a slight hesitation before I said “don’t worry”. I couldn’t bring myself to lie and say it was a lack of sleep, yet in some sense she should be worrying as I am in a somewhat precarious position, so it could be argued I actually lied anyway.
Moving away from over-thinking, I then had the weekly work crisis. It didn’t cost too much sleep (although that’s partially because I didn’t even do an attempt at a couple of questions), but my behaviour became strange as a result of anxiety. The deadlines were Wednesday and my tutorial on the Tuesday finished late so I became very restless; I was eating dinner very quickly and shaking my leg. What was worst, though, was that even at the end of dinner I felt like going out for a long run. I didn’t, I maintained rationality in the midst of insanity, but it’s certainly not normal.
Since then I’ve had a couple of days of less work than is desirable and not much relaxation either. I’ve been functioning perfectly well in terms of day-to-day life, so no-one really knows what goes on ‘behind the scenes’. I’m content in this respect, in my ability to pass off as in an acceptable mental state. Is that really what my life is coming to? That I am able to pretend to be happy? Depression itself is depressing, and I need to break out of the cycle. I will see the nurse on Monday and see what’s recommended, in the meantime I hope to work so that I don’t go mental around the deadlines again.