Standard Depressive Monologue

August 31, 2007 at 2:14 am 22 comments

I’ve been thinking about suicide a lot these past couple of days. More than I usually do anyway. I find myself randomly coming up with plans. These thoughts don’t bother me in the way suicidal thoughts are supposed to. It’s not an “Oh God! I want to die!” kind of feeling, just weary, exhuasted emptiness: Do this and you won’t have to bother with anything any more. No feeling of escape or release, just a final dumb, screwed-up act of a dumb, screwed-up life.

I’m an atheist, so I don’t believe anything comes next. I wouldn’t want it to.

I can’t imagine getting better. I can’t imagine any of this changing. The thought of having to cope with anything much scares me. I think sometimes of what would happen if my landlord wanted to sell my flat. Having to find another place to live, sorting out rent and so on, moving my stuff there, it all seems beyond me. And that’s pathetic. The sort of person I wish I was is capable. This constant incapability makes me feel so pointless.

And one day I’ll die anyway, so why not just get it over with?

I’ve been fucking my life up since I was 14. That’s 11 years. Even if I get better, how am I supposed to fix a decade’s worth of mistakes?

At the moment I have no money and spend almost all my time alone. It’s a life pretty much drained of possibility. What makes for a fulfilling life? Accomplishments? Relationships? I don’t accomplish anything because I don’t do anything of significance. I’m don’t meet anyone so I don’t build friendships or relationships. Regardless of my own perception, on most scales my worth would be fairly low. I’m poor and very loosely connected into any communities. I’m only vaguely connected to my own family.

And I don’t see any of this changing. I wouldn’t be in this position if I was able to change it as I am today, or as I have been over the last decade. I don’t want to live like this.

But it’s worth waiting to see. 262 days after finding myself in the mental health system and nothing much has happened. But in a couple of weeks I have an appointment with the new CMHT, who might refer me to a psychiatrist, who might think there’s something wrong with me that can be treated, which might be successful, which might end up with me getting better and being able to escape this empty existence. And maybe the PCT will agree to fund my referral to the sleep clinic in London, and maybe they’ll be able to come up with ways to manage my sleep problems which will allow me to live a life that has some correspondence with a normal 24 hour schedule.

I’m not holding my breath for this, but hey, it’s worth waiting, right? And if it doesn’t work, I’ve planned that out, too.

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22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gabriel...  |  August 31, 2007 at 6:27 am

    “I’ve been fucking my life up since I was 14. That’s 11 years. Even if I get better, how am I supposed to fix a decade’s worth of mistakes?”

    Everybody in recovery, mental health or addiction, asks the same question. I did and do… I have no idea where I’ll be in five years, but I do know I’ll be better than I was five years ago. I know that who I am five years from now will be more like the Real Me than the idiot I was five years ago.

    You’ve been in the system for 262 days and haven’t noticed many changes, but that means there have been some. Nothing much happening, means something has been. It took me over 700 days into recovery to notice the big changes, but every six months or so there were little things… like the duration and strength of the “episodes” growing shorter, or being able to go an entire day where my only thought of suicide was “hey, I didn’t think about suicide today”, which was past the 600th day.

    I’ve been in a little more than three years now and I still have major depressive episodes, but two in a year is a lot better than ten before breakfast. Sometimes we get stuck and start believing that because we experience an episode or two, or sit in a chair thinking very hard about who was coming to the funeral, that the treatments are a failure. But if we start making those freaking lists I keep on about we realize we’ve gone longer without those thoughts than with.

    “I don’t want to live like this.”

    Dude, we’re in exactly the same place. I live by myself, and for almost three years the only people in my life were my mother and the girl at the store. What we’re doing requires a certain strength and durability. People don’t stay sober by spending all their time in bars. We have to avoid the people who expect certain behaviours because we tend to live down to the expectations. We start hanging around certain people and we start thinking we are who we used to be, and who we used to be didn’t treat the disease as a Disease. Plus, in my case, there’s a certain level of PTSD so crowds are very difficult for me. But everything I’ve done in recovery to date is another brick in the foundation. So that means a certain level of alone time.

    You wrote how “I can’t imagine getting better. I can’t imagine any of this changing.” Well try. Those depressing visualizations are part of the learned behaviour forced on you by the disease. You’ve been sitting around for twenty years visualizing your death, the death of your friends, your pets, your God, your plants, the bugs in your curtains… try thinking about things you’ve succeeded in… listen, no one really sits around dreaming about their future but because we sit around planning our death for so long we assume dreaming about their futures is something people without the disease do, then we get depressed because when we start our recovery Dreams Of The Future aren’t granted to us by the Get Well Fairy. One day at a time.

    And don’t give me that “I’ve planned that out, too.” bullshit. Of course you’ve planned it out, if you haven’t planned it out fifty-six times by the end of your first year with the disease you were probably mis-diagnosed.

    You will continue in your recovery because you do see some improvement, you may be depressed because it hasn’t progressed as fast as you like — I fully expected to be back at work full time six months after taking my first pill — but it’s a stage we all go through several times as we get better. There’s always a possibility that you may need changes to your regimen, or even that an entire new one may be needed. But none of that, and nothing that’s happened so far, means your recovery to date has been a failure, and now, a dick joke: my dick is so big, it was overthrown by a military coup. It’s now known as the Democratic Republic of My Dick. Laugh it up Chimp. If I can get this far so can you.

  • 2. experimental chimp  |  August 31, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Good advice, but much of it doesn’t really apply to me.

    Thing is, I’m not in treatment and I haven’t been diagnosed. I’ve been treated, which failed in a fairly spectacular fashion (3 days in hospital getting my wrist stitched back together). I’ve been diagnosed by several people, none of whom agree (borderline personality disorder, depressive with borderline traits, personality disorder NOS, cyclothymia with borderline traits). Everyone does seem to agree on the borderline traits, but then the scars are hard to miss and everyone knows that if you cut yourself you’re borderline.

    I may have been in the system for 262 days, but most of that time has been spent sitting in my room waiting for the professionals to do something. The bits of it where the professions were actually doing things have been potentially fatal and my concerns about this as I spiralled into some kind of rapid-cycling self-destruction were ignored. Aside from the sleep thing, which does seem to be headed in a relatively positive direction (providing that the people who have to pay for it agree to do so), the last nine months might as well have not happened. The sum total of the knowledge gained is “SSRI’s fuck me up.”

    I’d love to have a regimen, even if it wasn’t working and needed to be adjusted. That would give me somewhere to start from. As things stand, I’ve been entirely unmedicated for the last three and a half months, following the aforementioned wrist-stitching. I’ve only been on any kind of medication for around 20% of time, both of which did no good at all and one of which ended up with me undergoing reconstructive surgery. I may eventually get to see a therapist for some type of cognitive therapy: I’ve been on the waiting list for seven months so far.

    If the first step to recovery is admitting that you’re ill, then I took that step (actually about five miles worth of steps to the hospital) nine months ago. But I’ve been stuck there ever since (at the first step, not the hospital – I couldn’t have got stuck at the hospital if I’d tried, since they wouldn’t let me see anyone). What I need next is the right diagnosis and the right treatment; getting either has proved to be far more difficult that I ever anticipated.

    I think that’s probably what’s at the root of these feelings. My hopes have to lie with the mental health system, because there’s no other route to recovery: I’ve tried fixing myself and I just screwed myself up more. And the mental health system has, thus far, been worse than useless. They’ve given me no basis to expect any form of competence from them. So maintaining hope that they’ll suddenly come good and give me the tools I need to get better is difficult. The best that I can do is to ignore my doubts and keep trying; there isn’t really any alternative.

  • 3. Gabriel...  |  August 31, 2007 at 8:57 am

    …yeah, but the dick-joke was pretty funny though.

  • 4. thordora  |  August 31, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    I could have written this the other day, when I was feeling exactly the same. I love how you put the suicidal feelings as a weary exhaustion. The only things that keep me here on those days are my family, and some days, even that seems thin.

    I’ve been trying what Gabriel mentioned, bitching back at my disease, and it helps. It’s not perfect, and it’s hard to do when wallowing (which I adore doing I might add) but it works.

    But it’s hard. It’s hard to feel so alone with this shit, to know you’re fucked up, but not know the answer. To be screaming for help and have no one help you.

    I don’t know the answer to that one, aside from becoming a total pain in the ass of the medical establishment or stabbing an old woman in the ass with a tack, but I do know that you have to hunt for help. Which is nearly impossible for people like us, isn’t it? It took everything for me to go to the hospital when I finally broke down. But I had to.

    I don’t have the answers, but I do have an ear, should you need it.

  • 5. el principito  |  August 31, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Hola, quiero sonreir dulcemente a ti y dar un abrazo.

    también me he sentido sin fuerzas para seguir.

    Quiero decir que leo tus palabras, eres una persona con cualidades de escritura, transmites bien tus sentimientos.

    Logre entrar en conexión contigo

    No renuncies a vivir por Favor!!!

    Estoy segura tendras motivos para vivir!!

    A veces no queremos ver, lo bueno que tenemos.

    Aún en medio de la adversidad, aún en medio de la tormenta, podemos ver la belleza de los sueños.

    Aunque sea en nuestra mente podemos crear un mundo bueno, para quienes nos rodean y podemos dar amor.

    El dinero es necesario para comer, para vestir, cubre necesidades, pero no lo es todo.

    Puedes ver belleza en un pajarillo, en un arbol, en una estrella

    Busca el motivo por el cual vivir.

    Si crees en Dios, entonces es bueno pensar que el te creo con habilidades y cualidades únicas.

    El penso en ti antes de que nacieras y te amo y murió para darte vida y eso es una muestra de amor.

    No permitas que el sufrimiento de Jesús sea en vano.

    Sonríe, aunque solo sonrías a ti mismo.

    Es un principio de amor por ti.

    Yo soy un ser extraño en tu vida, le importa a alguien lo que opine?

    Pero yo deseo que tu estes bien.

    Quiero darte mi consuelo.

    Espero mis palabras sean una gota de miel que endulce tu vida.

    Si soy molesta a ti

    Borra este comentario y olvida lo que escribi.

    Cuidate mucho!!

  • 6. experimental chimp  |  September 2, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Gabriel: I can’t argue with dick jokes.You will, of course, have heard the one about the twelve-inch pianist.

    Thordora: Thanks. Patience is not a virtue of mine, but procrastination is, so I find whining about nothing being done my most effective strategy.

  • 7. Cinthia  |  September 6, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    I could have written that. I actually have zero faith in the mental health system and I’m convinced nothing/no one can help me. You and I seem to share the same traits/habits/lifestyles. I have no advice to offer you because well, I have no advice to offer myself either. All I can say is I fully relate to your feeling that there’s nothing left to do. I live from day to day knowing that I’m getting closer to my true purpose in life: to kill myself.

  • 8. experimental chimp  |  September 7, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Cynthia: I don’t think killing yourself is anyone’s true purpose in life. Then again, I don’t think there are any purposes other than the ones people make for themselves.

  • 9. Boy Interrupted  |  October 14, 2007 at 5:31 am

    I’m afraid the mental health system in this country is ridiculous. I always wonder what the psychiatrists et al are actually doing, as they only seem to see patients once every three months for five minutes. There must be an awful huge amount of patients, is all I can say.

    I went to A&E because I was suicidal. My friends took me (I was lucky enough to have good friends) and everything you read always says “Ask for help”. I saw a psychiatrist who told me I was attention seeking. I was sent away with no further help.

    Three months later I finally had my first psychotic episode and it took four friends to hold me down and three policemen to get me into the psychiatric ward. They finally admitted there was a problem and the nurses there seemed apologetic that I hadn’t been taken seriously.

    But on the psychiatric ward, they just stick you on benzodiazepines and “manage” you. The only way you’ll get continuous regular support is if you are consistently psychotic, dangerous, violent or threatening. If you’re just “depressed” and suicidal, you’re much less important than the schizophrenics threatening to kill their mother (which is not to undermine psychosis).

    I haven’t seen a psychiatrist for two years – and it was three years ago I was first sectioned. My social worker would see me every few months and tell me I looked like Marc Almond, then tick boxes to see how “at risk” I was (“Have you self-harmed recently?” “Did the harm require medical attention?”). I lost my flat and my business and became homeless, living between friends. I am now still doing the same, stuck in a B&B full of junkies with my only respite the fact that friends let me stay from time to time (such as now – hence being able to use the internet).

    Believe me, if you think life is bad now – when you have no family or home and you’re still ill, it gets much, much worse.

    Psychological-based therapies are very difficult to receive on the NHS and you’re more likely to end up just being treated with meds. The only meds I found made me feel any better were benzos, which they were happy to prescribe – ridiculous considering they have a very similar mechanism of action, and addiction potential, to the alcohol they chastised me for drinking to self-medicate.

    I don’t really know why I’m telling you all this negative stuff. But I saw all the other patients, I heard their experiences, and there really is no point having faith in the NHS for treatment. Private treatment maybe, but not the NHS. Besides, you’re more intelligent than most of the people who will be trying to help you.

    Just first and foremost, make sure you stay secure in your home and with an income, and you stay connected with family and friends, because once you lose all of those things, then there really is no way out.

    Stay as strong as you can.

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Hi, I'm James. I'm a 26 year old guy from England with bipolar disorder (currently well controlled). I also have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (not so well controlled). This blog has charted my journey from mental illness, through diagnosis and, recently, into recovery. It's not always easy, but then, what is?


Self-righteous note about smoking

As of 12th September 2008 it has been forty five weeks since I quit smoking. So in another seven weeks it'll have been a whole year.

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