Extract from a letter

Dear X,

And what would I want to tell you? I suppose I’d want to tell you that I’m lonely, that I’m depressed, that I’m anxious and that I’m really not well at the moment. Depression has taken hold of me and I’m struggling to keep myself connected to the real world.

Part of the survival strategy I put in place whilst I was well was that I must have multiple connections to the real world so that if I couldn’t face one of them, I had many others to deal with to keep me in touch. And it seems to have been working. I’ve only really spent a few days in my pyjamas eating crap and watching tv. I have kept up with appointments and meetings with people. I have managed to keep up the appearance that I’m ok and that I know what I’m doing. Inside, I’m not ok. And I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’m just trying to survive. And every day you don’t contact me it kills me a little more.



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Square One

I’ve been avoiding the blog. I’ve been avoiding personal posts on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been avoiding seeing people.

Remember that really successful diet I went on? Well, I’ve put all of the weight back on again. I am back at square one. And I HATE myself for it. I don’t know what happened (well, apart from the obvious overdose on cake bit). Why did I do it to myself? I had everything I wanted – fitness, a body that didn’t disgust me, and confidence. And I threw it all away.

I avoid people I haven’t seen for a while. I am constantly conscious of the fact that people see me and wonder what has happened. I can see the pitying looks. Nothing fits any more. I’m uncomfortable. I sit all day with my coat on so my belly is hidden. My back hurts, my feet hurt and I have absolutely NO confidence. Which is a bit rubbish seeing as I have to look for a new job.

I have been unable to cycle for months. Last time I did cycle, I ended up having to push the damned thing half way to work because the back wheel broke. It’s fixed now, but there’s still the issue of me carrying too much in my panniers. But that’s an anxiety thing I need to deal with somehow.

But the point of this blog is that I’m starting a new diet tomorrow. A new, meal replacement diet. For the minute, it’s the only way I can see me going. I need to reeducate my stomach. I need to take food out of the equation so I can deal with why I’m so messed up about food. You don’t get to this size just by ‘eating a bit too much cake’. There is OBVIOUSLY something wrong. Yes, I have PCOS and hypothyroidism, but it’s no excuse. PCOS goes away when I’m slimmer.

So I’m a little excited and a little nervous about starting the new diet tomorrow. I need to do something if only to give me confidence and some hope. I’m really stressed out about lots of things and maybe this is just a way of taking control of something. I don’t know.

But there you go. I haven’t been to see you because I’m really fat. I haven’t shown you any photos of me because I’m really fat. I’m not coming to your party because i’m really fat. I’m not coming to see you because I’m really fat. Not overweight. Not baby fat. I’m ‘stared at in the street, sweaty, morbidly obese fat’.

So there you go. It’s out in the open.

Time for some more cake before tomorrow then..

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Not really sure what to write today. I’m on the bus again and someone has REALLY smelly feet.

I walked to the bus stop spoiling for a fight. Just hoping someone would give me an excuse to start a fight. Luckily or unluckily noboby even gave me a glance..

I have some possible solutions in my mind as to how to get out of this hole, but as I’m not in the best state of mind I don’t know if I’m thinking rationally.

I do think I need to grt all this anger out somehow in order to move on. Getting that done will inevitably lead to lots of crying. Crying meaning I can’t really interact with people without doing it. But it needs to be done.

I also think I need to reduce my medication. On the dosage I’m on, I’m just numb. I can’t feel enough to move on. I can’t feel happy or joyous at the sunshine and I can’t seem to feel enough to let myself just cry.

I’m giving up at work. I don’t seem to have any fight left in me to keep the business alive. I have a meeting today that I should be using to fight for the right to develop a new service. But I just don’t care. If this particular someone else gets the service, we might as well close our doors as it will naturally lead to them taking over our current service. And I don’t have the energy to fight. I have no idea what’s going on with the company and I’m totally demotivated.

*sigh* nearly at my stop now so this is a good place to end.

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My blog is more anonymous than Twitter or Facebook so I thought I’d post here. I need to get it out.

This is a bad one. It had lasted overall week already and it’s getting worse. I hate myself. I despise what I have become.  A fat, lazy, pathetic mess. Every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror I want to.punch myself in the head. And the worst thing of all is that I have totally done it all to myself.

I am surprised at the level of self loathing and pure anger I am feeling at myself. This is not normal. And my depression is just spiralling downwards in a swirl of chocolate, crap and tv. Once again I am not coping. But I need to cope as i need to both work and keep a reputation. My job goes to part time in july. I won’t be able to manage on the money. But at the moment I am incapable of getting a new job or any extra work. Catch 22. Depression amd job situation make each other worse.

I have no ideas at the moment. I’m well and truly stuck. :’(

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The past and the future

It has been a strange weekend. It started off quite well. I went to the Albert Hall to see Tim Minchin in concert. We got the tickets for a bargain price and his show was excellent. We didn’t get back until well after midnight, which is rare in our lives, so it felt like a proper night out.

However, on Thursday, I had an interview to become a volunteer with a charity I’ve always wanted to work for. I was, as usual, very honest about myself and my background. They appreciated it, but I found it a bit weird talking about myself for pretty much a whole hour.

The thing is though, it made me think. A lot. Firstly about my past. Talking about it so openly made me realize just how far I have come. And then it made me a bit sad. There were so many expectations on me when I was younger. I was expected to do ‘great things’. Be an interpreter, work for the UN or the diplomatic service, be a composer and sell my music, etc etc. I had a brain. I was talented. I would go far.

But I was depressed. And it changed everything. I no longer had the motivation to complete work. I no longer had the motivation for extra study / extra reading. I no longer had the motivation or energy for volunteering or a social life. I withered away locked in a cycle of classes and my job (in a bookshop). I left university with a decent degree, but not the one I wanted as I managed to fail my second year exam. (My grandad had died and so I had missed the exam in China. Plus my Chinese comprehension teacher hated me as I didn’t turn up to every class and refused to learn by rote. A cardinal sin in China, apparently). My degree felt like a failure. Imagine what I could have achieved if it weren’t for the depression.

I left university to pursue an Msc in I.T. But my brother died. I deferred the Msc for a year and spent most of that year in bed, trying to come to terms with life. I restarted the Msc next year, but in the first week my ex (of 5 and a half years) broke up with me (by having an affair) and I had to move out. I left that house, full of possessions and furniture, with a few boxes of stuff and a bed. I managed to attend classes until just after Christmas but then couldn’t cope and had to leave. I couldn’t afford my room in the shared house and so moved in to a spare room with an uncle I hadn’t seen in many many years.

Other stuff happened, but it’s irrelevant here. I think I just wanted to explain about University. It was important to me. The ONLY thing I had to get me through school and the bullying, was the fact that I had a brain and could go to university eventually. When I could no longer do the academic thing, it crushed me.

I’m better now. I’ve worked hard and made a big difference to my life. But I still have those doubts. I’m in a position now where I need to think about my future. My contract at work finishes at the end of June so I’m in the process of looking for new jobs. I need to think about what I really want to do, where I want my career to go. I don’t want to take a step backwards career-wise. But I need a job.

I’ve also been thinking about politics. The election for Parish Council was uncontested, so I am now officially a Parish Councillor. And I have ambition. I am not satisfied with the councillors representing my local area and so I next want to run for Borough Council. It would mean running against someone who has been a Borough councillor for many years and is part of the political party that has overall control of the Parish council. His seat is up for grabs next year.

So doing all this voluntary work means that I’m ideally looking for a job where I could work 4 days a week or work from home for a couple of days a week and avoid a really long commute. I don’t want to lose the life that I’ve built up here and sacrifice it for a dull and depressing commute. Some things are more important.

I suppose I just wanted to vent. I’m feeling quite anxious and uncertain at the moment, which means I’ve been eating crap again and have put on weight. My current boss keeps asking me to do lots of things and keeps talking about applying for funding and about new ideas for projects. But I can’t get motivated because I know I won’t be there after June. They want to keep me, which is nice, but there is just no money to keep me on the salary I am on now. I have tried to negotiate some part time hours, but as the answers are always vague, I have decided to look for a full time job elsewhere. I’m not all that keen on change in my work life. It’s quite scary. It could be a good opportunity. I just need to get the courage to apply for the jobs I’m probably capable of.

Yeah. Easier said than done..

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I like that word. Good word. I think I have it. Bouncebackability, that is. Maybe it’s the drugs, maybe it’s the fact that the training course I have been dreading is now OVER. Or maybe it’s the reappearance of the sun, the daffodils and being able to keep the window open all night. Whatever it is, I’m feeling MILES better.

I went to Self Defence class tonight. And it was AWESOME. I was engaged, I had fun and I could concentrate. A BIG difference from two weeks ago. The instructor is looking at arranging a short trip to New York to do some training with the founder of the martial art. That would be so cool! I’d love to go! I’d have to get over my total fear of flying though. I used to be find with flying. Until I started having recurring plane crash dreams. Funny, that..

Anyhoo. Things are going well. I have decided to put myself forward for election in May as a Parish Councillor. I feel I could possibly make a difference, and it could be interesting. I was actually tempted to put myself up for election to the local council, but that would probably be too much work at the moment. I am quite busy.

Photography class finished tomorrow, so that will free up one evening a week. But I do have to schedule in three runs a week so I can begin training for the Great North Run. I could probably do that Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and take Sunday off from all exercise. I am going to have to schedule time in to do housework too!

There are a couple of little niggles at the moment (aren’t there always??).. One is my weight (again). I’m struggling to stick to the diet, even though I stuck to it for one week about a fortnight ago and managed to lose 9lb! I really need to sit down and work out what my targets are this time. i need a proper focus to lose the last of the weight. Something that will encourage me to stick to it this time!

I’m also looking at other jobs. I don’t want to let down my current company, but I’m only funded until the end of June. I have been looking for part time work, so I could do another job on a part time basis and reduce my hours where i am now so I could eke out the funding a bit longer. But I have seen a couple of jobs I’d quite like to go for. One of them is a real career step, which would be nice. But it would mean commuting into London (which I would definitely NOT like).I like being able to cycle to work. But anyway. I’m wondering whether to apply for them. I’m kinda torn..

And that’s my life at the moment! Amazing what a difference a week can make, isn’t it? I’m glad I’m feeling better. I was getting a bit sick of being so miserable!

Thanks for all the nice messages guys. It was really encouraging and it does help :)

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I am sitting here on the sofa in my dressing gown. I have not been outside since Saturday.

I am not coping

I went to the Doctor on Friday. I had seen the signs. I had noticed the lack of energy, the need to sleep, the complete lack of engagement and interest in hobbies. The lack of motivation and the constant fear of breaking into tears. I have lost count of the number of times I have cried over the past two weeks.

I am not coping

The Doctor was a young man. He sat opposite me with his legs wide, leaning back, with his hands arched together, and asked me questions about my mental health. I asked for a referral to a therapist, as, going by previous experience, it has been the only thing which has made a significant difference. He asked me what exactly the problem was, what set it off, what thoughts I was having and where this all stemmed from. Then he told me to quadruple the amount of antidepressant I’m currently on.

I took the prescription and took it to the pharmacy. And left the box sitting on my bedside cabinet until today. I have fought long and hard to come off antidepressants and I was on the last stage. The last stage of a VERY long battle. By instantly increasing the pills, it just destroys everything I have worked so hard for. It’s a massive step backwards. And I’ll have to restart the whole reducing the pills process again. I dread the anguish, the emotional pain and the fear that entails. I Do Not Want To Do It Again.

But I’m not coping

So I took the pill.

I went out for a meal on Saturday to celebrate someone’s birthday. Sunday afternoon I became ill. Terrible stomach cramps, runny poo and vomit. Not pleasant. I have been off work for 2 days now and have only just started to eat again. I can’t tell now whether I am still off work because of the stomach bug or the depression. I want to sleep, to escape into tv, to hide.

I am frustrated and disappointed. I know, logically, that this is an illness. That if I had any other physical pain I would take a pill / get some treatment and deal with it. But I still feel guilty for being ill. I have a mountain of work to do and the longer I stay off work, the worse it gets. I have a deadline of next Tuesday for some important work. And sitting at home is not going to get it done.

I feel that I have let everyone down, that I am unreliable and useless and just.. well.. a pain in the ass really. I hate being unreliable. I have commitments now. I have a life. I can’t afford to just disappear into a depression. I can’t afford to take time off work.

But I’m not coping

And I’m not really sure how to rectify that…

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Back to basics

Well, I’ve started a diet again! I’m going back to a diet rather than just healthy eating, as I need to reeducate my body on what a normal portion size is. And I need to rediscover just how great natural food tastes. Fruit, nuts and vegetables all have their tastiness reduced by eating refined sugar and fats and I’d like to get back to a world where fruit tasted like the most AWESOME thing in the world! Plus I’m booked to go to Center Parks in a few weeks and have paid for lots of physical activities. I need to get back my fitness in order to enjoy it! (and fit into my clothes properly again..).

I’m hoping that eating better will improve my mood, which has been quite low recently. I worry a lot about my lack of motivation in work. I have been trying to write a training course for over a month now and it still isn’t written. I just don’t seem to be as productive as I could be. Maybe I just need some time off.

My plan is to cycle the long way to work as often as I can in the next few weeks, plus I’m hoping to start my running training very soon. Someone told me about a really good podcast to help non-runners get to running 5k. It’s called ‘Couch to 5k’. So I’ll be trying that as soon as I can figure out how to fit it into my week..

In other news, Mrs Pillows and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary this week. It seems like we have been together SO much longer (in a good way). I can’t really remember a time without the Mrs! I repinkified my hair last week too. It needs doing again already, but I still haven’t been able to find any permanent pink hair dye.

Apart from that, life goes on as usual. There’s only a few more weeks of photography class left, so I’m looking around for new projects and inspiration. I’ve already found a couple of things, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with taking photos. I’m hoping that practice makes me a better photographer!

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You do it to yourself, you do. And that’s what really hurts..

I worry that this blog is just going to become a big whinge-fest. Every time I want to blog, it’s when I need to work through something in my head. And that’s usually depressing stuff. But then, sometimes just ‘getting it out there’ helps. I have the blog, so why not use it?

I have realized (yeah – lightbulb moment) why I’m so grumpy recently. It’s because I’ve put on weight. I’m at the point where my most of my ‘new wardrobe’ doesn’t fit properly any more. It’s completely self inflicted – I have chosen to eat crap, and not only that, but to eat it until my stomach hurts and I feel sick. I seem to be consumed by some sort of uncontrollable anger at the moment. And all I want to do is harm myself. so I’m doing it by eating. I can see my achievement and all those new opportunities slipping away with each biscuit I stuff into my mouth. But I don’t seem to be able to stop it. The anger and the need to punish myself seems to be overwhelming at the moment. And I don’t understand it.

I have done well. I’m in a good place. I get regular exercise, I have interests outside of home and work, I am paid enough to pay my bills and I’m in a good relationship. So why am I constantly punishing myself?? And it IS punishment. I was sitting at my desk only a few minutes ago trying to work this out. And that’s when I realized that I could very easily self harm at the moment. I used to use a knife or a razor blade and cut my arms and my legs. Then I MOVED ON. I used to smoke until my lungs hurt instead. Then I MOVED ON. Now I’m eating again. And I realized. I haven’t really moved on at all, have I?

What the hell is wrong with me? Why am I so angry at myself? Why am I punishing myself for NO REASON? All I’m doing is sabotaging everything I’ve achieved over the past couple of years.

I have planned to start eating healthily again from Saturday. On Saturday I will be occupied all day with stuff I enjoy doing and so should create a positive link with eating sensibly. I hope.

At the minute, I just don’t know any more. I need to sort myself out. But figuring out how is more difficult than I thought it would be. I thought that once I lost the weight, the maintainence would just be a case of sticking to normal portions, not overeating, listening to my body and only eating when I’m hungry. It’s really not that easy :(

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Confusing day

Today was confusing. I felt really down for no particular reason.

The day didn’t start off too well. I was meant to get to the bicycle shop for 9am to get my bike in for a half price service. I hit the snooze button too often and so didn’t get there until just before 10am. (I don’t start work until 10am). By that time it was too late to get it serviced and back to me in a day. So I just went straight to work.

I sat at work, unable to be really productive, and just wanted to cry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me at the moment. I seem to have lost all of my confidence and motivation.

The thing is though, that everything is really going well for me at the moment. I do my self defence class twice a week, I volunteer to take photos for the RSPCA once a week, I go to photography class once a week, I have a full time job which covers all the bills with money spare for hobbies and interests. I get regular exercise by cycling to work, I make sure I meet up with friends for coffee on a regular basis and I’m eating healthily. So why on earth do I feel like I’m heading for a crash?? I seem to be getting more and more tired each day that goes by. I’m finding it harder and harder to get out of bed on a morning. This *type* of exhaustion usually means I’m heading for a mental health crash. I was hoping to avoid one for at least another few months..

Maybe it’s just at work that I feel unconfident. Today, I had to rearrange a training course I had booked for next week. There weren’t enough people booked on the course AND I hadn’t finished writing it. I would hate to deliver something that wasn’t of a good standard, so I have rebooked it for next month. That took some pressure off me. And my manager today told me (in supervision), that I was a valued member of the team and that they want to hold on to me. She also said that she probably doesn’t say that kind of thing enough. That was nice, but I was immediately a bit scared. I had put this on my twitter feed earlier today:

Feeling quite down today. Not sure why. In need of motivation and some self confidence.Would be nice4someone2tell me I’m doing a decent job

I worry that she may have found my Twitter feed. Though I’m not *too* bothered about that. I don’t think I’ve said anything on Twitter that I wouldn’t say in person. If I want a rant about work, I’ll use Facebook for that. (I denied her friend request on Facebook and explained that I wouldn’t accept it whilst she was my manager)

I also went to a ‘party’ on Saturday. It wasn’t my kind of party – lots of grown ups standing around talking and drinking – but it was a friend’s 50th and so I wanted to go for her. I’ll be taking photos of her wedding in June so it was a good opportunity to take some practice photos and watch how the couple interact. I got to meet lots of people who will be there in June and I took some nice photographs of the children. I do worry though – the photos I got weren’t great as they were inside in low light and I didn’t use a flash. I suppose I feel a bit of pressure to get good photographs! Well, as long as they work out on the day, I should be ok. I do need to invest in another lens though.. I found the party really hard going. On walking in I felt that awful paralysing fear I used to feel all the time in social situations. I was completely out of my comfort zone and hated it. I decided that I’d stick with the children in the front room rather than interact with the adults in grown up conversation. I ended up spending the evening taking photos of children and explaining the principle of how a camera works to an 8 year old.

I haven’t felt that uncomfortable in a long long time. And it makes me wonder what is going on in my brain at the moment. I have been thinking and thinking and trying to figure out why I’m so down and I can’t pinpoint anything at all. (no – it’s not that time of the month either).

Meh! Maybe it will all be ok in a few weeks,. Maybe I just need a week off work. Or maybe I should just go with the flow and stop worrying about it…

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