Tag Archive | Depression

Writing lyrics for therapy

In my last blog post I wrote about the songs which have affected me and helped me in some way with my emotions and feelings. This time I decided to share some of my own lyrics that I write. I find writing lyrics sometimes gives me a somewhat cathartic feeling, helping me to release my emotions. As I can’t write music you may like to think of these more as poems, although sometimes I do have a kind of tune going on in my head. I have been thinking about sharing my lyrics for a while now, but they have some very personal thoughts and feelings in them that I was not sure I was ready to share before. However I now feel that I am able to share them as I have got used to sharing so much with people in my blog.  I am not saying they are very good lyrics, but they do show how I sometimes feel and explain my mood swings somewhat maybe.

Feeling and Thinking (I see this as a sort of Scandinavian style Emo song)
I’m feeling very, very strange
But for me this is kind of normal
I’m feeling like a part of me just died
But I don’t think I’ve been fully alive for a long, long time

I am totally crazy
Or is this just a crazy world, where everybody feels insane?
I mean what is the definition of normal?
You left without explanation
You left me once again
I only asked for a reason
But I only got silent confusion

I’m feeling very, very sad
But for me this is kind of normal
I’m feeling like I should be glad
But I don’t think I’ve been fully happy
For a long, long time

I’m way over thinking
Every little thing that I do
I even think about thinking
I wish I knew what to do
It’s driving me MAD!

I’m feeling somewhat frightened

Depression (A fairly slow song, sung to a melancholy tune that sort of plods along in a heavy way much like depression)

I only have to think of you and I know I’m going to be sad
I know the feeling is going to take over for a while
I will lie there and play out everything we did in my mind
Then imagine the scenes that never even happened, happened to us
You become my fantasy man

The light is slowly fading away
The walls of the tunnel are closing in around me
I only wanted someone to guide me through the darkness
To hold my hand and show me the way
The walks of the tunnel are closing in around me

I live in my dream of what could be
In my dream it does not hurt as you don’t leave
I become what I can’t be
However I can’t quite escape reality
I will never be free

Where Do I Go From Here (A rock song with a somewhat angry guitar sound)

Please don’t go
Say It isn’t so
Say it’s something we can work on together
Close your eyes
Imagine us without each other
I can’t, can you?

Too late, you said goodbye
Where do I go from here?
Do I pick myself up?
Dust myself down?
And wait for another you?
Or do you think I’m better off alone?

One day
I might get my forever after
But right now
I must learn to deal with this
Just me
Right here on my own

You’re Messing with My Mind (this is a kind of Imelda May rockabilly style song with a heavy double bass sound)

You’re messing with my mind
You’re messing with my brain
You’re driving me totally insane
You ‘aren’t good for me
No, no, no
You bring out my bad side

You drink and you smoke
You like a good toak
You see this all as some great big joke
You ‘aren’t good for me
No, no, no
You bring out my crazy side

You got me feeling so confused
One minute you’re as nice as pie
Then next you are a nasty guy
What am I supposed to do?
I think I am in love with you

I’m messing with my heart
I do it all the time
I fall in love so fast
There’s no way it can last
No, no, no
I bring out my dumb side

Advertisements

I’m Mentally Ill, Ha, Ha

‘I am totally mental, the men in white coats will be coming to take me away any day now.’

‘Talking with me for while is enough to give anyone depression.’

‘If you think you’re mad, I’m totally bonkers.’

Those are some examples of how some people have reacted to me when I told them about some of my mental health issues. I am not that surprised at the responses, but I am disappointed. Some people just do not take mental health seriously and see it as a bit of a joke. Someone even once said to me that a lot of people use mental health as an excuse, to get away with being more selfish or lazy!

Out of all mental health conditions I have experienced for myself, depression seems to one of the most trivialised and dismissed. The NHS Choices website states that ‘Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They’re wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”. People often seem to miss use the word depressed, saying that they feel depressed, when they actually mean they feel very sad. Real depression is ‘when you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days,’ NHS Choices website. When I am depressed I feel like my whole world is collapsing around me and I cannot see the point in trying to do much at all, even getting dressed or washing seems pointless. I think why bother, it is not as if anyone will notice or care. Some people say things like ‘I had depression, but woke up one day and decided the depression was not going to win and I was going to get on with my life’. I know people who say things like that are trying to be helpful, but it just makes me feel worse, like I have failed yet again, as I am unable to flick a switch in my brain and not be depressed. People who say that clearly either never really had full blow depression or they were at the end stages of it anyway. When someone has depression unless you are a mental health professional who is actually that persons assigned councillor or therapist, offering advice is normally the last thing you should be doing, as it will probably not help much and could make the person feel worse. I would rather people just said that they care, they love me, they are there for me, they are not going to abandon me and to maybe offer me a hug.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is another condition to get silly reactions. I get the ‘just try to relax and not think about it’ one and I get the ‘everyone has routine and ritual that is just part of being human’ one. If it was that easy not to think about it, I would not suffer OCD in the first place! I agree, everyone has routines up to a point, but not ones that make this little sense and that slows you down to the point you are late for things or even miss them altogether. The one I hate the most though is ‘I’m a bit OCD’. No you are just organised, or a tidy person or just really like something. The charity OCD-UK explain it very well on their website:

‘As understanding and public awareness about Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder has grown, so has the use of the term ‘OCD’ as a description for some kinds of behaviour that are not related in any way to the actual condition. When people use the terms ‘obsessive’ and ‘compulsive’ incorrectly, it leads to misunderstanding about OCD and belittles and trivialises the true suffering that the disorder can bring. As the internet and social networking websites have become more widely used, there has been an ever-increasing trend for people to refer to themselves as being a ‘bit OCD’. However, these obsessive or compulsive quirks, that last a brief moment, and rarely cause distress or any anxiety, do not warrant the label or a diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which can actually leave a person debilitated for hours at a time.’

The responses I get for autism are generally not too bad. People say that they either could not tell at all, or that they guessed as much, but it really does not bother them. I do get tired of people assuming my maths skills must be fantastic, as they are not very good at all. I think I might even have dyscalculia which is a learning difficulty with numbers and maths concepts (a bit like dyslexia for maths). As one blogger puts it ‘Asking if we like math, computers, or numbers because we’re Autistic is like asking a Black or African-American if he or she likes watermelons or rap music because he or she is Black or African-American.’ There was the time I was in a chat room and a person who works as a classroom assistant with autistic children said ‘they are all such lovely children’. Firstly she should know better than to call all autistic children they as if it was a race of people and secondly I honestly don’t think I always was such a lovely child. As with everyone else on the entire planet autistic people are a varied bunch, some lovely, some not so lovely and a lot of the time it has nothing to do with the autism.

When some people make a joke response to mental health I realise that some do this out of a sense of discomfort to try to make light of a topic they find very hard to discuss seriously with others. They themselves might have experience of mental health and still not feel like they can discuss it openly. However it is not a good idea to make a joke about mental health as a first response to someone who tells you they have issues. It can be very hard for people with mental health issues to feel that they can discuss them honestly with anyone, so the fact they feel they are ready to talk about them should be taken seriously. You should listen to them, it may help you understand the person better.

The other thing that gets me is having watched one documentary or met one person with the same condition people then think they totally understand you. Yes they may have some idea of what the condition is, but mental illnesses tend to vary from person to person a great deal. For example with my OCD I do not wash my hands over and over, but after one documentary showed a woman with OCD washing her hands excessively till they were red raw, for a long time after people kept asking me if that was something I did. When someone tells you they have a mental health condition please be sensitive in your response to them and think before you say anything.

Links:

NHS Choices on Clinical Depression 

OCD-UK on What is not OCD!

15 Things You Should Never Say To An Autistic blog

 

Job Seekers Allowance and Mental Health

As you might already know from previous posts, I have been suffering with mental health issues most of my life.  Whilst I was at university I managed to get a lot of my mental health issues under control to a certain extent, yes they were clearly still there, but they were not as bad as they had been.  However since graduation and moving back home I have spent the vast majority of that time being unemployed and on job seekers allowance benefit.  Gradually I have found my mental problems getting worse again.  Partly this is due to living back at home with my parents after having got used to my independence at university, but the main factor is the ongoing unemployment.  Months and months of ongoing rejection from employers is going to get most people at least somewhat down.  Knowing that I am trying my hardest at every application form or cover letter I send and am being the best that I can be at interviews, but never get the job starts to make you doubt your self-worth as a person.  Right now however the thing most effecting my mental well-being is job seekers allowance.

I have anxiety issues, which are flaring up.  It is the not knowing from one day to the next what I will be doing.  This time next week I could have a job (although at this rate I doubt it), but also I keep getting sent to various places by the job centre.  Sometimes I get sent on courses, and recently I was sent on mandatory work activity.  This makes it hard to make any plans in advance.  For example do I agree to help look after my nephew next week so my sister-in-law can do work or not.

Mandatory work activity is when you have to go and do a community work placement to earn your job seekers, although they dress it up as work experience for your CV.  In reality this usually amounts to working in a charity shop for four weeks.  If you have no work experience on your CV at all, I can see this as being quite helpful, but I already have experience, including volunteer work in a charity shop.  Then there is the issue that you can’t just go and work in any charity shop, it has to be one that is signed up to the work placement scheme that you are placed with by the company who do this on behalf of the job centre.  Not that many charities are signed up to the scheme and quite a few charity shops have dropped out due to bad publicity for taking part in it or realising what they were taking on was basically forced volunteers.  Some places found that the client gets no say as to which charity they work for, so they could end up working for a cause they do not even believe in or care about.  My placement ended up going wrong when after two days the manager of the shop had to admit she already had too many willing volunteers and not enough work for us all.  They tried to place me elsewhere, but that proved tricky due to the lack of shops left in the scheme, so I had to wait each day not knowing when or if they would place me again.  Then the next placement went wrong when they had too many of us starting at once and I decided to open my big mouth about how I was feeling towards the scheme.  I have always had issues with speaking my mind too freely, whether this is due to my high functioning autism or not I do not know.  I felt like I had done well to only say what I did and knew I could have said much worse, but the woman in charge did not see it that way and I was told the company would no longer be placing me on any work activity, so in effect I was banned from mandatory work activity.  I was told the job centre would be informed of what happened and I could be sanctioned.  I then had to wait the whole weekend till I signed on to find out if they would cut off my only source of income for up to thirteen weeks or not.  Not only did I feel very anxious, but I felt totally depressed about it.  Like once again society had rejected me and now I could just have messed up my entire life.  I have anger issues which were surfacing again and I started to take out my frustration and anxiety on my parents who I live with.  I was yelling at them for silly minor things that did not matter and I was blaming then for things they had no control over.  I spent a whole day crying, sleeping and doing very little, mostly in my bedroom feeling utterly dejected.  I hated not knowing if I was going to get paid my next fortnight job seekers or not, I hated knowing I could get the blame from my advisor.  I had tried to do my first work placement and turned up to the second one.  I had done every other thing the job centre had sent me on or asked me to do and would be quite annoyed after all that to have my money stopped.  I worried that I might even regress further and end up having one of my full on temper blow-outs like I used to have, at the job centre advisor who informed me about a sanction.  They did not end up sanctioning me yet at least, but I am still not sure if they will later when my file is updated.

I have spent so much time in the last two years worrying about what the job centre will say when I have not applied for many jobs that fortnight or when I have had an interview and yet again failed to get the job.  I know that I tried to find work to apply for, but there simply was not any work I could do, however job centre staff still make me feel like it was my fault.  I then go away and feel like maybe it is my fault.  I hate being depressed on and off like this as I do not know when it will resurface next and I feel like giving up trying.  Job seekers allowance has made me feel like I have lost control somewhat over my own life and now I feel like it is stealing my control over my own emotions at times.  I do not want to feel angry or depressed every two weeks after sign on or an appointment with my advisor.  I do not want to be anxious about it.  I would just like to feel in total control of myself again.

 

 

 

Thoughts Intrusive

Sometimes I feel like my brain is struggling to deal with everything.  My mind feels like it is over whelmed with thoughts and I start to feel down about things.  During a recent session of this I decided to write down what it felt like, this is what I wrote:

Over thinking a lot of things, some of which are simple things.

Worrying about things before they even start.  Building things up.

Pre plan over and over in my head, seeing the future event taking place in my mind.  It can be something as simple as what I will do when I get home that day or what I will do at the weekend.

Visualizing things in my mind’s eye in great detail, sometimes they seem almost real.

Overcrowded brain.  Loud, chattering thoughts.

Thoughts swimming through my mind jostling for position.

This can lead to:

OCD  When I over think some things it can trigger me to think an action or task needs redoing as it might not be right.  When I am worrying about something my OCD tends to become worse.

Anger I get angry with myself sometimes at not being able to control my thoughts.  I get angry when I am stuck in an OCD loop or when confused.  I mostly just feel angry inside, but I have been known to shout out loud at myself sometimes, mostly when on my own.

Confusion When my mind is swimming with thoughts I sometimes get confused as to which thoughts matter and which don’t.

Worrying I worry something will not go to plan as I saw it happening in my mind.  I sometimes worry that I will never get better from feeling like this and that can scare me.

Tiredness  Having a brain that will not shut up can be very tiring.  When I am over thinking things too much it can make me tired.

Putting Things off/ Giving up I have an idea or a plan, but sometimes I put myself off the idea by over thinking it and imagining all the reasons it is a bad idea.  I worry about it either coming across as a daft idea to other people or just not working well.

Depression/ Low Spirits  When I over think something to the point it makes me worry or give up, then I can feel very low.  Sometimes I just go back to bed and sleep instead of having to listen to my overcrowded brain.  My thoughts can start to all be negative and I start to blame myself for how I feel.  I also feel low sometimes when something I pre plan in great detail does not work out that way exactly.

The worst is when I start to take out my mood on those around me, mostly my parents who I live with.  I try very hard not to do this, but sometimes I struggle.  I do not like how angry I get with other people at times.  Sometimes I feel the anger is somewhat justified towards them, but most of the time I know afterwards that it was not.

I wonder if anyone else who has OCD or high functioning autism or an anxiety disorder can relate to any of this.

 

 

Mental Health Issues

‘One in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year’ (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)

I have seen or heard this statistic more than once, but what does it mean?  What is a mental health problem?  So one in four British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year, which sounds a bit alarming, but it is not always that bad.  Mental health problems can range from being at risk of self harm or hurting others to generally feeling low and  being irritable.

The most common mental health issues are mixed anxiety and depression with almost 9% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis.  I have suffered from this on and off since I was a teenager.  Anxiety is a fear, but it becomes a problem when you can not control it or you suffer long-term effects.  Anxiety for some can lead to panic attacks which can be very frightening as they can feel like you are about to black out or can’t breath.  I have never had a panic attack which I am very glad about.  However I often feel overly anxious about things, especially when something unexpected changes my immediate plans, such as if I am getting ready to go out and then there is a delay for some reason.  I can get irritable, cry or just give up and not even bother to finish what I was doing.  Anxiety can make my OCD much worse which then gives me even more to be anxious about.  I sometimes find I need reassurance from others that everything is OK and I become dependent on them.  Anxiety can be a vicious circle, feeling anxious about a situation that might make you anxious.  I have found myself avoiding situations that have triggered anxiety in the past, meaning I can miss out on things.  This can then lead to depression.

Clinical depression is more than just feeling a bit low or feeling somewhat sad for a short while.  For me it is an overwhelming feeling of sadness and negativity that I feel powerless to do anything about.  I have had periods when I felt so self doubtful that I could not see the point in anything and then just give up  trying to do things.  This includes even getting out of bed and dressing sometimes.  I have spent whole days in my pyjamas getting out of bed after one in the afternoon and doing very little apart from maybe watching television.  On these days I may hardly move or get any exercise, which is not good for my physical health let alone my mental health.  Depression can be triggered by many different things and sometimes can be caused by a combination of factors.  The first time I remember feeling full on depression was when I was in my early teens.  I had been badly bullied in school and was going through puberty both of which combined to make me very unhappy, then when I had a period of not going to school at all, I became depressed.  A lot of my depression flare ups seem to happen when my life reaches a stagnant point, such as between college courses or a few months after graduating university when I was left by a long-term boyfriend and struggling to find work.  It is not uncommon for the long-term unemployed to suffer depression, endless rejections and not hearing back from employers can make the future seem bleak.  Unemployed people, the long-term sick and poorer people are often effected for longer periods than most people when it comes to depression and other mental health issues.

Another issue I have problems with is Anger.  Everyone gets angry, it is a natural human response to certain situations, but excessive anger can be a problem.  Excessive anger can often be a sign of other mental  health problems, such as anxiety, alcohol or drug addiction or depression.  I used to get very angry in school and yell at teachers in front of everyone.  I still get angry now, but less often in public than I used to.  I tend to get angry when frustrated with myself or others.  My anxiety and depression can make me very angry sometimes, blaming everything and everyone around me.   I also get angry when I feel powerless, which maybe why I did it so much in school.  Anger is very scary for those around you and can damage relationships with people you love and care about.  Sometimes with my OCD I get angry and yell at inanimate objects, which is not only very pointless, but if other people see it can make you look insane.  I  find that anger often leads to depression, bursting into tears after a yelling session, with feelings of even more hopelessness and frustration, which means the anger session was pretty pointless.  The scariest times for me have been when I was so angry I threw things, such as a ruler at a teacher or when I lashed out and hit my mum.  Luckily for them and me I am a bad shot and missed and I am weak and fairly easy to grab and stop.  I never went this far very often and try hard not to, but sometimes I seem to lose myself in the heat of the moment.  I then feel guilty about it afterwards.

Over the years I have had various types of help for my mental health issues.  I have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy more than once.  CBT combines talking therapies with behavioural therapy.  The therapy looks at how you feel about the things going on in your life and how this affects the way you behave.  Then you and your therapist try to break the patterns of negative thoughts and change the way you behave in negative situations.  I found CBT slightly more helpful the second time I had it as I was older and more ready to deal with the problems.  The first time I had it in my early teens, it helped a bit, but I am not sure I was mature enough to take it all on board properly.  I  had CBT mainly for my OCD and depression.  I had counselling which is a talking therapy.  A regular time and space to discuss problems and explore feelings.  It can help a lot, but you need to be open and honest with the counsellor.  I found that you might need to try more than one counsellor before you find the right one for you that you can open up with, but it is worth trying again with another one.  I had group therapy when I was about twelve, which I enjoyed for the main reason that it got me out of school when I was being bullied.  I think it helped me realise that I was not alone and that compared  to some I was not even that messed up, but it was not much help for actually dealing with my issues.  I found that during the breaks and afterwards the other children just encouraged each other in the negative and bad behaviour patterns.  Anger management therapy helped me somewhat, with one-to-one weekly sessions for several weeks. I had a combination of CBT and talking therapy to try to understand what made me angry and how to deal with it better.  I do think it helped me in some situations, but not with all of my anger.  I think therapy has been worth while as although  it has not cured my mental health issues, it has helped me to understand them better and to at least make a start in them being less of a problem.

With mental health issues I have found that mostly it is down to me, I have to want to change.  Before therapy, sometimes just helping yourself can be enough or at least a good start.  I find keeping active helps with depression and anxiety, if I am busy I have no time to  think about it.  Also doing something positive can make you feel that in fact life is more worth while, such as volunteer work or contributing in some way to someone else’s life.  Talking about how you feel with friends and family can help.  Not only will they hopefully understand what you are going through better, but I find talking about it helps me work out how I feel better.  I find keeping a daily diary helpful as it lets out my emotions without hurting anyone else’s feelings.  Keeping to a more healthy diet helps you bodies all over well-being as does not drinking too much.  I find if I drink too much it can just aggravate the mood I was already in making me more angry or more depressed.  Most of all you have to accept yourself, we are all different and good at different things.

If you would like to learn more about mental health or would like some advice I found these two websites very informative:

Mental Health Foundation http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

Mind http://www.mind.org.uk/

Mind also run ‘Elefriends’ a good website for sharing how you feel with other people suffering from mental health problems.  You can write or post whatever you want on the site and other people can comment on it and offer advice.  I find the people very non judgemental and often they understand exactly what you are going  through.  http://elefriends.org.uk/login?next=%2Fposts#_=_