I have had a huge amount of stress in my life lately. Family issues, financial issues, work issues, health issues – all of these have piled things onto me one after the other at a time when I could really have done without any of it.
None of these things are really resolved, and I have been reticent to discuss them with a wide group because to be honest, a lot of them carry a stigma for me. I'm in my 30s, I'm supposed to be a grown up and be able to deal with what life throws out. I can't, therefore I'm a failure. I know this is not true, I know that no one has a perfect life where they have complete control over everything. I know my situation is not unique and I know the stigma is all in my head. Doesn't stop me feeling it though, and when things are insanely bad, it doesn't stop me acting on it.
I find it hard to open up to people. I always have.
In the last ten years I have met some amazing people online who now know pretty much all there is to know about me, but that took a long time for me to be able to trust these wonderful souls with the things I hold closest to my chest.
This is my failing. I don't trust people, I leave myself wide open to being hurt, but at the same time I build up walls to keep people out.
I am mentally ill. I am currently diagnosed as being clinically depressed and am taking medication for it (the dosage of which is in the process of being increased to try to combat my increased insomnia). I am also receiving psychiatric treatment on the NHS with the aim of exploring the potential Bipolar nature of my illness. Up until last June I was receiving psychological therapy (again on the NHS) which helped immensely but we (my therapist and I) took the decision to stop before therapy became a crutch.
Around about that time I became friends with another group of people. What Giles said when he came back in season six felt true to me before that, that at my age making a new friend is a statistical improbability.
Since then I have seen an improvement in my mental health status, until recently when other factors came into play and have dragged me back down into depression.
I am pretty much estranged from my sister. I still see the kids, I still see her now and then, but we don't talk every Saturday on the phone for an hour before I go up to see her for lunch the same day. I don't ask her for favours – and not just because I've finally learned that she rarely comes through for me – and she doesn't ask me.
I'm one missed payment away from bankruptcy. Which might not be a bad thing, at least the phone calls and letters and fear of answering the door in case it's a bailiff would stop. I have gotten some great advice about this and am in contact with the CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC
I was seriously ill, which led to be being depressed, which has led to a suppressed immune system, which is leading to me catching every sniffle and bug out there.
I was subject to disciplinary action at work and have seen my job being gradually phased out around me, to the point where I have been teaching myself origami in order to have something to do with myself.
I have also inadvertently hurt some of you recently. Either by lack of communication, by you perceiving me to have been freezing you out, or by abrupt replies and comments when we do communicate. It is not just one person who is affected here, so please don't think I'm singling anyone out or trying to make anyone out to be the bad guy here. No one is the "bad guy". This isn't fiction, this is real life.
I don't open up. I just don't. If you have only been friended with me for a year or so, that will probably come as a huge surprise to you. This last year has been the most open I have been since I was a kid. Lately, I've been reverting to how I used to be.
I know that's not good for me. I know it's really not good for you.
I am working on it. I know I have friends I can rely on; I know I have people who want to be there for me. I am thankful for that, and I'm humbled by that.
And it scares me a little bit.
Scares me because there's that little voice – the same one that stigmatises me – that says I don't deserve friends. That I'm useless. That I'm selfish and stupid to think it will last.
It's only a little voice, I can – and do – ignore it most of the time. But in the pit of the night (I like that phrase, must use it in fic more) it's still there.
So I'm not freezing anyone out, I'm not pissed off at anyone because believe me I would tell you if I was, I'm not actively trying to be a bitch to anyone. I'm just being me. A me I don't really like all that much and who I thought I'd managed to leave behind for a while, but still me.
I'm not flocking or filtering this even though it is highly personal. I'm choosing to make it public because doing so is a way of beating the perceived stigma attached to mental illness, or to financial difficulties, or to any of the other issues I talk about. If this helps anyone gain a better understanding of what it's like to be inside the mind of someone who is suffering from depression – on a good day – then that is amazing.