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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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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A Letter to Kid Me

Dear Kid Me,

You’ve gone through quite a lot. You were once free to be as a child should be; so innocent. Problems started to form—it was clear you were struggling in this world.

Then we grew up to this man I am today, but still you remained as my inner child. I’ve never really acknowledged your existence. Adult though I may now be, you still reside somewhere within.

I’ve spent years trying to run from you, but one cannot simply flee from one’s own self. I’ve lived as though I’ve no innocence; that was swiftly taken from us. Now I’m just bitter; angry with us and others.

You don’t understand why you struggle so much, and that’s okay—you’re still very young. Nobody should be expected to understand such things at your age. You are developing obsessive-compulsive disorder and severe anxiety issues; you are not a damned soul, you simply have mental health problems.

Our mother made many mistakes; said things she shouldn’t have. Our minds became polluted with fear; always expecting the worst of ourselves and scrutinizing every action or inaction as per how we expect she would think. Our mother is also unwell and clearly struggles with her own issues; hers need not be ours.

You develop a lot of hate for yourself. Deep resentment and hatred will serve only to hurt people and push them away. That same self-loathing will haunt and damage you and your future.

Enough with the diaries and momentos of times long gone. You torment yourself for years by dwelling so much on the past and never really moving on. You’ll merely develop an obsession with things that were; forever struggling to adjust to what is.

Our dad will make mistakes, just like you. He doesn’t yet understand what you’re going through, but he is trying. There will be a day when you’ll both sit down and have open conversations about these things.

You’ve no doubt heard this before, but kid, you’re not perfect; nobody is. It is often said because it’s true. Perfection is a matter of perspective; subjective. What is perfect to you, might disgust another. It’s time you stopped chasing that illusion, for us both.

Sincerely,
Adult You

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A Letter to My OCD

Dear OCD,

Many apologies for the long overdue letter, for I have been rather busy striving to pick up the pieces of my life that you sought to repeatedly smash. I hope I haven’t caused any inconvenience.

I’ve taken up cooking as somewhat of a new hobby. I’m very grateful for the skills I’m learning, since I’ve had plenty of free time as a result of the depression caused by your insufferable harassment—you always know best.

I fell in love again, unfortunately. What a woman she is. You were right to incessantly berate me, however. I successfully fought to fray what we had, though. I do sometimes forget that being happy is wrong, but fear not, your teachings once more saw me unravel it all. Thank you, my dear friend.

I wanted to go out to the shops today, but you rightly steered me onto the path of solidarity. I mistakenly thought I perhaps looked reasonable, but you had me obsess over the size of my pair of jeans—I’m very grateful for your wisdom.

These have been trying times. I owe all my trials and tribulations to you, comrade. You’ve shown me that I cannot trust people; everyone really is out to get me. I am unworthy and entirely useless. I will endeavor to convince myself there is absolutely no hope, with your sound guidance of course.

I hope you are not too swamped planning the many hurdles with which I’ve yet to struggle. I do so marvel at how you manage it all, and with such fervour—you really are very talented.

All my best.

Sincerely,
JoeBlogs

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

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Honesty is NOT the Best Policy

I used to think being honest was the way to go.

Don’t even bother. Lie, just lie until you’re blue in the face. Nobody wants to hear the truth. We have so many triggers; so many ways by which things get to us. It’s not worth it.

I don’t care if it’s your friends, family, lover, pet, or mug of hot chocolate; you tell that chocolate goodness what it wants to hear and nothing else. I assure you, the risk of hurting someone you love isn’t worth being straight with them.

Do you have OCD and as a result find yourself oversharing? I do.

For years I’ve been hearing and reading how people want others to always be honest with them. Women often go around putting down guys who lie or withdraw the facts, but when we do as they ask? Game over.

That thing you feel you should tell them because they want honesty?

Keep it to yourself.

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Decision Making

I truly suck at coming to a decision about something, or do I? With my mind working hard at weighing up every possible odd and end that pops into it, I’m often left in what would seem to be an infinite game of Pong.

Luckily, the to and fro of indecisiveness comes to an end, eventually. Whether that decision is muddied by my OCD and anxiety or not, is absolutely a different matter.

Likely because of my passion for perfection, I try so hard to make the right decision, oh and not just for me! As long as the end-game is just, fair, and honorable, I can sometimes sleep soundly at night.

The urge to do the ‘right’ thing sometimes comes at quite the cost. Maybe I’ve seen too many old-school movies depicting a knight in shining armor the gals keep banging on about.

There’s always a sincere, perfect gentleman with a solid heart and mighty strength who finds a way to be selfless and honorable in any given situation; a man any woman would be proud to stand by. I think to some extent I grew up wanting to be like that. Maybe I just want to be the hero.

Sadly, all I seem to do is repeatedly shoot myself in the foot, so all I can really do is hobble over to a would-be princess and hope she won’t notice my wincing. Oh, what a fine man I’ve become! Eh…

Because I’m so obsessed with being righteous—preferably not in a pretentious, conceited sort of way—I find it so difficult to stick at a decision, especially when that affects somebody else. As a result, I inevitably fuck up. You can’t throw everything up in the air and expect to catch it all. Sometimes you have to let drop, to catch.

Despite my mental health, I wonder if I’d want to change this about myself. I like that I can at least strive to be good; to do the right thing. Sure, I occasionally balls up along the way, but my heart’s in the right place, and that’s what counts, right?

All I can do is hope that the people I hurt in my crusade of nobility can find it in their hearts to forgive me and have faith that what I do (however bizarre it may seem) is for a purpose I find to be good, and not just for me.

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

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Social Anxiety Rant

I’m so fed up of the anxiety and especially the pressure. I’m not a regular person. As I often say, just going to the shops around the corner is a challenge for me. This is me.

There are people who seem to have little to no idea. So many times I say that I can’t do X, Y, or Z, yet they bug me about it anyway. I really hate to say this, but if I were in a wheelchair, people would take one look at me and simply accept when I say I can’t do something.

Higher levels of anxiety can—and for me often do—affect my sleep, my ability to make sensible decisions, areas of my OCD, my depression, my diet, and even toilet time. Particularly high levels can be so overwhelming that the only thing left to do is cry.

After a while, the anxiety causes muscular tension, for which I’ve seen doctors. Hell, sometimes even just communication is difficult at times, because I’m so anxious that I can’t concentrate on what I’m saying or what is being said to me!

There’s a reason I was in supported housing, took medication for years, had therapy, went to OCD support groups, am registered as disabled, don’t work, and have ongoing financial support from the government. It wasn’t for funsies.

I guess they see me moving forward in life as “Oh, he must be OK now!” It’s always an ongoing battle. Every single time I need to step out that front door, I have to push and will myself to do it, even to take out the rubbish.

Before I even go out, I obsess over what I’m wearing, how people will see me, what I’m going to do, who I might speak to, and much more, which sometimes takes a while to get past, but during that time the anxiety rises even more.

I wish those that think they know me best could just go through what I go through on a good day and a bad day, just so they could know exactly why I’m so difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just these people throughout my life. I put a lot of pressure on myself, and I have to, because people want things of me, and I have to find a way, otherwise how in the hell am I going to have any sort of social life?

Maybe it’s my fault for trying to look so normal.

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

Thank you Anxiety & Panic Disorders for sharing this.

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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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Seek and Destroy

Spend years being miserable and alone, behind bars with tall walls guarding you. Be full with regrets and insecurities. At long last, find something that makes you smile. Now piss all over it.

Welcome to my world—cue the countdown to a post-apocolyptic mess.

I self-sabotage when I get close to being happy and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I don’t deserve happiness. Maybe part of me wants to be alone, because it’s easy and safe.

OCD likes to kick me in the nuts every once in a while. My issues with anxiety results in panic over things not even relevant. On your marks, get set, ruminate!

Sometimes I wish I were blasé all the time; not giving a damn about anything and just going with the flow, dealing with each second as it ticks on by.

I don’t think I set out to sabotage things, but it seems to happen anyway. I can even recognise it now—go me. I wish, for once, I could just not care and get on with it, be however the hell I’m meant to be, for my own sake and for others.

I thought I’d become stronger, but maybe I was just hiding from everything; that’s not strength. I’m a coward?

Maybe I just need time to adjust to her giving a damn, and my—God help us all—really connecting with another human again. After all, it’s still very early days.

Do you push people away, especially on a romantic level, when they get close? When things get freaky, do you panic and feel the urge to bail?

Sometimes I want to run away to simplicity and predictability; familiarity. I don’t like the unknown; I don’t know it. Does it change how I feel about someone or something? Ultimately, no.

I could want to step outisde to do the rain dance so very badly, but if my brain tells me it’s scary, that rain might hurt, and it might not work, then I’m going to be full of doubts, so hello apprehension; is that normal?

Sometimes I wonder if my thoughts and feelings (particularly those relevant to this post) aren’t quite as unique and messed-up as I tend to believe; perhaps they’re just intensified by the OCD and circulated because of the resulting anxiety—it only takes one thought.

I’m so tired. Don’t even get me started on why my brain melts down at night. Why is it when the sun goes down, that’s when my brain rises more than ever? Well, I’ll tell you: it’s typically when I go to bed, left with my stupid thoughts taunting me.

Every once in a while, I need to escape my brain. Even prisoners get a small taste of freedom in the recreation room; perhaps a chance at peace from shivs, broken bones, and bruises.

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

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