This summer has passed quickly. I’ve not been writing anything down. I don’t know where to start or what to say. I started anti-depressants and it has been strange adjusting to them. I started on a low dose and as my serotonin levels adjusted – or whatever happens – I was left feeling numb and detached. Robotic, my doctor described it and I mostly agreed. I did not feel as anxious or as sad but nor could I feel happiness or excitement. Bad and good emotions were gone. Fast forward and I’m on a higher dose and not quite so robotic, but still not quite where I wish I could be. And I’m tired. No matter how much or little I sleep I’m always exhausted and I cannot concentrate. This state I’m in…its no state for blogging. I’m actually not having a bad summer and plenty has happened but I couldn’t find it in me to write any of it down. The first time I was struggling with my mental health I needed to write it down. I’d blog, and I also kept a private written diary for my counselling- I’d write the bad thoughts down, and then I’d process them. In another notebook I’d scribble down what I was feeling, ranting, so emotional that the pen dug in deep, almost cutting the paper, then I’d scribble it out, turn the page black or blue. This time I’m internalising it, I’m thinking a lot, always thinking, but I struggle to express myself. I’ve become very withdrawn.
Nonetheless, this summer hasn’t been bad. I’ve been in a bit of a limbo with things- spending too much time asleep, or wasting time, all my grand plans for university work lying at the roadside. Fairly typical.
I’ve been home a few times. My sister came back from a big holiday so I went home to look at her photos, and I went walking with my dad the following day. Looking at my sister’s photos should have been boring, but I spent most of it curled up resting on my fathers shoulder, and I felt so safe and comfortable and relaxed that it became one of those perfect moments I’ll remember for a long time. I’d only just started antidepressants then, and I did not feel good. Feeling safe and relaxed felt foreign but wonderful. In that moment I also felt loved. Sometimes I feel so alone, I forget that I am precious to my family at least. With both my parents- its easy to tell how amazed and proud they are in regards to the daughters they raised. It must be a strange feeling to see the babies you once had and can still remember so clearly, now grown up into adult woman. Even I look at my sister, who has matured so much, who is so grown up that I struggle- she’s my sister, but she also has her separate life and as she grows older the ratio changes and her separate life grows. I know I need to respect that, but I still remember how it used to be and its hard to let go. Family relations get so strange as you get older. I feel so clingy and burdensome sometimes, I wonder if I should be more independent. I don’t really know how to act around them anymore, where the boundaries have now shifted. It’s just strange.
It was my birthday in July – 22 now. My sister took me to a food festival and we had a grand time stuffing our faces with overpriced food and watching the demonstrations from cooks and bakers. It was good to have my sister to myself for a time. See: above paragraph. That evening we went out to dinner- my parents, my sister and her boyfriend who I invited because it was the polite thing to do, because I thought that was one of the changes to make now we are older. My sister was so happy to hear that I wanted him there that I knew I had been right. But… I was the only single person there, and the only child. I felt so out of place. I couldn’t enjoy myself. Yes, I turned 22. It doesn’t feel much different than 21, although my embarrassment at how childish I am only deepens as I age. I don’t feel like I act as an adult should. I feel naive and inexperienced.
Walking with my dad was as always delightful and improved my mood, at least.
Later, in August, I went home as my cousin had come to visit and spend time with our family – which was awkward, but not too bad. I stuck close to my dad mostly, which made me feel like a bad person, but my cousin is too unfamiliar, and too gregarious for me to feel comfortable. Looking at him, my mother and my sister they looked more like a family than if I were there. Especially my sister and my cousin- they are so similar in looks and personalities it hurt to look at them.
I’m going home again soon. Going to try spend more time with my mother and sister. It seems whenever I go home I mostly hang with my dad. It’s most comfortable, but its not right.
Apart from that, I’ve settled into work quite nicely. I spend my Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings there now. I’ve taken on the role of health and safety officer – so I test the fire alarms every week and do visual inspections monthly. I’ve been allowed to help with the cashing up. Mostly I shelve and cull books, and occasionally go on the till. Its monotonous work mostly, but I like it – there is something oddly calming about sorting and shelving books. It does make me anxious dealing with the public though- I never seem to have the answers to anyone’s questions, and I mostly fail at small talk. When I’m on the till I can’t meet anyone’s eyes and I have a little script I made for myself. Sometimes, perhaps I’m imagining it, probably am, when I look up from staring at the counter, just briefly, I think I catch bemused glances from the people I serve and it only makes me feel more ashamed. I can’t go on the till too long otherwise I start feeling sick and shaky, my chest tightening, my words starting to run together, even if I’ve taken my anxiety meds. The fact that I can do this though- that I can deal with strangers for 8 hours a week makes me feel good. And I like that it adds a bit of routine to my week- I would probably lose track of the days otherwise.
Of course I’ve also started to learn to drive, which I don’t enjoy, but hopefully the doctor will say its OK to take my anxiety meds whilst driving and then it can improve. My instructor is lovely, but driving itself is still scary and foreign and overwhelming.
I’m trying my best though. To develop outside my degree. I said it before didn’t I. I put so much into university that other things got left behind. But I’m trying now. I’m working, I’m learning to drive, I’m trying very hard to get on with my family. I’m recovering, trying to keep going even though I’m exhausted and the future is uncertain and I’m scared and anxious. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying not to let the fear from stopping me from living.
Even though the fear that its too late never goes away.