Tag Archives: Depression

Anger Management

Sometimes I get so angry and frustrated with life that I can feel the rage bubbling up. I don’t want to hurt anyone, and I never would, but I want to take myself into the garden and bayonet the hell out of a sack of straw, I think that’d make me feel a whole lot better.

I don’t know where this anger has come from, it’s weird because I’m normally really laid back and have such a live and let live attitude that most things just sort of wash over me. These days I get so angry. I hate made to feel worthless, I hate double standards, I’m usually at the wrong end of the double standard anyway somehow.

I hate being ignored and not listened to. I hate being used, picked up and put down when someone gets bored. The people who do this cannot possibly be my friends, but somehow they are, somehow I give them space in my life and permission to treat me like crap time after time.

I think of myself as reasonably articulate, but people twist my words and use them against me. People think they are superior to me in every way, but if they really were superior to me then they wouldn’t treat me that way.

And the rage, I can’t express it (with bayonets and such like) so I internalise it. It sits inside me and simmers and eats away at me. It feeds my anxiety which fuels my depression and everything, every single thing about this makes me feel terrible. I’m a terrible human being.

Sometimes I think I should go to anger management classes or something, but then maybe I think other people should go to basic manners and pleasant human interaction classes instead, and then that’s two problems solved. If people weren’t complete and utter (insert suitable swear word here), then I wouldn’t feel quite so angry, quite so often.

Is the full moon making me anxious?

The last few days I’ve felt really stressy. I’m riddled with anxiety, and I’m trying to figure out why. The few friends I’ve spoken to about it have also wondered why now. Why? I have no idea. I have no clue what’s set this off and why I’m feeling this way. A chance conversation with a nurse friend made me look out of my window for the answer. Is the full moon making me anxious? Is full moon anxiety a thing?

full moon anxiety - Is the full moon making me anxious?

A quick Internet search suggests it’s very, very possible, but also that it could be in my head because I’m clearly demented for thinking like that. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence linking full moons to changes in behaviour, not just for humans but for animals too. This of course can be explained by science and logic, the extra brightness of the moon at this time disrupts sleep patterns, making people and animals more edgy, tetchy and anxious during the day.

Oh yes, that makes perfect sense, except I live in Manchester, it’s rained pretty solidly for the last 3 or 4 days and you’d be hard pressed to see the moon through the cloud. Also, I’ve slept like a particularly exhausted log recently. So maybe, just maybe there’s something less scientific going on, forces beyond my ken, so to speak.

Whilst trawling the interweb for evidence (essentially googling “is the super moon making me crazy”), I came across this BBC article which pulled together evidence from a number of studies. It concludes that no, it probably doesn’t make you mad. Wikipedia sort of concurs, saying there is some evidence that it does effect human behaviour and that other studies say it doesn’t. Complex this science business isn’t it?

With no firm conclusions thrown at me by the mighty google, I can only say how I feel about it. I think if blaming the moon for my anxiety and current mood makes me feel better, and gives me hope that when the moon becomes less full in a few days I might start to feel calmer again; then I’m going to cling on to that thought.

I’m interested in what you all think of this. Are you experiencing any behavioural or emotional changes at the moment you think might have something to do with the moon? Do you have full moon anxiety? Or do you think it’s all clap trap? I’m genuinely interested in this. If science can’t crack it, I’m darn sure bloggers can!

full moon anxiety - Is the full moon making me anxious?

Is the full moon making you anxious? Is full moon anxiety something you experience too? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts.

Why I Self Medicated with Alcohol for My Anxiety

A year ago when I was just a big ball of anxiety and self medicating with alcohol, those who had trodden the anxiety path before me warned me that alcohol and anxiety don’t mix. I ignored them because I knew better, and besides, there was nothing else on offer to help me, no pills, no strategies, no therapy. They came eventually, but I needed a beer or three to get me through.

The main problem with mixing alcohol with an anxiety disorder, is while the alcohol perks you up, stops you spiralling, levels you out; the morning after your mood drops, the booze messes with your serotonin levels, it dehydrates you and makes you miserable. You might also have drunk enough to make some poor choices. You’re hungover, moody, anxious and now you’ve got guilt about what you did last night too.

The really rubbish thing about self medicating with alcohol is that if you do it for long enough you could end up being an alcoholic. Cards on the table, I like a drink, there’ve been times in the past year where I’ve needed to drink. I’ve binged and binged often. A few people have suggested I have a problem, that I might be a social alcoholic. I don’t think I am, but then that makes me a bit of a cliche, denying it doesn’t it? I don’t drink much any more and I don’t self medicate with alcohol these days. My nights out are rare and I never drink alone in the house.

I’m largely on top of my troubles these days. I have the odd wobble, but I’ve got a fairly sound self-care routine that I can slip into when I need to. It’s human to feel sad or anxious, but it’s when these feelings bubble up beyond normal levels then I need to be watchful of myself.

Why am I writing this? Last night I went out with friends, I intended to have two or three beers and leave it at that. I ended up drinking far more than I planned to. I made a little bit of an idiot of myself and staggered home. I’ve spent the day in bed because I was too hungover to move, and my mood has gradually sunk through the floor.

The anxiety which occasionally bugs me is in full force, I’m practically fizzing with it; my breathing is rapid, I can’t sit still, I can’t focus on anything, I’m a mess. My head is full of negative thoughts, there’s a constant chatter of self hate in my head right now. At first it confused me, why was I feeling like this? Then I remembered alcohol is a depressant and I was able to rationalise what was happening in my head. It’s just chemical reactions, but they’re really messing with me.

A year ago I didn’t know how to stop it and the spiral would continue. These days I’m better equipped to deal with it. Hopefully I’ll self-care my way out of it. I know that chances are I’ll be ok in a few days; but the worry, the fear is always there that my full on anxiety will return and then I’ll be in trouble. This is why I hardly drink these days. I’ve come so far, I don’t ever want to go back.

Mental Health: Why alcohol and anxiety don't mix

 

Recovery: A year on and I’m surviving

It’s been a year since I fell apart. A year since I spun recklessly out of control and off the rails. A year since my mind raced and I struggled to keep up. A year since I made every mistake possible. A year since I begged my GP for help. A year since my GP gave me sleeping tablets instead of the anxiety medication I so desperately needed.

It’s been a year since my husband would come home from work and I’d run out of the house to escape its oppressive walls. A year since I started heavily self medicating with alcohol. A year since I made poor choices. A year since I started cutting myself. A year since I counted the correct number of tablets I’d need to kill myself. A year since I was nearly driven to that.

It’s been a year since I really worried my husband. A year since I worried my family. A year since my friends grew concerned. A year since strangers from Twitter saved me from harm.

It’s been a year since I looked at my son and thought he’d be better off without me.

In the last year I’ve come back from the brink. In the last year I’ve grown stronger. In the last year I’ve discovered heaven and hell. In the last year I’ve learned so much about me. In the last year I’ve tried to atone. In the last year I’ve worked to recover. A year spent in recovery from life.

In the next year I’ll try and get stronger. In the next year I’ll try to be better. In the next year I’ll try to get better. In the next year I’ll recover some more.

Recovery

Being Brave – Anxiety

I have anxiety disorder. I do a number of things to try and keep on top of it and not let it overwhelm me. One of these things is to try at all times to stay within my comfort zone. Whilst this keeps a lid on my fear-of-new-things anxiety, it does limit me considerably. Slowly I try and incorporate “new” experiences and things into my life, on a measured basis and always with lots of friends and support around me.

Today I launched myself far, far outside my comfort zone, and you know what? No one died, no one lost an eye. This girl done good.

Last year I had two spinal operations, they were moderately successful but I’m left with constant pain and I’m limited in what I can physically do. Looking after a lively young boy by myself can be challenging, it’s ok if we stick to the local highways and byways, as I know people can get to me within minutes if I get in trouble.

Today I launched myself off the deep end and we went on an adventure. One hour on the train by ourselves to Delamere Forest, three hours picnicking and frolicking, followed by another hour on the train by ourselves. Pah! That’s nothing, that’s regular parent stuff I hear you cry. But to me, a girl who can’t lift and carry her own child, who can’t chase after him when he goes AWOL, that’s a bloody big deal.

We coped. I didn’t lose my temper once. Eating painkillers meant I could almost keep up with him. He tried to help mummy and be good, as much as a three year old can try to help and be good.

I was heartily glad to get home, exhausted, to the bone exhausted. But we’d had a really lovely day. He’d really enjoyed having fun with mummy. Mummy who rarely joins in with much of the fun and games that other mummies get to do. It was in truth a truly special day.

Apart from really connecting and laughing with my son, the best thing for me is that’s it’s given me confidence to do more things with him, and it’s squashed some of that fear-of-new-things anxiety. Yes, I’ll take a big gulp before I dive right in again, but I know now that I’ll be alright and I can do things, even though the little voice in me tells me it’s too risky, or too hard, or I just can’t cope with it.

I looked fear and anxiety in the eye this morning. This afternoon I punched it on the nose and put it in its place. Today I’m winning.

Anxiety

Mental Health Awareness Month 2014

This May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the UK we have Mental Health Awareness Week, which this year is 12th-18th May. This year the focus is on anxiety which is something which affects a huge amount of people, me included.

Given that a lot of people who Google “Anxiety” seem to end up on my blog, reading about my struggles, mainly with anxiety, but also depression, self harming and suicidal thoughts, I thought it was about time I pulled together an anthology of my misery and musings on mental health.

Some are hopeful and positive, some are me bouncing off the walls bonkers, most are me just getting things out of my head and making me feel better. Have a root around, please have a read about what takes your fancy, ignore what doesn’t. If you find something useful, or something that resonates then great.

If you’re struggling reach out, reach out to a friend, a lover, your GP, The Samaritans, anyone. Someone will listen and although it might not feel like it right now or when you’re in a dark hole, someone will care. You are not alone.

So in no particular order…

mental health

Empty

I’m busy. I’m always out and about meeting people. I smile, I chat, I am genuinely pleased to see and chat to most people. But I’m an introvert, so this is hard for me. I like my alone time. I like the quiet. I like hanging out with just me.

It’s been a busy week, lots of things going on, seeing lots of people, doing lots of things. I do like being busy. I’ve given myself the morning off today to sit in bed and catch up with my thoughts, rest a while and think about projects and personal things. Thinking time is really important to me.

Now I’m thinking. All I can hear is the ticking of a clock and some birds in the trees outside. I’ve been busy and now I’ve stopped, something has been niggling me for days but I’ve not been able to pinpoint what or why. Not until now. Not until I gave myself the space to do it.

I feel empty inside. I feel dead. Devoid of life. Just empty. Don’t get me wrong, when I think about my son I fill up again with love for him, but otherwise, I’m dead inside. Dead.

I know I get like this every so often. Play dead and the snake won’t bite you. I know it’s my way of distancing myself from hurtful or harmful feelings, emotions and situations. Things that will break me if I let them. If I can’t feel them, I can’t acknowledge them and they can’t hurt me. But they do.

They always do.

Even though I’m dead inside.

Dead inside

Mental Health: How PTSD impacts my life

Today we took my son to hospital for his pre-op appointment. In just over two weeks he’ll be having grommets put in both ears. It is by any standards a very simple, straightforward operation. He’s a day case, he’ll be home before we know it. Practically my main worry is the nil by mouth thing, have you ever tried refusing a toddler food? So what’s my problem? PTSD, that’s the tricky little fella currently pecking at my head.

When my son was born we had a rough ride, you can read about it here if you’re keen, but the overview is, tricky pregnancy, very tricky birth, poorly baby requiring some horrific tests. His screams still haunt me.

Afterwards I thought I had PND. I mentioned it to a nurse about 10 months after he was born, I reached out for help and she dismissed me. I struggled on and when he was 18 months old I flipped and finally found a GP who would listen to me. He assessed me and quickly concluded I had PTSD.

It was a fairly textbook case. I have nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance and panic attacks. If I go near a hospital I flip out. If I had to take him to the GP or to see anyone medical I’d panic. I worry for days, have nightmares and then the flashbacks start. 

I’ve sought help. I found a lovely therapist who helped me work through a lot of the hurt and it did get me to the point where I could take him to the GP. But this, this is different. He’ll be in the place where he was born. The place where he had the horrible tests where his screams echoed down the corridors; bringing all the new mums in the post-natal ward to their doors wondering who was harming a baby.

Just thinking about that now while I type it I can hardly breathe. Today went well. His appointment was fine, the nurses were lovely. It couldn’t have gone better. But now we are home, night has fallen, he is asleep in his bed and I don’t have to be outwardly calm and strong for him, the doubts and demons have crept in.

I am full of panic and concern for him. My inability to protect him; guilt that my shoddy DNA means he has to go through this; worry about what is to come and how he will react and how I will respond. I am full to the brim of panic and I hate myself.

I can see it now, it’s like a chain reaction. The PTSD is linked to my anxiety which is linked to my depression. I can see myself spiralling and circling in a mess of self-loathing, anxiety and bitterness unless I pull myself out sharply.

Right now I’m staring out of the window into the black of the night, the cold rain hitting the window, a perfect picture to match my dark mood. But I must snap out of this, if not for my sake then for his. I can’t help but feel that the next three weeks are going to test me and my resilience. Being calm and strong for my son is something I really need to focus on. I can and will be calm and strong for my son.

Mental Health: How PTSD impacts on my life

Read more of my mental health posts here.

The night before my life began again

I wrote this in February and didn’t do anything with it. It was never meant to be a blog post, but I want to share it now, because it seems important that I do somehow.

It’s 11pm on 1st February 2014. I’ve just been standing outside in the dark looking at the stars, watching as the clouds are rushed through the black sky by the wind. I thought of all the skies I’ve seen in the past year. Vivid, beautiful and haunting in their own way. And I cried.

This time last year I’d packed my hospital bag, written letters to my nearest and dearest and said goodbye to my son. The next day I was going in hospital for an operation to fix my spine, stop my pain and give me the ability to walk again. I was prepared to come out either a very different person, or a very dead person. Either way I thought I was prepared. I still cried. I was still frightened but I was ready.

Standing outside tonight I reflected on all that has happened since this night last year. Another operation, pain, infection, depression, rehab, friends loved and lost. And I grieve. I grieve for what has passed. I grieve for the person I was who is now gone, I have a faint memory of her, but I like the person I am now, still flawed, still a bit broken, but I’m a new version of me. Jane.2 if you will.

There’ve been a lot of positives in the past year, but the pain, the physical I can cope with, the emotional less so. The 12 months of turmoil have wrung me out, left me struggling against the tide too many times. I’m broken but I’ve survived. I will continue to survive. What other choice is there? I looked at the sky and I cried, I broke down and cried.

Maybe it is a grieving process, maybe the first year is the hardest. But the sky will change in beautiful ways, clouds race, time moves on, the stars will always shine and I will heal. I will heal.

 

Rejection

rejectionIf you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I have some issues around mental health, most of which centre around my self esteem which took a tumble when I was about 3 years old and never quite recovered.

As and when issues occur, it’s not hard for me to trace their roots back to my self esteem or lack of it. I have a monumental deficit of self-worth and I can’t see that changing any time soon.

This week in the cray-cray mind of Miss Jane, I’ve been wrestling with the thorny topic of rejection. This is not new, I talked about my feelings about rejection in therapy last year, like most things discussed in therapy they take a little while for me to process, this has taken 3 months.

Everyone faces rejection; it’s a fact of life. But not everyone magnifies and twists it like I do, so it becomes something much bigger than it ought to be. Some examples…

I fancy a pint, I say to a friend “let’s go for a pint” my friend says they’re busy but maybe tomorrow. The little voice in my head suggests that my friend hates me because I’m a selfish cow. I’m ugly, unattractive, terrible company, I’m not really their friend, that I’m pathetic and don’t deserve to live.

I ask my husband for a cuddle, he says no because he’s tidying the kitchen. The little voice in my head suggests that he hates me because I’m a selfish cow. He’s bored of me and our marriage. He finds me physically repugnant and can’t bear to touch me. He’s ashamed of me, being with me was a mistake and I don’t deserve to live.

Just two examples there of just everyday brush offs which I mentally work up into massive issues in my head. I know that my husband loves me and is just cleaning the kitchen; I know my friend is busy elsewhere. When I’m sane and thinking straight then it’s all ok, but when self esteem is biting, I really struggle not to have dark thoughts.

When something bigger happens, a greater rejection or a betrayal, then my world crumbles. Then my dark thoughts become a self-harming, suicidal reality.

I almost certainly have Daddy issues (who doesn’t? Take a ticket and get to the back of the queue lady). My Dad is the most difficult man in the world to please. I will never, ever make him happy or proud of me, not overtly anyway, not so he’d ever be moved to tell me or show me.

When I was growing up he rejected me over and over, this and lots of other things destroyed my self esteem. So the little voice in my head that tells me I’m worth so little I don’t deserve to live also, tells me that my Daddy doesn’t love me, and I’ll never, ever be good enough for him or for anyone.

So each and every rejection, small or large just underlines the fact that I am unworthy, I am a terrible, unattractive, miserable, pathetic waste of an existence. Those all might well be true. They might well just be the nasty little voice in my head. I’m trying to find another voice who can defend me, who’ll tell me I’m ok and funny and a little bit cute. It’s a whisper right now, but maybe someday it’ll become a roar.