Chaos

Well here we go again.  This morning I feel like I’m descending back into chaos.  I know what I have to do.  I have to start getting up at 8 am, I have to start filling in my CBT mood card, evaluate the negative thoughts look for the evidence, to deny these thoughts, create a balanced view of my life, but right now this doesn’t seem to offer any salvation.

I am stuck in a recruitment process that has been going on for over year and there seems to be no end.  I am using all my black and white thinking to prove that I have a future either of stability and success or depression and failure.  And although I know my CBT techniques will help they are just beyond me at the moment.  What I need is the job bubble bursting.  That way I can start to blow up a new one.

The lonely days are killing me.  When my wife goes to work I sit in the house on my own for nine hours just waiting to hear her voice again, waiting for her to hold my head and tell me everything will be OK, that we have each other and that this is all that matters.  But when she is at work I have nothing other than the reminder that I failing, falling in to chaos and misery.  My home is a prison from which there seems to be no escape from the chaos in my head.

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update

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been in here and I noticed that I had quite a few hits already this year, so for those who are interested, here’s an update.

Before Christmas I seemed to finally getting on top of things and the depression and anxiety seemed to be taking a back seat in my life.  We had decided to sell the house and move closer to family, which would have several benefits.  Firstly, being closer to family would be a great thing.  My sister is very important to me and being able to see her without spending a lot of money of petrol would be fantastic.  Secondly, by selling the house and down-sizing would could reduce of remove the debt burden that is associated with the mortgage.  It would also mean we could get of a house that I now associate with past happines and current misery.  One of my daughters has gone to university and the other is thinking of leaving home, so a smaller place would cost us a lot less and mean we could start again.  It would be like going back 23 years to went first started our lives together, a time when I was at my happiest and most content.  Maybe moving house will me we can revisit something from this time.  Finally, we will be in a better geographic area for me to either continue running my business (hopefully with more success) or to find a job.

So as you can see, things seemed to be going swimmingly.

But then a bit of bombshell landed in my inbox.  This is going to sound strange, but I got told that I have shortlisted for job in America that would bring tru every dream I have ever had.  So why is this a bombshell I hear you asking.  Well, quite simply, I applied for this job 14 months ago and had convinced myself that this opportunity was dead and gone.  This meant that I was able to concentrate on the moving home plan, a plan that would allow me to be in control of my life for the first time since the first panic attack left me crumpled and crushed on the floor.

The first few weeks after getting the e-mail everything was fine and dandy.  We continued with the plan, continued looking at new homes and continued getting this one ready for sale.  But as the weeks have passed by the dream of living in America has slowly taken over my life and I am slowly slipping back in to depression an anxiety – at the weekend I started taking my medication again after nearly two months of being clean.

All this seems to leave me in the state of limbo that was so damaging last year.  Waiting for the house to sell, waiting for the something to happen with American job, waiting my wife to get home, waiting until 5 o’clock when I allow myself to turn the central heating on, waiting, waiting, waiting…

And that is the current crux of the problem – limbo.  Limbo creates anxiety and depression and this is what I have to fight, otherwise I will be back to square one.

things never seem to get any better…

Well it’s been a long time since I blogged.

Things have moved on a little but they don’t seem to get any better.  July and early August was quite busy on the work front an I seem to have made enough money to survive another couple of months.   If they had been as bad as they were last year the house would have been on the market by now.  The wife seems to be a bit better but my occasional, but increasing bad days do still get to here.

I am beginning to feel really ashamed of my inability to get well, particularly as another blogger lost her husband a few weeks ago.  She has only blogged a couple of times and hope she is coping, although I suspect that she is having an indescribably bad time at the moment.  If you’re reading this my friend, i wish you well and from the deepest reaches of my soul I hope things are getting easier.  I wish I was the same side of the Atlantic I could take you for coffee and just let you vent at someone who doesn’t matter.  I promised you that this blog would never be cheerful, so hear goes.

I have started my CBT and it did seem to be working when I was busy.  But know I feel like I’m imprisoned in my own home and engaging with therapy is a real struggle. I have been given a form to fill in with six columns that describes how I think and feel on the bad days.  So far I have made three entries but never managed to get to final column.  Describing a balanced view and re-scoring the bad thoughts when you’re in the middle of a panic attack is pretty difficult.  If anybody has managed to do this form properly I’d love to hear about your experiences.

The job hunting has taken a turn, butt I’m not sure what to think about it.  I have an interview in a couple of weeks for a part time job that would allow me to continue running my business, but I don’t think that is any real solution.  What I need is proper job that will occupy 40 hours a week and get me away from the need for total self-reliance on the business front.  I’m sure everyone who is self-employed goes through this, but how the hell do they cope with the down time.

I’m really not cut out for self-determination and the lack of support and feedback from work colleagues is the most depressing and stressful thing I have ever experienced.  When you start you own business you get one of two views from everyone you speak to.  It is either the most stressful and soul-destroying thing you can do or it’s the best thing in the world and anyone can succeed, just so long as they work hard enough.  The first is definitely true.  The second is poppycock.

I am still plagued with negative thoughts and for the first time in weeks the thoughts of death came back again this week.  I friend of my gave me an amazing present this week.  He picked me from home, drove me to London, took me to an exhibition, and drove me home again.  Doesn’t sound like much, but he must have driven 800 miles and he was on the road 22 hours.  A truer friend I couldn’t wish for.

The problem was that this brief respite from illness left me on a real downer.  I was pretty depressed as soon as he left and by the morning I was into full blown panic attack.  I revealed to him that I was on medication and that I had been seen by a psychiatrist.   I also told him that I had had the method of suicide hidden in the wardrobe and that plans were in place to end it all.  He is the only non-professional part from my wife who have revealed this too.  Just thinking about this disclosure makes me want to cry.  They say you have to share to get better, so why does sharing make me feel so crappy.  This man stood there without a flicker while I told him this, he just said take your time and waited patiently while I told him and recovered my composure.  A true friend indeed.  I just wish I could spend more time with him.

Back to the job hunting thing.  My daughter decided at very short notice that she wanted to go to university.  We managed to sort this out really quickly, and on clearing day.  She leaves home in two weeks.  I’m really pleased that she’s made this decision and she’s going to do really well.  The downside is that I will miss her more than words can describe, but the positive thing is that is will give me a bit of breathing space and the chance to apply for work further afield.

I have decided to try and get a job that entails me moving home.  I have also decided that the business is just a means to an end.  All I need to do is keep the family afloat until I can get a full time job.  I have applied for all sorts of things, including teaching, being a teaching assistant, an admin assistant, a marketing assistant, a van driver, a trainee retail manager and a studio photographer.  I think in my heart I want the retail manager job, since this be a complete break from photography and marketing.  Turning up for work in the morning for long shift that means I will be busy all day and can forget about work when I get home sounds really attractive.  But then I also think who the hell would take on a 50 year old with no retail experience.

Well this post is too long and the wife has come home, so back to being cheerful and getting on with things.

Self Harm

The demon of self harm is back and the scary thing is that the blockers to suicide are weakening.

It is my wife that has kept me alive for the last the last six months and I’m beginning to think she could cope and would be better off without me.  True, she would probably have to sell the house, but renting a flat is probably better than living with me.   It seems that depression is my normal state and that I lack the motivation to live life.

I struggle with the simple things, like walking the dog, doing the garden, or washing the dishes and death seems a sensible alternative to this misery.  After seeing the psychiatrist a few weeks ago I had a ceremonial throwing away of the noose I had hidden in the wardrobe.  Now I think the noose gave me some kind of comfort where I new I had the means to end it, but could always wait for another day.  Today I think I will find a new noose.

On Monday night I watched a documentary about soldiers, PTSD and suicide.  Although very sad , I am sure that these guys made the right decision for them – sometimes the pain and loneliness is just too much to bear.  I spend about eight or nine hours a day on my own and this is stripping my soul.  I know I am bad person who inflicts pain and misery on others and that I should be able to cope with the decisions I have made and with life in general, but when I’m alone all I think about is ending the misery for those around me.

I went to see my mental health coordinator this morning and although she is a nice person, the meeting was pointless.  I am now past the point of talking about how I feel.  I hiding my thoughts from her and agreeing to do self-help shit that I know I won’t do.  I am beginning to think that I am beyond help and there is no point talking to any one anymore.

Today I will make a new noose and make plans for getting out of this world.

I want to cry most of the time I’m alone, but the medication seems to stop the tears flowing, or maybe I’m just past crying and self-pity.

One of the soldiers who killed himself went into the Welsh mountains camped out over night, recorded a farewell video message to his mother and hung himself.  It’s a plan, a sad one and I’m sure his family are grieving, but it’s plan.

Today I will make plans to join him.  But then I ask myself why I write such shit.  There is now God, no after life, no great hunting ground in the sky the, when you’re dead, you’re dead – I won’t be joining anyone.  Maybe if I believed in heaven and a forgiving God I would have ended it sooner.  On theological point, I see when religions ban suicide and say you spend eternity in hell if you take the life that God gave you.  If you believed their promises about eternal peace on the right hand of God and there was not the threat of purgatory I’m sure half the population would take the quick route to release frommental distress.  Just look at all the cults that have ended in mass suicide.  It’s a plan.

Today I will fashion a new noose and make my plans, but they will remain plans for another day.  Today I want to see my wife at least one more time, and while I keep telling myself that, I can leave the noose in wardrobe content that if it gets too much the means of escape are at hand.

Self-unemployment

I hate being self-unemployed.  I try to run my own business but the work just doesn’t seem to come in the kind of volume that I need to keep the wolf from the door.  That maybe slight exaggeration as I have kept things going for the last 20 months, but things are pretty bad.

We have managed to get the mortgage repayments halved for three month, which is only a help if find a proper job by the time the bill goes back up again.  Food bills have been drastically cut and we survive on cheap meet and tinned soup.  My daughter now buys her own food for packed lunches and she has more food in the house than I do.  My car needs two new tyres, but I’m holding off until I have no choice – this means I’m trying to keep the car off the road as much as possible, which also helps with the fuel bill that I can’t afford.

Having said all that, the biggest problem with self-unemployment is the loneliness and monotony of daily life.  Once the family have left the house in the morning to go to their ‘proper jobs’ I face up to ten hours of solitude.

I’m in the process of applying for my own proper job and send out applications to for everything that has the remotest fit with my skill set, but the usual result is no response.  The latest application I’m waiting to hear about is a teaching post at a local college.  I phoned them last week and they said the interviews letters would be going out on Wednesday or Thursday, but I have yet to hear anything.  I know it hasn’t been long, but this is very depressing (in the very real meaning of depression) and that I may still hear, but I can’t help feeling that this is another opportunity that has passed me by.  If by any twist of fate I manage to land this job I could spend the next six weeks preparing lesson plans, doing some of the DIY jobs that have backed up on me, and getting well.  As it stands, I am in limbo waiting for the lunchtime visit from the post man.

I may have to phone the college this afternoon, just to find out if I have an interview or not.  I think for many people they would just rather not know and move onto the next application, but this is for people who can move forward in their lives.  Self-unemployment leaves unable to take anything forward in any kind of meaningful way.

I could have gone to networking meeting this morning. People keep telling me that this is the way to get work, but it has never worked for me (there are too many ‘buts’ in my life).  Networking is extremely depressing.  You have to constantly be in a good mood and tell everyone how great things are, when what you really want to do is scream out load that life is shit and you bastards are making it worse.

I used to think that working as self-employed photographer would be fantastic, but nothing could be further from the truth.  There is little of no self-expression in commercial photography and you find your self constantly trying to visualize someone else’s rather crappy vision of what their business should look like.  I now have no outlet for self-expression and I find myself simply recreating pictures that clients have seen on another web site.  After 30 years I am no longer a photographer, I am a camera operator, a mere technician.

So it would seem that I am fundamentally unsuited to running my own business and that I have descended in to a world of dead dreams and permanent state of self-unemployment.

I hate self-unemployment.

Zero Day 2

This is my second day alone after two weeks with my wife – all I can say is thank God for the propanolol.

I am highly tense and agitated today and concentrating on anything is pretty impossible (apart from smoking that is).  The beta blockers are doing their job in preventing an adrenaline surge, which seems to be preventing a panic attack, but my right leg is shaking twenty to the dozen as write.

This leads to an interesting question:  Do I miss the panic attacks?

Before the medication a morning attack would at least occupy the start of the day,  I used to get out of bed between 9 and 10 and would pretty soon descend in to a full blown, shaking, crying, brain freezing surge of anxiety that would leave me unable to do anything until at least lunchtime.  From where I’m sitting now that sounds bloody marvelous – half the day would be gone with out me having to do anything.

Now I’m in a permanent state of post-panic attack depression.  All I’m doing is waiting for is my wife to come in nine hours time.  I feel like I want to cry but the tears don’t come.  I feel like I want to kick out and whale and scream, but I’m just frozen in this depressed limbo.  Last week was a good reminder of who I used to be, but this week is a wholly different affair.  Which one is the real me?  If I thought this was going to be it for the rest of my, depression and stress every time I’m separated from my wife, I would kill my self today and free her from this misery.  I keep saying it, but she deserves so much more.

 

Zero Days

Today is a Zero Day.

These are the days when I find myself alone after an extended period spent with other people, usually my wife, during which I have felt well and able to cope.  Zero because I’m back at square one and things could go either way.

On this particular Zero Day she has gone back to work after two weeks holiday, which she has spent at home with me.  These two weeks have had their difficult moments, but they have generally been pretty good.  We have both said things that we needed to say and we are both feeling a bit better about our place in the world, although this doesn’t stop us wanting a big change in our lives:  Something momentous, like leaving the country, would be nice.

We had a nice weekend away and I managed to not fret about the money.  All we did on Saturday was walk around the Albert Dock, have dinner in a cheap, but nice, Italian restaurant, and then walk around the old Georgian streets in the middle of town.  It was just nice to be together with nothing to do.  We got back to the hotel about 10 and watched a documentary about Rankin.  He has done a project exploring how people deal with the prospect of their own death.

It was great piece that I’m not going to describe here, you can check it out yourself if you wish, but I am going to talk about it’s affect on me.  If you have read previous post you will be aware of my dalliance with suicide and that I may well be out of the danger zone on this particular issue.  However, I don’t think I really am.  Like some of the people Rankin was talking to, I am simply in remission:  Things are going well enough at the moment that I am able to triumph over  these thoughts, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be back.  I am still waiting to find out about a couple of job applications and if both of these go badly the demon will probably be in the ascendancy.

So watching Rankin’s people being brave in the face on unavoidable death gave me mixed emotions – feeling that I too can be brave too, while also feeling weak and useless.

These are not good thoughts for a Zero Day.

Today I have nothing meaningful to do and must force myself to be active.  I have few bills to put out, pictures from the weekend to download and have a look at, another job application to complete, more job hunting to do, roses to deadhead:  Plenty going on but this is Zero Day.  Today fear and insecurity haunts me – fear and insecurity that this world no longer needs or wants me – the shakes are back – it’s heading towards lunch time and I’m still not dressed – I’m counting the minutes until she comes comes home – today the fight is on – moved forward or sink back into anxiety and depression.