Note: This was posted to my social media late July, I’m simply adding a copy here for posterity and in the interest of keeping everything together =)
Hi! My name is Trunks9809, and I suffer from anxiety and depression. Some of you already know this, some probably suspect, and for others this will be news. Hell, some people will probably see this post and wonder why they’ve not seen me in years.
This aims to shed some light on that and how these conditions have and are affecting my life. But before we get to that, I want to make it clear:
This is not a cry for help. I’m seeing a psychologist. This is not a cry for attention. It’s not aimed at making you feel sorry or sympathetic towards me. I’m not assigning blame – if you were involved in any of the events I mention, I’ve already forgiven and moved on – I’m just focused on making things manageable and liveable.
This is a statement of fact. This is me, making people aware that sometimes, I need a little help. More than that, I hope this will help anyone who reads it feel less alone, or give them a little added courage to speak up and help themselves.
I can’t promise this will be easy to read. It certainly wasn’t easy to write. But the words have been stuck inside me, trying to get out, for so long now. I need to get this out.
So where do I start? I guess the beginning is most appropriate… Which is unfortunate, as I can’t really remember a lot before the early 2000s. I have some memories that stand out, and if someone were to prod my recollections by asking about something, I can normally pull it back, but normal, day-to-day operations, most of my past is unavailable to me. But even though I don’t remember the specifics, those events still affect me to this day – years of abuse, mental, physical and emotional – going back as far as I can remember, both at school and at home. It took me years to realise that its wasn’t the actual namecalling, or beatings that caused the problem – it was the emotions behind it.
See, when you’re constantly bombarded with negative emotions, and have very few positive ones, you start believing that all emotions, all feelings, are bad, and not something you want. You start closing yourself off, becoming distant and unfeeling, because the alternative is terrifying and painful. For those that have known me a long time, this probably sounds pretty familiar, because its a cycle I’ve been repeating, unconsciously, for years. And I’m sorry, if I ever did that to you. Know that it wasn’t anything you did (or didn’t do!), it’s just how my brain responds to feelings. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t even aware of it until a few weeks ago when the whole subject of emotions came up in a psychology session.
Ontop of the bullying and abuse, there was all the standard growing up stuff – made especially difficult since we moved a few times while I was growing up, meaning I swapped schools twice, once in Primary and once in Secondary. This is where the beginnings of my anxiety come from. I have both general and social anxiety disorders, with a tendency to disasterfy things I’m worried about. In short, I worry about things that haven’t happened yet, and amplify the consequences to the worst possible outcome. I’ve seen myself imagining full blown conversations, multiple times, trying to think of every angle so I feel prepared. Fuck knows how I’ve ever successfully made it through a job interview, but I have. I get super nervous when I know there are people behind me and I can’t see them – if you’ve ever been out someplace with me, you might’ve noticed I’ll normally sit in a corner, or with my back to a wall. That’s why. If I’ve ever made plans with you and cancelled last minute, thats the anxiety overcoming the rest of my minds ability to logically think things through – and I’m sorry for doing that.
Over the past ten years, I’ve had a number of mental breaks, some harder than others. I’m not going to get into the circumstances of each, because these I can actually remember and they’re still jagged, sharp painful memories. Some of you will know about these, especially those I work with, but they’re not really something I’ve been overly open about until now. However, each has had a profound effect on my life, the way I act and perceive things. These are also the times I’ve struggled most, fallen furthest and frankly, done the most harm to myself – I’ve self-harmed frequently, and made serious attempts to end my life during these periods. I’ve got this under control at the moment, and I am getting help – please don’t worry.
Theres a concept I keep using to try and convey the depth and utter helplessness of depression – to me, depression is a well. A deep, dark well. If you’ve seen Dark Knight Rises, the 3rd Bale Batman film, imagine the prison from that film, but in utter darkness. Depending on how stable I am, I’m at different points in the climb up that well. I’ve yet to make it to the top, and at my worst, usually when I’m having a mental break and the recovery period afterwards, I’m at the bottom. Life at the bottom of the well is basically just existing to prolong your existence. Your energy is gone, motivation zero, paranoia turned up to 11 and the world feels dead and colourless. To feel like you’ve nothing left, to be so desperate to get out of that dismal, dark place… you contemplate a lot of things. I used to think the depths of depression could be communicated, but over the years I’ve changed my stance on this. Until you’ve personally been there, at the bottom of that well, unable to see which way is up because of the darkness, left with no other outs… you can never understand what it’s like.
I’ve rambled for quite a bit, so if you’re still here, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading. I don’t know if what I’ve been saying will make sense to everyone, but I’m so tired of hiding, tired of pretending everything is okay when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Where am I today, you might ask? I’m not quite at the bottom of the well anymore – I’ve had a lot of help and support in starting to climb out of there. I struggle still, with basic day to day things – I frequently forget to eat, to drink. Sleep is a distant memory most of the time. My anxiety is so on edge I can’t leave the flat most days, and the times I do it’s to an appointment, or because I’ve got someone with me, physically reassuring me that I’ll be okay. Which is frustrating as all shit, because there are things I’d love to do, places I’d love to go, events I want nothing more than to attend, but I can’t.
For those I used to work with, I’m sorry I haven’t said anything sooner, I’ve had a lot I needed to get out but no real idea where to start – I was made redundant at the beginning of June. I was off sick from June 18 mostly through to around April 19, so if you’re wondering why you haven’t seen me… there it is. To everyone else, I’m super sorry for how distant I’ve been, for events I’ve missed and everything. I want to change that, I just need to do so slowly so I don’t take on too much at once and end up sliding back down my climb. Hopefully this has helped you understand what I’m going through.
I know there are folks here who are suffering similar conditions to varying degrees, to you I say this: Don’t be silent. Speak up, start getting the help you need to start your climb. I know it’s not easy, I do, but once you make that first step, things will get better. If you, or any of my friends, needs someone to talk to about any of this, my messages are open.
Thanks for listening, this has been a Trunks Talks (for a change).