Monthly Archives: June 2013

I want a clever title but…..

I want to be a singer but I have no voice.

I want to be a musician but I can’t play an instrument.

I want to be a dancer but I have no rhythm.

I want to be a lyricist but I have nothing to say.

I want to be an author but I have no plot.

I want to be a playwright but I have no players.

I want to be an actor but I have no character.

I want to be a journalist but I have no opinion.

I want to be a blogger but I have no readers.

I want to be an athlete but I have no energy.

I want to be an academic but I have no insight.

I want to be a philosopher…..or do I?

I want to be an artist but I have no colour.

I want to be fit but I have no perseverance.

I want to be attractive but I have no-one to look at me in that way.

I want to be normal but no such thing exists.

I am unique….but so is everyone else.

I want to stand out but I blend into a crowd.

I want to be popular but I have no social skills.

I want to be stable but I need anti-depressants just to barely function.

I want to be proud of myself but I have nothing to be proud of.

I want to be happy but I don’t know what would make me happy.

I want to be something……anything……everything.

I want to be……

……..but I’m not.

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“You only get shot, do not miss your chance to blow.”

Disclaimer: I’m not normally an Eminem fan. He has inflicted some awful shite of the world of music. But ‘Lose Yourself’ is a decent tune and that line is jumping out at me recently in relationship to my life. Realistically I had one shot at a university degree. And I blew it.

Your always hear about “it’s never too late to study” and you hear about people going back and doing second degrees, and we all sit back and admire these people because they have dedication and commitment. Undoubtedly they do. But do you know what else they have? Money. All this business about it never being too late only applies if you can afford the enormous costs of going back to doing a second degree. To get this money you need either a rich family/spouse, a lottery win or your own savings. To have savings you need a job. To get a job that pays enough for you to save up and be able to do a second degree before your 100th birthday you need….a good first college degree.  And good = 2.1. Sometimes good even means 1st. But good certainly isn’t 2.2 or lower, at least not according to the academic snobs and HR folk out there. It doesn’t matter under what circumstances you received it, a 2.2 degree just isn’t good enough. And guess what I ended up with?

It doesn’t matter that I was in the top few percent of my peers in terms of second level exam results. It doesn’t matter that I was awarded a scholarship. It doesn’t matter that I chose an extremely difficult course where after just one year our group had almost halved due to people either failing the year or dropping out. It doesn’t matter that I suffered the onset of depression during my undergrad years, to the extent where getting out of bed in the morning became a personal achievement. It doesn’t matter how many other aspects of myself might make me ideal for a particular job. Nope. All completely irrelevant – after all, I’m just a 2.2 holder and therefore not good enough. And even if extenuating circumstances were to be taken into account, what employer out there wants to hire a depressed person? It wouldn’t matter how able to cope I was; hell, the sheer relief of even having a job would be a massive weight off my shoulders and go a long way towards helping things. But they’d just see me as too risky; depressed person with a 1st, fair enough, but with only a 2.2? Pfft, why should our organisation even let him inside of our door?

They say university years are the best of your life. Sadly, mine didn’t so much turn out that way. Sure I made some friends and had some good nights out but the effect of good memories is severely dampened by the subsequent hole I’ve found myself in. So why exactly did I do badly* at university? (*badly by my standards, I mean; a 2.2 degree may be a huge achievement for some but I had always been praised for my academic ability in first and second level, and so falling into average territory at third level was just a massive kick in the teeth and the equivalent of failure for me)

Simple – I didn’t enjoy my course and did not enjoy studying it. I only persevered with it because I thought I’d be seen as a failure if I dropped out, and other peoples’ perception of me has always been something that matters much much more to me than it should. Also I had the aforementioned scholarship to think of; my parents aren’t poor but they’re not exactly loaded either, and the financial burden of me dropping out plus the loss of the scholarship really didn’t make any financial sense. So I felt like I was pretty much stuck where I was. If I could go back in time, I certainly would have dropped out or, better still, gone back a bit further and not picked that course in the first place!)

I have a few ideas of career paths I might like to go down some day but it hurts to think about stuff like that, because with my oh-so-average BSc I’m not gonna find a well paying job where I can save up enough to do a second degree in something I care about much more. I’m doing an MSc at the moment, which I hate less than my BSc but still wouldn’t say I love, just for the sake of having something to do and to make my CV look less “average”. It was going ok until one single disastrous exam took the distinction I had been averaging away from me. I don’t have my results for that exam yet but I’m certain I’ve failed it, and ever since that day I’ve been so much more depressed than I usually am. I’m supposed to have been doing a lot of reading material for my MSc project over the past few weeks and have got nothing done because I’ve mostly been lying in bed all day, not sad or angry, just……nothing. Feeling absolutely nothing. And of course I have plenty of time to sit in front of a laptop and write this self-indulgent waffle; could I have used that time to read stuff I’m actually supposed to be reading? Yes, if my brain worked properly. If I worked properly. But clearly it doesn’t and I don’t.

Being an undergraduate gave me a fantastic chance to set up a good future for myself. In equal measures, I blew it and it blew me (and not in the good way). Other peoples’ success makes me resentful now; every time I hear of someone getting a 1st or 2.1 in their degree I feign congratulations and try to be happy for them. But deep down all I can think of is “oh great, someone else who’s better than me. I should be on your level, not below you.”

Right now I’ve definitely lost myself but not in the moment like I should have. Instead, to paraphrase another song, “I’m stuck in a moment and I can’t get out of it.” Fuck you depression. Fuck you. 


“When the bottle gets empty, then life ain’t worth the drown”

“I’m *name* and I’m an alcoholic.”  – the thought of ever having to say this freaks the hell out of me. Yet alcoholism is a disease, just like depression, and I know that it’s something that one day could happen to me.

Yesterday, June 11th, was a miserable day for me as I outlined in my previous post. If I was any way a rational thinking person I’d simply shrug and treat it as any other day. Alas, my brain doesn’t work the way it should; I’m obsessive, unstable and prone to overanalysing everything. And because it was such a crappy day I decided to indulge myself in a whole day and night of comfort eating and drinking. Among the various crisps and chocolate bars I gorged on I managed to put away two 750 ml bottles of red wine and two 500 ml bottles of cider. I’m not a health professional but I can tell that this is not a particularly recommendable course of action, especially for someone who’s already battling with depression and is on medication for it. But screw it; yesterday I didn’t care. Yesterday was all about indulging in the worst aspects of my personality. Yesterday as an exercise in being as miserable and angsty as possible. Yesterday I actively wanted to be unhappy. And that’s where alcohol comes in.

The UK and Ireland, it must be said, have quite an unhealthy drinking culture. Other European countries seem to drink beer or wine mostly for taste and to compliment a good meal, whereas we drink it to lose our minds and distract us from the mundanity of everyday life. Drinking cans in a ditch or abandoned field or somewhere is a teenage rite of passage. A birthday isn’t properly celebrated if you wake up the next morning and you’re not either covered in vomit or in bed with someone you wouldn’t have touched with a 50 foot pole while sober. The drunker, the stupider and the more reckless you get, the better. It’s all just good fun, right?

I was a pretty quiet teenager, well behaved and hopelessly naive. I wasn’t particularly excited by the prospect of alcohol and didn’t really see the big attraction with it. Also I was on a course of Roaccutane (isotretinoin) for about a year when I was about 16 or 17 and didn’t drink for the whole time I was on it because I thought my liver would explode or something. I didn’t get properly drunk (i.e. throw up and then black out) for the first time until I was 19 years old. I found out afterwards that I told a straight friend that I was bisexual and then told him he was sexy. It was not my finest moment, to say the least.

When I was diagnosed with depression and first started taking anti-depressants I knew full well that I was supposed to stay away from alcohol. However, being a young person in this part of the world means nearly all forms of socialising revolve around drinking. As someone who was pretty awkward and quiet at the best of times I felt like there was no way anyone would want to hang out with me if I was sober and “boring” so I took my chances. In all honesty I never noticed any ill-effects of alcohol mixing with meds, though perhaps I just wasn’t depressed enough yet.

Fast forward to 2013; I’ve pretty much stopped going on nights out these days because I realised I didn’t enjoy them anymore. Being in clubs surrounded by well dressed and physically fit people made me feel even uglier and more self-conscious than I felt in my teenage years. The claustrophobia, the mostly terrible music, the boredom when you lose your friends and end up just heading to the bar ’cause you’ve nothing else to do….all this usually led to me spending an obscene amount of money on overpriced booze. The next morning I’d wake up and find debit or credit card receipts for drinks I had no memory of buying. I once came home from such a night out incredibly angry, turned off my phone and deleted my Facebook and Twitter for a few days because I decided I didn’t want to speak to anyone. Another time I semi-drunkenly got on the wrong bus home and ended up in a different part of the city to where I actually live.

So I made the decision to avoid nights out like this. A sensible move on my part. However, I increasingly found myself drinking alone in my bedroom at weekends because not going out made me feel boring and frustrated. I’d never drink as far as throwing up or blacking out or anything but I would usually go past the point of “few drinks to relax”. This drinking alone thing does occasionally benefit me, weirdly; for example, it would give me the courage to say hello to someone on Facebook that I’d lost touch with and lead to a good conversation. It also kept me awake and wanting to do things, like search for new music or read about stuff that sober-me is far too lazy/apathetic to do. I use examples like this to justify drinking alone; after all, surely it’s better to drink in a controlled environment, where I’m not gonna end up spending way too much money at a bar or risk being mugged/assaulted at some point in the night?

Sadly, the buzz that alcohol gives me can sometimes backfire. One lesson I don’t think I’ll ever learn properly is that logging into Facebook, or Twitter, or forums that I’m a member of, when drunk is NOT A GOOD IDEA! Ok, so I may talk to a friend I haven’t seen in ages but it’s much more likely that I’ll end up rambling nonsensically, irritating people, making cringey or self-indulgent status updates/tweets and basically just end up looking like a complete tool. Maybe alcohol is good at making me happy temporarily but I’m well aware that it ultimately is a depressant and it’s just not worth it.

I guess I’m fortunate in that I’ve never really suffered a bad hangover, though if I had perhaps it would be a further deterrent from drinking in the first place. Alcoholism doesn’t run in my family (as far as I know anyway), I’ve never woken up thinking “oh God I really need a drink”, I don’t spend every night downing a bottle of night or wishing I was….so I don’t have an alcohol problem. I do, however, have problems with alcohol. Writing this post will hopefully put that in more perspective for me.

So what next? Well I’m due to go out next Wednesday night (the 19th of June). It will be my first night out in about 2 months and I’m hoping it all goes ok. In the meantime I guess all I can do is avoid drinking between now and then and do my best to drink responsibly on that night. I’m hoping it works but then again I always hope that one day I’ll wake up and have beaten depression too. Sadly, hoping for something is a million miles away from that something becoming a realistic possibility.

And now for one of the most talented women in the world (who just so happens to be bi-polar and a recovering alcoholic):


Your Ex-Lover Is Dead

When writing a blog about depression I guess it’s best to explain who you are, write about your history and examine the possible factors involved that have brought you to this point. This involves a deep exploration of every aspect of your life thus far; your childhood, education, relationships with family, the friendships (or lack thereof) you form and lose, experiences with puberty and your transition from angsty teenager to similarly angsty adult. It’s pretty important to include all of this in a post near the start of your blog so that readers will know where you come from and develop a greater understanding of who you are as a person.

This is not that post.

I will be touching upon some of these aspects but not with the aim of giving a concise history. Instead I am only going to concentrate on my first relationship. Why? Because today is June 11th. And it was on June 11th, three years ago, that this relationship began. It was the happiest day of my life. And I wish it never happened.

I never had a girlfriend in my teens. There were girls I noticed and thought were pretty but I knew that because I was overweight and nerdy I didn’t have a chance with any of them. When  started university at 17 I still hadn’t had my first kiss. It was also at this point that I began to question myself. Like I said, I noticed girls were pretty….but that was far as I was ever willing to think about them. I loved the idea of having a girlfriend but, unlike most horny teenage boys, never watched porn or got particularly excited by the prospect of seeing or touching boobs. I remembered how I used to look at boys in my school with jealousy, wishing I looked like them. Eventually I realised that it wasn’t just jealousy; deep down I actually fancied them.

My sexuality has never been a particular reason for me being depressed. I dislike calling myself gay because I don’t really believe it’s a 100% accurate label, and sure I sometimes figure things would be easier if I was straight. But it’s not something that gets me down every night. What did get me down, however, was my complete lack of experience with a boy, a girl, ANYONE.

At the grand old age of 20 I finally met Billy. His name wasn’t really Billy, obviously, but I’ve been reading a thread about some guy who was struggling with his sexuality and finally met a boyfriend called Billy who he constantly posts about and is head over heels in love with. I hate to be bitter and resentful but in my moments of depression and loneliness I really detest happy stories like that. But I borrowed the name Billy for the purpose of this post.

Anyway Billy lived 3 hours away by train, which was a bit of a problem. We had been chatting online, first on a forum and then on Facebook, when I mentioned I was travelling to a gig near where he lived. I mentioned travelling up a day early, ’cause I lived in the middle of nowhere at the time and was looking for any excuse to get out. He suggested I hang out with him for a bit, which suited me fine because I had noticed our chats had moved from normal friendliness to barely concealed flirting. So I travelled up. We hung out. We had food (he even brought me a slice of cake!) We went to a pub, had rather a bit too much to drink. Eventually we ended up in the grounds of the university he attended, where we proceeded to drink even more. I remember lying down in the sun and making one of those little self-deprecating comment that I’m always guilty of. Billy smiled at me and then leaned forward and kissed me. That moment has sent more shivers down my spine than any other I can recall. It seemed like the perfect beginning to what I naively thought would be a perfect relationship.

It lasted six months. We didn’t get to see each other in person a whole lot, due to the distance between us, but we texted each other every single day and chatted on Skype most weekends. We went to a music festival together. I even met his parents and his brother. For both of us this six month period was new and exciting but also terrifying. Neither of us had been in a relationship before and all of a sudden we had wound up in a same sex relationship with someone who lived 3 hours away! In hindsight it was obvious that we were doomed but it didn’t feel that way at the time. After a couple of weeks or less we had already assured each other that we loved each other. Again, I doubt either of us really knew or cared what the word ‘love’ actually meant, or was supposed to mean; it just felt like the right thing to say, I guess.

Billy had known that I was depressed. And I knew too that he suffered with anxiety. I knew he had been bullied in school and had trust issues as a result. I also knew he had a somewhat fraught relationship with his parents and how he was desperate to succeed at university. For the majority of our six month relationship it’s fair to say I was the mentally healthier of the two of us. I was still trying to get over the fact that someone, anyone actually wanted to go out with me. I was already stuck in a course I hated, I already lived isolated from the few true friends I had and I really had nothing much else in my life to distract me other than to dream about Billy all the time and remind myself how amazingly lucky I was to have him. Billy, however, had a college course he loved, several close friends who were nearby at all times and a bust social life. Eventually I guess I became more of a distraction and a hindrance for him than a boyfriend. Not long before Christmas he had started to get better, after months of feeling down, self harming and relying on me to provide him with comforting words and reassurance. By contrast, depression had reared its ugly head for me again and I begin sinking into a spot of bother. The tables had turned and I had become more dependent on him than before. This was the straw that broke his back. Despite his constant declarations of love for me and the amount of love and reassurance I had given him over the course of six months, he arbitrarily decided that the distance was now suddenly too much and we were too “emotionally dependent”. He ended the relationship. Via a phone-call. On the night before my 21st birthday. And that was that.

Everyone goes through heartbreak in life at some point, I imagine. Everyone has their trust broken at some point and someone who you think is “the one” turns out to not be everything you had hoped for. Since this experience I’ve realised that there’s no such thing as “the right person”; I mean how can there possibly be one right person out there for you? Logically it makes no sense, the universe doesn’t work that way. No, there’s definitely no such thing as the right person, only those who are slightly less wrong for you than others.

My six month relationship should have left me with confidence; I could now say I’d had a boyfriend, that someone had once gone out with me of their own free will and continued to do so for a period of time. I wasn’t the entirely hideous, unattractive, unloveable, gawky, ugly nerd I always thought. But no, it has had the opposite effect. I still have never asked a person out in my life and the fear of rejection has only increased as I’ve grown older. The feeling of abandonment, of complete hopelessness I felt after all the love I had given was thrown away in such a cruel manner….it was too much. Most days Billy comes into my mind at least once. I’d love to say I’m over it all but I’m not, and doubt I ever will be. It doesn’t matter how much I hate him; hatred isn’t the opposite of love, indifference is. And as much as I despise his character and his cruelty, I can never say that I don’t care about him at all or what happens to him. I haven’t spoken to Billy in about two years and I blocked him on Facebook but I inadvertently hear things about him from time to time; that he wound up in another relationship just a few weeks after we broke up (despite his “I don’t want to be in a relationship right now” excuse that he gave as one of the reasons for dumping me), that he went on holiday with his new boyfriend, that he finished top of his class in his following year of university and that he went on to work in America last summer. The fact that everything I hear about him indicates that he’s doing well, while every single day I get more and more depressed despite trying even harder and harder to get better, is just sickening. I know its not healthy to see the world in black or white but as far as I’m concerned he’s the bad guy here. And yet he’s the one who goes on to live his ideal life.

I can’t blame Billy for my depression. It was there before he came into my life and would still be there if he had never come into my life at all. But for his dishonesty, and for giving me so much happiness followed by so much misery, I’m always going to hate him. It doesn’t make a difference how sorry he may have been about this once, and for all I know he still feels bad about it and has since become a different person; maybe having everything go rosy for him in life has made him a better, more honest and more caring person. I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I never want to see him again because his legacy is one of leaving me with insecurity, paranoia and feelings of self-hatred. No-one, and I mean NO-ONE, has ever made me hate myself more than he has.

And so June 11th is a day for wallowing in self-pity. If it’s gonna be a long time before I’m healthy I may as well take advantage of the time I have left to indulge my angst and self-destructive tendencies. I have comfort food to make me fatter, alcohol to make my mind even less capable of rational thought and my bedroom door locked to ensure no-one from the outside world interrupts me while I sit alone and ponder how and why everything brought me to the point where I would happily curl up in a ball and never wake up again.

“There’s one thing I want to say so I’ll be brave

You were what I wanted, I gave what I gave,

I’m not sorry I met you*, I’m not sorry it’s over

I’m not sorry there’s nothing to say.”

*this line doesn’t ring true for me, but the rest sums it up pretty well.


Intro

This is exactly what it says on the tin. Ten minutes ago I had a head full of restless thoughts buzzing around and voices screaming at me to type them all down. Now that the moment comes I find myself stuck for words. Perhaps my words aren’t worth speaking, or typing. In which case they’re almost certainly not worth reading.

Today I got up, had a shower, got dressed, went to the shop, came back, ate breakfast, watched TV, went upstairs to my bedroom, was overcome by a wave of complete hopelessness and sadness out of absolutely nowhere, crawled into bed, turned on my laptop and set up this blog. Waves of depression can overcome me at any moment; sometimes they make me sad, other times they make me angry and sometimes they make me completely apathetic. It’s not nice to have to live knowing that at any moment, without any control or decisiveness on my part, I might go from perfectly healthy functioning human to mindless husk.

Perhaps I’ll do a proper introduction soon, when my mind feels up to it. I have stories to tell, opinions to share, thoughts I can’t verbalise, frustrations I need to scream out via a keyboard. Whether any of it is worth anybody’s time is another matter but I guess time will tell.

‘Til next time.


A Boy, A Black Dog and a Blog

Thoughts of a depressed twenty-something on the long road to nowhere