Saturday, June 28, 2014

let's play a little game i like to call 'why does emma hate herself?'. five points to hufflepuff!

I wish I could capture in words the feeling I get when my room is tidy and it's night time and I'm clean and I'm doing something very simple like listening to music. It's good. It's calming. It's a soft yellow. But I rarely listen to music for music's sake. I'll listen to music for background noise while cleaning or cooking or exercising or blogging (!). But to do nothing but listen to music would allow my mind to wander freely and that's not ideal. I mean, my long term plan is to avoid thinking any meaningful thoughts for hopefully the rest of my life. My plan is to keep busy.

Which is why the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is open the windows, make my bed, hoover the floor, make breakfast and try to come up with a list of things to do for the day that will distract me from real life. At the moment, my weapons of mass distraction include occasional walks and hours spent watching The Office. But I'm open to other suggestions.

Lately I don't like being around other people (I feel like I've written that exact phrase a thousand times before): other people are so much better than I am and even being around people I like is a struggle. In fact, it's worse to be around people I like because it's much harder to resent them for being better than me. I'm jealous of my friends' lives/achievements/whatever but because they're my friends, I wouldn't begrudge them their happiness (not even in my head). The weird thing is my life kind of looks good on paper: I've just finished college with a good degree and good grades and I'm scheduled to emigrate in six weeks' time for a job with great career and travel opportunities. So what's the problem? Oh yeah. Me. That's right. I'm the problem. Help.

My low self-esteem isn't really based on any particular aspect of my appearance or personality. It seems to be just a general all-encompassing self-loathing that will manifest itself in a myriad of ways, depending on the day/alignment of the planets/who fucking knows. Right now I'm hideous. I'm repulsive. How could anyone even hold down the contents of their stomach while in my presence?

Of course, my self-esteem isn't improved by the fact that I'm stone cold poverty-stricken at the moment and I feel like such a fucking scab. My friends are generous and understanding but it's so embarrassing to be this poor – and to always have been. When I start my job in six weeks (and get my first pay cheque six weeks after that!), things will be different. And I'll just hate myself for some other reason. Self-loathing is so exciting – I wonder what will cause me to melt into an acidic pool of hatred today? Could be the fact that I weigh 180 lbs! Could be the fact that I haven't had any semblance of a romantic relationship in a whole year! Could be anything! Ah, the excitement.

I want to write/blog/demand attention more. Watch this space or something.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

no validation for real life.

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I went to Clonmel last week to meet with a psychiatrist. For the past couple of months my mood has worsened and two weeks ago I cracked. I visited my GP and wept. He recommended I visit the Mental Health Services clinic to meet with a psychiatrist. I met with a lovely woman called Linda and a (presumably Indian) doctor called Dr Chandra. I find it hard to speak to doctors who are not Irish because they often don't understand the way I speak – my speech is peppered with “likes” and “ahms” and colloquialisms. Linda was well able to interpret my ramblings though. She was so lovely and I wanted her to hug me forever while I dripped snot all over her lovely clothes. But that didn't happen. I just sobbed by myself on my separate comfy chair. After more than a half an hour of sobbing and talking and answering those see-through questions which tried to decipher the cause of my dismay, Linda asked me to wait outside for ten to fifteen minutes while she and Dr Chandra discussed my tainted brain. Linda made me a cup of coffee and supplied me with a two year old copy of Look or some other women's magazine and I sat happily for a while in the clean bright waiting area.

When Linda eventually called me back into the assessment room, she and Dr Chandra explained that they didn't think I was clinically depressed but rather I was just miserable because of my long term issues with low self-esteem. They didn't see a need for Prozac and recommended that I meet with a psychologist for a couple of sessions before I move away in order to, I dunno, figure out why I hate myself so much. When I commented that I felt Prozac felt like a necessary crutch, they said it would then be up to my GP to decide whether to prescribe it. In other words, it won't do a whole lot for me since I have so many other underlying issues but it may have a sort of placebo effect. Sometimes that's enough.

I felt a bit shaken after the meeting and spent a while trying to figure out if it was bad news or good news. And I suppose it depends on how you look at it. In one way it seems as though I am the cause of all my problems, all my misery. A mysterious chemical imbalance cannot be blamed. This is my fault, all my own doing. There's no validation. On the other hand, the fact that it's not simply chemical means, arguably, that there is a cure. I would say that for real clinical depression, there is no cure – just a couple of mg of fluoxetine to keep the monsters at bay. In my case, dealing with my self-loathing will hopefully lift my misery. So there's a cure. An end in sight. I've known for quite a while that, clinical depression or not, I would make no progress without addressing the things that have been plaguing me for most of my life. Feelings of inadequacy, feelings of self-hatred. Tablets would only ever do much.

I suspect that at one point I was clinically depressed. I certainly exhibited the symptoms: low mood, over-sleeping, changes in appetite and concentration, moodiness. Now, however, it seems that I'm simply sad because I tell myself all day every day that I'm a terrible human being. That would make anyone sad. So I'm meeting with the psychologist in a week or two and hopefully I'll get in a couple of sessions before I move away. And I'll work hard at learning to like myself. Here's hoping.

In the meantime, I'm worried about exam results, debt and a lack of disposable income. Hurry up, real life. Wait – is this real life? No, this is the intermission between college life and real life. Another awkward phase of my life. But it's okay. Things will get better.