Life / Mental Health update

It’s probably my fault. I have been on Citalopram for possibly six weeks now. For about four-and-a-half or five, I’ve had booklets to flick through to find a counsellor. Before they arrived through the letterbox, I was aching for them. By the time they did, following a highly-emotional telephone assessment, I was filling my free time with company, laughs and smiles; and the urgency I had originally attached to ‘talking to someone’ fizzled out, and I was too busy to let it boil up again.

Now, I don’t know where I am. People ask if the medication is helping, but the truth is, I don’t know. Everyone had said that “time is a healer”, so I don’t know if the improvement I’ve experienced is medicinal or natural. I’m too scared to find out. I don’t want to cut out the meds, because I was so down and so near the edge and so close to fatally following through, that I don’t want to risk those thoughts and feelings again without professional guidance. I was prescribed the Citalopram for a reason, after all. And I won’t shy away from that:* the end of my engagement fucking broke me.

But the fact of the matter is, the last week has been rough. And I’ve been having so much fun, seeing my favourite bands live with some of my closest friends. Unfortunately, the day after this, I woke up feeling glum; a glumness I hadn’t felt for weeks. I walked around the town lonely and miserable, listening to an old punk record that I hoped would take me back to years ago when life seemed simper, I was more innocent and had fewer scars. On the drive home that evening, I pulled over into a motorway service station and burst into tears – the first time I had cried in weeks. I cried the following evening. The next day, Friday, I went to bed early – as I had done the night before – because I didn’t want to be awake; it was synonymous with sadness.

So that brings me to this weekend just gone. The weird thing about this is that when everything begun three months ago, I lost my appetite completely, went for days at a time without eating and lost lots of weight. Now, the familiar symptoms of excessive tiredness and a complete lack of motivation and enthusiasm to even get out of bed of a morning, are back, but I am eating like a fucking killer whale. At this point, it may be convenient to give a breakdown of my weekend, so you can see quite what I’ve eaten and been up to, and better contrast it to how I am nevertheless feeling inside.

NB: I am not sleeping well. I keep waking up at 3/3:30am, then around 5/5:30am, then whenever after, to remain awake until the following bedtime.

Friday Night

Go to sleep early in the hope of sleeping through a black cloud of misery and all-encompassing loneliness.

Saturday

Wake up at around 5am: Between 5:15am and 5:45am, write a bleak poem – exactly how I am feeing – entitled ‘Weekend with You’. Sleep from around 6am for another hour or so.
Sometime after 10am: Brunch of leftover chili and rice.
Around midday: Go into town; buy some jeans and a book – Rupi Kaur’s beautiful Milk and Honey.
Afternoon: Sit at The Weyside, reading Milk and Honey. Drink one and a half pints of Young’s Special ale. Eat curly Cumberland sausage and mash with baby onions.
Walk home; sleep for just under an hour; shower and shave; go to train station. Have tea and half a chocolate caramel shortbread on the train.
Train to Alton.
7pm-ish: Board The Real Ale Train with friends. Drink four to six pints of ale. Eat one hotdog, and two portions of chicken curry and rice.
10:30pm-onwards: Get back to mine with best friend; stand listening to music and having a heart-to-heart (he was yet to know about the extent of my troubles and woes); drink two bottles of Corona; retire about 1:30am.

Sunday

Woke around 5am-ish; back to sleep on-and-off until perhaps 7:30am.
Post-7:30am: In spite of being so stuffed with food I couldn’t finish my last pint on The Real Ale Train; woke up starving. Cup of tea or two (forgot when I had these on Saturday).
Around 11am: Eat a tin of spaghetti with sausages.
Post-11am: Walked into town to return jeans. Bought first Beatles album, Please Please Me. (Me and my best friend were listening last night. He is a massive Beatles fan. I really like their older, poppier stuff. When I asked my friend why it was so successful, he said because they were perfectly-crafted love songs under two minutes. I totally get, and sense, that. The only thing is; having bought it, I don’t know how ready I am to hear such ‘perfect’ love songs.)
Get home and change; to a pub in Shere for about 2:45pm – late lunch with family.
Eat roast dinner, consisting of: spuds, carrots, one-and-a-half giant Yorkshires, roast turkey, one-and-a-half large balls of stuffing, three full-size pigs in blankets, (one ring short of a full) portion of onion rings; half a chocolate fudge cake for desert; two and a half pints of Sharp’s Atlantic ale.
Around 6pm-ish (I think): Get home; sleep from 6/6:30pm to 9:30pm; awake; sleep for an hour; write a blog until publishing around 11:30pm; sleep until 3:30am; awake; back to sleep until alarm at 6:15am, Monday morning; snooze three more times; feeling shattered due to broken sleep.

Monday commences…

As you can see; I have eaten a fuck load. I’ve remained hungry throughout, however. I don’t know quite what’s going on. The unhappy fact remains, though, that I continue to be plagued with loneliness,** misery, sadness and general unhappiness. I don’t feel that I am as far back as I was when things first fell apart; but I am definitely somewhere in between – for the worse. I genuinely believe that trying to read a novel whose plot and narrator I found upsetting, has set me back an as-yet-indeterminable amount.

I desperately need to make contact with, and see, a counsellor. I know that. And I know I’m foolish – if not utterly stupid – for not doing so sooner. I was just so caught up with being ‘happy’. But recent events have made me realise that I am far, far from that.

As I wrote only a few days ago: I feel like I have been kidding myself, and all these things have merely been illusions – I suppose delusions would be more accurate? – and I am obviously nowhere near as ‘over things’ as I would prefer to think I am; and, conversely, remain very much unhappy.

So where do I go from here? Some steps are obvious (and outlined above). Others are not so easy. I feel I cannot be happy until my loneliness is cured, or at least mitigated. But I know I will not attract the right kind of company until I start giving off a more positive vibe.*** And I want to. I so badly want to. I genuinely don’t want to feel like this. I tweeted this morning about how I was sorry for not being more positive. Everyone was so bloody beautiful and friendly. And the truth is, I feel like a fraud: I am continuing to tweet #InspirationalLyrics, but I absolutely do not believe in them myself. Not one bit. In the car on the way to the pub on Sunday, I tweeted about loneliness:

Loneliness can feel like your very own black hole in a dark, starless void. It may be in vain, but let someone know you’re thinking of them.

I had other people in mind, but my God was I feeling it. I hated – and still do hate – the idea of anyone else feeling how I was. That’s the whole reason I began blogging, in fact (as I sort of explained in an open letter to two wonderful bloggers). On Sunday evening, having bought a lovely little memento in a shop opposite the pub, I wrote an open letter to my late grandma, telling her how much I loved and missed her, and how I wished she was around to look after me now. At the end, I said how I felt sorry for anyone who has lost a grandparent, even my ex who hurt me so much, because I know how terrible the pain is. And that’s exactly how I feel about loneliness. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

I just want to help others be happy.

Still, it would be nice to share in some of that sentiment – does anyone want a hug?

(I’m sorry this is not a more helpful or fulfilling post. I saw people were posting ‘updates’ of their situation(s) and state(s) of mind, and I wanted to show my support by doing the same.)

– Josh

* Although this is, to my mind, the first time I have (at the very least, consciously) written about my being on medication.
** Loneliness, loneliness, loneliness.
*** This is an “endless circle“.

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