Category Archives: Anxiety

Eat my lover?

I am lying in bed, looking at a book I left on the coffee table last night. It’s about a cannibal killer who would eat his lovers after having sex with them.  As I stare at the book cover, I cry and I wonder how badly I handle my own love life. Right now I am 100% convinced that I will never be in a relationship again; I am just way too frail. I can’t handle the ‘Let’s just be friends’, it sends me straight into a full blown depression and my anxiety shoots through the roof. The loss of a lover/boyfriend is huge to me, since my social phobia makes me really isolated to begin with.

So what happens when I try to get out of my shell, I meet someone, I fall in love and then they decide to stop the relationship? I retreat into depression, total despair, days and nights of crying and going to that terrible place of ‘I really don’t want to be alive, anyway’. That’s a scary place for me as I have nobody to confide in. Then I start blaming myself. If only I wasn’t so emotional, if I could be different, if I could not over-react to every little thing, if I could just be a better master of my own feelings. But I can’t. I know that deep inside of me. This is me, I am anxious, I am overly emotional.

So now – having decided it’s not even worth switching the lights on in my flat – I am under the covers, crying the most hopeless cry I have produced in a long time, a voice in my head tells me to stay away from men all together. Some people can try out a relationship and move on quite happily. I can’t. It takes me months to feel okay again and before I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I see all my failures, my shortcomings, my sad little lonely life frozen in time. It will never be different. I will never find love and get to keep it. I just know it.

Dahmer – the serial killer I am reading about – said that he had to eat his lovers so they would never leave him.
I’d never eat anyone (yuck) but hey, I do understand the fear of being left alone. I fear what is already my reality: I am and will always be alone.  So now what?

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My mental illness

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I am one of the thousands of people who suffer from a mental illness. I have an anxious personality disorder, social phobia and reoccurring depression. I carry around the shame of it, the embarrassment , the guilt, the shock of how much this illness has robbed me of regarding family and relationships and life goals. There was so much I wanted out of life. I remember when I was a teenager, I would type on an old electric typewriter (before the age of laptops) and dream of becoming a famous writer. I’d dream about becoming a mother and having a family of my own. Everything would run smoothly, no problem. There was a long list of things I swore I’d never do, roads I would never go down, multiple ways of fucking up my life that I would make sure to steer clear of.

I am now 38, a noncustodial mother, retired, socially isolated and just suffered a break-up. Again.

I could never make friends easily, I prefer the security of sitting behind my computer screen. I have hobbies where I can be sure to be alone: Photography, writing, drawing, painting. Things that I can do on my own. I have no friends that come around, nobody to confide in except people online. That’s why the internet is immensely important to me – take that away and there really is nobody to relate to or talk to.

This was so not the way I pictured my life. I wanted other things, a wholly different result, believe me. I have fought and fought this mental illness all my life. It goes back to when I took my first steps (which I did rather late due to an operation).. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t anxious. There’s always been this deep insecurity inside me and it feels like I never had a choice in the matter – I could never win this battle even though I have tried.

If there’s one thing I’d like to change, it’s the fact that it’s so damn hard to find a partner. Who can tolerate being with someone so isolated, so needy, so insecure? I don’t know. I haven’t found anyone yet. I have a few failed relationships now and I am beginning to think that love is really not possible for someone with a mental illness.

Which kind of ruins my one final goal in life: I want someone to love me and STAY.

I now doubt it will ever happen.. because of this damn illness.

Do you think it’s possible to be successful at love when you have mental problems?

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I guess it’s time..

To get back to writing. I’ve been away for a while and have probably lost many readers. It’s alright though, this blog mainly serves as a diary where I can vent my fears and worries. My life has pretty much been in turmoil lately on many levels. I won’t go into detail, I’ll just say that sometimes life hands you shit and you just HAVE to deal with it, no choice in the matter.. and so I have been away from here, not knowing how to phrase what I went through (and am still going through).

There’s been this revelation inside me. I am not good at being alone. You know they say ‘it’s better to be happy alone than miserable with someone else’ ? I am not sure it has quite sunk in with me. I’d rather be with someone. This should open my eyes in a big way to the fact that I am quite uncomfortable on my own. I know it’s a confidence thing. I need a guy to tell me I look pretty and I am sweet and he loves me. I need to feel needed. I suppose there’s this hole inside me where I just don’t feel good enough and I crave desperately for someone to fill it. Say the magic words. Then I feel it. I feel loved and worthwhile.
I know, I know, it’s a problem. Right now I don’t even have the strength to deal with it.

I just wanna sit here, have someone say ‘you’re amazing’ and believe it.  It might get me through the dark, bleak winter ahead. Afterwards I might seek to change.

Not now. I can’t.

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Am I impossible to love ?

I am really close to giving in to the thought that I am unlovable. I am so socially awkward and anxious that it is impossible for anyone to be with me. I’m not 100% sure of the truth to those words but I am coming scarily close to believing them. Sure, I am in love but there is this huge wall standing right between us. The wall of social phobia. I try, I really do. I try to overcome my feelings of inadequacy, I try to stop judging myself so harshly and I have succeeded in actually pushing my own boundaries. But I have also failed miserably. I’ve had to give up on meeting his friends that he was so eager for me to meet. Huge disappointment. Pretty soon those awful words ‘let’s just be friends’. Ugh. I hate those words. They might as well be ‘you’re too weird for this to work out’. I know, I know, those words were not said. They’re the interpretation of a very anxious and shameful brain.

So I have to ask myself, am I really unlovable? I mean, if I can’t do all the ‘normal’ couple stuff, go out with friends, double date, hang out with another couple.. am I then doomed to live a life alone? Perhaps. I have said in a past relationship that I would be more than willing to stay home while he went out with another couple or some friends but he’d have none of that. He’d rather sit at home with me and sulk about not being able to go. He made me feel so ashamed and horrible (because I let him).

I never want to isolate anybody. Perhaps people feel that loneliness and anxiety is contagious. I so wish someone would look behind the anxiety and the challenges it brings and see this wonderful woman I really am. Just give me a fighting chance to test my boundaries before they leave. I know the problem is mine and mine alone; my biggest dream is just to be loved entirely, anxious or not. I know I sound like a whining child right now and full of self pity. That’s not the case. I don’t pity myself, I am merely expressing that I am holding on to the last thread of hope . . it cannot be true that I cannot be loved.

Yet experience tells me so. Some broken relationships behind me where anxiety played a major part in destroying things. Lots of other problems too (I am not accepting all the blame) but I know for sure what my own part was: Being crippled by fears and worries.

I can remember hiding in the bathroom while my ex husband had company over. It was that hard for me to face people. That’s how low a creature I considered myself.

I suppose it’s difficult to love someone who has these kinds of challenges because it affects so much of my life. I just wish so badly that someone would have the patience and the understanding and the strength to stand by me through it all.

Underneath this cloak of anxiety there is a very beautiful, lively, funny, sexy, fully lovable woman. I know it.  Where is the guy who will see her?

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Scalpel, please

Various scalpels

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A thought occurred to me tonight (too many thoughts seem to occur to me all the time). This particular thought is one that I have been pondering for quite a while and it’s the answer to the question: Why do I panic when I have to meet strangers? It’s not actually what happens before the meeting; it’s what happens afterwards: I dissect. I take every word I have spoken during the conversation with the stranger(s), then I pick at it with my scalpel and I take everything apart.

I wonder if I sounded right, if they understood me correctly, if I looked dumb while I spoke, if I had something in my face that seemed out of place, if I upset anyone, if I seemed too quiet and so on and so on. This process already begins during the ‘meeting’ or get together with someone I never met before. I start wondering what they’re thinking of me as I speak and my throat dries up. Then the awful thought: What if I lose my voice and I feel nauseated suddenly? How do I excuse myself?

Then when I am done with my scalpel, I am not left with the clarity I was so yearning for.

Instead I have this bloody mess in my head, unspoken words, things I should have said, things I could have done better, ways I could have seemed nicer and more clever. The grade is pretty much always negative and the mess equals a massive headache.

I am so, so hard on myself when I have to face a stranger. Having never met them before,
I am pretty sure to come out the loser. And why is it a competition anyway? Meeting someone is not supposed to be about comparisons – who is more clever, who is more pretty, who is more entertaining? No wonder being sociable is such a pain for me! There is absolutely no relaxation or enjoyment in it.

That’s why I keep myself pretty isolated. No scalpel needed. And like any surgeon, I do need my rest to be really good.

 

I died again today

A tiny piece of me dies whenever depression takes hold of me. A whispering voice says ‘that’s enough, give up now, you’re half dead anyway’. Suddenly death looks so attractive, so beautiful, so incredibly peaceful. I picture a graveyard at night. It’s foggy, it’s quiet. Never before have I experienced such tranquility. God, how I wish I belonged there. Another image is me walking beside a river holding hands with the one who I know for sure can bring me relief. Just holding hands, being perfectly okay in my own imperfection. How I want to be there.

Then reality hits me. I can’t go anywhere. People would get hurt. So I continue, one step in front of the other, one disappointment after the next, one ‘Sorry, I can’t deal with you’ after the other. Trapped inside this hell of the living. Where to go, what to do?

Breathe in, breathe out. The rest I will leave up to God.

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The rocks will begin speaking

You know the expression ‘monsters live in the dark’? It means that all the things we keep secret about ourselves, the things we try to hide so well both from family, loved ones and friends but even from ourselves, will eventually grow up into an ugly, mean monster inside our heart and take over. Result = emotional breakdown, snap, hospital visit or suicide.

That’s why I am all about screaming, yelling, talking, crying. Any emotional outlet (aside from cutting my own skin) is an acceptable form of letting all the anguish seep out of my soul. I know after yrs of experience that if I keep all this angst inside, I will break down.
I once fell down in the street because I suddenly couldn’t feel my own legs and I couldn’t make sense of much. I had a breakdown right there on the sidewalk. After being in hospital for a bit and having many talks with my psychiatrist, I know it was the result of keeping my concerns and thoughts and anger to myself. I had the ‘nice syndrome’ where – at the cost of my own sanity – I had to be a nice person at all costs. Many women suffer from this. Little girls are taught to be nice and little boys are taught to believe in themselves. Sometimes. Anyway, my niceness and my hiding from my black side made me break down. I had a complete psychotic episode, faceless men in the room and everything.

So I vow to never keep quiet about my illness. I will tell anyone who will listen. My name is Gitte and I suffer from depression and anxiety. I wish that when I someday can’t speak anymore and hopefully am at peace in my grave, the rocks and stones on the streets would shout about this deathly illness. We mustn’t be quiet about it. It’s a nasty epidemic hitting people all over the world and yet mental health problems are still taboo.

There is no way I will be a party to the silence. I am depressed, I am anxious, every day is a struggle but I will fight to my dying day to stay alive. That’s my challenge in life. We all have a challenge. If you have one, I encourage you to face it with bravery. Bravery is not pulling yourself together and getting on with it. Bravery .- in my understanding – is to accept what is, learn to handle it to your best ability, and being open and outspoken about the fact that you’re not perfect and you have struggles.

The people who have been through the hardest experiences, the people who have the biggest scars on their souls.. they’re the world’s bravest people.

A final thought. I have been told I have a bitterness about me. You bet. I can’t believe that life has dealt me what it has so far. I can’t believe how some people have treated me. I can’t believe how some people enjoy the mental games, the manipulation, the control. I have had bad things happen to me. But the important thing is – and I am so proud of this –
I have lived through it. I am alive. I am damn proud of that. Many people would have ended it.  I may be bitter and anxious but I have an upside too: I am a wonderful woman and I am strong as hell.

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Hop on one leg and picture a rainbow

Complete neuron cell diagram. Neurons (also kn...

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A thought occurred to me this morning as I was brushing my teeth: Have you ever heard of a person going up to a cancer patient and advising them to stand on one leg and picture a rainbow in order to get better? I haven’t. Or how about a person dying from heart disease? ‘Hey, you should try to take more vitamins, you should think about how others may have it worse than you, you should try to be less self absorbed in your pain’. It just hasn’t happened, has it?
I start to believe that depression must be the disease that’s the recipient of the world’s crappiest advice and the world just seems to think it’s okay to hand out any number of frustratingly idiotic ideas for depression sufferers to get better. Imagine a big pile of smelly, disgusting trash – that’s where you can put most of the advice from so-called well-meaning individuals. The whole concept of smelling the roses, going for beautiful walks, getting out there among people to brighten my day.. well.. it just doesn’t hold a lot of promise compared to the promise that this disease might kill me and there is nothing I can do except let it rage through my body and mind. I might as well be tied down with ropes, that’s how little I control this illness. Nobody can imagine the pain of being trapped like that. You can claw and scratch and hope and pray and wish for your situation to be different; it’s just not going to stop until by the grace of God (or whatever power you believe in), the illness suddenly starts to ease up, lets go of it’s deathly grip. That’s when you can begin smelling the roses, going for walks and getting out there.

And once it lets go, you’re not the same. Not only does depression change you physically by killing off brain cells one day at a time. It also changes your personality and you will walk with this dark shadow behind you – or inside you – and the fear that maybe someday it will strike right out of the blue once more and everything falls apart.

Millions of people suffer from depression and we all have to listen to the ones who never had it, who doesn’t have a friggin’ clue, giving us tons of absolutely useless advice. It’s the only disease where this is accepted behavior. If you approached a cancer patient with some ridiculous advice that made absolutely no sense, the bullshit alarms would be ringing all over the place. It seems that when you suffer from a mental illness, it’s alright to offer any kinda crappy words in encouragement. And what do we get if we lash out in frustration at this advice? ‘I was only trying to help, you’re being so moody’.

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Instead of throwing out the old magazines..

I decided to be crafty and make a collage. I haven’t found a place to put it yet but I must admit to being rather proud of the outcome.

1st way towards healing: Write my silly little ass off.
2nd way towards healing: Be crafty, use my little silly hands.

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10 things to remember about depression

1. It’s an illness just like heart disease or diabetes.

2. It’s not being moody.

3. It’s not the same as ‘that time of the month’.

4. I don’t control it.

5. I am genetically inclined for it.

6. Like diabetes or cancer, it cannot be magically wished away.

7. A change of thought pattern is a lot harder than you might think. I try but there will be many setbacks.

8. ‘Toughing it out’ is not even an option.

9. It doesn’t go away if I take more walks or a longer vacation.

10. Best way to help me is not to give advice and tell me to cheer up. The best way to help is to let me feel I have a human connection so I feel loved and protected and listened to.

 

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