It has been half a year since I was last motivated to write a blog post. You must all be feeling deprived of my high-quality, thrilling content. I have an endless list of topics I’d like to write about, but I’m waiting for the stars to align to make it happen. Now feels like the time to debrief on how well I’ve been avoiding questions like “how are you?” recently. Warning — content may include feeling sorry for oneself.

Ask someone close to me how I’ve been recently, and they’ll (probably) tell you I seem much better. This couldn’t be further from the truth — I’m just exhausting myself by using every spoon I have to appear strong so that people don’t feel obliged to ‘perform miracles’ (aka helping me). I’m grateful for having people that want to help, but as I’ve mentioned before, there’s nothing they can do, so why make them feel helpless?

I’m in a strange dip at the moment. It’s dark, but I’m weirdly content in that darkness. My crutch is that I can always end my life at any moment if it gets too much. My general approach to each day is that I’m here until I’m not, so my only goal is to get through that day. Then I repeat the same approach each subsequent day. Anything beyond midnight of the current day isn’t even on my radar, so it’s unlikely I’ll commit to or seek to make plans. I’ll pass my time with the few low-effort things I still feel able to do when I’m afforded that luxury, such as special interests, lying in bed like a zombie, snacking, cuddling with Blue, or whatever other minor tasks have formed part of my emotional toolkit. The only thing I look forward to is going to bed and falling asleep. I’ve become complacent with that. I genuinely don’t care anymore. I’m numb. I exist for my immediate family’s sake. All those years of trying to get better for my loved ones and live some form of life has burned me out. I’ve accepted my fate. I’m no longer chasing “help” because it — clearly — doesn’t exist.

I hate this world. I don’t know if it has always been as horrible as it is now or if it’s just one of those things my eyes have been opened wider to in recent years. There are so many awful people with disgraceful, selfish attitudes, and I can’t cope with their impact on society. I don’t want to be part of that kind of world. For so long now, I’ve let these things feel like my problem because I couldn’t let go of the injustice of it all. I don’t care anymore.

I’m angry at those who think they know everything about everything and dismiss your life-long needs as a quick “millennial” trend or an attention-seeking label to brag about on your socials when it’s clear they couldn’t even answer a basic question about it if prompted. I feel like I can no longer talk about a handful of the things I have legitimately struggled with for my entire life because I’ll be shrugged off as jumping on a bandwagon or lumped in with “kids these days”. Like the people who think an ADHD diagnosis is codswallop because they’ve foolishly accepted the idea that it’s just a way to excuse laziness or bad parenting without bothering to learn that it’s a lot more complex than that. On the other end of the argument, I’m also angry at people who base their entire personality around a condition like it’s a badge of honour, which fuels negative stereotypes and fills ignorant peoples’ heads with an inaccurate idea of what it all means, creating the illusion that “Ugh, everyone has <condition> these days!”. Maybe that’s true, but I feel it needs a disclaimer to explain why it might appear that way. There are also people who relate to one small aspect of something and then proclaim they have a condition, which creates a stigma around this condition in society. I suppose an example of this would be tidy and clean people saying they have “OCD” when they simply enjoy being tidy and clean. Or someone who is indecisive, saying they are “bipolar”. It makes it so much harder for people genuinely suffering from these debilitating conditions to receive an empathetic response when reaching out for support because society has been trained to think a certain way. The problem here is obviously the people who use one small piece of information and create the rest of it in their heads, not the people suffering in any way, shape or form. There’s nothing we can do about that, but I’d like it if people were more mindful of the side effects when sharing publicly.

I’ve been neglecting social media (half accidentally and half intentionally) — something I used to rely on heavily as a method of socialising I could control. What was once a great way to see what your friends and family were up to has become more about reactions to all the awful things happening in the world. I’m just as much to blame for this as anybody else. The socials became my only outlet for my rage against the world, and in turn, my anger made the socials unpleasant for others. My current mindset leaves me oblivious and ignorant of the world around me. Self-censoring, if you will. Instead, I’ve been leaning into various Discord communities, which feel like a safer space with more control over the content — a great distraction from the real world and not a constant reminder of all the bad. Masking and pretending everything is okay is much easier in these spaces than it is in public.

I’m at my wit’s end with my chronic pain. Every single day for over 15 years, I’ve woken up in pain. Pain and fatigue are my default. Worst of all, they prevent me from doing tasks that might have a chance of improving my physical and mental health. Pain has stolen so much from me. I’ve always said it’s not the worst pain in the world (because it isn’t), but it IS chronic and debilitating. It grinds you down when it impacts every aspect of your life and never gives you a break. Years of powering through the pain have only worsened it after I stupidly believed that diet, exercise and a positive attitude were the best way to combat it all. Sometimes I can’t tell whether it’s worsening or my tolerance is dropping. The only apparent “help” available to improve it seems to be a “pain clinic”. The process is prolonged and tiresome. I was referred in September — it’s now February — and after three interactions and a few e-mails, the only advice they have offered has been a reminder to keep doing all the things I already do to combat the pain. I’ve recently learned from elsewhere that the method they appear to be trying with me is called “graded exercise therapy”, which is apparently controversial, unproven and traditionally used for chronic fatigue syndrome, but there is evidence to show that it makes it worse (which might explain my constantly worsening situation). Some bodies actively warn against using it with patients because the evidence does not support its use. It’s also essentially what I’ve been doing myself for years by trying to find my limits and gradually build them back up to past levels again — which is why I’m in the current mess. It doesn’t inspire hope. What is the point anymore? I can 100% understand why people turn to hard drugs to stop feeling ANYTHING.

I’m also sick of all the smaller things — the “microaggressions”, as I call them. Those don’t help when you’re trying to have a positive mental attitude. They’re also hard to explain to people who see them as independent minor annoyances rather than an army of co-morbidities working as a team to bring down your defences or weaken your attack. Like being unable to regulate my body temperature, the constant high-frequency noise in my ears, poor sleep quality, dizziness, tingly extremities, shakes and spasms, physical symptoms of anxiety or the sore throat and breathing difficulties which began in 2019. I’m sure my body thinks Strepsils are a food group.

I have found a solution to create some temporary relief in the darkest moments. It’s NOT a healthy solution — probably a rabbit hole situation, if anything — but it’s the ONLY thing I’ve found that gets me through. Nothing else has ever come close to the instant relief it gives me. I don’t want to talk about it too much here, but it has been a regular thing for about three to four years now. It generally helps as a response to overwhelming situations or anxiety, but sometimes it just fills that void of darkness.

I’m at an age now where I consider mental and physical health difficulties to have stolen my life and, in turn, my partner’s. On top of everything else I have to deal with, I also feel guilt for the trajectory of my partner’s life as a result of mine. I feel like I’m dragging down his potential or holding him back. I know I can’t ever give him what he needs, but he refuses to give up on me. Bless him. I’m so lucky to have him. He’s rejected plenty of the escape opportunities I’ve offered in the past that could provide him with freedom and a chance at a happier future. I know there will never be a time when I am well enough to contribute to our future as he needs me to. I fear he’ll waste his life waiting for something that isn’t coming. It’s also tough when we’re both having a bad day — a common occurrence — and I’m not mentally strong enough to support him. It makes me feel useless and inferior, reminding me that somebody else could offer him more compassion than I can.

There will always be people out there who think when I say I can’t do something, it means I’m just not trying hard enough, or I should just get up and do it or go out for a run or something. “Paint a smile on your face and just get on with it; that’s what I did!”. I’m glad that worked for you, love, after your three-day battle with feeling a little bit sad. The fact is, I’ve painted a smile on my face and got on with it for years. It doesn’t work. Why keep doing the same thing and expecting different results? I’m sure there’s a word for that. I’ve fought so hard for so long, and things have only worsened. I’m done trying to appease those devoid of empathy and who always think they know better. Having said that, I’m also genuinely jealous of them regularly bringing the phrase “ignorance is bliss” to life. I’m happy for those who get to live in such privilege that understanding these complex concepts is utterly foreign to them.

I’m torn between ending my life sooner rather than later so people can start to move on after me, or sticking around trying to get through each day and making everyone miserable with false hope in the process. Those are the only options I can see. Any attempt to improve for those around me has failed or requires jumping through hoops with motivation I don’t have anymore. I already know how my life ends — the date just isn’t set in stone yet.

I’ve given every form of treatment offered a fair go (sometimes multiple goes) and dedicated adequate time to various other ideas, including alternative therapies. It seems that having not killed myself yet means that I’m not in great enough need of real help. It makes sense why people call a suicide attempt a “cry for help” — it seems to be the only thing that will open doors to proper help. I feel like I’ve gone above and beyond what any patient should ever have to do in their own recovery. All I’ve ever needed is someone to advocate for me because I’m too weak to stand up and fight for myself and my needs. I’ve been down every avenue for help. They constantly repeat the same tired old practices and referrals that haven’t worked for me previously, as if they’re just bothered about the paperwork showing that they’ve tried or signposted me to something. I usually get to a point in every new course of therapy when their suggestions invoke a feeling of déjà vu, and my internal voice rolls its eyes. I’m treatment-resistant — how hopeless a diagnosis is that? The psychiatrist who bluntly told me, “10 to 15 types of tablets can’t be wrong; maybe it’s just your personality”, was right.

I’ve said it for years, but the only reason I haven’t ended my life yet is that I can’t bear the thought of my family (and mum in particular) having to grieve for me for the rest of theirs. So far, that raison d’être has made my choice for me, but it’s getting more challenging and demanding by the day when the alternative is more and more attractive.

I think I stay quiet on a lot of this stuff because I’ve met too many ignorant people who have the “other people have it worse” mindset. I’m scared of opening up to somebody who feels that way and being unfairly judged. That mindset is never helpful with someone’s health difficulties. It’s like somebody being reluctant to open up that they are dying because other people are already dead (and therefore clearly have it much worse). Genius logic.

When I was 13, in one of my first child psychology sessions, the counsellor asked me to draw a picture of how I saw myself in the future. I vividly remember having no idea what to draw, so I drew what I thought was expected of me: a smiling man in a suit holding a briefcase. He probably had a family and a house. Likely successful and earning enough to live comfortably. I just thought that’s what people grew up to look like. Maybe I expected I’d grow up with a life like my dad’s because that was all I knew. One might say I wanted to appear neurotypical in the future, hence drawing what I saw as ‘normal’. I can’t remember the task’s point — I imagine it was to give myself a goal to aim for or something. I’m now at the age I would have been in that drawing. My life looks NOTHING like what that drawing would imply. There is no success story or anything to take pride in. Not even remotely. I don’t even think I WANT my life to look like that drawing implied — I’ve never aspired to be hugely successful — but it still feels like I’ve failed my younger self. I laugh at my past self for thinking that’s what my future could look like. Any opportunity to work towards something remotely resembling that drawing has been stolen from me, and it’s too late to get it back.

I never know how to end these things. I should give a positive conclusion to what I’ve just written or something to inspire hope. This isn’t a goodbye post or anything dramatic like that — but I don’t know what’s next for me. I’ll keep plodding along, taking each day at a time, trying not to disappoint those around me.

By Sam

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