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16/10/14

Permalink 12:53:36 pm, by just.another.girl Email , 1528 words   English (GB) latin1
Categories: just_another_girl

I have heard this quote tossed around many times in my life: "Trust is like a sheet of paper, once it's crumpled it can't be perfect again.". This may be the case, but for someone with trust issues like myself, I would say instead that trust was like a thin sheet of glass. It is very fragile, and with one slip it will shatter completely. I don't trust a lot of people outside of my close family, always finding that it eventaully finds a way to bite me in the backside; 'such is life', I can imagine some of you telling me. I think that these issues have arisen as a subconscious movement to protect my best interests. My heart, if you will.

I referred in my first post to my counsellor, Carol, who no longer counsels me anymore. In almost every session she would encourage me to try and take that leap of faith with just one person and try telling them how I felt, because she was adamant that it would make me feel so much better. I dismissed it as nonsense intially, that is, dear reader, until last night, but I shall start at the beginning of the story so bear with me.

When I walk the 30 minute journey from school to my house, I sometimes like to do so alone. For me personally, this is the only time of day when I can safely release my pent up sadness by simply putting on my depressing shuffle and looking at the world around me, allowing myself the luxury of silent ruminations. While obviously unhealthy in a sense, I find the alternative of bursting into tears at school far less appealing. Too many questions would follow for my liking. Anyway, yesterday I had decided to take the walk by myself and was a little over half way, earphones blasting and tears leaking when there was a tap on my shoulder. Who should be there, but my best friend; for the sake of his privacy, I shall call him 'Peter'.

Now, Peter obviously isn't blind and can see the tears on my face and so naturally, he asked me what was wrong - refusing to let me continue my journey home until I told him. I told him that I was ill again and left it at that, drying the tears from my cheeks and begging him to let me go before one of my younger siblings stumbled across me, neither of whom are aware of my current condition. I got back home quickly and crawled into the safety of my bed, refusing to move again for the rest of the night and quite ready to go to sleep, despite the fact that it was little after 4pm.

But I got a message instead from Peter and we began idly chatting and bantering as best friends do. But a few hours down the line, the conversation took a turn that I didn't quite like. I can't remember the exact details, but it all started with him revealing that he felt like I didn't even care about him sometimes which was quite hurtful, as I am a very emotional person, I just try not to reveal my emotions to avoid other people becoming overwhelmed, getting the feeling that I'm clingy or something akin to that. I think such a way of behaving makes me look very cold and detached when in reality I have so many feelings that it's impossible to form a coherent sentence that could accurately explain them.

I tried to explain this to him and so the conversation continued until he revealed his feelings for me. He told me that he wanted to look after me and try to help me to the best of his ability because he 'liked' me. While the sentiment was flattering, I knew immediately that there was no possible way that Peter couldn't offer me the kind of help that I needed. No dear reader, I am not being dismissive and pessimistic, but our relationship is not a stable one, these are the wrong foundations on which to build that kind of trust. He wasconvinced that he could help me get better, without even knowing the reasons for my depression in the first place while I obviously thought differently, to which he took offense.

It's not that I didn't want it, it's that I didn't think that it was fair for Peter to be saddled down with a mentally unstable girl like me, it sounds like self-pity, though I assure you it is not. I didn't think that any boy of 17 would truly want to stick around with someone who would become entirely dependent. I asked him what would happen if he decided to change his mind, or if he was unhappy and wanted to leave. I didn't want him to feel obligated to me because of my instabilities and unpredictable feelings, but he would hear none of it.

In the end, I realised that the only way to fully convince Peter that there was nothing that he could do, I would have to tell him exactly why I was depressed in the first place, which was very difficult for me because of the feelings of pity and sympathy it envokes in the other party. I do not like admitting weakness, and this was doing exactly that, but what was worse is that I felt as though I was being dramatic and attention-seeking, but he put my fears at ease and so I began my tale.

"I've had no confidence in myself for years, and so naturally what I believe about myself has to be reinforced by other people. I rely heavily upon what they say about me and adapt the way that I am to suit that because I just don't have the strength to go my own way. I don't like people seeing more that what I choose to show. The less they know, the more in control I am about how I choose to depict myself. The things that caused my depression aren't just going to go. There's no cure for them while I'm here, with anybody that I know. This may sound like absolute nonsense, but I'm depressed because I'm just too different from the people I surround myself with. Outwardly, perhaps not. But as a child, the things that I would think about and even dare to say out loud meant that I was ostracised because I was weird and different. Kids don't say that they want to die because the world just wasn't nice and you couldn't find your place in it. It sounds snobbish and dismissive, but the only person I've met who can truly understand is my father because he went through exactly what I am going through - he is the same as me. I've never met anybody else in my entire life who I can share these thoughts with and that sense of isolation from your peers is suffocating. I can't put into words how horrible it is to sit every day at lunchtime, wishing you could get back to lesson to distract yourself from your own obvious differences and inadequacies. It eats at you until you have to give yourself reasons not to run out and go somewhere that nobody will find you. At home it's no different either and every day you wonder whether you should just not go back. I can't even put it into words anymore."

That was exactly what I said to him. By this time, I felt so vulnerable and raw, but I was holding onto the belief that he wouldn't judge me so desperately. I believed in him when he told me that he wouldn't. But unfortunately, dear reader, life is full of nasty surprises, and so in a cruel twist of fate, he did the one thing that he had sworn not to do.

He judged.

"Sorry for being too normal for you."

"...But as per usual. You think of yourself as the unique case."

I can't even articulate properly the level of betrayal I felt at that moment. This was someone who had only a few minutes ago claimed to want to help me, consequences be damned, I had given him my trust and believed in him and he belittled me and threw everything right back in my face. If you are reading this thinking, 'get over yourself, stop being dramatic', then do please tell me that it is me who is overreacting. I am not perfect and can often be big-headed enough to believe that I am almost always in the right, such as in this case. He took my trust and broke it like the thin sheet of glass that I have described previously. Looking back now, I wish I hadn't caved and refrained from telling him to spare myself from my own mental torture which I have no doubt will plague my mind this coming weekend.

My warning to any of you who might read this, be careful who you trust.

"Ed Sheeran - Afire Love" For my granddad who died 8 years ago today.

Thank you for reading.

Until next time, dear reader.

15/10/14

Permalink 12:45:21 pm, by just.another.girl Email , 994 words   English (GB) latin1
Categories: just_another_girl

Eight years ago to the day, seemed at the time a day like any other to my young, naive, nine-year old self. Though all these years on and it is burned into my memory. On this day, eight years ago, I distinctly remember sitting at the kitchen table in our cramped little kitchen with a very, very old laptop, swinging my little legs as they couldn't quite touch the floor. I spent the most of my afternoon, sitting in front of this computer screen, trying my hardest to draw the best picture I could using Paint. Yes, you may chuckle, but to my nine-year old self, this was a very important task.

You see, this wasn't just any picture. I had to get this picture just right, because it was for my granddad, who at the time, was 'sick'. I'm not quite sure how long I had known that he had been ill, but looking back I had known it for a few months - ever since his car crash in February time. Anyway, I digress. We were going to visit him the next day, and my mother had told me to draw him a nice picture - a duty I took very seriously and so I spent hours labouring over this computer trying to accurately paint my granddad, my aunt (who at the time was eight) and myself. I was so proud of that picture, despite the fact that we were all very red-faced and slightly square and it was with great pride that I printed that picture and showed it off to every member of my household at the time.

So the next day, we loaded ourselves into the family car and began our journey to my grandmother's house, or at least that was what I thought at the time. Instead, we pulled into a rather quaint little building, the sign reading: 'John Taylor Hospice'. Of course at the time I hadn't the foggiest what a hospice was and assumed that it was some sort of hotel that my granddad was staying in for a short while. We entered the room and I couldn't wait to hand him this picture that I had drawn and so carefully guarded since the moment that it had left the printer to ensure it didn't get creased. He smiled at my funny little drawing and asked one of the nurses to pin it up on the board in his little room so that he could look at it while I was gone.

We didn't actually stay for too long. I remember him eating his dinner and chatting idly to the family before my father turned up, ready to take me and my younger siblings back to his house - as my parents had separated only two years prior. I said my goodbye's like a dutiful granddaughter and left with my father, thinking nothing more of the encounter.

That night, something odd happened. Being a light-sleeper, it was no surprise that I woke the instant that my father came into my room at some unsociable hour. He had his ear pressed to the phone and some indiscernable look on his face. I wasn't sure whether it was because I was still hazy from sleep or the caller had already hung up, but I heard no snippets of the conversation. My father told me to go back to sleep, and so I did.

In the morning, however, I woke to the news that my granddad had passed away in the night and I felt as though my whole world had shattered. In my mind, he was only a little bit poorly with something akin to the flu. Only then did I found out that my poor granddad had been suffering with bone cancer for several months. The news ate away at me, for the regret I felt for having not made my goodbye as meaningful or thoughtful as it should have been was overwhelming. It was in that moment that the finality of death truly hit me, while my younger siblings who were only seven and five at the time hadn't a clue.

As the years passed, my memories of my granddad have begun to fade, all except what happened on this day eight years ago. It hurts that the only strong memory I have of him is of when he was sick. I can't remember a thing otherwise, nothing but his laugh and that time that he took me to the Museum and Art Gallery. Eight years on and the pain hasn't ceased. Every time a Beatles song comes on, I can't help but think of him. I torture myself by walking past this hospice on some days, for I have lost four family members in the same establishment, each of them to cancer.

It angered me when I finally discovered what a hospice actually was, in fact I think I may have startled my RE teacher by storming out of the class in tears for no apparent reason. It was a place where people were put to die, and had I known that at the time then I think I would have happily sat at that computer for far longer and made that picture the best it could've been. I would've written cards that expressed my love and gratitude for the small amount of years that he had helped nurture me. I would've said goodbye the way that it was meant to be said.

The worst part is that I don't even have a picture of the two of us together that I can look at fondly and think 'I remember that!'. I didn't even get that silly little picture that I drew back from the nurses. I wonder if they threw it away? I don't even have many memories, those of other people just aren't the same.

"City & Colour - I'm in Delaware" is my song for today for any feeling particularly sombre.

Until next time, dear reader.

14/10/14

Permalink 09:51:21 am, by just.another.girl Email , 712 words   English (GB) latin1
Categories: just_another_girl

"How was your day?"

The dreaded question for those of us suffering together with depression. I say that I am fine, only to spare the onslaught of meaningless platitudes that would follow if I gave any other answer, when in reality every day I can feel myself fading away. Yes dear reader, I know it sounds dramatic and cliché, but those of you in a similar situation will know exactly what I speak of.

I wake each morning, ready to close my eyes again and turn my back to the world. I have a mental agenda in those meagre minutes that the snooze button allows, which consists predominantly of listing as many reasons I have to actually live. But I will find myself questioning those reasons many times throughout the day, and by the time I crawl back into the sanctuary that is my bed, my brain has already diminished the worth of each and every one of them.

Today I felt the bitter pang of isolation more than ever. Let's just say that my best friend is quite mercurial, he switches almost every day. Some days he is friendly and chatty, practically all over me - he has a bit of a crush on me, see. But then there are the other days, days like today where he shuts me out. No, not everybody, just me in particular. He rebuffs my touch, he scoffs at what I say, as if he is analysing my words just to point out the fault in what I say, he deliberately chooses not to walk home with me, instead keeping a few steps ahead as if to keep him in my mind, torturing me. Yes, I do realise it sounds as though I am a rather desperate girlfriend, but I assure you, our relationship is platonic. What you must understand, dear reader, is that he is the only person who knows the depths of my every day struggles and so without him to help me get through every day, the isolation suffocates me.

Suddenly, I find that my mask begins to slip in spite of myself. Only the observant begin to notice that I am not my usual vivid self (which is all a carefully constructed, not to mention exhausting act) and that is when the dreaded question springs out of nowhere. "Are you okay, Monica?" You feel that knot in your chest, your heart beats faster as if willing you to let the dam burst and let your worries pour from your mouth uncontrollably, but it is with great pain that you restrain yourself, feeling the tears prickling at the back of your eyes as you try to force a smile on your face as you feed them the obvious lie that sates them. You know as well as they do, that they don't want to hear your problems any more than you want to accept defeat and say them aloud.

Arriving home from school, the weather reflects my grey mood and I fled to the privacy of my bedroom, deciding that I shan't leave for the rest of the night because I don't want to face the inquisition that my family is sure to initiate. "You've changed." They will say. "Something must've happened." would be the obvious conclusion, logical even. But depression isn't logical and there is still no reason for your silent suffering and so you do the thing that your body hates you for; you suck it up and continue to carry your burden without even a single word to anybody else.

And so, dear readers, I admire each and every one of you that persists in their silent grief. I want you to know that it takes great strength to see all of these people around you and yet continue to say nothing. I offer myself as a friend should you find yourself in the situation that you want to speak out, but not just to anybody, but to someone who understands. Please know that you are not alone, as I will try to remind myself as I wake tomorrow morning and remind myself of the reasons.

"Peter Broderick - Floating, Sinking" - Is my song of the day, if any of you share my passion for sad music.

Until next time, dear reader.

13/10/14

Permalink 04:12:30 pm, by just.another.girl Email , 2286 words   English (GB) latin1
Categories: just_another_girl

 

 

Dear readers,

I must confess that I have never entertained the idea of creating my own blog before, but after stumbling across this website after a rather desperate Google search, I decided 'what the hell' and here we are.

Before I begin, I guess an introduction is in order. My name is Monica, I'm a 17 year old girl who has been struggling with depression for a considerable number of years now, which might be quite shocking considering my tender age, yet I assure you, I am but one of many. This blog will serve as my outlet, for I often find that there is seldom a person who will want to listen to my lamenting as I try to break free of the isolation that depression brought into my life, and I sincerely thank those who read my thoughts. It means a lot to know that my voice is heard, that there is someone listening.

This post will be quite a lengthy one. Probably the longest one I shall ever make and so I understand if I  bore you to the point of tears half way through my ramblings and you decide that in fact, you don't want to read my asinine drivel - I assure you, I take no offence. But for those of you who are humouring me, the 'newbie', then I shall divulge to you the trials and tribulations that make up my life.

When I was 12 years old, I wanted to kill myself. I wasn't quite sure why at the time, and it was a thought that frequently scared the bejesus out of me having only just come to terms with the finality of death. But while the other 12 year old children wasted away their days socialising meaninglessly, I was contemplating the meaning of my life and the unfairness of it all. One often wonders what suffering a child at the young age of 12 could have possibly endured in comparison to a fully grown adult who has seen the world and sampled its fruits. But for my young 12 year old self, I had seen enough already. As an idealist, who was continuously exposed to hardship, (which I do note is completely subjective. My childhood was not one of abuse or anything of that kind, more one of my own emotional torment.) I quickly became disillusioned with the world and all of its inconsistensies, but not comprehending the full meaning of my thoughts, I ignored it, thinking I was just the same as everybody else. How wrong I turned out to be.

I often consider that to be the stage of my life when the roots of my depression started to take hold. Do not mistake me, dear readers, it was very, very acute at the time and would only begin to hurt me when I stopped to actually think. And so, I stopped thinking in order to stop the pain - such was the logic of my pre-adolescent brain. Over the next few years, these roots were prompted to grow through several mental collapses in the following years. The most notable, being my latest experience with bullying when I was at the rather awkward age of 15.

Being what you would probably call 'a nerd', I was a very introverted student. Nobody really knew who I was, for I barely ever spoke to anybody who wasn't my best friend at the time. I was socially incompetent, which only led to many more questions and insecurities pertaining to myself. But just as most, if not all girls have experienced at one time in their life, I was deeply insecure in the way that I looked. Looking at myself now, I wouldn't call myself particularly unattractive but  something along the lines of adequate, even vaguely pretty on a good day. But my 15 year old self only ever saw complete and utter ugliness whenever she looked in the mirror, I disgusted myself to the extent where I put the superficial, edited pictures of myself over the mirror to trick myself into believing that that was how I actually looked.

Anyway, over the course of a few months, I received an abundance of spiteful messages almost every day, exploiting every single insecurity that I saw when I looked in the mirror. Fat, ugly, you name it. They were so creative in their insults, that if they were not so hurtful, I could probably have admired them, however they made me feel completely and utterly worthless. And thus, self-harm was born. Many of you who do not understand it may read those words with scorn, but let me explain; there was so much pain and self-loathing that I could physically feel with every heartbeat that I needed some outlet, something to take it away, for I spoke to absolutely nobody as I endured this calumny. I took the knife to my wrist quite a few times, that was until my mother saw the scars and demanded to know why I had done such a thing. It wasn't until she had threatened to tell my father - the man I absolutely idolised - that I finally cracked. I was ashamed of myself, and couldn't even entertain the notion of my father knowing of this weakness of mine. I feared that he wouldn't understand and would lecture me at length for my stupidity. But again, it seemed that I was wrong again.

The boys were reprimanded and the insults stopped, but the pain did not. It still lingers to an extent, but it has left its mark. After such an ordeal, it took a while to become confident in my looks again. In fact, I would say that even two years on they haven't completely healed and have left quite a few insecurities that plague me every now and again.  While it gets easier to look in the mirror on most days, I often think I fool myself in all of the good qualities that I see to appease myself. Don't think me as vain as to think that physical beauty means everything, because it absolutely does not, but when in a society such as this when intelligence and wit (two qualities that I pride myself in) are no longer appreciated, then what do I have? I'm not exactly the type of girl that men would want as their dream woman, being studious, boring and smart instead of sultry, alluring and flirty. I think my parents tried to put this insecurity to rest by telling me that intelligence made a man feel intimidated, threatened even, but was this yet another illusion that I would resign myself to believe in to spare myself more pain? Of course, I dismissed it as nonsense and to this day I always take compliments with a pinch of salt.

You may think me snobbish when I say that I am the smartest girl (academically) in my year group. I do not say so to gloat, but it leads onto my next point. Being praised solely on intelligence as a child led me to believe that it was the best thing about me, I still do as a matter of fact, however clinging to such compliments led to a certain perfectionism that now has grown to an unhealthy level. I distinctly remember attempting to pull all-nighters to cram in my revision notes, kept awake with many, many caffeine tablets paired with the stressful calls at 3am to my poor father with whom I would share my pre-exam insecurities. You see, it was ingrained into my head that if I did not succeed, and by succeed I mean come within the top 5 grades in the year then I was a failure of catastrophic proportions.

I believed it was this added stress that was the pre-cursor to my major depression which began late last year. My mother, being depressed herself recognised the signs I was exhibiting and took me to the doctors who put me on Prozac which I absolutely detested. The pills didn't help at all, in fact they worsened my condition for the 8 weeks that I was taking them, not to mention the side effects were completely undesirable. I took a lot of time off school, not telling a soul what was wrong with me, feigning illness, which wasn't a total lie. This was a time of complete, suffocating depression - the kind that makes you unwilling to leave your bed in the morning because you just don't see the point anymore. I dropped about a stone in weight because I couldn't force myself to eat and I slept all the time. Sleeping was my best form of escapism, it was the only time when I felt no pain, and I would often cry upon waking as the realisation that I was to subject myself to a few more hours of all-consuming pain dawned on me. During these hours, I relied heavily upon my music to pass the time, my playlists mostly consisting of melancholic orchestral pieces amongst other songs that honestly made me feel such a sweet sorrow, that I was masochistic enough to leave them on repeat, crying to myself as I lost my thoughts in the meaning of the lyrics. Even now, music proves to be my best friend. The voices of these prodigies, the hum of the strings, the trill of the piano keys - anything was enough to bring me to tears. It still is when I'm feeling particularly sorry for myself.

I quickly found that it wasn't my academic career that was the source of my depression, as the only thing that kept me sane most days was the familiar feel of a pen between my fingers and a complex chemistry question on my mind to chase away my thoughts. And so I became puzzled; why was I feeling the way that I did? I took up counselling, somewhat reluctantly. Having trust issues, dissecting my life with a complete stranger didn't seem too appealing, however my desire to recover was greater and so I met Carol, my counsellor. During my months with her, we shared many tearful conversations (on my part only) and while she meant well, I left my last session still confused. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know, only adding fuel to my belief that counselling was a complete and utter waste of time.

I was okay for a while after receiving my results. Not better per se, but moderately well. Up until recently that is, when my depression hit me with full force without warning. From a personal perspective, the relapse was far worse than the initial bout. You recognise the symptoms as they appear and know what they mean, and yet you're absolutely powerless to stop them as they lead you down a darker path and before you know what to do, it's too late. I still wondered what could possibly be the matter with me. I felt ungrateful; I had everything in the eyes of my peers. I had recently attained the position of Head Girl as well as receiving the best grades in the year group and yet I was still miserable. Of course I couldn't tell anybody that - mental health isn't exactly on the forefront of every adolescent's mind. Most of them didn't even understand the depth of depression, a phrase which is so commonly tossed around as if it is nothing. I even had one boy ask me 'will you be better next week?’ Of course not! It doesn't just go!

I became frustrated with the people I surrounded myself with, realising just how different I really was to all of them. At this point, I had dissociated myself from many social obligations. I didn't exactly have a best friend anymore. I had a handful of good friends who all believed that I was happy because of the exhausting smile that I forced on my face every day. I craved intellectual conversation, someone who I could connect with without the fear of holding anything back, but apparently they're quite rare. The tediousness of conversation irritated me; I didn't care who was having a party next Saturday, or which shenanigans Bob was up to with Mary. It didn't stimulate me the way that I needed to be stimulated, and so in my curiosity, I began to read around the condition.

It took me a while, but I eventually stumbled across a book called 'Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment and Hope' by James T. Webb. I cannot fully express how much relief I felt when I could finally put a name to what I was feeling, to why I was so different. It was as though somebody actually understood and so I cannot thank this man enough for the words that he has written that continue to comfort me in that I am not alone.

Now, as I sit here on my bed, tears streaming down my face as I recount my life with the aforementioned playlists on repeat helping me to clear my thoughts, I give to you, my dear readers (those of you that actually battled through my disorganised ramblings to the end) just a few snippets of my life. I sincerely thank any of you that took the time to read this, even though I doubt that many will, however you have now become the person to whom I can speak freely, and for that words cannot express my gratitude in such a time of isolation.

I shall leave you with a song that got me through many tough times; some of you may be familiar with it: 'Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now'.

Until next time, dear reader. I promise that my next entry shan't be as heavy as this.

 

 

 

 

 

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A store for the trials and tribulations that make up my life, for when there is no one else to listen.

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