By Mat Taylor
It’s been a while since I last posted anything, and today it’s taken me all day to do a load of washing and eat something. So this post probably won’t be the most eloquent or entertaining, I’m afraid.
I feel worse
I talk to my friends and family about how I feel all the time. Almost every day. Often I tell them about how I feel suicidal and physically tired all the time. They offer words of support and encouragement with the patience and dedication of superheroes. It makes no difference to me, though. After I’ve opened up, reached out, got it off my chest or however you want to phrase it, nothing is solved. If anything, I feel worse for going into the specifics of why I feel the way I do.
I’ve been to see my GP, who suggested an extended period of abstinence from alcohol and any other recreational substances. I’ll do it, but I don’t expect anything to change in terms of how I feel. I’ve done it before and just felt like I was denying myself the little bit of pleasure I do occasionally experience.
After that, they’re taking blood tests. I have to wait for a month until I can get an appointment to get blood taken. Then another 20 days until I get the results. So that’s at least six weeks of enforced sobriety with no weekend blowouts or midweek beers to dull the monotony of daily life.
I’m tired all the time
I sleep for 12 hours or more every night because of the sedative effects of Mirtazipine. When I was taking 30 mg I would wake up and feel as if somebody had injected me with adrenaline. It’s terrifying. For no reason at all, my body goes in to a heightened state and I can’t function until I’ve calmed down. This can take more than half a day.
Sometimes I just have to ride it out and wait until it’s time to go to bed again. I’ve reduced my dose to 15 mg, after asking my doctor if this was worth doing. I now struggle with feeling so tired and unfocused that working seems impossible. There is writing work I need to be getting on with, but I struggle to focus on it. My mind keeps wandering and I feel a constant heaviness and sense of fatigue.
Life feels utterly pointless
I’ve had so much therapy and so many types of antidepressants that I’m now starting to lose hope. The therapy offered on the NHS works in blocks of six or twelve sessions. You are generally stuck with whichever therapist they assign to you. If their approach doesn’t work for you, then tough.
There’s not enough money to provide the kind of long term, consistent support that people like me need. I’ve tried abstaining from drink and drugs, talking therapy, opening up to my friends and family. Walking in the countryside, exercising every day for about two months, mindfulness, meditation, and positive visualisation. CBD oil, herbal tea, 3 types of antidepressants and six different therapists. But I still feel so low that life feels utterly pointless.
I played two sets this New Year’s Eve and both went down amazingly well. Strangers came up to me after I played to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Rooms we performed in were busy and full of bouncing bodies the whole time we were on.
My family love me, my friends love me and I have a good support network. However none of this changes the fact on a daily basis, I feel so physically tired and miserable that I struggle to function. I’m running out of options and at this point, I am too tired to carry on trying new things just to notice they have little or no effect on my mood.
Fighting a losing battle
I know where my issues come from. I’m also aware that long term psychological therapy with a properly qualified psychologist or psychiatrist would be the best way for me to learn. I could learn to manage this seemingly relentless depression and anxiety that have robbed me of any sense of enjoyment for the past ten years.
I don’t have the money to pay for a private therapist. With the NHS being in its current state, I feel as if I’m fighting a losing battle. What people don’t seem to understand about severe depression and anxiety is that it’s completely different to the everyday feelings and emotions you experience.
Everyday pleasures like eating, listening to music, watching TV, playing games or whatever else I try inevitably leave me feeling bored, agitated or unable to focus for long enough to enjoy anything. Almost all of the advice I get is useless.
I appreciate the help and the fact that people want to try and make me feel better, but unless you have been through this level of blackness and despair, unless you have seriously considered taking your own life, you have literally no idea what I’m going through and no idea how to help me.
The bleak reality
Depressed people experience the world completely differently to healthy people. Their brain chemistry is profoundly altered which means they can’t do what you do. They can’t see the good in things, no matter how much they try. If they’re anything like me, any attempt to look on the bright side, challenge negative thoughts or celebrate their achievements will feel as if they are lying to themselves.
The bleak reality of the world is a massive contributing factor, too. Though it’s nice to believe we should all be living our best lives and doing what makes us happy, the fact we have to work to acquire enough money to live negates this kind of unrealistic thinking entirely. The fact is that we all need to work and most of us hate our jobs.
Argue all you want
You can argue all you want, but that’s something most people will agree with. The world isn’t set up to allow us all to be free and happy, doing creative, stimulating things. It’s set up to make money. Our jobs are based on repetition and productivity, not wellbeing and personal enrichment.
I accepted this when I was about 12. I’m not a bleeding heart liberal hippy who believes anything will actually change when it comes to the way the world works. But this cold, unpleasant truth has to be acknowledged, especially by those who provide mental health services.
Whenever I have seen therapists in the past, all of their advice and treatment comes from that perfect place that only exists in advert land.
It doesn’t relate to the world we all inhabit. Sitting with my eyes shut thinking positive thoughts helps for the seven minutes I’m doing that, but when I come back to my reality of financial problems caused by years of patchy employment thanks to my consistently poor mental health it all seems like abstract, philosophical bullshit.
Why I’m willing to put myself through two months of sober torture just to see a therapist who probably won’t be able to help me is anyone’s guess. Maybe I’m desperate. It’s kind of all I have left. After all of the lifestyle changes and attempts to treat myself with the suggestions of others, I still wake up feeling like shit. Also I feel like I’d rather not be here. I need long term, consistent help and I’m running out of the considerable patience and resilience needed to get it.
Whenever I post something like this, I usually get hundreds of nice messages from people telling me they care about me and want to help. I appreciate the sentiment, I really do, but it doesn’t help me. No matter how many people tell me they think I’m awesome, it doesn’t change the way I feel.
I won’t kill myself
As I said, I know where my issues come from, and the kind of long term, in depth psychological therapy that’s needed to help me build up a better sense of self esteem and worth is expensive or extremely hard to find on the NHS. I’m all out of suggestions now, and I’ve tried so many new things to help myself that any further suggestions just irritate me to the point of anger or even rage.
I won’t kill myself. I’ve promised myself and my family that, but the thoughts are there almost every day. I’m trying to see something positive in all this, but right now it feels like I’m staring in to a two month long abyss where I can expect literally no pleasure whatsoever.
Sports bore me to death, wholesome things make me feel queasy or just numb and disappointed that I don’t have the same sense of warmth that other people have. I don’t want children. Marriage is utterly ridiculous to me and owning a house is completely unrealistic. Not something I’m interested in working towards anyway. I seem to want completely different things to most people, which makes life quite difficult at the best of times.
Everything seems pointless
I have an idea of how I’d like my life to be. I’d like to continue DJing as much as I can, and write for a living, which I’m sort of doing at the moment. Preferably I would like to spend as much time as humanly possible doing things I enjoy.
The problem I have is that I feel so physically and mentally tired all the time that working as a freelancer feels unbelievably difficult. I’ve tried working in offices with other people but it stresses me out so much I end up having to get signed off after a few weeks. I just can’t stand to be around people for that long.
Every weekday, the same faces, the same tasks and the same commute. Then you add the office politics, the relentless “banter”. The fact I’m essentially giving up most of my life to make someone I’ve never met a little bit richer than they already are.
It’s not an easy road
No. I can’t do it. So freelancing is the way forward, but it’s not an easy road. I will try to continue as best as I can but on days like today, everything seems pointless.
I’m running out of steam and my vocabulary isn’t anywhere near as good as it should be today, so I’m going to stop. There’s no advice or message of hope here.
I feel like shit and I felt like writing something about it, so there you go.
Reproduced with permission, originally posted on itsnotjustinyourhead