The first of two announcements, and the most important one. This is very difficult for me to say, and takes more courage than when I published my first chapter of End Online and left it to the masses to chew apart, and chew you all did. This is because I have never been someone to open up to others, and have always done my best to solve my own problems without involving others.
I know that many of you have been wondering where I am, what I have been doing, and why I haven’t followed through when I say I will do something. I understand that this can be incredibly frustrating, and I can assure you no one feels it more than me.
Over the past two months, perhaps longer (I’m not too sure as my memory fails in many departments) I have been stricken with chronic fatigue. I have spent most of my time in bed, often only awake for 6 or 10 hours a day. Even during my waking hours, I had no energy. I spent many of my days struggling to stay awake as tiredness wouldn’t leave me. I’m not talking about yawning and wandering around like a zombie, but physically struggling to keep my eyes open at times.
It was near the end of last month that I started having random headaches and panic attacks. I would stand outside in my backyard looking up at the stars and feel like the sky is coming crashing down onto me and that there is an impending doom coming. I didn’t know they were panic attacks at the time, but I could tell something was seriously wrong, so I went to the doctors the next day.
I had several blood tests which came back with healthy results which was one burden off my mind, but I still felt something was wrong in my head so I booked an MRI of my brain to make sure there isn’t some tumor and anything that shouldn’t be there. I won’t be going for that until the end of this week or the start of the next, but there shouldn’t be anything to worry about according the my doctor.
Here is where the diagnosis the doctor gave me comes in. After some tests, I have been deemed to have moderate, bordering severe depression. I will be a little educational here for those who don’t know a great deal about depression like I didn’t at first, so hopefully you can understand a bit better.
Most people understand depression to be related to sadness, self-loathing and/or hating the world. I can assure you I am none of these, especially sad. I do feel a little lonely sometimes as I live alone, but nowhere near the point it should affect my mental health, I do still go see family and friends from time to time. I am also definitely not sad.
Depression actually has many faces, one of which is what I am suffering. It is this depression that constantly makes me deprived of energy, falling asleep, and holding a dangerously low motivational drive.
I have never belittled mental illness or looked down on it, but at the same time, I had grossly underestimated it. It is a thing that truly can’t be described to another person to make them understand what it feels like to go through unless they have experienced it for themselves.
The other troubling part was my memory. I recall when there was a comment mentioning it had been 16 or 17 days since the last update, and I was appalled. Not at the comment, but myself. In my memory, it had only been about a week, but the hard facts proved otherwise. I found there was a big blank in my memory of the remaining time. I have always had memory issues, so that usually wouldn’t be unexpected, but it had never been this severe. My best guess is that it was the depression making the problem worse.
All those times I have said I will do something, and disappeared, it is actually this fatigue dragging me away. I honestly do intend to do what I say, and try to push myself to do it despite feeling weak. This is where the seriousness of mental illness can show its effect. No matter how hard I try to push through it, I can’t seem to do it. I end up feeling like a wind up toy with a broken spring. No matter how much you turn the dial, nothing happens.
I did receive a prescription for anti depressants at the doctors at the end of last month, but so far all they have given me is a week long period of insufferable headaches. The headaches have passed, but I haven’t noticed myself feeling any different from before I started taking them. Apparently they take two weeks to start taking effect, and I should have more energy then as well, but we will have to see. I have never been a believer of pills because they have never done anything for me, but I still keep an open mind.
For anyone else out there who is suffering from depression, I want to say that it is okay, I understand that it isn’t something we always have control over and someone telling you to “cheer up” isn’t always helpful. At the same time, there is nothing to be ashamed of for going to someone to ask for help, and opening up is probably the hardest part about it. If you can’t bring yourself to say it to friends or family, there are doctors who don’t know you or anyone you know that are much easier to talk to.
Let me tell you a little about my personal life and my past.
I have serious issues opening up to others (except for the rare occasion when I drink too much, then I think I open up a bit too much), and have always been an independent person in my life. My childhood was rough, constantly being moved around to live with different family members in different states, never getting to have any true long term friends.
After my mother passed away from cancer when I was 8, I spent three years living with my father from another state who hated me. He used to threaten me, making me honestly feel like my life was in danger, and contantly put me down and accuse me with whatever excuse he had.
A result of my father is that I have no memory of my childhood, subconsiously blocking the memories out. The only memories of my childhood I have are with my father, and I can promise you they are not pleasant ones. My last name was even turned into an insult because it was different from his, leaving me to hate my own name and eventually change it once I turned 18 just to be rid of it.
After turning 14, I moved back to Melbourne with my older brother and his soon to be wife. I spent years of people letting me down, destroying my trust in relying on others. I found assuming that they would let me down from the beginning was much easier, and it became a state of mind I struggle to place aside even today. I also often distanced myself from other groups in the end, because I always wound up feeling like I was just some tag along.
It was on my 17th birthday when I was kicked out of home, the conclusion of having a fight my brothers wife over her stealing all my money and a couple of other minor matters. It wasn’t fair, but life is hard in many ways. It was thanks to one of my best friends that I had a place to move to.
It wasn’t until I was 19 that things started turning for the worse again. Me and my girlfriend had been constantly fighting for months on end, driving us both crazy and then eventually splitting us up. It wasn’t long after that I felt my whole life was collapsing around me, making me despair over everything. I ended up actually turning suicidal at one point after that. I walked in and quit my job on the spot, leaving some shameless and embarrassing “what the fuck is wrong with you” note behind. After that I even book a train ticket to the middle of nowhere where I planned to find a hole and curl up in.
It was actually thanks to my grandmother that I finally turned away from that. I ended up talking with her first and moving away for a long needed, peaceful rest and recovery. It would have been better if I didn’t end up living with my father, who kicked me out after nine months of not being able to find a job, but it palled me out of an all time low nonetheless.
I move again back to Melbourne after that and found a job within a week ironically. It was at this job however where my trust in people further dropped. I injured my back one freezing cold morning doing repetitive lifting. The pain was crippling and only became worse when I returned to work a month later. To this day it still plagues me every day, and I can’t sit without a back rest or support, do strenuous labor, or even do my own gardening. Anything that requires bending can be a considerable issue for me. It only hurts like a mild ache most days, but the more I push it the worse it gets. Thankfully it will return to being a mild ache with enough rest.
The problem was after the back injury, I pretty much became alienated at work. People believed I was faking it, mostly because I didn’t talk much about it or complain, only trying to push through the pain, but that was not the case at all. Those who I thought were friends were sneering at me behind my back, saying spiteful things to the bosses and truly straining my mental health.
It only later that I found my passion for writing, and my life finally began to get more positive. I am still paying off old debt, but my life has indeed become much better since. However even if things are more positive, it can never erase what has happened in my past.
Now, I know it may seem easier to say this sort of thing on the internet, but it truly isn’t easy for me. Like I said, I have serious trouble opening up to people, and here I am opening up about my past to more people than I have friends on facebook. It actually grips me with anxiety thinking how people will react, but honesty is a good policy.
For those who are suffering from past troubles, mental illness, or other issues, I have spoken out, now it’s your turn. I don’t mean to comment about it below, although you are welcome to if you want, but to open up to friends, family, or a doctor. If you are like me, always trying to resolve everything yourself, understand that occasionally asking for help isn’t a bad thing.
I will leave this as is. To combat the anxiety, I just wrote it all in one blurt and refuse to read back over it. I hope it makes as much sense to you all as it did to me writing it, and perhaps even help someone.