Thursday, 15 December 2011

An extended absence

Apologies for my extended absence. On November 1st I was dismissed from my job, with no prior warning, or expectation.

Needless to say, it threw me a little.

Luckily, I'm quite good with big problems, I just get on with trying to solve them. I just don't like letting people know. One good thing about social media, is that I could let everybody who needed to know (family, friends, anybody likely to ask about work!) know in one easy message. And then just ignore it all until I felt ready.

After 6 weeks, I finally have another job.

I originally looked at staying in search; lots of places wanted to interview me, but on hearing that I'd been sacked, or on seeing how little experience I'd managed to gain in the time I was there, didn't want to hire me.

So I looked at going back into schools.

I can now happily say that I will be working in a school as a LSA from January. It's only a part time role, and is tied to a specific child, so if he loses funding or leaves, my role goes too. However, I met the child yesterday and he is completely lovely! The school seems very nice. And during the interview the headmistress was very keen for me to be teaching in the future!

The school currently has two GTP students, so it seems hopeful that I can follow my child through to the end of school and then start training to be a primary teacher. (He's currently in yr 5 and next start date is Sept 2013).

Looking back, I've realised that the one thing I regret is doing a secondary PGCE rather than a primary one. It seemed a good choice at the time, but it just wasn't where my heart lay.

So, here's to the future. I may be very poor for the near future, but it looks bright.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Immunodeficiency?

I don't know how many of you still get excited when you see articles about CFS/ME. In fact, if you're anything like me, your heart probably sinks a little. After all, it's usually just more confirmation that we're either all mad, or some of us are mad, or none of us are mad but they're not sure how.

I did think this story was interesting though: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15401746

Mostly, for the very sensible comments of the researchers involved (basically; yeah, it worked. Now let's see if it really works).

Any opinions my fellow sufferers? Or those of you who don't suffer from this?

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A Share

Having a very bad physical health day. More aches and pains than I've had for months and very little energy.

So instead, have a link to a fantastic post on a blog I've recently discovered:
http://aliciajduffy.blogspot.com/2011/10/day-to-day-life-of-being-mental.html

It really struck home with me, having to constantly question your own feelings.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I did it!

So I booked a doctors appointment today. I haven't been sectioned.
Yay! I have however been given a new drug to try; Prozac.

Now, I know that stereotypes are bad but in my mind, Prozac is the
crazy drug. I'm about 99% sure that I think that only because of the
media. After all, it's probably the most famous SSRI and the media
thinks that anybody on an SSRI is either batshit insane or a
malingerer. But even so, there's a little voice in my head that shouts
"see, told you that you're fucked up".

I guess this is one of those times that the CBT comes into play.
Telling the voice to STFU and doing what it takes to get better. Shame
the voice is so persistent.

My own prejudice makes me more determined than ever to try and fight
the myths about mental illness though. I really wish that I had the
energy to be able to volunteer for a charity like Mind or SANE. I see
Purple Persuasion's blog (worth a read if you don't already follow it)
and wish I could do half the things that she does. Or even write half
so eloquently on the important subjects I ignore whilst wallowing in
self pity!

But, the CFS gets in the way. If I work full time, and actually want
to try keep a social life, I don't have the time to volunteer, or even
to write considered blog posts.

Speaking of the CFS my doctor claimed there was nothing could be done
for me. And I was so flustered from admitting to the SA that I just
smiled and nodded. I even forgot to ask for a new prescription of the
beta blockers. Guess I'll see in the next fortnight what effect
they've actually been having.

Speaking of the next fortnight, new medication means dealing with new
side effects, and low dosage means possible low moods. Apologies in
advance if this blog gets ignored, becomes very emo or just generally
becomes unreadable. Also apologies if you know me in RL for the same
things!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Mental Health Week

So, it's National Mental Health Week.

I guess my response is, so what?

I gave a shoutout on my Twitter, to anybody who was not as mentally healthy as they wished.

The BBC and various other news sources will trumpet stories about mental illness. And real people. And the "pain behind the star's smiles" and other such rubbish.

How much of it do you think actually makes a difference?

I know how much I think. Very little. Mostly it's just lip service, or titilation - "look, this person heard voices, now they have a job and partner everything" *rolls eyes*

But at the same time, if even one person who is struggling, sees something that resonates with them, and gets help, minimising their suffering, then it's all worthwhile. Right?

Even if it does make me feel a little bit like a zoo exhibit. Or perhaps an endangered creature.


What do you think?

As an aside, still not been to see the doctor. I keep putting it off, and the difficulty of getting appointments makes it very easy to do...

Monday, 3 October 2011

Now what?

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been very tired and promised my partner that I wouldn’t blog whilst I’m meant to be working. Well, this is my lunch break so hopefully this doesn’t count!

I’m in a little bit of a sorry state at the moment. I’ve developed some god awful cold over the weekend (I’m blaming my boss!) and also had a very late night on Saturday (although I’d kind of prepared by sleeping for 18 hours the night before!).

The night before was also the closest I’ve ever come to actually committing suicide. It scared me a little. Although not as much as it scared my partner.

It wasn’t particularly dramatic. But it was measured, and thought through. And I started going through with it. It was nothing too terrible. I took 4 co-dydramol before my partner found me. Yep. Only 4. Pathetic I’m aware. But not to me. Not when I was doing this, taking a tablet only every time I’d counted to 150 and asked myself if it was what I wanted to do. And the answer was consistently yes. And would have remained so.

So, this scares me.

I should probably make an appointment to see the doctor. I also need to see them to get support with regards to my ME. But I daren’t. I’m so worried that they’ll tell me it’s all in my mind. That I’m a hypochondriac who is wasting their time. I know labels aren’t great, but without my labels, what am I? A fat, lazy cunt who can’t cope with the real world is what.

*sigh*

Thanks if you’ve read this. Please don’t laugh at me for my pathetic SA.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Social Media

I'm currently taking a break from non-blog based social media. And, whilst that means this post probably won't be seen (I normally pimp new posts on Twitter and G+) I thought I'd share my reasons why and a few thoughts in general.

The main reason I'm taking a break from SM is a lack of perspective. I found myself getting upset that tweets weren't being replied to, or that my status update got 3 comments and such-and-such's got 52. I started thinking that it was because I wasn't worth talking to, or that I was inherently less valuable than them.

Obviously, this is absolute rubbish. The 52 comments could all have been telling the person what a dick they are. Unlikely, but possible. The association between comments/tweets and popularity or being liked, is (almost) entirely in my head. And whilst logically I know this, I think I need some time away to try and truly see that. (BTW - I'm just as bad with this blog, I stress constantly about the lack of comments or links to it and such like).

Part of this stems from various issues I had at secondary school. Children are cruel and I was a little bit stupid. Perhaps one day I'll expand on that, but for now, it's enough to know that I was left with absolutely zero self esteem. I put on an act. I pretended. And eventually I got some back. But even now, nearly 10 years later, I still feel like I'm unworthy of being liked, let alone loved. I assume that people put up with, rather than enjoy, my company.

If I've ever gotten in touch with you, feel privileged. I hate to initiate contact, I assume people will be pissed off by hearing from me. I always assume people talking to me in groups/when I'm out etc. are just being polite and can't wait to get away from me in actuality. Slowly, I'm starting to feel less like that. On good days I even admit I might have friends. But most days? Most days I assume that everybody secretly hates me and wants me to leave them alone.


Thursday, 25 August 2011

Who cares?

I suddenly feel overwhelmingly suicidal. I know it's not going to happen (see previous posts) but it doesn't change the feeling.

The problem is, who do you tell? Do I tell me boss? Let him know that the reason I'm sat here, doing no work but clawing at the desk is because I desperately want to be clawing at my body instead? That I don't want to go home because I don't trust myself to be there alone, and so, despite the lack of productivity, being at work might be best for me?

Do I tell Twitter? Reassuring messages might be a good thing, but I don't want everybody knowing. I feel awful enough as it is.

Facebook's a definite no - too many family I don't want to know anything

So I've turned to here. Bizarrely the most public of all the places

But also the least frequented

So I'm rambling at you, my imaginary reader

It's you I'm telling that I could go home via three separate pharmacies with ease

That there's a tool shop I could buy stanley knives from around the corner

That my nails would feel delicious pulling along my skin

That the car park below my office window is calling to me

I don't know what to do

One Day

One day soon I'm going to die.

It's probably going to be at my own hands.

And nobody will cry

Because I'll have deserved it

A Day In The Life

Inspired by my friend Dave and this post, I thought I'd give a few snippets into my daily life, and the choices I make.

Firstly; wake up? Or stay in bed? It takes me about half an hour to actually get up on a normal day. Sometimes I manage to leave the bed and get as far as the sofa, or even into the shower, in less time. But if I do, I'll be stopped for longer later. I always want to stay in bed, there is no day I wake up looking forward to greeting the world. I always feel like I need a few more hours sleep.

Shower or smell? There are days when my energy is low that the extra 20 minutes in bed that not showering will give me are justified in my mind against the fact that it makes me a grubby bum! So, sorry world, I'm afraid I will smell.

Which tube station? It sounds daft, but I live equidistant between two tube stations. One is up a hill, the other requires me to walk across a footbridge and therefore climb steps. Lately, I've been choosing the hill because I've been leaving with my partner and he prefers that station!

Which train? Trains come to the station from two ways, one the main line, the other a single station up. This means that the trains from Mill Hill are always empty; I'm guaranteed a seat. However, they don't go via the correct branch. I have to decide every morning whether I need the seat for most of the stops or the convenience of not having to change and wait for trains at Camden. Usually, being able to sit is what I pick.

Bus or walk? My office is a 15 minute walk from Kings X. Easy enough to do, yet most days I choose to get the bus because that 15 minute walk can be enough to tire me out for hours. Of course on the bus I have to suffer the glares of people who are pregnant or slightly older because I'm sitting in a seat, especially if it happens to be a priotity seat. They are for those "less able to stand" and trust me, I am less able to stand than most people! People seem to think that unless you have a wheelchair you're not disabled (but that's a rant for another time!)

Stairs or lift? My offiice is only on the second floor, and when I get in the lift, people give me funny looks for pressing floor 2 and some of my colleagues laugh at me. But, using the lift rather than the stairs each time helps me save just those little bits of energy that help me make it through the day.

By this point in the day my head has usually begun to pound. The low grade ache I always have has become a continued thud and I reach for the painkillers. Which leads to the next question; to codeine or not to codeine? The codeine does more to remove the headache than OTC medications, but it's also highly addictive. I have to bargain with myself about when I'm alllowed codeine.

I struggle through my day at work, often spaced out, sometimes barely able to keep my eyes open. Coffee and energy drinks are friends, if not always effective.

Then comes the time to go home. I have all the same issues as the journey in before I'm finally home.

Once I am I have to decide rest well or actually see my fiance? Some days, like the past 2, this is no choice. I get home and fall into bed, yesterday I nearly didn't have enough energy to make food (a sandwich with shop bought sandwich filling). But most days this is a choice I have to make. And a horrible one it is too.

Then, I sleep, the alarm goes off and it all begins again.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bad Times

Currently really struggling with energy levels.

Headaches are being helped a little by the beta blockers and codeine. It's getting a bit silly trying to decide whether to have a headache or risk the codeine addiction though! Fingers crossed this will be a short term problem and the headaches will become much less common.

My main struggle now is energy and concentration levels. Both are currently rock bottom. I'm happy to hear suggestions to help with either. I won't guarantee I'll try it, or that I haven't already tried it, but I'd like to hear them anyway.

I'm struggling at work because of it. It's making me actually consider seriously whether full time work is right for me atm. Unfortunately, money-wise and self-esteem wise I don't think I have a choice, whether it's right or not. I know that even if it's affecting my physical health a little my mental health would be affected much more by the admission of inability.

It's always a case of balancing the scales and sometimes I just want to tip the scales over!

A blogger over at Purple Persuasion (http://purplepersuasion.wordpress.com/) did a great post I shared about "Ten things not to say to a depressed person", and, I just want to say a huge thank you to everybody, because 99% of the time, none of you say those things. Nor do you remind me how much worse it could be, how many friends you know with ME/CFS/Fibro who can't get out of bed etc. I think those stories are meant to make a person thankful, but in my case they just make me feel absolutely awful that I'm complaining and that you don't take me, or my suffering, seriously.

With my energy levels being so low, I've found I've been mentioning my CFS a lot around the office. It makes me feel bad. I'm never sure how much is the right amount of explanation and how much just looks like I'm trolling for sympathy. I mean, whilst I do want sympathy (after all, who doesn't?), that's not why I'm telling people.

This weekend is the bank holiday weekend. I'm glad of the extra day off. So, so glad.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Doctors

It's been asked of me before why I feel comfortable telling things to the whole world via my blog that I don't feel comfortable telling a doctor.

There are many answers I could give to that question. But there are two main ones.

The first is that I've had some bad experiences with doctors. For instance, when I first started suffering from depression I finally felt that I should go to the doctor (my SI had escalated to a new point for me and it scared me). I never even got the opportunity to mention this to the doctor. Upon hearing that I couldn't sleep, couldn't concentrate and was worried I'd fail my exams and then be a failure at life he told me to take a hot bath. That was the entirety of his advice. Oh, and to revise less. Considering I'd just told him that there were days I couldn't even get out of bed to go to school, I'm not sure why he thought I was revising too much!

It had been a huge step for me, going to the doctor. I already felt like it was something I shouldn't be feeling and should just get over with. Or a bit of a hypochondriac with "med student syndrome" as we'd not long covered depression and its treatments in my Psychology course. The dismissal without listening to me had a profound impact on me.

The second reason is less tangible than the first, but related. It's because I have an image in my head of who I should be. And that person is strong, self sufficient and doesn't ask for help. She certainly doesn't want to die, or be so weak as to SI/abuse alcohol or any of the other things I do. Speaking about it on here allows me to disassociate from my problems slightly. I could be writing anything, it could be fiction. But I'm still talking about it. Linked to my image of myself is my image of mental health problems. Logically I know there's nothing wrong, but for me there's a big leap between someone being a little depressed and someone being suicidal. And it's a standard I apply only to myself.

If somebody I know admitted to being suicidal I would worry for them and offer all support I could. Whereas I feel that for me it means I'm weak and selfish and should be ignored.

So, Wednesday when I went to the doctors I made a promise to myself. I would answer the questions I was asked honestly. As honestly as I do when I fill in the HAD tests and other things on the CBT site.

And then, the doctor was a locum. He listened, which was good. But there was no assessment of my mental state.

In a way, I enjoyed feeling empowered. I was asked for my opinion of my treatment and the pros/cons of changing AD were discussed. (I've been having considerably more bad days than good days lately, and I felt something needed to change).

For those who care, the result was that I'm now back up to the maximum daily dose of Citalopram, I'm back up to 3x daily on the beta blockers and I also have a prescription for co-drydamol (which I would love to hear about people's experiences with).


Monday, 15 August 2011

CFS Treatments

Having a bit of a shit mental health day. Contemplating change, which I cannot stand, and feeling the need to completely withdraw from people. Going to try not to, as it tends to make me worse, but if I do stop talking to you (not that I talk to many people anyway) then just gently prod me to let me know that you do want to talk to me.

Should be working right now, but, can't focus enough. On the verge of tears and just feeling pretty low.

So instead I thought I'd post my thoughts on something I saw a while back and tweeted about but never further expanded upon.

I read this post on the BBC news website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14326514

For those who don't want to click for whatever reason it's about a scientist who is researching the cause of ME in the hopes of bettering treatments. Except he's being sent death threats. By people with CFS/ME!

The reason? He's looking at possible psychological causes for the condition.

Now I don't know about anybody else, but personally, I would be more than happy to be told that CFS was a psychological syndrome and there was treatment for it. Much more than I am with the general waftiness there is about the condition atm.

It seems people think that being told a condition is psychological somehow diminishes its "realness" and are offended by the thought that their suffering isn't real.

Whilst I can see where these people are coming from, I truly hope that it doesn't stop people researching the condition (from whatever angle).

What do other people think? Especially those of you who are fellow sufferers.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Sleep

Firstly, apologies for lack of replies to my last post. I will reply, but, at the moment I'm thinking hard about what was said.

Partly that, and partly I just haven't had chance.

As you may have guessed from the title, this post is about sleep.

You know, that thing you look forward to at the end of the day?
When your body and mind get a chance to recover, and rest.

Where you wake up ready to face the world for another 18 hours.


Unless of course, you suffer from a chronic fatigue disease.


Last night I slept for 14 hours. Whilst unusual for a weekday (I'd gone home ill from work), 14 hours is around the minimum I will sleep on a Friday night and Saturday night.

There were times, before I learnt to manage my energy a bit better that I would sleep for 20 hours.

Imagine that if you will.

I'm sure that for some people it seems like bliss! After all, imagine having the opportunity to sleep for so long. Means no responsibilities to be seen to, nothing to worry about.

Think again. This happened when I was at uni. During my third year. I had lectures to attend, two dissertations to write as well as countless essays.

So, I suppose you could say, not as important as a job. But still something that needed to be done.

But worse than that, imagine sleeping for that long and waking up feeling just as tired as you did when you went to sleep.

Imagine that all your usual aches and pains have magnified from you being in the same position for so long.


Now you're starting to understand how I feel.

It frustrates me. It frustrates me so much. I used to get by on around 4/5 hours sleep a night. I just didn't need any more. Now, if I'm under the weather in any way, there are days when I'm only awake for 5 hours!

I will now thank my lucky stars that, unlike some people with CFS, I don't suffer from insomnia. I think, that that might just be enough to send me to the edge.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Suicide

I'm far too much of a coward to ever actually commit suicide. Or maybe, just too thoughtful. I wouldn't want to ruin people's commutes, or scar a train driver/driver for life. I wouldn't want anybody to have to go through the trauma of finding my body.

Despite that, I often contemplate suicide. What would be the best way? Would I want to go out in pain? Really feeling my last few moments alive? Or a more peaceful, pass out and just never wake up?

My answers to those questions tend to depend upon how much the thoughts are triggered by self hatred and how much are triggered by apathy and a general feeling that the world would be better off without me.

So, when the doctors ask "have you had suicidal thoughts recently?" I always answer no. Even though I have these thoughts at least once a day. There's something about admitting to suicidal thoughts that, to me at least, tips it over the edge from being "normal" to being something that requires intervention.

I have images of being in a Victorian-esque asylum, in a strait jacket with padded walls and somebody watching me constantly.

It seems that even to me, somebody who has them, admitting to suicidal thoughts is still a stigma. And if it's like that to me, what must everybody else think?

Comments are especially welcomed on this post (they're welcome on all posts anyway, but thought I'd make that clear!)

Sunday, 7 August 2011

So Tired

I've used this phrase a lot lately, but, to quote Anastacia out of context; I'm sick and tired, of always being sick and tired.

Today is the first day in nearly two weeks that I don't feel like my head is trying to explode. I still have a slight ache, but that's almost constant nowadays. The problem is, how much sympathy can people have for you when all you do is complain?

I try not to whinge too much, I really do. But sometimes, I just have to.

The other problem of course is, how do you explain to your boss that the reason you're sat staring blankly at the screen is because your head hurts so much you're worried moving it might make it pop open? Sure, for one day that's fine. Maybe even for two. But when that's been happening for nearly a fortnight, your boss is going to start thinking that something needs to happen, else you're just a waste of space.

And I'll be honest, a waste of space is what I feel like right now.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will be aware that I asked people to tell me something I'm good at. I did that because I honestly cannot think of one thing I'm good at. Sure there are things I can do, but there's nothing I'm good at. I feel very bland and uninteresting. It's like, if I were to disappear, there wouldn't be any huge problems. I wouldn't be hugely missed by anyone except Daniel. There's nobody else who I really connect with often enough or deeply enough for them to miss me.

The comments I got on Twitter were nice. But also served to remind me that, even the things people associate as being what I'm best at, are just things that I'm mediocre at.

I'm never going to set the world alight. I'm never going to blaze a trail.

But I want to. I want there to be something that's MINE. Something that everybody knows I'm amazing at.

This is slowly becoming a random whinge rather than a coherent post, so I shall end here. Expect more thoughts on these topics though.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Sometimes

Sometimes everything's A-OK
Sometimes I wish it would all go away
Sometimes I smile, I laugh and sing
Sometimes I cry at everything
Sometimes I'm fine, I'm great, I'm alive
Sometimes I don't think I'll see 25
Sometimes I hope that it's all been done
Sometimes I wish that I had a gun
Sometimes I need a hug and a kiss
Sometimes, all I need, is this


Thursday, 4 August 2011

No Longer Teaching

So a lot has happened since I last posted.
For one, I was failed by my tutor on the PGCE. My lack of disclosure with regards to my CFS and depression was cited as a reason for this. I tried appealing, but apparently they were within their rights to fail me for something as nebulous as "lacking a certain something".

I think I coped well with this. Having wanted nothing but to be a teacher since the age of 7 this was, obviously, a huge disappointment to me. There were tears aplenty, lots of raging. But despite this, and mostly thanks to the support of my amazing fiance, I didn't sink into a serious episode. Admittedly, I did watch the whole of the first series of Glee in a few days whilst feeling sorry for myself, but, I can think of worse things to do!

Various stints in childcare followed, before I started working as a TA in a school whilst trying to find a paid training position.

I did that for just under two school terms. Eventually, I got fed up of the low pay and the verbal and physical abuse I was receiving from the children. I decided that a change of career was necessary, before I was too run down to work anywhere.

So now, I'm working in Digital Marketing. The days are longer, but the emotional strains are less.

I will post for longer tomorrow, but for tonight I'm stopping. I need to sleep, again.

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