The Bounceback

Hemorrhoids suck. For years I’ve had this horrible hemorrhoid. Well, it was horrible, but the majority of the time, it was manageable, so I sort of got used to it. Unfortunately it recently got worse, much worse. I decided to binge on pizza, eating disgusting amounts of it, thanks to my body craving carbs one sleep-deprived day.

The result? Tearing out my innards during a rather unpleasant bowel movement. I, however, was completely oblivious to what was to come. A couple of weeks later, and I’m okay again, having done unspeakable things to my arsehole. Not recommended!

Moral of the story? Leave the fucking pizza alone.

But that’s not what this entry’s about. As the title might suggest, I’ve somewhat bounced back. I think the aforementioned ordeal sort of told me I needed to sort my shit out. It’s not like I was doing too terribly, I was still cleaning, cooking, eating, and being productive.

The problem was that I was– am being so damn mediocre about it all. I am trying, but at the crux of it all, I’m more depressed than the keys on this keyboard.

I think I’ve gradually been getting better, though. I’m cooking more, cleaning more, eating better, and keeping very busy with programming and various Linux things. Still, it doesn’t seem to be enough. Still feels like I’m wading through an ocean of thick, chest-high mud.

Things have been difficult with the relationship. It’s not that we don’t love each other and all that jazz, it’s just that relationships are hard. Anybody who disagrees is either in the honeymoon phase or is a lucky fuckface who has everything go their way! But, here in the real world, things aren’t perfect.

I’m very in-love with my woman, though. She makes me happy. I seem to make her happy. It’s just understanding and working around our mental health situation that makes things difficult. Granted, my earlier fuckface statement may not apply to “normal” people. The distance is hard too, but I’m hoping that will be removed when Xmas comes around, as that’s the time we’ll hopefully finally meet.

We may not have yet physically met, but I feel so comfortable with her in my life, that it’s almost as though she’s already here. She’s the one for me, that’s for sure. We’re practically made for each other. It’s just getting all the other bits and pieces into place.

In other news, my dad broke his leg. He’d just recovered (mostly) from his hernia operation, was finally able to get out and do normal things, then he hits the deck because of his ankle giving out.

Bit scary how easily and quickly shit can go awry.

Depression is Rotten

…or is it rotting? I sometimes feel like I’m just rotting away when I’m like this. I’ve been really depressed, lately. Certain life things have gone on, but I think some of it is also down to medication.

I recently went on sertraline and lymecycline, the latter of which is an anti-biotic and isn’t related to my mental health, but in-fact for the health of my scalp, as I have folliculitis. I’ve been on them for I think 30 days now.

I noticed quite the improvement with my anxiety and thus my OCD, but noticed no difference with the depression. After a while, my depression seemed to worsen. I’m trying to keep a hold of the blues, so I don’t end up entirely #0000ff.

One cool thing that came of this new (for me) medication, is that I created a small Linux program I shan’t name that logs when I’ve taken my medication, amongst other things. I worked on it for about 3 weeks, updating it here and there; cleaning the code and what-not. I’ve not missed a single day, thanks to the damn nag whenever I go on the computer! I hope to share it with the Linux world at some point, but not yet.

Back to depression…

I’ve even had old returning thoughts (or “urges”) of self-harm, which I absolutely have no intention of following; been there, done that, and got the ugly, badly-fitting, scratchy-as-fuck t-shirt. I don’t deserve that shit, despite my brain often thinking otherwise.

I don’t deserve an incredible girlfriend. I don’t deserve money. I don’t deserve such a wicked dad. I don’t deserve my best mate. A lot of negative thoughts fly around my head, these days.

Linux has been really important. I feel like I’m accomplishing something; working towards something. Staring at code all day on a bazillion command line windows really does discourage mindless, depressing, bullshit thoughts.

Are you depressed? Feel free to “wallow” with me.

“Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Alfred

As a side note to those of you who’ve followed me for some time now: thank you! I appreciate it, and I apologise if you’re annoyed by the lack of “life” posts and recent surge of nerd posts. What can I say, I’m a nerdy guy.

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Finally Back on Medication

A long, long time ago I took Citalopram for probably over 3 years — not fun. Much later, I took Fluoxetine (Prozac) for about 2-3 years; eventually moved on to just beta blockers for my anxiety problems; Propranolol. I’ve been med-less for about a year and a half now. Since I’ve been struggling so much, I figured now is the time to do something about it.

I had to find where the health center even is before I could do much of anything about the medication. After finding one about a 15 minutes walk away from home, I scouted it out, in order to keep my anxiety prepared. Some time later, I went there with my dad and sorted out getting me a new GP in this new town.

The new GP seems like a cool bloke; communicates well, and didn’t make me feel like I’m nothing but a number. He also seemed to have a bit of a sense of humor, which is great, because I tend to crack jokes when I’m stressed out!

So now I have two packs of 50MG of an SSRI called Sertraline to deploy onto the battlefield; apparently it’ll hit my OCD, depression, and anxiety. I’m worried though, because my GP said they can make anxiety quite a bit worse for 2-3 days at first — my anxiety is bad enough as it is! Guess I’ll just have to power through.

Another concern of mine is that I’ll go further coo-coo from the medication, so much so that my girlfriend won’t be able to deal with it. Then again, if she’s stuck around for as long as she has, I could probably point a bazooka to her head and she’d be all, “It’s okay. I love you.” That’s weird, right? I know that’s weird.

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Am I Needy?

According to an online dictionary, to be needy is classed as “needing emotional support; insecure.” I suppose to figure this out I’d have to ask myself whether I’m insecure. The answer is of course a resounding yes. Am I needing emotional support? I guess I am. Does that really make me needy though?

I’ve felt pretty depressed today. I feel alone. Apparently I don’t matter; this, according to what is very likely my depression brought on by both recent events and my shiny new older age, in much contrast to yesterday’s more positive entry.

When my, I guess you could say ex—to whom I’m still strongly connected and with whom there may still be some hope for the future—hung up on Skype to go hang out with her fairly new female friend again, I felt sadness. According to my brain, she’s pushing me out, I’m in the way, and she doesn’t care about me anymore. It’s a really saddening thought process I’m having about those close to me that I can’t shift lately.

So, I went online to seek some sort of comfort with other people like myself who have problems, and got talking to some friendly familiar faces. I felt a little better, but still I was missing something.

When I called my dad, we chatted for a while, I tried to say I wasn’t feeling good, but it didn’t really come out well, because I’m not good at verbally saying these things. We brushed on a serious topic or two, joked about silly crap, then he had to go do stuff, so that was that. I felt alone again, like I’m not important; I don’t matter; I’m worthless.

Maybe that makes me needy?

I’ve never particularly thought of myself as a needy person. If anything, I have the opposite problem sometimes, in that I often want to isolate myself, whether for good or bad.

I feel like I’ve failed everyone. I’ve failed society, I’ve failed my parents, I’ve failed my friends, I’ve failed those with whom I’ve been romantically involved, and for sure I’ve failed myself a number of times.

I know this is just depression, or at least I hope that’s all it is. Still, it doesn’t change how I think and feel, because ultimately, I have let people down a number of times. I have failed. The sad thing is I will continue to fail, because that’s just what happens in life.

At the end of the day, all I can do is hope the successes will outweigh my failures.

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It’s Time to Get Help (Again)

I’ve gotten a fair bit of support over the last few years, going to OCD support groups, taking Propranolol, getting assessed for therapy, getting CBT, living in supported housing for approximately 2 years, and getting generic E-Mail support from a local organisation.

I’ve come a long way, but recent troubles have knocked me sideways, shaking some other issues well and truly loose. My anxiety has at times been horrendous with debilitating bouts of dread. Some old OCD issues are taking center stage as well.

I need help.

A while ago, my general practitioner offered me an SSRI for my anxiety. I can’t remember the name, but supposedly it would have helped. Alongside battling the anxiety, the medication should help with my OCD and recently resurfaced depression. Bonus.

I’m going to get in touch with the organisation that got me the aforementioned CBT for my OCD, and this time I’m going to opt for group therapy. I think this could be a huge step in the right direction for me, provided I can actually get to the sessions.

I’ve also just been reminded of something else: there’s a local support group for people with mental health problems. I tried going there before, to their more public meeting, but nobody showed up and I kinda lost momentum after that; it was incredibly difficult!

My dad says he’ll go with me, so perhaps that’ll happen soon. I just need to stick at it and actually go. I have a tendency of bailing when these things come around. I guess after all that supported housing stuff ended, I kinda slowed down where the support is concerned.

If things with my love life are gonna work, given how complicated and stressful it has been and will be, I seriously need the extra support. I don’t think I can cope with it otherwise, as the past has shown.

God, I hope this works.

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Being Adult with MH Issues

This is a big issue that is personal to me. It’s 3:18am, so please bear with me while I attempt to gather my jumbled thoughts into a somewhat-coherent babble.

I have mental health issues, which admittedly isn’t exactly electrifying news for those of whom follow my blog. However, a lot of people don’t seem to realise that having MH issues can and often does stunt how we grow in society.

As a result of at least my OCD, anxiety, and depression, I didn’t socialize properly until I hit my early 20s. I began to suddenly develop a rather decent social life around that time. People often get this done earlier, but not me! Prior to said social discovery, I had only two friends, both of which also had problems of their own.

We pick up a lot from people we hang around with. We learn life skills from those who learned before us. When you have problems though, this can mean you’re often left behind, still trying to figure things out everybody else seems to have mastered.

Got a bank account? That’s great. For me, that was a very scary thing that I didn’t get sorted until I was about 24.

Why?

Because I didn’t have an income as a result of lack of knowledge because things just seemed different for me—I’m “different”.

But really, why no income?

Well, since getting a job just wasn’t practical, getting an income for me, meant getting benefits. I needed to actually understand my limitations, come to terms with said limitations, go to doctors, get judged pretty harshly, sign a bazillion forms, and then wait for ages to see if it all paid off.

It did.

For a long time though, it was something for which I was simply ill-prepared. I lacked the knowledge that it were even possible for me to get such an income. This is just an example of how my mental health issues have made my journey to independence a considerable struggle.

Take relationships. being with someone teaches you a lot. You learn about yourself, what you like, and what you don’t like. You get the opportunity to learn about your body. You start thinking all love-struck about the vast, wonderful future.

I didn’t have my first proper relationship until possibly 23 years of age, so before then I hadn’t even kissed a girl on anything other than the cheek. Don’t even get me started on the sexual stuff!

All the things we go through when we’re younger help shape us into the bitter, know-it-all adults we all eventually become. With these experiences, both good and bad, come a sort of maturity as we learn about ourselves and others.

Unfortunately, if you’re slow to pick these things up, those around you can get frustrated, particularly if they don’t have any real understanding of mental health issues. I’m sure it creates more issues when they think the solution is to push until they get the desired result. While a push here and there can do wonders, it’s not always so viable.

Let’s say you want to go to the shops, but you’re anxious, so you’re not yet ready. Would a good approach be for me to badger you, telling you that you’ll never go to the shops if you just sit around moaning about it? Just go. Stop being such a baby. We all get anxious. Grow up. You need to be more adult. Gosh!

The knowledgeable amongst you will realise that’s an ignorant and unfair approach. Genius though I’m not, I’d still personally try to approach that in a supportive manner, by encouraging them and targeting the anxiety, not the person.

I just wish people understood that this is a real thing. Try to appreciate that those with mental health problems can struggle to do things that you norms would consider simple.

It’s not our fault.

Thank you Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources for sharing this.

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Independent Living #5

Have a bad dream? Too damn bad. You’re alone now. Oh, what’s that, you don’t feel well? Tough titties. Granted, this isn’t so much about independence as it is going solo.

I’ve been depressed lately, which I suppose is to be expected when you disconnect from someone you’ve spent half a year getting very close to. I don’t think it’s just that, either. I’m alone. I never fully appreciated that I’m alone, because I had her, but everything seemed to have changed in a blink of an eye. Now I have to figure this out.

Likely as a coping mechanism, I seem to have taken to my old habit of overdoing the resistance workouts. My neck and shoulders are pretty achy, especially the left of my neck which is very stiff. I put some Deep Heat on it this morning, so hopefully that’ll help.

No pain, no gain, … right?

A bit over 2 years ago, I started really working out again, on a mission to lose weight depression put on, and to gain more muscle mass than I ever did is a young lad. I lost the weight and gained a fair bit of mass for someone who was once such a lanky git. Unfortunately, I realised I had crap form for some of the exercises I was doing, but I realised it too late.

I did something to my neck which essentially makes it uncomfortable and stiff. I think it comes down to inadvertently working muscles probably best left alone. It surely doesn’t help that I have anxiety issues, so I already have a problem there as it is!

It mainly started around the time I got the pullup bar. I would thrust my neck forward as I pulled (or ‘chinned’) myself up, not realising it was damaging my neck each and every time. An amateur mistake. My own stupid fault. You don’t think about these things much when you’re so obsessed with improving your own body.

I’m still endeavoring to lose more body fat as I want to get lean, but I don’t look too bad, at least in my eyes. Sometimes I hate looking at myself, feeling as though I look like crap; weak, ugly, and overweight. Other times I look at myself and think I actually look okay, maybe even pretty good.

How do I keep my bad habits in check, if the only person to prevent them is me?

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Coping with Somebody Suicidal

NOTE: This was aimed primarily at those who know people online who’re suicidal. I completely forgot to mention that beforehand, sorry. Although I do feel this could apply either way.

I’ve been in some tricky situations in the past involving suicidal people I knew, both online and offline, so maybe I can weigh in here. I’ve been suicidal myself, years ago, if that’s any consolation.

Putting ourselves through hell because of what someone else does or doesn’t want to do to themselves, for whatever reason, is potentially very damaging to our well-being. You have to look out for #1 as well. We cannot be constantly holding ourselves responsible for other people’s actions; I learned this the hard way.

That doesn’t mean ignore them and give zero fucks, it means do your bit, then either move on or be extra careful, for your own sake. Watching someone destroy themselves, even from afar, can be incredibly difficult and highly damaging for the viewer.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve helped people, but they’re also not part of my life anymore.

I’ve been the destroyer and person greatly affected by the destroyer; neither one is particularly grand, but it definitely gave me a solid perspective.

If you know someone who is battling suicidal thoughts and you think they are at risk, giving someone support numbers, nudging him or her towards potential supportive groups or places online, and encouraging that person to tell others (local people) could really help.

If you feel someone is in immediate danger to themselves, and you’re in a position to help them, perhaps calling an appropriate emergency line would do the trick. I’ve had to do this myself in the past, and it wasn’t easy, but the person was able to get help as a result.

Knowing the support is out there and having the ability to reach out is important.

Just remember, it’s very easy to get trapped within something incredibly painful. You could potentially even make someone worse by not being able to cope with their problems and reacting in a particularly destructive way.

Finally, if someone were to unfortunately commit to such a thing, the damage that would leave behind, could leave life-long scars from which you would never fully remove.

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, I wish you all the needed strength to fight.

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Depressive Thoughts

I think it’s important to identify when you’re having depressive thoughts. What do I mean by that? Well, those thoughts one with depression might typically have, such as “I’m useless,” or “I’m worthless,” or “I’m a horrible person,” and so on. I’ve been having a lot of these over the last few days.

It’s OK, because I can’t be strong all the time, right? Well, yeah, but what if this is me really declining? My anxiety issues went progressively nutty for ages, then the OCD went on overdrive making me ill in the process, and now my depression is really ramping up a notch. I don’t like where this is going.

I recognise my decline, but has that changed anything? I suppose it has. I know that if I let myself slip further into this crap, I’ll be even more miserable, and that will also affect those around me, particularly my girlfriend; she has enough on her plate as it is.

I feel selfish. How dare I have problems! In all reality, I can’t help that I’m fucked up; I never asked for this. Still, that said, I feel like I’m being selfish and weak. I’m supposed to be strong. When I met my bit of stuff I was strong, I was fairly focused, and things were looking up! Now? Well, I’m anxious, depressed, withdrawn, disconnected, and really hating myself; not exactly a fantastic catch.

I’m taken over with thoughts that I’m not enough, I’m worthless, that she’s too good for me, that I don’t deserve her, that I’m holding her back, that I’m going nowhere, that I’m a failure, and so on. I hate it. I don’t need these thoughts. What happened to the positivity and strength I had before?

While I can’t give you logical, rational reasons why I’m a such stand-up guy (probably because I’m sat down) I can tell you that I’m going at least somewhere.

I went to an interview-like meeting today in which I saw a guy who’s with Mind. It was interesting, but I was a tad thrown off by his attire which wasn’t exactly formal and professional. The chap was probably dressed more casually than I. That said, maybe they do that to appeal more to people; to make people more comfortable.

I actually felt less at ease with the lack of formality; I’m weird like that. When you have to actually ask someone who’s standing in-front of you waiting, “do you work here?” then perhaps something is amiss.

If you dunno who Mind is, it’s Oxfordshire Mind, a charity-driven organisation that deal with various areas of mental health, within the Oxfordshire area of England; I’ve been in supported housing through them for almost 2 years, which you can read about on this blog, under the Supported Housing category.

I’m able to go to a support group so hopefully that’ll help, or just be awkward and stressful. I’m excited, but also anxious. I’m waiting for a course to start up that is for dealing with emotions. Sounds a bit silly, at least to me, but could very well be handy.

I just hope I can get myself back on the upswing before I go totally bonkers.

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Perspective of Depression

When you’re depressed, it’s like you’re in a pitch black room, fumbling around trying to turn on the light.

Once you finally flick that switch, the room is revealed, and everything suddenly makes sense as you finally get your bearings and see it was there all along.

When someone else goes into that same room and he or she cannot see the light switch, you try to point, “it’s over there!” But they can’t see it—they’ve yet to find it.

 Thank you Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources for sharing this.

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