How is this in my head?

I am so so so so so tired.  Like I feel like I can’t even lift my arms up.


I worked from home today so got a lie in compared to normal.  I had a 3ish hour meeting and then drove back home.


All I can visualise in my head is the blood test results showing there is naff all that is physically wrong with me.  Therefore this is my brain doing this to me and I don’t understand how.  How can it be making me feel this tired on its own?  I feel like I’m in some sort of virtual reality headset where my body is sat there wanting to go the gym, ready to run and then my mind is just hiding that from me.


The lying about why I was off continues.  It still links back to the fact I don’t want people to think I can’t cope.  But I can’t cope I guess which is why I’m where I am.


I don’t think it’s possible for anyone in the world to hate me as much as I hate myself. Or at least I hope not.  There isn’t a single thing in the world that I don’t beat myself up for.


My counsellor told me on my first appointment is that depression is just anger turned inwards and I think it makes a lot of sense.  There are a lot of things that have happened to me in my life that I think I’ve never got to be angry about… either because I didn’t know what was going on until it was too late (ex cheating with someone I considered a friend etc) or I wasn’t allowed to express it (daddy issues).  I suppose some of it is that you get too fucking tired to be angry.  The idea of being angry feels exhausting.


I keep getting asked by medical people if my sleep is alright and I’ve been thinking about that because they keep saying it’s quality over quantity.  I went to sleep at 12 last night and woke up at 7/8.  That’s not bad timewise and if I wasn’t working I would have kept going but still… here I am.


I can’t imagine that if I’d taken the medication they wanted to give me that I’d feel any less energetic.  I suppose I’d be more.. numb but I don’t see how that would help with my energy.  Again, brain chemistry.


My desparate urge is to go and grab caffiene but diet cola is the devil and I’m trying to stay away from it.  Trying to eat more healthy things… emphasis being trying.  I can hear it’s sweet song of promises from the shop down the road so it’s a good job I’m so tired.
When I last went to see my counsellor she asked me when I felt like this all started… I feel like when I was 10..  This means that for about 1/3 of my life I’ve not been plagued by mental health issues (as far as I can remember)… this 1/3 being inclusive of time when I was a baby.  Part of me worries that I won’t recognise myself if I do get sorted.  Part of me feels like feeling like utter shit, feeling in a black abyss is part of who I am.  Does that even make sense?

Work work work work work

I went back today.  Setting the alarm and waking up at 6.30 was more painless than I’d expected.


The drive to work was less so as my inner monologue went straight onto Grin bashing and bothering.


Got to work.  Inhaled.  Went up to see my boss clutching my dr’s note.  He took it off me and shoved it straight in his briefcase without looking.  It was then I had one of those moments where if it was a video game the cutscene would be paused and there are two options:

1 – Lie about what is actually on there and hope he doesn’t notice and/or look at it

2 – Deal with the situation.  Be honest


I chose number 2…  I think all those years at Catholic school make me masochistic.  He just looked at me when I told him that it was depression and that I was getting it sorted.  He changed the subject.  Which I guess is fine… but I’d been gearing myself up for a fight or something.
What I didn’t know is that it was a case of Grin’s brilliant timing (as usual) and about five minutes before I’d charged up there to declare my mental health problems someone had handed their notice in… so to say I wasn’t top of his priority list is an understatement.

I told him that I was going to try and work from home more, I can’t remember if I said I was having counselling or what I said but I said something like that.  Working from home didn’t go down very well… which I could understand if I didn’t live an hour’s drive away.  It was then that a line in the sand was drawn in my (broken) mind and I knew that if he was going to make me choose between my mental health and his job then he could get fucked.


So that was one down… still had to ring up my mentor who is ex-army and who I was sure was just going to tell me that depression was an excuse and a weakness.  Instead he was really supportive and helped me come up with a plan as to what I was going to occupy myself with.  I wanted to hug him down the phone.


I didn’t cry at either ‘outing’ of me and my many issues.  I obviously didn’t go into them in great detail but it was a fear I was going to.  It seriously felt like I was having to confess to being an alcoholic.  I just had visions of me going into work ‘Hi I’m Grin and I fantasise about dying and would rather be in bed with the curtains drawn than interacting with humanity’.  I suppose the problem is that everyone has their own theory/idea/schema about what depression is.


I didn’t tell any of my co-workers for fear that I would be the ‘depression lady’ or that it would be used to explain my behaviour at any given opportunity, write me off etc etc.  I didn’t want to be that person.  So I’ve spent most of the day lying.  It’s fine, I worked in customer services so I’ve got very adept at it.


I did however state proudly that I’m a ‘high functioning’ depressive.  I don’t know if it’s better or worse.  I guess what I was trying to say was ‘I can still work.  I need to live.  I bought expensive things for my house and I have a credit card’.


Now I want to sleep for a million billion years.  Instead I will productively shoot people in the head on FarCry 4.

Don’t date

Or at least not while you’re suffering from depression.


If you do then you’ll find yourself driving to Asda at 1am to buy pizza because you didn’t have time to eat between your first counselling session and a date that went badly.  The fact it went badly will feel like it has confirmed all the terrible things you say about yourself.  You will drive fast and play David Bowie obscenely loudly and scare the guy driving an Audi in front of you.


This is of course after crying for two hours.  I’m glad I bought a gel eye mask recently so I don’t look like I’ve had an allergic reaction tomorrow.


The kicker to this is that I have this theory where I feel like I shouldn’t give up trying until I’m ‘fixed’.  But after tonight…  I thought it was going well, apparently it wasn’t.


I spent two hours screaming at the universe and asking why I was alive.  Would the void kindly like to explain why I was alive when I was more than happy to be dead.  If some sort of body/energy/life force swap was available then surely it would be fair for some poor terminally ill kid to have my life energy and I could die for them.  Surely there is some parent somewhere wishing for this.  Why can’t I donate my life energy like I could do with a kidney?  Or maybe that’s the most selfless way to commit suicide.  I could sign up to every spare organ donation thing going (bone marrow, kidney… lung?) and hope it goes wrong for me so they get my organ, I die… everyone is happy.


So I did all of my screaming, crying and full on tantruming about the fact I’m too much of a pussy to kill myself and the forces of the universe won’t just wipe me off the face of the earth.


Got up off the floor, started laughing manically and now I’ve just eaten a pizza at 2am.  I’m going to try and stay up till the sun comes up.


If there really is a reason why I’m alive I’d really like to know.  Till then I guess there is 1am pizza.


Times I have sought help for my life about my depression in the past 29 years of my life: 1

Number of people I have spoken to about how bad I feel that are friends/family: 2

Number of strangers I have had to talk to, in depth, about how suicidal I’ve been feeling and what I was planning on doing in the past week: 5


So my blood tests came back fine.  Absolutely fine.  100% green.

I was sat in the Dr’s office looking at the computer screen desperately trying to find the place where it said that it was my thyroid or I had diabetes or I was born without serotonin.  Nope.


So now I am in a surreal place where it is confirmed to me in 100% green writing that 100% of how I am feeling is to do with my brain, my past and whatever else may be going on for me that wasn’t tested for.  I just can’t comprehend it.  The other week, when I started off on this jolly escapade, I physically crawled out of bed.  I went to the Drs and cried because I was so, so physically exhausted.  Except it wasn’t physical.  My body was there doing everything it needed to, all the systems were functioning away without a problem… and yet…


I had to go back for a sick note to get this week off work, which I was dreading.  I couldn’t have gone back to work today.  I was woken up by the alarm I’d set for two hours later than  the time I’d normally be setting it to do the commute (in order to ring to try and run the appointment gauntlet).  I then went back to sleep, clocking up a fine total of 11.5 hours.  I then woke up again to try going to the Drs and standing in line in order to get an appointment for the afternoon and was successful.


The Dr looked about 14.  I’m not exactly 95 but oh god…


I did the thing where I made lots of jokes. I was asked (again) about whether I had suicidal thoughts etc etc.  I told the truth, I made my jokes.  He told me that I didn’t come across as being under any immediate threat.  On some levels this is true.  On many other levels this is fucking untrue and I wanted to scream.


I can understand that all these medical professionals need to go through their processes.  I used to work for a big corporation.  I know a lot about paperwork and processes.  This does not mean however, that having to force myself to tell complete strangers about how much I want to die and then be told ‘you don’t want to die enough’ over and over does not help me.


So I have my sick note.  It says ‘low mood and stress’.  I asked for it not to say this because contrary to what I have been doing for the last week I don’t want to discuss my mental health with people.  I wanted a nice generic ‘virus’.  I suppose ‘low mood and stress’ is better than ‘admitted to coming home and lying face down on the floor in her hall’ or ‘is wondering whether this note is going to impact on the shotgun licence she is still considering applying for’.


I am now stressed about the note.  So I guess the note is correct about the stress part.


But on the plus side… 100% not diabetic.  So you know, swings and roundabouts

I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth

I really need to learn the whole of that damn soliloquy.  It pops into my head a lot.  I didn’t get to do Hamlet in school but when we did Macbeth I got made to learn the ‘tomorrow’ one…  I still remember it.  I also remember being marked down by the teacher because I hadn’t put the punctuation in the right place… yeah she was a bitch.


Apparently the main bit about Hamlet is the way it looks at depression and that soliloquy pretty much sums it up.


Friday night was not good.  I was trying to sleep and couldn’t.  I wanted the complete void that comes with sleep.  I remember when I fainted for the first time when I was a teenager the way the black spots expanded and then there was… nothing.  Just black.  I was somehow still aware in there somewhere but there were no thoughts.  It was like I was put on pause.  I woke up on the floor with one of my fellow co-workers looming over me.  The main thing I remembered was the peace.  I suppose this is something you can achieve with an isolation tank and some meditation but I’ve never found it again.


It’s why I laughed at one of my atheist friends when he said the only reason people have religion is because they’re scared of dying.  Not true with me.  If I get to the other side and there is just that same blackness I’ll be happy.


I had to go to a friend’s party.  It’s an excellent example of my game face.  I rolled up exactly on time [after getting there early to fix my make up because I’d been crying in the car on the 3 hour drive].  I drank with the rest of them, making conversation with people I hadn’t met before that night [buying my own drinks, no alcohol thanks], I sang along to the band we went to see and bought other people drinks [the whole time feeling like I was in an insolation bubble where the music wasn’t touching me, the people around me were lollipop sticks with faces painted on].


I’m terrified I’m going to lose my job for being off ill for two weeks.  Especially as I don’t want to disclose the reason why as saying you have depression is pretty much saying ‘unreliable’ and ‘weak’.  They ignore the fact that you’ve been dragging yourself through a mental swamp for years with pure stubbornness.  They ignore that you’ve been selling yourself every day, all day and not showing a hint of the fact every day on the drive home you’ve been considering smashing your car into the crash barrier at 70mph.  But you don’t because you might just end up in hospital with no car and other people’s deaths on your conscience.


Part of me, some weird masochistic part I guess, loves the fact I’ve been ‘getting away with it’.  Like it somehow makes me even stronger that I have all this horrendous shit in me and no one can see it.  I think it links in to a lot of stuff in the past.. no doubt the counselling will let me know.


So I’m off to learn this soliloquy… good excuse to watch the David Tennant version of Hamlet again.

Grinning at the darkness

So there is apparently a thing called ‘smiling depression’.

I know this because my mom practically ran at me waving articles in my face, except this was on the internet so it didn’t happen exactly that way.

The jist of it is along the same lines as people who are anorexic but are really good at hiding it.  I am very good at hiding exactly how I feel.  I have been good at this for approximately 13 years.

I will occassionally not be very good at this.  Will self combust in the privacy of my own home and then will slowly glue the pieces back together again.


I don’t see it as smiling depression.  I see it as the title of this blog.  Smiling makes it sound benign.  Grinning instead makes me think of a rictus grin, a shit eating grin… one that someone has when they have a gun to their head and they’re told to smile.

I highly doubt that any of my smiling, during my ‘smiling depression’ time has been very convincing but then people don’t want to be convinced.  One of the many things you realise in life is that people, generally, are far too busy being buried in their own shit to notice anything actually going on with you.


You know that you are actually not making up your depression when you actually go to a counsellor and they look at the notes they’ve taken, raise their eyebrows and make a noise that translates as ‘hoo boy’.


You know that you are not actually a drama queen when you look at the events of your life, written down in chronological order on paper, and realise that these are not normal.  These are not things that happen to people.


You still feel like a drama queen because despite this you still have functioning limbs and a house and the fact you have a parent that is bothered enough to help you get counselling sessions rather than waiting 6 weeks for an initial NHS consultation.


NHS woman: Have you had suicidal thoughts

Me: Yes

NHS woman: What thoughts?

Me: I want to die.  This is all too much, I’m feeling too much

NHS woman: But what specific thoughts?  Have you made any plans

Me: Yes.  I’ve done a lot of research

NHS woman: You need to tell me the details please

Me: Well it seems like the best way to do things is to shoot yourself with a gun otherwise you’re basically involving other people in your misery and running the risk of brain damage which would be worse.  A shot gun would be best however to apply for a shotgun licence you have to go to the police station and have a good reason and my brain isn’t working well enough to come up with one.  I’d throw myself in front of a train but then some poor guy is going to have to squeegee me off the front of the window and then they’re going to have to ring up asking for counselling [I laugh.  She laughs]

NHS woman: So you haven’t tried to commit suicide

Me: No because I don’t have a shotgun


I am very good at making people laugh.  In the middle of discussing my thorough research into how best to kill myself I genuinely made her laugh.  I consider this is the equivalent of the professional anorexic being able to distract you from the fact they haven’t been eating.


I went through the exact same questionnaire twice.  I am asked to clinically rate my depression on levels of 1-3, 1-8.  I keep getting confused as to which end of the scale means what.


I jump through many hoops. I am a good performing circus dog.


I am told that there is a 6 week wait for an initial consultation.  I am told if I am in immediate danger of killing myself to ring Samaritans (to cry at someone down the phone who can do nothing), to go to my GP (ring at 8.30am, 1.30pm to enter an appointment lottery or sacrifice a black goat and pray to Baphomet for a time of your choosing) or ring the police.  Because I don’t already feel like the biggest drama queen in the world.


The problem with starting to try and deal with these issues is that I have been broken, over and over, and then been trying to glue myself back together in order to function.  To be strong.  To not be needy or weak.  The problem is that the pieces keep getting smaller each time they’re broken.  The glue isn’t very good at sticking just to glue.


I am tired.


I go to counselling.  The counsellor agrees I need counselling.  I go home and contemplate the fact I need to go to work in order to exist.  I try and start sticking the pieces of my joker/rictus/manic grinning mask back together.  It won’t work.