Usually, I am someone who really enjoys the peace and quiet of living alone. Of course there are times when I get lonely and miss the hustle and bustle of my family home consisting of my grandparents, mum and me as well as our many pets. But ever since moving out and living alone, I absolutely love having my own space. It means that I can wander round in my scruffs with my hair scraped back without make up or fear for destroying the sanity of any poor house mates. I can sing along to the soundtrack of my emo teenage years without fearing judgement from family members. But, and perhaps most enjoyably, I can stroll around my house naked. I love that clothes are optional – and although I can’t afford to put my heating on, and so clothes are well advised in my house, there is definitely a certain freedom in knowing that I don’t have to be wearing them. But I digress…
Unsurprisingly, this post is not going to be about my new and exciting voyage into the world of naturism, it’s a tad darker unfortunately. Depression is a bitch and although I seem to have the “smile and wave like everything is fine” in public thing down, when I am behind closed doors it is a little different. Unfortunately for me, tonight is one of those nights. If you yourself suffer with depression then I am sure you understand what “those nights” means, and am truly sorry you are able to empathise with me here. But if do, you know the nights that I am talking about.
These are the nights where you come home and lock your door with the days fake smile still on your face as you lock up behind you. Staring at your key in the lock for a few minutes in silence, without moving, you finally break. Nights where you end up on the kitchen floor, sobbing, and I really do mean properly sobbing. Incomprehensible noises and attempts at words in regards to what has gone wrong. About everything that is currently going wrong, or could do in the future. You gasp for breath and try and clutch at what remains of your sanity as you weep for what is wrong with you, the world and everything around you.
You cry for everything that you just can’t deal with and panic at the sheer volume of that list. You feel like a failure. Like you make life worse for other people and start to question your own worth and reasons for existence. What if I wasn’t here? Who would actually miss me? I’d probably make a lot of people happier if I were just not around to complicate their lives any further right? These thoughts become louder and more dominant the more you try to drown them out until you are forced to cope with them the only way you know how.
This situation ends in one of two ways: you finally give into the almost instinctive urge to cause pain to remove pain. You feel disappointed in yourself for falling back into old habits, old coping mechanisms that you know deep down you can no longer allow yourself to rely on. As the blood and tears run your breathing slows and your hysteria begins to lessen – you have simply exhausted yourself with such emotion. Or, you take deep, exhausted, shuddering breaths as you silently cry yourself to sleep, where the nightmares and flashbacks can take a hold once more.
The next day you awaken to a pillow stained with blood and tears. You wake in a cold sweat with a sore neck and a throbbing headache and are just searching for a way to make it stop. But you have to go to work/school/whatever, you know that you can’t. You’re tired, but not sleepy, you’re just tired of pretending and exhausted from promising that you’re “okay, honestly” when inside you’re slowly dying. So you get up, you get washed and dressed before standing in front of the mirror. You practice your fake smile one last time to attempt to convice yourself that you’re happy. It doesn’t work, but you walk out that door wearing it anyway where the world is none the wiser.
I hope none of you understood the little detour my mind just took as that would mean you feel or have felt how this feels and I don’t want that. I’m struggling tonight, again, and so thought I’d try and write something to give myself a chance of understanding myself. I’m not sure I do, but here goes. Hope you’re well. All my love. x
As most of you will know if you follow this blog regularly, I suffer with bipolar type two and all of the joys that come alongside this wondrous condition (!) The majority of the time when I tell people that I have bipolar, their instant reaction is to talk about how wonderful mania must be, and quite understandably, I have to try very hard to bite my tongue. No part of this condition is “fun” or “easy”, and if I had to choose a state to remain in forever, it would honestly be depression.
I know that sounds ridiculous to most people, why would I want to be depressed? Of course nobody wants to be, but if the situation called for me to choose then I would. Mania is horrible. It isn’t just bouncing around on a cloud, happy and excited for everything that will come at you that day. Most of the time when I am manic I am certainly not in a happy mood. Mania means that you feel everything far too intensely. Thoughts are coming at you at a hundred miles an hour so that you are thinking everything and nothing at the same time without having the brain power to focus in on one particular thought.
I feel creative, like I want to do all these wonderful things, and obviously creating content for my YouTube channel and blog is high up on this list. However, I have all these thoughts and ideas for what I could do, but no focus to actually follow through with them. I either sit staring at a blank page or (as I am doing now) sit and furiously vent at my laptop typing at a hundred miles an hour with no concept of whether any of this crap makes sense – I do apologise if not!
Currently, I am not happy. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not especially unhappy (for once!), however this lack of specific emotion is certainly not giving me a drive for any of this pent up…something. I don’t know, honestly, there is no word for what is going on inside my head, I just know that whatever it is I need to get it out!
So far tonight I have tried to watch six movies but lost interest in every one thanks to my concentration being all but none existent when I am like this. I have tried to read several times as this can sometimes quieten my thoughts, but I haven’t managed to get past five pages without my eyes wandering off to something more interesting, or being consumed by a new and exciting “none thought”.
I even tried to go for a walk, which in itself is very unusual for me as I don’t normally move unless there is either food or imminent death involved, but I just ended up staring at a teenager in the distance who was repeatedly kicking a can and thinking to myself “if he carries on I’m taking his bastard foot”! So before I caused any actual bodily harm, I took myself back inside.
Currently? I am sat on my bed with my duvet scrunched at my feet. I have my hair tied straight back because if it’s in my face then I won’t stop playing with it, mainly giving myself a hair moustache and thinking I’m hilarious… It’s a good job I live alone really isn’t it? I thought that I would give myself the opportunity to write something, anything! And although I have a book full of blog and video ideas downstairs, I knew damn well that I wouldn’t be able to focus enough to do them justice. I’ve worked hard on creating the plans for those projects and I don’t want to ruin them by writing some drivel like this instead!
This post has taken me forty five minutes to complete, and it is currently 649 words long. I typed so much more….oh so much more! But even in this state of idiocy and manic thought jumping, I still have a little bit of pride left which insists I at least proof read it once before posting. Trust me, an awful lot has been cut from this, I hope that enough of this makes sense. As I say, if it doesn’t I apologise, but I want to post things that I have written during the various stages of my bipolar, whether that be hypomania or depression, as it think that it is important to give an honest representation of the condition and how it isn’t as easy to deal with as some might think. I can’t just pop a pill and be okay. They help me to cope, but there is no cure for this kind of screwed up unfortunately. I hope you’ve had a good day, and to future (and more calm and normal Emmie) I sincerely hope you are not cringing too much reading this and that it makes sense to you – but I insist that you do not delete it!
One in four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives, and most of the time it is a silent battle, so chances are – you will know at least one of us! Whether it is your colleague, your teacher or even that nice girl that serves you your morning coffee with a constant smile on her face, what you don’t see is that behind that smile is screaming.
We all have a stereotypical view of depression and anxiety, a sufferer having to force themselves out of bed every morning to struggle through the day, only to have themselves fail at every hurdle and end up back home again. Returning back to their duvet of self pity to cry and fret about the next day – am I getting warm? Sure, a lot of people think like that, and hell, I’m sure there are plenty of people with depression who do decide to deal with their depression in such a way – and that is fine! There is no right or wrong way to deal with this bitch of a condition, either way it’s going to hurt like hell and there is no point in pretending otherwise, so however a person copes is perfectly valid and acceptable.
In most circles, high functioning depression is seen as more “acceptable” and certainly seen as easier and a “less serious” form of the condition but I must say that I fail to see how this opinion is formed. As someone with “high functioning depression” I can tell you that it is in no way bloody easy! If I were not so vocal about my mental health, then most people tell me that they would have no idea that I suffer with bipolar and anxiety – something which I am unsure how to take if I am honest.
I talk about my mental illnesses openly as I am in no way ashamed of them. Sure, I am aware that some people in my life certainly think less of me because of them, and there are many who treat me with a new sense of disregard as soon as they become aware of my conditions. However, I believe that people need to speak more openly about mental health in general so that we can help to remove this stigma and in doing so, remove the need for people like me to feel they have to hide away and struggle through everything on their own without being seen as weak.
High functioning depression comes with all of the same struggles that come with lower functioning depression, as well as a whole host of new and “exciting” ones. To maintain a (relatively!) normal appearance, efforts must be doubled. Going out to see friends regularly becomes a chore sometimes more than a pleasure and I feel I cannot use my anxiety as an excuse as they will only take it personally, and “I should be able to do these things anyway damn it!”
Going to work every day and maintaining a happy and smiling appearance when sometimes all I want to do is to literally curl up in my bath (personal choice, I’ve spent many an hour crying in an empty bath) and scream into the silence until I stop feeling so intensely. Dealing with urges, as well as the reality of, self harm and thinking to yourself “well I can’t cut there or people will see through my uniform and know that I’m struggling” – I mean God forbid anyone have the chance to offer you help am I right?
High functioning depression often comes with a demand for perfectionism and so is often followed by a lack of ability to give yourself any slack! I refuse to allow myself any leigh weigh when it comes to my mental illness affecting my life, it’s just not happening. If I promised someone that I would do something, or if I have a commitment then I am following through even if it means I make myself ill.
I, like many others, only get through a long shift by having a 2 minute cry in the toilet before slapping myself to get it back together again. Wiping my eyes, pinching my cheeks to draw colour and practising that old faithful smile. It’s funny really that the one feature that people often comment on to me is my smile. That I “brighten their day” as I am always happy and smiling when they see me. The really sad thing is that I actually take great pride in that. Although I know that a large portion of the time I have been smiling I have been pretty much dead behind the eyes, it proves to me that my façade is at least a convincing one and that I am not hurting anyone. That is my greatest fear, that I could possibly make someone else feel the way my mental illness can make me feel sometimes – and that is why I refuse to lay off myself.
As the pace of every day living gets faster and faster, it becomes very clear that more and more people are suffering with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, but that a huge portion of these are keeping quiet and making themselves so much worse. Why is it that we think it is better to slowly kill ourselves by not taking proper care, than to actually ask for help!?
So no, although all kinds of depression and mental health disorders are hell on earth to endure and fight your way through, “high functioning depression” is sure as hell not easier. Just because I may appear to have my shit together most of the time, I assure you that behind this trademark Emmie smile I’m crying 90% of the time…I just like to pretend otherwise!
This was not today’s planned blog post, in fact it has been far too long since I wrote a blog post at all. Although my last one was about how I won’t be posting as much, I didn’t intend for that to be quite so infrequent as it has been. But as ever, life has been seeming to get in the way of me doing anything that I actually enjoy lately unfortunately, but I’m back. For now at least.
I have just recently finished Felicia Day’s memoir “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost!) and I just had to tell the world about it. I am never normally someone who reads biographies as I generally don’t find them too interesting. Nothing against the genre, but I’m just not a fan – I am a fiction lover through and through! I have however, always been a fan of Felicia Day and have followed most of her work religiously, where I can at least. I made my way through The Guild in one day and as soon as I saw that she had been cast in one of my favourite shows Supernatural, well I nearly died! So obviously, as soon as I saw that she had written a book, I knew that I had to read it.
It came out a while ago, however I have never really had the spare time (or money for that matter!) to be able to pick up a copy, however I found a cheap copy online and decided to treat myself. My God am I glad that I did. I have never related so much to a book in my life, Felicia is so honest and open about her battle with anxiety and depression she genuinely had me in tears at points. It felt so nice to hear that I am not alone with how I am feeling all of the time.
Although I know that there are plenty of people who suffer with anxiety and other mental illnesses, hell I dedicated an entire YouTube channel to talking about such things! But I have never really heard someone talk about their own personal feelings in such open and frank terms. She tells the reader all about how she demands perfection of herself and her desire for constant good grades had me laughing out loud at the memory of my own endless battle for high achievement as a child!
I have never been able to allow myself to settle for anything less than the best and still have a constant need for praise and the affirmation that I am doing well and what I am doing is right! It was so refreshing to hear her own experience with these feelings as it made me feel a lot less alone – and the fact that she tells it in her usual hilarious way is just the added bonus.
Whether you a Felicia fan or not, I highly recommend that you give this book a try – especially the proud geeks among you! If you do, I’d love to know what you thought of it as well! Happy reading 🙂
If you are a more regular follower of this blog then you will have seen that I have at least been trying to post a blog post or video over on my YouTube channel every day for the last month or so. Although there have been a few days where I have failed to post thanks to life getting in the way in some way or another, I am proud of myself as in general I think that I managed to do pretty damn well overall!
Before this random commitment to pulling my finger out and getting serious about my blogging and channel I was sporadic at best with my postings. Months could go by with nothing being produced, and then when I finally did post something, chances are, it wouldn’t be something that I was proud of and was just me clutching at straws to create something as I felt that I had to. I didn’t have to, it was a stupid pressure that I was putting on myself which lead to an overwhelming anxiety which inevitably consumed me and stopped me doing anything at all – so overall, not a very productive attitude to take!
Setting myself the challenge of putting something out there every single day did not come with that crushing pressure as it was just that, it was a challenge. It was not something that I had to do on penalty of death, it was something that I had set myself with the hope of being able to achieve it. This made me much more committed to following through with these promises of daily postings as it forced me to plan. I had to brainstorm ideas for the following weeks, even months, so that I would have a set post to produce every day so that I wasn’t suddenly overtaken by writers block.
I found that if I apply the same amount of anal organisation that I apply to the rest of my life to my blogging then I can actually get a lot done! I am very proud of myself over the past month and think that I have done a lot better than I originally expected. I even managed to break over 1,000 followers on Twitter thanks to my more regular postings and engagement with people over my blog posts which was a fantastic little bonus for me. My self confidence has definitely taken a well needed boost through this experience as I have realised that I can actually do this, I may not be rich and famous but that is the beauty of blogging – you don’t have to be.
I started my YouTube channel and my blog because quite simply, I enjoy creating content. Given the freedom, choice and opportunity then I would be a full time actor by trade, however thanks to many factors “real life” has unfortunately gotten in the way and meant that this isn’t really a possibility for me. Of course, I still do what I can, and enjoy performing in local productions as much as I possible! However, blogging and creating videos has given me the creative outlet that I have been so craving.
I love being greeted with a blank screen and being given the freedom to create whatever I want. Whether it is an opinion piece on something that I feel strongly about, a product review or one of my mental health advice and support videos – each one of them gives me a great sense of achievement and purpose and I intend to continue to do this for as long as I possibly can!
So what now? Well, realistically I don’t think that I will be able to continue with strict daily postings as I feel that my content would eventually become very forced and stale and I don’t want that. I want this little hobby to continue to be something I love and to do that I need to keep things fresh. However, I do intend to continue posting as much as possible and I am going to be aiming to create at least three posts a week – sometimes more, sometimes less – but there or there abouts at least. I hope that this is okay with everyone, but overall?
This experience has been fantastic and I have loved every second of it. I have connected with some amazing people who have read my blogs or watched my videos and contacted me and I have been given the opportunity to attend some great blogging events with some amazing “blogging friends”. Thank you everyone for supporting me, it really does mean a lot 🙂
I absolutely love Halloween and so I will always hold a special place in my heart for all things spooky! I love Halloween parties, but they can be really tough when you have issues with anxiety. Here are my tips on how to cope 🙂 …also, that screenshot though… haha.