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07 March 2008 @ 10:47 am
This is my life  
Here's how it is.

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 CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCS (or whatever they're called) who are negotiating with my creditors for me.

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.
Current Mood: calmcalm
lwbush: momlwbush on March 7th, 2008 11:47 am (UTC)
Love ya, sweetie. If it helps conquer the "all alone" feeling, I'm heading in to town to a Bankruptcy Hearing today.
bitterbird on March 7th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
awww hon *hugs*
gosh I am so so sorry that you have been feeling this way
you are not selfish or stupid by any means
and you deserve all your friends, you are a fantastic person, you deserve so much
If I can help make anything better for you, I really will, you are lovely
*hugs super tight* &hearts
tessarintessarin on March 7th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)
You have my admiration for putting this out in the public domain. As for that little voice ignore it. You bring too much pleasure into your friends lives both real and online imho for it to have any weight imho.
monkey_matt: Spam - engelsteorramonkey_matt on March 7th, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
It is in the nature of friendship that one should accept the best and the worst in the people that one knows. Actually, that ought to be in the nature of being a good person, but sadly...

On the one hand you can be a bit of a grouch (who isn't?), but on the other, you do crazy things like posting videos of bouncing elephants.

Besides which, the grouch is easy solved. Caffeine and random spamage often does the trick. Don't listen to the little voices - they don't know all of you.

draconindraconin on March 7th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that there are times when you feel more positive even if things are still hard too much of the time. I admire you immensely for the enthusiasm you bring to most things and particularly for the amount of work you put into the fan community. Keep on ignoring that small voice and listen to your friends.
Sara: *squish*sarakat on March 7th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
technopagan hippie chickgeminilove_ca on March 7th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
*hugs* What you've talked about is incredibly brave. You're not alone.
Willowgreenwillowgreen on March 7th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you've decided to "come out" publicly.

A few months ago in my church, our guest preacher asked us to perform an act of witness by standing if we or someone close to us had experienced serious mental illness. At least half the congregation (including me) stood up.

What I've learned over the 20+ years since this became an issue in my life is that when I am open with others about my brother's mental illness, more often than not I learn that they or someone close to them have been through it too, and I feel way, way less horrible about it.

So thank you for standing up. Depression is just a part of who you are. The more we all understand that regular, "normal" people suffer from this disease, the smaller the stigma becomes.
velvetwhip: Diva Joan by emeraldswanvelvetwhip on March 7th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
I think you're brave and strong and a terrific person. I just wish there was something I could do about all the things that are increasing your stress level and depression so catastrophically.

Ah yes, quite a bunch of us, isn't it?: Hug!unhobbityhobbit on March 7th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Putting that kind of stuff out there for people to see is the kind of bravery I aspire to.
Maryfresleyforever on March 7th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
*loves you*

You are an amazing person Shona and I am so glad to have met you. It's incredibly brave of you to post something like this and I have the upmost respect for you.

Cat: firefly: carrymeaditu_az on March 7th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
i don't want to say anything dumb or cliched, so i'm just going to refer you to my icon, and say that i am willing to be found
angelnetgirl: Hugangelnetgirl on March 7th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
*Hugs* having had the pleasure of meeting you and spending time with you (not enough though sadly) I can safely say your a lovely, kind person. I look forward to seeing you again at Asylum time if not before.

I totally understand the not opening up, I am probably guilty of that as well.

You have had a lot more to deal with than most lately and I think your coping with it all amazingly.

I admire you for being able to put this all out there, I am sure there are lots of other people in the same situation who wouldn't.
still searching for something...amy_star_ on March 7th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC)
You know what? You're still. here.

And I know from experience that sometimes that's all you can do.

omegar: Catalystomegar on March 8th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)

I know i am sitting her eon your friends list, occasionly commenting, but rarely at that, however a lot of that is not knowing how to give support.

i still don't, instead i will just say that i hope you begin to feel better soon. I hope you can come to terms with who you are.

smhwpf on March 8th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)

Well posted.

You have come through so much in the past few months, and you know what? You look like you're whupping its ass! Plus, being able to lean on friends and open to them is a big plus.

As for that little voice, a lot of us who do not have a diagnosable mental illness can get that from time to time... sometimes, as you say in the 'pit of the night' (which you should absolutely use more in fanfic) it can feel overpowering but it is always a lie.

Yay for you! :-)
JGjgracio on March 9th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
The little voice doesn't know what it's talking about. *hugs*
Echo: Dean/Heartstir_of_echoes on March 9th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
I think making an open post that's so personal shows strength and the ability to try to keep moving forward.

That's extremely admirable.

Ashpurplephoenix03 on March 9th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
Sho, I read this post a while back (on Friday actually) and I just sat with an open comment window trying to find the words with which to reply to you with. In the end I bookmarked it and hoped the words would come to me later — they still haven't, but I wanted to say something regardless.

What it comes down to is that I admire your courage and your bravery, putting this out there the way you have. I also think that maybe this is a very positive and huge step in the right direction for you, to help you become at ease with the awesome and fabulous person that you are. I understand mental conditions better then you'd guess, so I feel the best thing I can say to you is take each day at a time and give yourself short term goals to achieve. And if you ever feel low, visit this post and see not only the support that you have got in the people who care for you, but see also the insane amount of courage and strength you do possess, and hopefully that will give you the mental conviction to pick yourself up and carry on.

I want you to know, I'm a phone call/text/email away, anytime. And pfft, Giles may know a lot of things, but he's not always right ;)