I have a somewhat strange relationship with anxiety. On the one hand, I have had a number of psychological assessments over the years and I often surprised the psychologists at how little anxiety I registered on their questionnaires, considering how strongly depression registered (the two usually go hand-in-hand). On the other hand, I am no stranger to the gnawing feeling of dread about the future. When I was at school and university, I used to feel particularly nauseous on Sunday evenings, dreading the coming week, and first thing in the mornings. It was the latter that brought my mental health problems to light for the first time. I went to the doctor complaining of disrupted sleep and inexplicable nausea during the day, especially on the way to school. It turned out, after a number of physical tests had drawn a blank, to probably be my first major depressive episode with anxiety explaining the nausea, although this was not diagnosed at the time.
One therapist suggested that the depression was so strong that it ‘drowned out’ the anxiety except at certain points when the anxiety was very strong. That may be true, although I think it may also be the case that the anxiety had been present for so long that I stopped noticing it, at least the morning/Sunday evening type of anxiety, and/or that as far as possible I dealt with the anxiety by avoidance, particularly in the years 2005-2008 or so, when I simply stopped functioning and spent all my time in my bedroom, reading and blogging online and watching Doctor Who, only going out for meetings with psychiatrists or therapists, being too depressed to work.
Sometimes the anxiety shades into pure O OCD, where I go from worrying that I’ll be fired to obsessing that I’m going to do something that would get me fired even though I know it to be wrong and have no conscious intention of doing it. OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder (although apparently this has recently changed in DSM-V, but not ICD 10), so I guess that isn’t surprising. At other times the anxiety would catastrophise into despair, where I would stop worrying that something bad would happen and just assume it would happen and feel depressed as if it already had happened, particularly regarding careers, dating and recovery.
I was a drama queen on someone’s blog again yesterday. I wish I didn’t do this. It was about the coming Yom Tovim (Jewish festivals) and setting targets for growth over them and in the Jewish new year. I just feel that I can’t cope with any of that right now, that I’ve got a lot of anger and resentment issues with God and I can’t cope with the idea of making him my King (which is what Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) is all about) or asking for forgiveness (Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)). I feel, if anything, that He should be asking me to forgive Him for everything that He’s done to me over the last twenty years, but then I feel bad for feeling that. I’m hopefully speaking to my rabbi mentor on Sunday, but I’m not sure how much of this I will be able to bring up.
I just feel tired a lot of the time. Physically tired and tired of life. I’ve felt like this on and off for many years. I just feel that my life is not good, that I don’t enjoy it or have meaning or purpose, or feel that I’m doing anything useful with it. I feel I have no reason to want to stay alive.
I feel confused too. I don’t know where my life is going. I have ideas for what I could do, but I don’t know how feasible they are or whether I would actually enjoy them. The world frightens me, both on a personal level and, increasingly, on a social/political level. This doesn’t feel like my world, but I don’t think it ever was. I don’t know what’s going to happen with me and E. and I’m not sure I really know what I want to happen or what would be sensible. To be honest, I don’t know what I feel about HaShem (God) either. It’s easy to say that I hate Him and am angry with Him, but I’m not sure that that’s an accurate picture of what I feel, at least not all the time. I don’t know if this is alexithymia (difficulty feeling and understanding emotions) again. It’s hard to know what I feel about HaShem. I feel strongly that He exists and is omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent. I’m not doubting in that sense (and I have had times of doubt in the past, so I know what I’m talking about). But I find it hard to believe that He cares about me and even think that He hates me, which I guess means that I think that I deserve to be hated.
I just wish I could sort out my life somehow, but I’m not sure what a ‘sorted out’ life would look like.
Just further to what I wrote here over the last few days, I did a tiny bit of reading on complex PTSD. I did seem to have quite a few of the symptoms and certainly there was an ongoing situation in my childhood that seems to my unprofessional mind to be potentially traumatic, but in my mind I would not feel confident at all to say I’m a sufferer. I suppose I feel that I have so many issues that have not been ‘officially’ diagnosed (autism being the big one, as I have had repeated and conflicting diagnoses, but also I was never officially diagnosed with OCD or social anxiety, even though both seem very likely) that I am wary of adding any others, especially as my therapist feels I have a tendency to want to be The Most Mentally Ill Person in the World. So, I’ll probably shelve that for now, but it is at the back of my mind.
I just got back from shopping. This led to several bad things: the realisation that even walking briskly for five or ten minutes exhausts me; the discovery that there is a supply problem with my antidepressants again, leading me to suspect that they are no longer being produced; and suicidal thoughts. In just over a week, Jews all over the world are going to be literally praying for their lives, hoping for a good new year, a year of life, and part of me just wants to die. I do not want to be here any more. I feel that I’m a disappointment to everyone and that it would be no different if I was never born. I’m just holding on because a few people care about me, which I don’t understand, but I don’t want to upset them, and because I’m a coward and scared of making a failed suicide attempt and ending up physically damaged, but still alive and depressed. I don’t feel I have any real hope for the future. I’ve been depressed for so long now, it’s impossible to believe things can get better. In fact, I think things will probably get worse. I just screw everything up.
People tell me I have to stop comparing myself to other people and to learn self-love, but no one tells me how to achieve these things. I don’t feel I deserve to love myself, I don’t understand how other people could love me, I don’t believe that HaShem loves me and I don’t know how to love myself without becoming even more wicked than I already am, because I’ll just end up ignoring or justifying all the bad things I do. I don’t know what the way forward from this is.
(I’m not sure how much of the last two paragraphs is true. It feels true, but it also feels true that there’s part of me that doesn’t want to die, although it’s pretty confused about why, as it’s not much more hopeful for the future.)