When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

Archive for the ‘loneliness’ Category

In a deep blue funk…

Hi peeps. Things are still rough. I came out of the crisis unit after two weeks today. Have not had the heart to blog in all that time. I was grateful for caring people around me. God, I was just grateful to be around people. I realised that living alone when I am depressed exacerbates the condition.

I brought the kitten into the unit for the second part of my stay. I wanted to have him close at hand so I could feed him regularly and keep tabs on him. Plus it was a lot of fun for me and the other clients and the staff! Except that he escaped a couple of times into the massive garden there and was keen to test out his untried climbing skills on the massive shed roof and the big trees! Talk about a cat with nine lives…

I am relieved to be safely back at home with him in one piece. Here he has already mastered the cat flap and enjoys the freedom to go back and forth. So far he is sensible and does not stray far. Amber, the older cat, has a love hate relationship with him but when I brought him back after our time away she sniffed his nose in an almost affectionate way before giving vent to the inevitable ‘ssss’!

They are often to be found stretched out together on the spare bed. They make me smile with their antics and I am important to their existence. That’s well worth the smelly cat litter and nigh on endless trips to the supermarket for their food!

I am getting bored with my voluntary work. I guess it might be time to start looking around for something else. A lot of the time, though, I am just stuck in one gear. Survival gear. Just getting by.

I made a potential new friend in the crisis unit. She lives a few streets away in a similar house to me, has a similar-sounding life (complete with cat) and a lot of the same interests. It’s all good.

Take care peeps. Love, Zoe.

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Black Dog Tired

Time for an update. This week I have been so depressed I have not been able to work. I am hardly able to walk, even. When I go out I walk slowly and painfully along the road like a much older woman. Could not do yoga.

Things I still do. Get up in the morning. Wash and dress. Take baths. Cook. Eat. Feed and pet cats. Water plants. Go out because if I stay in too long it becomes unbearable and I need to be around people even though I also experience pain in their presence. Look at email and look up stuff about personality disorders, social phobia and various sorts of therapy that might offer me a little chink of hope, however small.

I am nothing if not resourceful.

But emotionally I am one big mess.

I am going back into the Crisis Unit. It is only a few months since I was last there. But I had run out of resources and Things to Do to feel in any way safe.

Have been thinking about how much I have always hated my dad. How I could find nothing redeemable in him. That I perceive him as sub-human, in that respect. I basically prefer Hitler to my father. He was a vegetarian animal-lover remember! In the case of my dad there is no balance in my emotional response.

I guess I am still, emotionally, reacting as that vulnerable young child. No, actually, I don’t know. What I do know is, this hatred is corroding ME. It can’t harm my dad in any way as he is four years dead. I feel so very stuck. And that, if I could begin to forgive him or at least see his humanity, I might be freed from my own harsh self-judgment.

Have I got PTSD, BPD or Social Anxiety?

Been shopping around for therapeutic possibilities. And I am prepared to pay! Let’s face it, therapy after two years on another NHS waiting list is not a lot of bleeding use to me right now. I just know that I can’t do this alone. I need affirmation, and hope.

Good to talk to you, peeps. Love, Zoe.

Exploring the depths.

Hi peeps. I still don’t feel inspired to write. I plummeted right down over the course of the Bank Holiday weekend. Most of it was OK, but by the Monday I was so down, tried to be sociable and met friends for lunch but it just didn’t do a thing for my mood except possibly to make it worse.

My moods are not usually that stubborn. ‘Stuff’ has really got to me lately. Beginning with the psychotic breakdown in April. And now the break-up of my long-term relationship: the two not wholly unconnected. I’m getting older. Cumulative losses are breaking my back.

Weather has been crap to boot. What happened to the summer?

Reflection on ‘relationships and me’. No wonder I hold back from falling in love, from being vulnerable in a relationship with someone I really like. I’m devastated and distraught over the loss of someone who was very very far from ideal, and who at best was only partly committed and partly there.

My fear of people continues apace. At the same time I am desperately lonely. My self esteem is about as low as it gets, not for the first time. 

Ex called last night. It was a relief to have a civilised conversation with him. I had thought he was angry and bitter but he said no. He said he could accept that it just wasn’t working. I said I hoped we could be friends but it might take time. The difficulty I am having is that I don’t know if I can really let go. Let go of the intimacy, trust that it does not mean I will be cast into the void forever. Abandonment.

‘Mind’ is telling me I am a pariah. That I should ring a bell to announce my arrival so that no-one else need risk contamination.

I told you my self-esteem was low. The psychotic episode hit me so very hard. I had dared to hope. All of that seemed to come crashing down. Can I believe in myself, with or without episodes of madness?

At the end of it all this is depression. Just surprised I am still so down. Am I still ill? Yes, it would appear so.

Life goes on.

Hello all. I haven’t been inspired to blog much lately, but feel like I should give you an update. Actually things are pretty good. The new kitten has changed the dynamic chez Zoe. Older cat is more affectionate as she now has competition. And the two of them give me hours of harmless fun…kitten has discovered a one-sided form of what used to be known at my primary school as British Bulldog. While older cat sits sedately (and disapprovingly, like a maiden aunt) on the terrace, kitten streaks up the full length of the garden, past her and into the house. This morning he actually leapt clean over her as she ate her food. If he tries to go past her at a normal pace, she invariably hisses, spits or otherwise tries to bully him.

On the whole they both seem to take the aggro pretty much in their stride. I have to do my bit by making sure I am always around when the two of them are together. And, for instance, shutting the kitten in the lounge at night so that older cat can sleep on my bed, come and go as she pleases, and otherwise continue to enjoy the privileges of seniority undisturbed. What I don’t want is for her to feel her quality of life has decreased as a result of kitten’s presence. In other words, I have to play diplomat and peacemaker.

Having two cats makes the house feel oddly more like a home. When it was just me and older cat, we were often like ships passing in the night. Two independent middle-aged ladies. Aargh what am I saying. Well, forty-six ain’t young, but middle-aged these days seems to be about sixty.

Anyway, I am happy with my little black and white boy.

Tomorrow evening I am going to Moscow State Circus with a friend who has free tickets. It is literally about a five-minute walk from my house, in Alexandra Park. It’s funny to think of all the Russian circus folk living in their caravans and tents a stone’s throw away.

Have made a couple of social arrangements for the bank holiday weekend. I know from experience that if I don’t bank holidays can be a difficult time.

Last weekend I was down at my Mum’s for the day, seeing my brother and nephew. That was pleasant and civilised enough. And amazingly I didn’t even find myself feeling uncomfortably envious of or inferior to my brother. On the contrary. For once I actually started to notice his flaws.

Been reading my son’s school report, which I finally received. Nothing too terrible on there. Behaviour still a challenge. Still ‘could do a lot better’ if he focused more and sought attention less. ‘An intelligent boy’. The P.E. teacher was probably the most glowing. He commented that J needs to be more sensitive to those who know their own weaknesses well enough. Hmm, I have told him that myself. He can be master of the cutting comment, though I would not say he is deliberately cruel, more thoughtless. He also said that J has a good understanding of strategy and tactics in games…absolutely right. The boy loves to win, he always has, and he uses his mind to figure out how to do it. Another teacher said he was lively and likeable, and another that he had made many friends both within and outside his year. All good news.

Am currently engaged in the Databases module of the European Computer Driving Licence. That and Spreadsheets are the most yawn-inducing of all the modules and I’ve got one after the other. But at least I’m doing it. Am also back at Work Directions, the government service to help disabled people get back into work. After my last meeting with an adviser I undertook to find five vacancies I liked the look of, and also to think of ten qualities I look for in a job. It did me good to see him, because he was quite impressed by my CV and gave me a more optimistic perspective on my work prospects than I have had of late.

And finally, I am making progress with my CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) although sadly, the therapist, who I have only just learned to appreciate, is leaving in two weeks. I have asked to go to the top of the list for another therapist, so that I can keep up the momentum.

Have not seen much of the ex. I think we both need time. Let feelings cool off. I am discovering that the single life is nothing to fear and dread. This way I have more time and incentive to try new activities, which bring me into contact with new people, and also have time to build on the friendships I already have.

I hope I haven’t bored you all senseless. It’s my life! And it’s really not too bad. Lots of love…Zoe.

Kitten therapy

Hey folks! Rather sooner than I was expecting I have become the happy owner of a three month old black and white boy kitten.

As far as I knew I was going to ‘view’ him, at Beaumont Animal Hospital in Camden. If it was a yes the RSPCA lady told me to phone her and she would deliver him to my house.

But once we had been introduced the Veterinary Nurse was quite happy for me to take him away there and then. They even supplied me with a free carrying basket!

Of course it makes sense…There are always fewer good, loving homes than there are cats that need them and I guess they wanted to ‘strike while the iron was hot’.

Even the amount of my donation was left up to me, so I gave them half of the ‘minimum’ specified on their info sheet…fifty pounds. Well, I’m on benefits and as it is Kitty Junior will be costing me a fair bit in food, vets bills etc.

Plus I had to get a cab home with Kitty, as I didn’t want to subject us both to the trauma of a bus ride! As it was he mewed most of the way home.

And when we got back I put him in the lounge, put hard and soft food out, and a water bowl, found the old cat litter and a tray to put it in, made a makeshift ‘bed’ for him out of a cardboard box which he has ignored so far, and found a few toys.

And at first he leapt all over the place, full of fun and curiosity. He’s such a character! When I left him to go eat dinner and mow the lawn he had clearly been busy as he had knocked down my Buddhist shrine (little iconoclast!) and was fast asleep in the tiniest, darkest and safest corner he could find. Bless!

Ah well. I promise not to let this blog turn into ‘Pet’s Corner’. I have never been impulsive about animals because I have a big sense of responsibility about them, but just lately I have been more and more irresistibly drawn to the idea of a kitten.

Part of it is as simple as this: I am a sad and lonely woman! What can I say? I have a need for comfort and companionship coupled with a definite difficulty in reaching out to (human) others. Also, I want and need to nurture something. My nest is prematurely empty…apart from my female cat, Amber, who is twelve and quite independent.

Anyway, only time will tell if it all works out…much depends on Amber accepting her new housemate. For the time being I keep them apart, and let them sniff each others’ presence before they have to actually meet and get accustomed.

OK let’s try an emoticon 🙂 Take care all and thanks for reading…

Sad beyond words

Hi. I’ve had a rough week emotionally. Have been frankly weepy at times…This morning I was doing my computer course at Learn Direct and a memory suddenly surfaced a propos of ? and the tears just started to well up. I am in the full flood of grief. Grief for my lost life, for my child who could not live with me, for the warm, close and nurturing family that I (and therefore he) never had.

All, I suppose, triggered by this latest ‘loss’ of my sanity and consequent loss of the hope that I had of staying well. Oh, and the loss of my relationship, because I have kind of given up on it. And the depression is telling me I do not deserve another one.

And if that all comes across as reasonably self-pitying I can only nod, agree and apologise.

But having got that off my chest I’ve spent two days at work and staying busy and productive definitely helps. Also I have decided to adopt a kitten from the RSPCA, and the lady came round to my house last night to check me and my premises out as suitable. Apparently I will be put in touch with the foster carer of the kitten that needs a home and will go round and see it. They are ‘knee-deep’ in kittens at this time of year, she told me.

Also my friend came back from holiday. I had really missed her, and we went for lunch and then to our local outdoor ‘lido’. I did enjoy that.

And I am calling this post ‘Sad beyond words’ because what I can say here really is the tip of the iceberg. Somehow no words can properly express the feelings and in any case, I don’t want this blog to be one big introspectathon. The truth is I am hurting too much to make a lot of sense, too withdrawn to think beyond surviving this right now.

Mental Illness Impacts on Relationships Part 47

Hi all. Things have been a bit all-over-the-place for me emotionally over the last week. Even by my standards! I decided to go and stay with my Mum at the weekend, in my wisdom. It was a scorcher – she lives near the coast – seemed like a no-brainer. Why can’t things ever just be that simple?

The first 24 hours were fine enough. We chatted lots, went to the beach, went swimming in the sea. Then we went for an Indian meal. I don’t know why but my mood plummeted into my boots around the time we had the meal. Maybe it was partly the situation…eating a meal alone with my mother on a Saturday night. Feeling like a useless, washed-up failure with a history of broken and discarded relationships and an empty life.

Anyway we had been going to see a film but I had to cry off that and got an early night. The next day I was struggling again with my mood…until I exploded with anger and resentment at my Mum. It was a broiling hot afternoon, even near the coast, and we went for a hellish drive and an even more hellish walk, arguing as we went, both now really upset and saying a lot of stuff we didn’t mean and maybe some we did.

This is unfortunately a pattern. I now rarely go to see my Mum or if I do I only spend one night or just an afternoon. It’s the same when she comes here, sometimes even worse because I feel territorial, as if she is invading my space.

I am naturally ashamed of my behaviour. Depression doesn’t make me dignified, silent, poetic or melancholy. It is so raw and painful I frequently cannot contain myself from exploding with irritation or lashing out with anger. The excruciating guilt, shame and remorse follow close behind.

I spoke to my Mum on the phone today and we smoothed things over. We were both quite devastated by the argument. With all the ambivalence, the history and strain there can be between us I know that she loves me to the best of her ability. She suffers, seeing me suffer. That is the bottom line. That is why the relationship has been strained to breaking point, but has never broken.

I am not over this depressive episode. It’s a time thing. As I tried to explain to my Mum (who does not really understand depression first-hand) the best way to recover from depression is to recover from depression. Only when you start to recover can you start doing all those things again that give you a sense of self-worth and build you up physically, mentally, spiritually. When you are in the full throes of an acute phase you often can’t do more than keep breathing.

Anger in depression can be a dangerous thing if it drives you to alienate the people who are closest to you. I have been in serious danger of doing just that. But I went to my CBT session today, and that is definitely starting to make more sense. The rapport with the therapist is building too. Then this evening I went to a marvellous OA (Overeaters Anonymous) meeting. Relationships are powerful things. Scary, yes. Terrifying, sometimes. But I know I need them…

Lovely to be here at WordPress by the way, and lovely to be able to read my ‘stats’ and comments and know that I’m not nattering away to an empty room! Love you … Zoe.