It is highly unfortunate to find yourself in front of a doctor, being asked what sort of symptoms you’re experiencing, when one of those symptoms is the loss of the ability to concentrate or think clearly. Telling her what it is you want to happen is rather difficult as well when trying to make a decision is like trying to parachute onto a car speeding around Spaghetti junction. I know I’m writing more or less coherently now, but it’s not quite so hard when I’m hiding out at home on my own – although it’s still taken long enough just to write this paragraph. Urgh.
I’m off work sick. “Sick” meaning that I had to leave college two hours early yesterday because I’d spent most of the first lesson sitting in the staff room crying, the second lesson observing rather than joining in due to my brain being replaced by wet Kleenex, and the third one trying to decide whether to throw up or pass out. I had to concede defeat at that point, and told my tutor that on top of other stresses I had a tooth infection and didn’t know if I was just crazy or had a fever as well. It was true that I had been up since 6.30am and had spent the morning at the dental hospital being told I need yet another root canal. Eating disorders are such efficient destroyers of teeth.
I can’t sleep properly – I’m currently having several nights of tossing and turning followed by one of full on unconsciousness when I’m so exhausted I’m on the point of collapse, and then repeat. I’m having panic attacks on my way to work. I am disappearing off to cry briefly and pull myself together again repeatedly during the day at work. When someone asks me a question, I can’t answer. I can’t plan what I’m doing with the residents. If someone says something remotely critical I take it as a full scale attack and respond accordingly, shake a lot and cry when they are gone. I seem to be shaking a lot regardless of whether the person in front of me is critical or lovely, and in fact regardless of whether there is a person in front of me or not. I want to hurt myself, although I’m not going to. I want to stop eating, although I’m not going to. I have lost my appetite and keep eating things which are calorically adequate (example: somehow I convinced myself that a massive flapjack would do for dinner last night) but really not on for someone in recovery, and then wondering a couple of hours later why I feel like shit. Shit being cold, sick and shaky, not hungry, because I don’t DO hungry when stressed. It would be much easier if my appetite was not so affected by my anxiety.
I wasn’t really coping before the start of the year, but spending New Year’s Eve awake until 5am worrying and talking to the police about a close friend’s suicide attempt pushed me over the edge. For various reasons I was only told about the attempt, not the fact that they had then gone to hospital, so phoned the emergency services. The police phoned for the final time when they had discovered the whereabouts of my friend, but I was pretty much screwed by that point and had only just gotten to sleep around 5 when I was woken up by a loud repetitive noise a couple of hours later. I think it was that moment when I saw my friend’s text on my mobile informing me that they had overdosed that my brain decided it had had enough. I’ve felt completely numb since then, except when my body decides it’s going to cry without warning and when I had an attack of wanting to throw things a couple of days ago. Throwing things would probably help, actually.
I’m angry with myself as much as anyone else. I am full of “should haves”. I should have done something about my work and relationship much sooner, I should have had my mobile on me at the time my friend texted me, I should have said or done this or that to my manager, I should have gone to the doctor before now. I shouldn’t be whinging to my housemate because she has her own stuff to deal with, I shouldn’t be whinging at all because EVERYONE goes through shitty stuff and not everyone has a full blown nervous breakdown when they are under pressure, I shouldn’t have a problem with work because it’s normal to be paid next to nothing for having three peoples’ worth of responsibility and pressure. I shouldn’t be taking time off when I won’t get paid for the first three days. I shouldn’t be eating into my comparatively tiny savings. I should just pull myself together and stop making a fuss.
I keep telling myself that I’ve survived worse and will be okay, but that doesn’t stop this from absolutely and completely sucking. I see it as a personal failure to allow myself to become so unwell, when I’ve spent the last three years trying to sort out my mental health so that I CAN deal with a bit of stress without immediately becoming depressed or too anxious to function. Although really, I think the emphasis in that sentence should have been on “a bit”.