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Stream of Conciousness…

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I started this post on Monday, but didn’t get time to finish it. It’s now Sunday! I don’t know where my weeks are going. I keep snatching five, ten minutes or so to write, but it takes me half that time to work out where I was before. I keep wishing I could write more, but other things get in the way. I guess more accurately I could say another person gets in the way. My bloke is still not too keen on me spending time on here and that means I usually have to fit it in when he’s not around.

At Creative Remedies on Monday we were asked to write. To write and to keep writing whatever came into our heads for three minutes. I wrote something private, something which I had thought about writing on here for a while. My thoughts were about how I come across at Creative Remedies. I behave like I used to at work and at uni. Friendly, helpful, bright, but hiding how I actually feel. There is a front there that hides the illness. An act. I feel like I have two halves. One outgoing and intelligent, the other ill and flawed. One bright, one dark.

I soon wished I hadn’t have written this. The next step of the exercise was to place our work in a pile on the table. Each one would be passed onto someone else who would then highlight the bits they most liked. The idea was to give us suggestions of how we could turn our stream of conciousness into something a little more creative. I didn’t want to share these inner thoughts. I didn’t want to let anyone in and break down the front. It was made even worse because my notebook is distinctive so whoever got it would know it was mine.

I felt almost sick as I handed over my book. I was given someone else’s piece. Theirs was fairly personal too, but completely anonymous and it gave me no real idea of the context. It didn’t let me in like mine would let someone else in. I was jealous of the guarded nature of their writing.

I could see who had mine. They were writing fervently on my piece. I worried about what they thought. They hesitated to pass it back still writing away. She glanced over at me and mouthed the words “is this yours?”. I had to reluctantly nod as she brought it over to me. Everyone else was scrabbling away at the pile trying to find their own.

I looked at her words. They were kind and expressive, but I still felt a little violated. She had liked my writing, yet I still felt uneasy. She was worried for me. She could feel the sadness and emotion in my words and wanted to comfort me. She later asked me if I was okay. It felt strange and I wasn’t comfortable with her concern. I don’t know that I deserve it.

I know she will never see me in the same light. She is the one person that knows the façade isn’t real. She will look at me with suspicion wondering what is behind the act. Wondering how I really am. I feel like I’ve been found out.

It’s weird how I can write here, knowing anyone could read this, yet I am so uncomfortable. It’s weird how I’m actually considering dropping my anonymity on this blog, yet I didn’t want to drop the act with one person. How would I feel if the same person came along and read all of this? I don’t know.

I don’t know how I really feel about these two sides. I guess in some ways the act shows I am making progress. I can hold myself together in front of people now. I can portray a sense of capability and confidence.  I can actually do things and at times I even enjoy them. There have been times in the past year or so when there was no way I could hide anything and enjoyment was a foreign concept. I was a mess, unwell and visibly so. That’s not true any more.

Yet, I am not sure it’s a good thing. I wasn’t well a year ago when I was first admitted to The Priory and I behaved the same in therapy. I was the sensible, level headed, friendly one. I spent more time giving others advice than I did talking about myself. I was the helpful, confident person. People even wondered why I was there. I seemed fine. I wasn’t.

I don’t really like the act. I don’t like its return. I have worked so hard in therapy to break it down. To be more open and honest about how I feel. To be more true to myself. For the therapists at The Priory, I was making progress when I started to talk about myself. I was chastised when I went into helpful, clever mode. I wonder if I should chastise myself when I act like this now.

At times I wonder if the act was what broke me in the first place. The act was a problem before, back when I was at work. I kept going, working harder and harder to hide how I felt. At times fuelled by unidentified hypomania, at other times fuelled by denied depression. I didn’t want to admit I couldn’t cope. I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to be confident and capable and not at mercy of emotions or illness. I drove myself into the ground until I snapped and my world fell apart.

I am worried I will do that again. I have been doing new things and taking on new projects over the past few weeks. I have ideas, I want to do things, I want to be successful. It’s a familiar feeling. My life has been full of periods where I take on new things and projects, but more often than not I take on too much and cannot cope. With hindsight some of these periods can be clearly attributed to hypomania, but others I am less sure. I wonder if it is just my personality. I don’t want to immediately see everything as something to be pathologised, yet I also want to learn from the past. I need to recognise the patterns and change them. I don’t want to keep crashing head first.

I don’t know what my mood is doing at the moment. People ask me how I am and I don’t know how to answer. I’m depressed, yet am I? Yes, the signs of depression are there. I feel numb, empty, suicidal. Negative thoughts, anxiety, paranoia too. The physical signs are out as well. Headaches, insomnia, tiredness. It all points to depression, but it’s not the whole picture. I am excited about new projects, interested in things (albeit not everything), doing stuff. Where is the anhedonia? I don’t think it’s a mixed state either though. Not in a classic way. I am not really sleeping, but I am tired with it. My thoughts race, but no more than is really usual for me. I am a little on the snappy, agitated, quick-to-anger side, but not physically agitated or excessively so. I don’t feel like things are going too fast. yet. I wish my mind would make it’s mind up. I feel almost lost within my mood.

Going back to the topic of anonymity and this blog. I don’t really want to be anonymous any more. I am not ashamed of my illness and I think it’s so important people are open and honest about these things. We can’t break down stigma if we’re too afraid to talk openly about mental health.

I am not even worried about employers googling me. I have no intention to leave my company any time soon. Even if I was looking for a new job, if a company didn’t want to employ me after reading this then I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. This may limit my career in future, but it’s something I’m willing to take the risk on.

There is a problem though and it’s my family. I am not sure I am willing for them to know how I really feel. I don’t want them to worry. I know my partner reads this already, but with my parents I am even more economical with the truth. I have never been open with them and I’m not sure I’m ready to start. I guess it is doubtful they will ever google me and find this anyway, but it is still a risk.

I realised though recently it’s not even that which is the main problem. It’s actually the stuff about my sexuality I’m most scared about. I thought I was comfortable with it. I thought I’d worked through everything a few years ago when I really went through a crisis of identity. I haven’t. I am fine with coming out knowing the people I am talking to are open minded, but I am not so sure about the rest of the world. More specific I’m not so sure about those closer to me. It doesn’t hurt if some stranger says something horrible, but if it’s someone I know it’s different. I know my mother can be quite homophobic and I suspect her opinions on bisexuality are even worse. I don’t want her to find out. I have always said that she doesn’t need to know and what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. I suspect other members of my family would be even worse. I just don’t think I can face it.

I realised the other day that I’m not as comfortable as I’d like with my sexuality in general. The other night I was at the pub with a friend and somehow we ended up talking about gay couples. I mentioned a girl I know who used to be in a gay couple and she now goes out with a bloke. She made some comment about him “turning her” and I pointed out that she could be bisexual. She seemed a little taken aback by that and I didn’t know what to say really. It could have been the time to be honest myself, yet I was uneasy with her reaction. I wish I was comfortable enough to be completely “out”, but I guess I’m still not there.

I guess I could always go back and censor myself. I could make any mention of my sexuality private and I’d be safe, yet I don’t want to. I guess I could throw caution to the wind, face my fears and all of that, but I’m not sure I can do. I don’t know what to do.

10 Responses

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  1. I have the two sides, too. I told a friend about stuff recently and she was like ‘you can’t be ill, you’re too happy to be ill’ it made me laugh anyway! I guess I too take on the advising side quite a lot, it just works better that way, doesn’t it?!

    And I think you need to decide for yourself about whether you want to be completely out, or to whom you want to tell- maybe that hinges the decision of whether to censor yourself or not? It is a big decision to tell someone, I still get very hot and flustered telling someone! Good luck x

    Kate

    Sunday, 1st November 2009 at 7:20 pm

    • I got that a lot at first too. “How can *you* be depressed?”. My parents were especially shocked when I told them I’d been struggling through most of my teens. They had always thought I was happy!

      Coming out is hard, but I had got to the stage where I generally found it easy with most people. The family are the last hurdle really. I *think* my sister knows, although I’ve never talked about it with her myself. I have some vague recollection that my bloke had told her though, but it has gone unmentioned.

      intothesystem

      Sunday, 1st November 2009 at 11:15 pm

  2. A very true and honest post from you and I can really relate to the wanting to come out with the bisexuality especially to the family. Whilst I openly admit I am bisexual on Facebook and to people I meet and certain family members will know, those for instance who look closely at my Facebook profile and I’ve talked to my cousin my age about it like you do when you’re drunk! My father still has no idea and often makes jokes, sometimes I just want to drop the bombshell, ‘well I prefer women to men but like men as well…’ and wait for a reaction! There are times though when I still question my own sexuality because I know I am more attracted to women than men that I wonder if I’m not 100% gay (being honest I’ve yet to have a relationship with a man!) either way I can’t see myself settling down and living with either sex I prefer living alone, I seem to be only attracted to certain men but I am attracted to a lot more kinds of women! No wonder I am confused!

    I don’t think it helps because of my experiences at school when I was 11 and being told it was wrong to like people of the same sex, whilst I know this is utter bollocks I feel it’s left a lasting if somewhat stupid impression on my mind!

    I sense my mum always knew I was gay, she often made lesbian jokes when I had extremely short hair (and I mean short!) which I laughed off, we often joked like that and I know if I’d ever told her I was she wouldn’t have minded either way. Dad probably wouldn’t give a toss either, he’d forget about it five minutes later and go back to reading his paper!

    It’s still me though that has to deal with it and has to still have the Auntie’s and other odd family members or Godmother asking the have you found a boyfriend yet? Every time they call or I see them, which at 32 is getting somewhat annoying!

    Alison

    Sunday, 1st November 2009 at 8:28 pm

    • I still question my sexuality too.

      I wonder if I hadn’t have been repeatedly told that lesbians were disgusting then maybe I would have been gay. I am unsure though.

      I also wonder if I’d fallen in love with a woman first would I identify as bisexual or gay? The fact I’ve fallen in love with a man first and don’t identify as straight may suggest the former, but I don’t know.

      I tend to be attracted to women more too. Certainly sexually, I fancy women far more often than men. I tend to be close friends with men though and sometimes that can be a strong attraction. I guess I like each gender for different reasons.

      intothesystem

      Monday, 2nd November 2009 at 12:03 am

  3. I have the two sides too. It’s making life a bit difficult just now.

    If you lose your anonymity, would you give your surname too? Like, I go by my first name on my blog but I have no references to my surname, and I don’t advertise my blog on Facebook. Obviously if anyone bumped into my blog by accident they would probably figure out it’s me – personal content and how many people are called Karita?! – but having no surname on there reduces the chances (maybe) of people finding me.

    Karita

    Sunday, 1st November 2009 at 9:47 pm

    • Yeah. I think even without my first name if someone bumped into it they would know it was me. I have actually let slip my first name on here once before. It’s hidden within my entries though and don’t suppose anyone except my most regular readers will have noticed.

      I’m not sure if I’d use my surname too. It would probably seem a bit formal to use my full name on here anyway. I was considering a link on facebook or my own personal site (when I’ve finished redesigning it!). My sister would definitely see it on fb. I don’t know if the rest of my family would though.

      intothesystem

      Monday, 2nd November 2009 at 12:09 am

      • I once let slip my surname on my blog and then people were getting to me by searching me! I deleted it and now it’s stopped. Felt like I was being stalked!

        Karita

        Monday, 2nd November 2009 at 12:14 am

        • I can imagine that’s a bit weird. You must be thinking who is googling you. I don’t think I’d ever expect anyone to google my name.

          intothesystem

          Monday, 2nd November 2009 at 12:57 am

  4. Oh, and beautifull written blog post. XXX *Hugs*

    Karita

    Sunday, 1st November 2009 at 9:48 pm


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