my backpack sits slumped over
from where it was thrown –
coming in from going out –
gathering dust –
and when lockdown was announced
there the backpack remained –
the shoes piled around it,
like loose stones around a rock –
the contents of time suspended –
loose mints, and receipts –
a water bottle, and pens separated
from their lids –
pads and wipes –
lip balm –
a notebook –
and until i remembered
to throw it in the bin –
some days later into lockdown –
a half-eaten lunch –
i didn’t dare to peel back the foil it was wrapped in.
My counselling finished. I cannot afford it. After a year and however many months of trying to access help, I got it – from a women’s centre close to where I live. It has been 8 months, I think, of one session a week. I feel lost, to be honest. The decision was taken out of my hands. After last month’s depression and feeling lonely, I don’t think not having anyone to talk to is useful. It is shit. I am freaking out at being told I can start up again when I like but will be given a different counsellor depending on availability. I am sick of telling my story repeatedly to professionals. Especially when I’m like ‘oh, it’s fine!’ and they’re like, ‘that must have been tough for you,’ so I don’t like the thought of entrusting another person with my past. I know I’m no-one special and my experiences are not unique, it isn’t that a big deal.
I feel like I have opened all these wounds from the past and the memories are overwhelming at times. I haven’t figured out how to deal with them. I just feel shit about them.
My anxiety feels through the roof at the moment. I’m thinking about appointments I need to make after lockdown and even supermarket trips have an added layer of anxiety because of social distancing. It makes me feel like shit when you are in the supermarket and waiting for a person to finish picking up what they are getting from the shelf and they deliberate and change their mind and after three minutes I realise they have no idea I am there, waiting for them to move. Coughing doesn’t sound like a good idea to do now and I lose my voice in social environments, so after looking stupid, I go and get something else and come back when it’s free. It’s a worry I have, that I have no presence, that people seem to not notice me. It makes me think am I dead, am I invisible, is there something wrong with me?
No, people are knobheads, Kate.
The anxiety pisses me off. I have always had it and thought I was used to it and I actually realise it’s isolating and people are writing what they are going to do when they get out of lockdown and seeing friends and going to the beach and whatever. I’m writing stuff like see the doctor, go to the dentist, etc. because I haven’t in so long because anxiety is like ‘bitch, please. You really think you could do that without fucking up. Stay in your lane,’
Anxiety about my health is huge. I don’t think people appreciate what it takes, to phone to get an appointment and then building yourself up to go to the appointment. You’re thinking about what to wear, the bus, should I walk, the weather, what will happen in the appointment, what will I say, will I be taken seriously, will I be waiting long, do they have a toilet in the surgery, will they ask me to use the self-service machine I’ve never used before to weigh myself and get my height, will the receptionist be nice, will I be able to speak, will I make a fool of myself, what if I’m late, what if the doctor thinks I’m wasting their time, will they even look up from their computer at me, will I get a chance to speak my mind, what if I break the chair, will the surgery be busy, will everyone stare at me, what if the doctor doesn’t do anything, what if the doctor fobs me off, what if they give me medication and I have to tell them I cannot afford it and no, I’m not on benefits so I cant be exempt from charges, what if I don’t know the right stop to get off the bus, what if it rains, do I need an umbrella, which coat do I wear, will I get too hot, should I take a drink, should I take snacks, what am I going to do after, I’m going to have to walk past the railway tracks, it’s too loud, too many people –
You get the idea. Time becomes irrelevant. The appointment takes up every waking minute of every day leading up to it. I try and stay busy and distracted but it’s hard. I wish I could take my head off at times.
I know it’s ridiculous. I know if I could snap my fingers and not worry and be anxious, I would but I seemingly cannot. It’s the way I live. Every part of my life involves thinking too hard about it and I am in my comfort zone and when I dare try to do something new, anxiety pulls me in. It wants to save me from looking stupid and being rejected. It’s a nice thing of it to do, but it’s a hinderance, rather than a help. I realise that. Counselling has been one step out of the comfort zone, and it was positive. It was one day a week I left home and had a purpose. I was consistently going, my routine changed. Because it’s difficult for me to leave the flat without a goal, I need a reason to go out and other than shopping, visit to the public library, I got nothing. I have no-one to help me with that. I think a person could be of help. I have my boyfriend but, you know. He’s probably suffered as well. He’s outgoing but now he doesn’t do much either.
It’s frustrating because I nailed it late last year. Went out at least 5 days out of 7 and when my boyfriend and I went on holiday, we went out every day. I might have a good couple of days while on holiday and then I want to stay in the hotel room and not leave. It’s a positive we have been on holidays. It hasn’t been easy. Going to the shop to book the holiday, going to Primark to buy holiday clothes, packing literally everything in case we have burglars while we’re away, the travel to the airport, then navigating the airport, security, hours to kill, queues to buy an overpriced newspaper and bottle of water, delays, boarding, the transport to the plane, getting onto the plane, off the plane is horrendous and then queues to get through the airport, toilets, finding our luggage, transfer to the hotel is awful, check in, finding our room, food control issues so must first go the supermarket and buy supplies, restaurants, the beach, public toilets, body image problems – the list is endless and I do shut down. My boyfriend knows I’m not there at all and knows not to ask, just get me through the airport, onto the plane and to the hotel.
No-wonder I get burnout.
I tried to find positives here. I’m trying, which is good.
Thanks for reading, Drop a comment if I said anything that made sense to you.
This week’s, no last week’s, meal plan. This was a success. Because I have had depression, it is difficult to reign in eating sandwiches and crisps and it makes making a choice what to have for dinner hard too. With the meals written down, it feels like a commitment and is a closed choice. You know, those are the choices, pick one or the other. It’s flexible, I haven’t eaten all these meals this week. Because there were leftovers to be eaten. I had spag bol for breakfast. It was delicious. I live with my boyfriend. There’s two of us. Our weekly shop usually comes to eighty or ninety pounds.
With this meal plan as well, I have been able to eat vegetables. With depression, you don’t tend to reach first to fill up on vegetables. So I mashed cauliflower into the potatoes and with the pasta sauce I chopped up carrots, celery and onion. I figure if you can chop them up small enough, veggies are adept at hiding in sauces and potatoes. Mash needs some flavour, otherwise it’s like eating clouds or wet paper. Not that I enjoy eating cauliflower, I should have got broccoli. I confuse the two.
My go to meal is baked beans, bacon, eggs and waffles. That can be cooked in fifteen minutes. It doesn’t take too long to eat. It’s filling. Not too painful. Of course, if you – like me have a ton of washing up to do and have no cooking utensils to hand, cereal and yogurt are another one of my go to’s.
When it comes to liquids, I do buy bottles of water. I know it’s terrible for the planet, but it is easier to stay hydrated when depressed when you can grab a bottle from the fridge. I do own a refillable bottle, and obviously with depression the effort required to clean, fill and refrigerate it can be beyond me. I do use it when I can. Alcohol is something I try to not drink when I am depressed. Like I say, I try. I admire those who can have one drink and then stop. I know there are a lot of lockdown drinking memes around. Plenty of people quipping, ‘I’ll have a drinking problem when I get out of lockdown!’ And the truth of it is people may well have become alcohol reliant in current circumstances. That’s the thing with alcohol, it starts as one drink of an evening and then can become two or three into the night. Never mind the damage inflicted on your body in the short term during this lockdown. As I mentioned earlier some people can have one drink, and humour is what people use to cope. Even if it is inappropriate, it is in my eyes – but if you haven’t experienced addiction and alcoholism, then it won’t be. I think alcohol is a poison and is like knocking back paint stripper or similar concoctions that are found in the shed with a large warning sign on the side of them.
In any case, it certainly does not help depression.
I used to be the person like water?! It’s disgusting and naff. No thank you. Now I am advocating people drink water. I have grown.
Well, April was a shit month, wasn’t it? Utterly shit. Thanks depression, love you too. But it wasn’t all bad. Here’s a list of Good Stuff that happened.
- The sun came out. Yes, I actually got to feel the sun on my face.
- I had one good day where I took a selfie and thought I like how I look. No flaws there. Even the bags under my eyes looked cute. Here is the selfie. (Yes, my hair usually does its own thing)
- I finally purchased a plastic tub to put my shampoos and shower gels in, to store in a cupboard, so they were not laid out on the floor. Yes, I tidied up my shit.
- Laura Woods took over from Alan Brazil on Talksport’s Sports Breakfast in the mornings on radio (This sentence is so broken, I could have put that better) I’m happy she got the job and it wasn’t given to another man.
- Bizarrely I was approved for some amazing books on Netgalley. I mean, Amazing. I spent all of April reading. I binged on books. Not sick though.
- I started to blog again, mainly because I got a Wi-Fi connection. Hoo – bloody – ray. #luxuriesyoucanbarelyafford
- I also, in April, started holding myself to account when it comes to ticking off the things on my To Do list. I downloaded the Microsoft To Do app and it feels great to be able to tick things off. If I use paper, it doesn’t work. You basically end up collecting bits of paper with the shit on it you meant to have got done in November. Which means it all builds up, I become overwhelmed and then I procrastinate.
- That brings me onto another point, I deleted some of the apps on my phone that were not serving me. They were distracting me, which is needed sometimes, but you can’t be distracted 24/7 because then you are avoiding life (how long did it take me to learn that? Far too fucking long)
- I submitted a few poems to Fly on the Wall press’ call for food themed poetry for the next issue of their magazine. I started the year with the aim of submitting m writing again and it started well and then tailed off because of the aforementioned To Do lists. Plus my confidence in myself is so screwed, I get into the mindset of why try and get published when so many people’s writing is far better. Which is rich because when I do read my poetry, I think that’s pretty good Kate, not bad. Then I read some of the reviews on my books, which people have read (and I need to stop saying which) and get a boost from that too. So I need to stop going on a negative bender. I need to tell those negative thoughts to fuck off more often. Not easy when depressed, not easy. We can try. It is May first. The opportunities are endless.
OK. Turns out I was wrong. I had depression, but April was full of progress too.
Let me know in the comments how your April was.
hello, hope you are all well.
i’m not going to lie, i am emotionally all over the gaff. i have been feeling so many emotions and it’s all a bit strange. i normally feel nothing on this level and if i’m not careful i can feel my way into complete panic and then i struggle to breathe. i usually have SAD and it lifts around this time of year. instead i’m getting depression 24/7. it feels strange, unexpected. nothing to do with my period. so this feels like something else i need to navigate. of course, i am not underestimating this virus and what that is doing to us all. i think we’re all probably feeling, well, a little bit of everything right now. there’s so much death, and uncertainty. it is one day at a time. if you get through a day, high five. that shit is difficult. i am usually isolated. because of my anxiety my life is restricted in lots of ways and with the threat of ‘rona it feels no-one is carrying on as normal, so that doesn’t feel reassuring that at least the world outside of my flat is going on. because it isn’t.
i think one of the disturbing emotions for me is loneliness. i have been lonely for years. i have no friends. i am used to it. i think i may have been squashing those feelings down. i am now feeling the disconnect from people and that’s making me sad. how on earth do i live such an isolated life, that’s sad. i’m not continuing with counselling at the moment, i can’t afford to. i started counselling sessions last year and i think it has opened Pandora’s box because i just don’t stop thinking about the past and the trauma. now i’m not verbalising that face to face with someone, i think it is having an effect. obviously, it is.
i am still trying though. i have dumped, or parked, the shit that doesn’t matter and i cannot control. i am mainly trying to be productive because that gives my day structure and stay sober because i don’t need to be pouring gasoline on the flames – that will not help and not let my bf drive me up the wall because he is in all sorts of ways and i let other people’s moods infect mine. i need to stop doing that. he’s bored, not my job to entertain him. it isn’t like we don’t own enough books. and how can you get bored with reading? how?
at this point i don’t think anyone is reading my blog, understandably people’s priorities have changed. but i am going to continue blogging as a form of saving my sanity. if you are reading, hi and thank you. especially if you have read this. i want to share a line from a poem i wrote.
because i do feel so much of my growing was done in the dark, in my bedroom, and it didn’t feel like growing. it felt i was wasting time, i didn’t care (you don’t when you’re depressed) and i didn’t feel i was doing anything of any note. i was worrying about the future, the rent, am i ever going to be able to keep a job and have a career (i didn’t care because i was depressed, which gave me a great feeling of hopelessness) i mean, i was surviving. surviving is pretty fucking huge. what is that quote. you have survived a 100% of your bad days so far, you’re doing great.
i’m not going to say and that is why we will survive this current mess we are in. we can at least appreciate that there is hope. even if we’re feeling like utter crap (she says ever so eloquently)
those are my thoughts. thank you for reading. leave a comment if you like.