Into the system…

blogging, work, mental health, therapy, disability, benefits and more…

I feel crap…

with 23 comments

I’ve got a much longer post in the making about returning to work and all that jazz, but right now I just need to whine. The other post doesn’t portray much of how I’m really feeling. It is about recovery, yet at the moment that seems like a strange concept.

I feel crap. Not just a little crap, but really crap.

I’ve been trying to avoid admitting this, but pretending things are okay never does me much good. Maybe if I’m more honest and accepting of how I feel, it will help to ease the pressure a little? I am trying so hard to keep functioning that I am probably making myself worse. I don’t know, but I need to do something and I hope that writing about it will help for a moment.

My mood has dropped. Not just a little bit, but a lot. I could feel depression creeping up on me again, but this past 10 days or so have been far, far worse. During the past week, I have felt worse than at any other point in the last six months. My mood slumped at the end of September /early October, but it didn’t slump this far or this fast. Things had picked up quite nicely since then (and the increase in Reboxetine) and I thought it was just a temporary blip, but now I feel awful and I’m less sure it will be temporary this time.

Every morning is a real struggle at the moment. It is hard for anyone at this time of year, waking up when it is dark and cold outside, but this is more than just winter blues. When I wake up from yet another night of broken sleep and nightmares, I feel the familiar cloud hanging over me. It is a cliché, but it is definitely there, dark and cold, looming over the bed. I realise that it’s back. Depression is here and I am hit with a daily dose of disappointment that I haven’t woken up feeling any better. The sense of dread about yet another day hits me and I want to hide under the cover and never come out.

I know I need to keep functioning and I am forcing myself to keep going, but it is getting harder. On some days I have to go to work and there is plenty for me to do the rest of the time, so I have no choice but to keep going. I force myself out of bed, but it is getting later and later and the incentive to do so is diminishing. I was making myself get out of bed by 9am at the latest, no matter how badly I’d slept the night before, but I can’t do that now. Most mornings I am forcing myself up at 10am, but it was later than that yesterday. If it carries on like this, before long it will be lunchtime before I usually get up. I am doing my best to stop that happening.

I feel guilty when I am like this. I chastise myself for being lazy, but I don’t want to be. I just can’t find the motivation to not be. I know the bloke would chastise me too and that makes me feel more guilty and makes me want to hide how I am feeling. It is nearly always the motivation that goes first. Motivation is tied to noradrenaline and that is what the Reboxetine is meant to be working on, but it doesn’t seem to be doing enough at the moment. I need to get it back, but even forcing myself to do things isn’t likely to help much. It will just tire me out and make me frustrated when I can’t seem to cope.

I am still going to work. I refuse to admit defeat on that. I can’t give up on work. I don’t want to let people down and I don’t want to admit that I can’t cope. I’m worried that everyone will blame this relapse on work and say that I can’t do it. Maybe work is to blame, but I don’t see how it can be. It is not stressful and I was enjoying it at first. It felt really good to be going back and I had definitely missed it. I was being careful not to push myself too hard. My four hours a week were going really quickly, but as my mood has dropped, time has slowed down to a crawl and my last few shifts have felt excruciatingly long, despite being so very short. I have been struggling to find the motivation to go as well and have arrived late a few times because I had been putting off getting ready. My concentration appears to be slipping and I have to keep stopping to remind myself of what I was meant to be doing. I had run out of work the other day as well, so it felt like a complete waste of time and boredom was not helping my mood, but I have now got something new to do, which made it a little easier today.  I will manage though. I have to.

I am struggling to do much else at the moment though. Fighting depression and carrying on with work is sapping all my energy. There is housework to be done, but I am trying to get by with the bare minimum. I sit and stare at the laptop, but I don’t do much with it. I am barely bothering to read blogs or even the news at the moment. I spend too much time hitting refresh on facebook or hotukdeals, because they require little attention. I leave emails unanswered or unsent because I can’t concentrate long enough to write them properly. I am trying to knit a hat for my sister’s Christmas present, but it is slow progress and I keep making mistakes, despite switching to an easier pattern. I tried to go Christmas shopping on Monday, but I was so indecisive I barely bought anything and it took the whole day instead of the few hours I had planned. I have voluntary stuff to do – website updates and press releases to write, but I am putting it off.

I did manage to cope with fundraising at the Christmas Fair on Saturday though, which was a relief. I had been dreading it because I didn’t know how I was going to cope. Adrenaline helped get me through the day, which was a long one to say the least, but I survived. I was working with a decent bunch of girls for most of the day, so at least I had some support and there were plenty of yummy cakes to cheer me up, but I was flagging by the end of the day. We raised a decent amount of cash, which I guess makes it worth it. I felt completely frazzled afterwards though. I had to go out for the bloke’s work do in the evening, but I was exhausted and didn’t really want to go. I did and it was a nice enough evening, but I think I’m still recovering from the late night and long day. Everyone else was drunk too and I was driving, so that didn’t help me enjoy it. My head was so fuzzy, I have no idea how we got home safely. Not good really.

I curiously did the PHQ-9 and the BDI the other day, because I saw reference to the PHQ-9 somewhere and I suspected my scores would show I was depressed again. Scores of around 20 and 30 respectively puts me right on the Moderate-Severe threshold on both scales. I don’t believe that it has got that bad so quickly and I think severe is pushing it, but moderate depression is probably a fair assessment at the moment. Strangely, my scores are worse in different areas to where they used to be, but it’s still higher than I had expected. My BDI score did get up to the late 50s/early 60s though when I was really unwell, so there is a long way to go before I get like that. I did a retrospective scoring for how I was during the summer, just to compare and I would have said my PHQ-9 was about 4 or 5 (not depressed/mild depression) and my BDI around 8 (mild depression?). Things have definitely gone down hill. I think my “natural” state is probably a little on the low side anyway, but this is more than that.

Physically I feel awful as well. Tummy troubles continue. I spent one afternoon last week rolling around in agony. The pain in my gut was just so bad and it came on so suddenly I didn’t know what to do. It was probably the worst attack that I have had and it took a few hours to settle down to a dull ache. My appetite was hit by it and still hasn’t really recovered. My bowels just can’t seem to find any sort of rhythm or pattern, no matter what laxatives or diet I am eating – eat eggs and I end up with diarrhoea, eat beans and I can end up constipated. It makes no sense at all.

In general, my body feels really run down. I have a cold sore and have had a few spots break out lately. I think I may have a urinary infection of some form. I’ve spent most of this week constantly needing to wee, although thankfully it hasn’t felt burny/stingy, so I’m not sure. Last night, a lymph node at the back of my head (behind my right ear, up from my neck) has swelled up and it is really painful. It feels like someone has hammered something into the back of my head and that they are constantly notching up the pressure. I couldn’t sleep at all with it last night. I had the same thing happen on the other side a while back and it took a few days to go down. I hope it does soon. I am not sure how much longer I can take this.

I went and saw Dr N this evening. I was hoping he could at least suggest something to fix my body, if not my mind. Sadly he didn’t have much to offer either. That may be partly because I didn’t know what to say to him. I didn’t tell him all that I wanted or meant to. I seem to have forgotten how to talk about this stuff and I keep forgetting things I should do or say.

He asked me what had triggered my mood. I said I didn’t know. Possibly the time of year, but I’m not really sure. He asked what support I was getting from the CMHT. Nothing is the answer I gave and the truthful one too. I had a phone call last week to tell me they’ve “closed” my case, because I no longer have a worker. They had forgotten to sign off my old CPA when my social worker C left, which was back in June, but someone had found it and said they would send it off to me so they could close my case. Dr N had received a copy too, remembering that there was an apology attached to the front. I don’t know what he thought about that. He asked what other support I have. I reminded him that I am still seeing Dr M as an outpatient, but I won’t see her until January now. He asked about the psychology referral. I’ve not heard anything. He sighed at that.

He mentioned that her last letter suggested that I drop the Reboxetine a few days a week to see if that helps the side effects. She suggested either going every other day – 6mg one day and 8mg the next or even 8mg in the week when I have to work or am at home alone and 6mg at weekends when I have more support. Dr N said he thought the latter may be worth a try, because he hopes that improving how I feel physically may ease my mental symptoms too. He doesn’t think 6 or 8mg will make that much difference either way to my mood, but it might help with the tummy troubles. I am not so sure about the idea, especially in light of my dropping mood. In fact, I’d even tried a few days on a slightly higher dose – 10mg (an extra half tablet), just to see if that could kick my mood back up quickly. No such luck though. I guess it is worth a try.

I didn’t know what else to say to him and in the end we just wished each other a good Christmas and I left. I walked out and finally started crying. I’ve needed to for days, but the tears hadn’t come. I don’t know what to do to stop this decline and I don’t feel like I have anyone to help me. I am scared about Christmas and January and all the memories that this time of year is dragging up. This time last year I was telling myself I just have to get through Christmas. I am doing the same now. The problem is, last time I got through Christmas, only to try and kill myself when January came. I don’t want that to happen again. I am not as bad as I was back then. Things have moved on a lot in the past year. I have hope that my mood can recover again, where as last year I had no hope at all, but I am starting to feel more and more helpless and I fear that I will always be waiting for the next relapse. I am terrified that every time I try to live a normal life, depression will come back and bite me. I don’t want that to happen. My mood has to pick up soon. I need to keep going.

This only seems to scratch at the surface of what I am thinking right now. I am scared. I am worried about what everyone will think. I don’t want to let everyone down. Everyone has been so pleased about the progress I had been making and seemed to be excited about me getting better. I had been so pleased too. I thought I was getting my life back. I am going back to work at last. I am driving again. Everything seemed to be getting back to normal. Things seemed to be going really well. Then I am hit with this slump in mood and I don’t know what to do with myself. I know recovery is a difficult process and I’m always going to have set backs, but this feels different. It isn’t just a bad day or two. Nasty thoughts are creeping back in. I am having to put on my happy face. Life feels like a struggle, rather than just being life. I hope it is just a blip. I really do.

I’m also scared about the diagnosis stuff being stirred up. I was recovering, medication was helping, my condition wasn’t pervasive and untreatable, so I couldn’t have had a Personality Disorder. If I’m getting ill again then people will probably start thinking that it was just a co-incidence and that I do have a PD after all. Maybe I am being paranoid, but I am scared about this. I was glad that I had responded to medication. I may have been treatment resistant, but at least I was treatable.  Now I just feel like a failure. It will be back to the theory that I need therapy if I am ever to recover and I will be blamed for not recovering. No doubt I will never get offered therapy anyway, even if I need it, but I was hoping I didn’t need it. I don’t know. I don’t want to think about it. Whenever I think about what went on earlier this year about my diagnosis I get panicky, anxious and upset. It seems to hit a nerve and I have to stop thinking about it.

I hate feeling like this. We will see how things go. At least I have admitted it now. I have been carrying around these thoughts like a guilty burden. I have been secretly acknowledging the depression, whilst denying it in the hope it would go away and that no one else would find out. I feel like I am letting everyone down. I wanted to have a “happy ever after” for this blog and then I’m back here again whining about depression again. That isn’t what I wanted. Sorry.

23 Responses

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  1. Oh honey. You have no need to apologise. I am so sorry you’re going through this again. I don’t really know what to say but I wanted to offer support. Hang on to that hope, sweetie. If I can ever help at all, just shout, I’m happy to chat or text or email.

    *Hugs*

    Karita

    Friday, 17th December 2010 at 1:28 pm

    • Thanks sweetie.

      It helps to know that you’re there. It is nice to know I can come back here when I need to.

      I’ve had a slightly better day today. I actually love snow and it does tend to brighten my mood, although it does bring up awkward memories too. It was very snowy when I ended up in hospital last January. :(

      We will see how things go. I do want Christmas over though. It always feels like a lot of pressure.

      xx

      intothesystem

      Saturday, 18th December 2010 at 8:54 pm

  2. sending you massive hugs, sweetie xx

    thesunshinediaries

    Friday, 17th December 2010 at 4:35 pm

  3. I shall echo what Karita said. I am so sorry to see you are feeling this way again and I am concerned for you, especially considering how you where this time last year. If you fancy getting together for a coffee then I am free, or rather I will make sure I am for you. x

    Ms Leftie

    Friday, 17th December 2010 at 9:04 pm

    • Thanks hun. It’s okay. Don’t be concerned. I am definitely not as bad as I was last year and I will manage, but it has got harder than it was. Hopefully things will pick up. Today has been a little better at least.

      Not sure about a coffee. I would love to, but it’s going to be busy over the next few weeks. Will need to work out what I’m doing. xxx

      intothesystem

      Saturday, 18th December 2010 at 8:57 pm

  4. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear you are feeling so crappy.
    You are *not* a failure or letting anyone down. It’s not your fault. It is an illness.
    I know people who care about you want you to get better, but you don’t have to do it for them, do it for you.
    I guess yes, the depression will come back from time to time, but it doesn’t mean you can’t live a normal life. You will learn to deal with it each time, I promise.
    (I have to say I feel the same way, and I just keep telling myself things will get better).
    I don’t think you sound like you have a personality disorder, by the way (but I’m not an expert).
    You went back to work, which is a massive thing, and it sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of other stuff. Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself. Have a break.
    And you’re not whining, and you don’t need to apologise, OK? What else are blogs for if not venting?

    Butterflywings

    Friday, 17th December 2010 at 9:22 pm

    • Thanks.

      I know rationally it is not my fault, but it doesn’t seem to help. I still feel guilty and frustrated by relapse. I want to get better and stay better.

      I hope I manage to get back to a normal life. I had depression before – when I was at school/uni and I managed to maintain a “normal” life then. It’s just that since it all fell apart nearly three years ago a normal life hasn’t seemed possible. I had begun to hope, but I feel that has been dashed a little again lately.

      I do need a break. I need a break from my body too! Wish I felt physically better and I might feel mentally so.

      I have had a better day today than Thursday. Maybe that was the bottom? I can only hope.

      Thanks and take care x

      intothesystem

      Saturday, 18th December 2010 at 9:02 pm

  5. {{{hugs}}} – sorry to hear you’re feeling like this. Hope you feel better soon.

    Take care,
    Differently

    differentlysane

    Saturday, 18th December 2010 at 6:21 pm

    • Thanks Diff.

      I have felt a little better today than I did when I wrote this, so fingers crossed that it lasts, although I don’t hold out that much hope really. Feel stressed about impending Christmas and just want it over. I guess that’s not unusual though.

      We will see. Thanks. xx

      intothesystem

      Saturday, 18th December 2010 at 9:05 pm

  6. You are definitely not letting anyone down. And please do not apologise for being unwell.

    I’m sorry life is so hard at the moment and that you are struggling physically and mentally. I am very sorry and I am thinking of you.

    Special hugs.

    Di xx

    hidihidi

    Sunday, 19th December 2010 at 4:16 pm

  7. Well put, depression isn’t rational, is it? (Um, have I said that I suffer from it too?) I so hate it when you don’t *want* to feel something but can’t rationalise yourself out of it.

    You *will* get better. As a lovely psychiatrist once said to me: You feel your life has fallen apart now, but you will rebuild it, and you’ll rebuild it better.

    I really hope that as the bottom and you feel better soon.

    Take care x

    Butterflywings

    Tuesday, 21st December 2010 at 1:46 am

    • That is the thing – I often know how I really should be feeling or wanting to feel, yet somehow I just can’t seem to be able to find that feeling, no matter how much I try to look at a situation rationally and objectively. That’s why CBT never helps me much.

      I have been feeling a bit better, so hopefully that is as low as the dip gets these days.

      I like that psychiatrist’s words. The occupational health doctor I see says similar things to me. Often tells me that after everything that’s happened, I deserve to be happy and that I should grasp every good thing that life throws at me and not worry much about getting back to work!

      Take care x

      intothesystem

      Wednesday, 12th January 2011 at 5:04 pm

  8. [...] Into the system… every morning can be a struggle after a night of broken sleep and nightmares — I feel crap… …I feel the familiar cloud hanging over me. It is a cliché, but it is definitely there, dark [...]

  9. This is the first time I have looked at this website and I landed on your post. I could echo just about everything you said but you had the energy to write it all down which I don’t. So I guess it’s true – we are not alone. I too am really fighting low mood and if one more person says Happy new year – here’s to a new start or such like then I shall scream. I wish you well. I would wish me well but I can’t be bothered.

    Anne

    Saturday, 1st January 2011 at 9:21 am

    • I always hate that thing at New Year too. When you are depressed you don’t really notice or care what day of the week it is, let alone what year.

      I find writing helps and try to muster the energy if I’m struggling. Some of the time it’s a good way to channel nervous energy and agitation too. Racing thoughts are one of my biggest struggles and getting things down definitely makes it easier.

      I wish you well too. x

      intothesystem

      Wednesday, 12th January 2011 at 5:06 pm

  10. Hi,
    I just found your blog and I wanted to say a few things. (Hope you will bear over with my not-perfect english…) I don’t think it’s strange at all that you become depressed again as it seems you don’t get the support that you need. Much research has shown that the quality of the therapeutic relationships is of great importance for getting better, and to me it seems like your relation to Dr M is not good. From how you describe her, what she has said and that whole diagnonsense story, I myself would have had difficulties trusting this person. No wonder seeing her doesn’t help you getting better!

    The other thing I wanted to say is that I completely understand your reaction to the PD diagnosis. I myself got a PD diagnosis once (BPD/avoidant) and even if it’s the narcissistic thing you are most upset about, I recognize many of your reactions as similar to mine. Especially the part about examining your own feelings and behaviour, comparing them to the diagnostic criteria… and the feelings of worthlessness. What has helped me is reading critical litterature about diagnoses (as I’m studying for becoming a health professional myself!) and talking to therapists and others who share my critical views on this topic. A psychologist I talked to said that if, in the first place, someone is to be diagnosed with a PD, every person in the world really should get their own unique PD diagnosis, because we are all different persons and, if we are to talk about maladaptive traits – we all have some. And as the psychiatrist and author Irvin D. Yalom says, if every client should be tested for PD, they would probably all be diagnosed with some variant of that – but what’s the point? It probably won’t help them, nor the therapist. This is also partly true about the rest of the population, not being, clients – in Norway where I live I read that about 15 percent of the population will meet the citeria for a PD diagnosis, meaning this could include different persons at different points of time, because we are not necessarily talking about stable, lasting traits or symptoms.

    It’s also important to remember that this whole PD concept is continually being questioned, and as I understand there will be some changes to this diagnoses in the next version of the DSM. My standpoint is that we should be very careful with diagnosing people because it could have so serious consequenses for the person’s wiew of himself, and I think the PD diagnoses in particular could be harmful. Therfore I will avoid using them when I myself in a few years will start working in the health care.

    Sorry about the comment becoming so long – just had many things to say about this. It’s so good you’re writing about these things and I’m looking forward to following youre blog. You explain everything very clearly and easy to understand, and I wish youre helpers would listen to you and try to provide the kind of help that you need. And if they don’t, I really hope it will be possible for you to change them with someone better!

    Just keep up the good work!
    And take care.
    Carla

    Carla

    Friday, 7th January 2011 at 11:49 am

    • Hi Carla,

      Thanks for such an interesting and long comment. I had noticed I have had a Norwegian reader in my comments lately, so you must be them!

      My relationship with Dr M has improved a lot. I don’t always like what she has to say, but I feel her heart is in the right place. She does seem to genuinely want to help. The thing I tend to find hardest with her these days is that she always seems a very positive person, so it can feel a little invalidating when she says you’re doing really well and you feel pretty crap. I will never trust her completely, because of everything that happened in our first few meetings, but I am glad to have her as my psych long-term and to not be passed from pillar to post, which is what usually happens in the NHS.

      There definitely needs to be a lot of change in the way diagnosis and personality disorders are handled. I do think they can be valid diagnoses, but should only be used when someone has really extreme symptoms that pervade their whole life and no other underlying mental health conditions that could explain some of those symptoms. Of course that is how it is meant to be used, but that rarely seems to happen. Instead it appears to be an excuse to not treat someone.

      You are right in that the simple use of the label can be damaging in the way that affect someone’s perception of themselves. I know I am more paranoid than I used to be and I often find myself checking my behaviour in a way I never used to before. I don’t think there is any reason for me to check, but I have lost confidence in myself. Identity disturbance is meant to be a symptom of many PD diagnoses, but I definitely didn’t have it until they tried to apply it to me! Since then I’ve been less sure of myself.

      Anyway thanks again for your comment. xx

      intothesystem

      Wednesday, 12th January 2011 at 5:24 pm

  11. You should never apologise for feeling this way, saying that though we all do it don’t we?! I hope that you get the meds issue sorted, nothing worse than your meds causing you problems…the one thing you should be able to rely on so that you can concentrate on being you.

    Sometimes you have to stop trying to be OK though and just let the depression have it’s time for a few days. I’m not saying allow yourself to slump into oblivion but take a few days to cry and wallow and eat rubbish. I’ve found that when I let myself do that I start to find it easier to get some control back and try to beat the slump. Of course, finding the time to do that is hard when you have to work aswell!

    I hope that you manage to start coming out of the slump soon.

    Bright Side Girl

    Friday, 7th January 2011 at 6:14 pm

    • Thanks. My mood has picked up a bit since I wrote this post, which is good.

      I think you are right about giving yourself permission to not be okay. It definitely didn’t help me when things all fell apart 2 and a half years ago and I should have learnt that by now. It’s so tempting to try and hide how you’re feeling from everyone though, especially when you are working and you feel you have to – I may only be working part time, but that is such a massive thing for me I’d hate to have to stop because people didn’t think I was coping.

      It is really frustrating with my meds, because this is the first combination to do anything positive and in terms of my mood it has made a massive difference, but I don’t tolerate Reboxetine well at all, which is a pain in the arse. Ideally we would increase the dose again, but it would just make me so ill it won’t help.

      x

      intothesystem

      Wednesday, 12th January 2011 at 5:47 pm

  12. Hey you, sorry to read you’re having such a shoddy time of it – albeit a month late. Hoping that the NY is seeing an up for you, am with you on a downer at the mo so here’s to a lift in things. Hope you’re ok, take care :-)

    The Chuckle

    Monday, 10th January 2011 at 6:47 pm

    • Hey Chuckles. Good to see you! Sorry to hear you’re down at the moment. I’m feeling a little better, so fingers crossed that will continue. Hope you feel better soon. Take care xx

      intothesystem

      Wednesday, 12th January 2011 at 5:49 pm


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