Monday, October 4, 2010

Missing

I know I haven't posted in over a month, and I'm sorry. Things have reached crisis point over here, and I'll be needing to take some time to deal with them. This entry will be a little wordy, and could be upsetting/triggering to people who have experienced similar issues, so I apologize in advance.

Long term readers are probably familiar with the fact that I struggle a lot with social anxiety, but things have been more problematic than that for a long, long time. The first time I wanted to kill myself, and the first time I cut myself to deal with those feelings, I was 14. Since that time there have been good days and bad days, but when I was 17 the good days slowly disappeared until all I was left with was a black fog around me and my bones slowly turning to lead. I felt heavy and lifeless. I stopped eating - not because I wanted to be skinny (although as a consequence I ended up weighing around 47 kilos, with my ribs on show like a stray dog) but because I lost all desire for life. I would cut myself, or bruise myself with a coathanger as punishment for things I did wrong, for indulging in self pity, or just to briefly clear away the haze that dulled my senses and my mind. I hid my feelings and my scars from everyone - the last thing I wanted was to be found out as an 'emo' or 'attention seeking'. My depression was like being at the bottom of a deep, dark well. I could see the light way up above, and I could hear the laughter of people outside, but no warmth reached me - everything was cold and hopeless and I was certain that I would die alone there at the bottom.

When I graduated high school and got into my university of choice, things started to improve. I pushed the dark days out of my mind. I thought I had a second chance, to pretend to be a person who was likable, witty and intelligent - all the things I was certain I was not. I told myself that if I dressed well and covered up my face in a mask, I could hide the insecure person I really was. However, terror of people discovering the real me led me to relentlessly sabotage the few opportunities I had to make new friends. I didn't want to end up being rejected, so I would lie and say I had other plans any time I was asked out. Eventually I stopped going to lectures all together, out of fear that somebody would want to talk to me and I would make a fool out of myself, or bore them, or reveal how stupid I really was. Compulsory classes left me a nervous wreck. The depression was slowly creeping back, but this time it wasn't alone.

Anxiety quickly came to pervade every aspect of my life - I was in a constant state of fear, doubting my every move, endless horrifying scenarios playing out in my mind. I was occupied with thinking about all the ways my life could go wrong, and the depression would whisper that because I didn't deserve happiness everything would go wrong. Convinced that my every move would lead to disaster, I became paralyzed - even simple things like choosing where to eat for lunch or trying to decide which book to buy became insurmountable tasks. I can't count the number of times I would simply break down and give up after an hour wandering the same street or in the same store, unable to make up my mind, all the while thinking to myself how pathetic, unlovable, stupid and weak I was. The feeling like I was being chased by something terrible that would catch up with me at any moment left me unable to sleep, barely able to force myself out of the house.

My boyfriend and a close friend forced me to see a doctor when I became acutely suicidal during and following the spa weekend I was on last month (funny how when everything is objectively going right, I still feel so miserable)and began cutting again. I can't even describe how awful that time was - I was scared of dying, but I was hurting too much to go on living anymore. I saw ways to kill myself all around me - anytime I was crossing the street, waiting for the train, in the tall buildings I have classes in it was all I could think about. Some part of me knew I needed help but the rest was convinced that I didn't deserve it, didn't have legitimate problems, and was meant to suffer. Eventually, however, I was convinced to do it if not for myself, then for the people who knew and cared about me.

After seeing the doctor I've been put on SNRIs for my depression and anxiety, and will be going to see a psychologist soon. I've been on them for two weeks now, but I'm not sure how I feel. Mostly numb and worn out. I've been like this for so long that I'm scared I won't be 'me' anymore. One of the reasons I was so resistant to getting help in my younger days was because I believed my creativity came from having felt such pain so intensely, but eventually the depression stole that from me too and I became too listless to draw or write anymore.

I'm sorry that this post is photo-less and not vintage related at all. I just needed to get this off my chest. Part of the reason things got so bad for me was because I completely closed myself off from other people - I need to slowly train myself to believe that it's okay to share this part of me, that I won't be rejected or thought of as weak. I hope you all understand if I don't post regularly or comment much for a while. I don't want to lose followers, as I consider the vintage blogging community to be a real positive in my life, but I understand if it's considered inappropriate to air my issues here. Those of you who read this far, thank you and I hope to get better and come back soon.

27 comments:

Rachel said...

This is your blog and you can say and post whatever you wish - don't feel bad about posting this here, it takes an amazing amount of strength and courage to talk publicly about it.

I love your blog, and will watch my blog reader for your return. I hope your 'time off' is just as you need it, and my well wishes for you are out there in the blog-o-sphere.

KittyMeow said...

Hey girl :-D
I don't really comment much (not sure if I have at all actually)...but I had to respond to such a post.
I'm not sure I can say anything that will help much because I've never been that low myself. Though one thing I've learnt over the years is that almost everyone has the same fear of being 'found out' as a fraud. We're all walking around with this conviction that someone will eventually figure us out - and it's ironic that we're so busy worrying about ourselves that we don't notice that the next person is thinking the same thing.
I'm not explaining this very well - I'd draw you a picture - it would be one of those quirky cartoons...but then I'll never get round to it because the picture in my head is that much better than what my hands can draw ;-P Ha!
So before I ramble too much and inadvertently say something insulting (one of MY biggest fears in such situations), I'll say that it's great you're getting help from someone that is capable. It must be a big weight off your shoulders and I really hope things improve. How fantastic you have people that care enough about you to take action. Coming from their side of the fence (I had a friend who had an eating disorder), it can be extremely hard to know when to speak up. Even though you're close to the person, you never really know if it's too personal a thing to bring up and if you're overstepping boundaries.
Ramble ramble ramble.
*hugs*

THE BIG MAMA INTROSPECTION said...

Hello Emmy, no problem if there 's no photo or vintage.
I send you all my positive vibes. Life is a great gift even it's sometimes very dark. Keep hope ;)

Olivia

Fel said...

I understand completely, just as your other readers do and will. Take care of yourself, get all the help you need. I repeatedly came close to a similar situation several times in my life, and if I didn't have what I call my internal security mechanism, which would jump in and tell me I was being silly, I would have either had an eating disorder, cut myself, or worse. I couldn't even give a reason why - maybe I wanted attention, because I wasn't able to deal with my problems myself. But - somehow I managed. Somehow, one day, things got better. It was a struggle sometimes, but it worked.
So - please, you deserve to be happy, to live a good life, and to get all the support that you can. People care for you and are there for you, no matter what. Even if you feel you are stupid, or silly, or not worth it. You are worth it.
It's always hard to write about such things to someone basically unknown, and maybe it all sounds silly, but...please know that there are people who care about your wellbeing, right beside you, and all over the world.

Kristen said...

First time commenter, I think, but long-time reader here. Good for you for getting this off your chest in a safe community of people who like you and enjoy your blog. I'm happy for you that you're seeking help, and while I have heard that it takes some adjustment when going on medication for depression and anxiety, I hope the results for you are very worth it. You shouldn't have to live in fear and anxiety. Big Mama is right - as dark as it seems sometimes, life is a gift. Take care, keep us posted on your progress, and big hugs.
Kristen

Mrs Juzzie Green said...

Sending you lots of lovely thoughts for a strong recovery.

I had been thinking that I hadn't heard from you lately(in a reader type fashion).
I'm glad when I read your post that you are surrounded by loved ones who are looking out for you, as well as you taking the necessary steps to better health.

Stay strong.

Lizzie
oxoxo

Steph said...

ou could be writing my own life and struggles, I know exactly what you're going through.

After a few off and on years of depression, I went through a time of being morbidly agoraphobic, suicidal, and the insomnia... I didn't sleep for three weeks on end once. When I was taken to a psychiatrist, he put me on the same meds they give people with borderline personality disorder to help me sleep. The meds made me homicidal. My brother (who went to the same university as I did) took the meds away, took me into his apartment and watched me like a hawk for weeks. He shepherded me through all the parts of daily life I needed to get through. That was the lowest, worst point.

There's no easy or simple way out of the deep dark hole. My husband (then boyfriend) once said to me "You feel like you're in a deep hole? Then quit making it deeper. Dig up, stupid." Which is a Simpson's reference designed to make me laugh but became something of a mantra. Dig up!

We are all human beings, and we are all flawed. There is no such thing as a perfect person.

Good for you, showing such courage to speak openly and publicly about being unwell. I think the Stigma is almost as bad as the depression. I'm a big believer that mental health is analogous to physical health. Sometimes you're sick, sometimes you need medicine, some cases are injuries caused by an accident, some wounds take a long time to heal. Some cases heal with hardly a scar, some cases are terminal. I have my good and bad days, too, and I won't pretend I've never had suicidal thoughts.

It really helps to find positive things to focus on when those thoughts come. Don't allow them a toehold. Use positive sayings, or parts of Psalms, or thoughts that you write when you're feeling ok specifically to use in times of trouble. Anything you find gives you something good and solid to hold on to. You can literally re-wire your brain if you do that.

You're doing the right thing by allowing others in. Remember that, remember not to wall yourself away. I'm sending you my best, my heart goes out to you as someone who knows exactly what you're talking about. If you ever need a friend who understands, you can write to me. bellelass at yahoo dot com.

I'm pretty socially inept and a trifle ridiculous, so I'm hardly one to judge anyone.

Roobeedoo said...

Oh sweetheart! I do hope you feel stronger soon. Hugs from afar.

Ginger said...

Miss Emmi-
I had no idea things had gotten so dark. I cannot leave this post without commenting.... there is a twinge of familiarity to what you have written, it's as if, as silly as it sounds, your words have reached an old dark part of me that knows what you're talking about.

While I've never been in the spot you're in, as it is unique to you, there was a point in my life I had an unhealthy fascination with the subway and bridges because they could help me end it. I too stopped going outside, abandoned my lectures, for fear someone would get too close, see through my carefully constructed disguise and discover the disgusting, dull person I was. As strange as it sounds, it's good to know, even years after things crumbled for me, someone else has felt the way I did then.

Thank you for writing this.

It's one of the hardest things to admit that there is something wrong...but harder still to do something about it. I agree most heartily with what Rachel wrote above, posting this is truly a sign of strength, more strength than many will ever know, as is getting and accepting help.

It is entirely appropriate to post this here, this is your blog and while your readers are interested in all things vintage, we are interested in you too!

I always look forward to your posts here and your comments around the blogging community, in fact I had started to wonder where you went.
I'm so sorry to hear you've been shrouded in such a dark fog. I wish you all the best in your recovery and look forward to your return. We'll all be here, all 151 of us (or more), when you are able to return.

Paige Turner said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share this with us. I think everyone else has it covered as to how much we love your blog, and look forward to your writings, but everyone needs some time off to take care of themselves. After all, if there is no you, there is no blog.

Take care of yourself darling, and we will see you when you get back.

Cheers!
~Paige

Retro Chick said...

I've not commented before but I wanted to send you my love.

I've suffered badly with anxiety and depression and I know how isolating and terrible it can be. This is your blog and you should write what you want on it.

It's good that you have such supportive friends and family. I hope you feel better soon.

Gingeyginge said...

Never be afraid to reach out...So many of us have known that darkness,we're here for each other.x.

Justice Pirate said...

That's quite a lot to go through. I would have never thought you were a cutter by looking at you. I used to have a lot of friends who were cutters and spent a lot of hospitalization time because of it. It was not easy to deal with and I know was a rough battle for them all. I don't know at all what you have personally been through, and I myself have never had such tendencies, but I did battle manic depression and believe I overcame it. If you ever want to talk, I'm willing to listen.

Pammie said...

I love your blog and I hope you feel better very very soon! Feel free to take your time - we'll be here waiting for you!

Vireya said...

I'm glad you are getting professional help - this sort of issue is not one to try and get over by yourself!

Good wishes on your road to wellness...

Philip said...

Hi...first time poster....adding to the chorus...I've been to the dark side...Keep breathing...for me it helped to learn that I'm not my feeling or thoughts...I'm me and they my feelings are just temporary visitors...above all...keep breathing

Kia Kaha
Philip

flickity_split said...

Surely it means something if you are so brave as to write all that for all the world to see... Well done... There are so many things I could say, but to keep it short and simple like all the lovely people above - sending well wishes your way and hope you feel better soon
xxx

quietandsmalladventures said...

rachel said exactly what i was going to post, 1) honey it's your blog and you should post what you want and 2) posting your inner struggles takes an immense amount of strength and awareness. good luck sweetie, heal fast and we'll be here when you're ready.

Selina said...

We're all going to miss you so much while you're healing. This blog is terrific and so is it's author! I understand where you're at. Good on you for accepting help, it's the hardest part. The next hardest is truly believing that you're a good, deserving person. At one time I was forced to say "I'm a good person" repeatedly and it was so hard to finally get the words out of my mouth, and I hated saying them because I didn't believe them at all. (The waterworks have totally started now, the screens all blurry..) Try it though, it's just a little thing, but eventually, and it can take a really really long time, you'll know it's true and will feel a little more confident for it. I also found that keeping busy helped, it's one of the reasons I started sewing. It kind of takes you away from everything so you aren't focusing on being in a big dark void for awhile.
Most Importantly: Feel better soon lovely girl!

Srednivashtar said...

Wow. So much of that really spoketo me at a personal level, escpecially, "Some part of me knew I needed help but the rest was convinced that I didn't deserve it, didn't have legitimate problems, and was meant to suffer"

It's so fantastic that you have made that firs scary step to seek out help. I've been on SNRIs for about 18 months now to deal with my Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and I know that for me they have been a fantastic tool to aid me in my gradual and continuing recovery. Keep in mind that medication tends to take a little longer in having a noticeable effect against depression than it does against anxiet and do STICK WITH IT.

When you find a good psychologist, one who works well for you, you will find that it will make the world of difference. After working with my psychologist for less than a month I am now making plans with my doctor to gradually decrease my dosage of the SNRIs.

You really can beat this. You may not believe it now, but you can. You need help. You DESERVE help, and you have done a wonderful thing in seeking it out. I may never have met you, I may rarely even comment here, but my warmest thoughts are with you.

Andi B. Goode said...

Don't apologise at ALL. It's so brave of you to write this. There's still this awful stigma attached to things like depression and anxiety (especially, I think, in somewhere like Australia where we tell people to 'harden up', etc. whenever emotions come into something). I feel so awful whenever I know that someone (anyone) feels as bad as you do - I suffer from anxiety and depression too but it's only a fraction of what you have to deal with.
Take all the time you need. And I don't think you should feel like it's inappropriate. Not only is it your blog but those of us who go through this need to talk about it more and do it openly (hello pot, this is kettle. ugh) or those who don't suffer won't understand. Of course, we have to be comfortable with doing this which is why I think you are brave for posting this in such a public way. It's so difficult to talk about this sort of thing without feeling like someone is going to think you are weak, etc.


Anyway, I don't want to make this comment about me. I want you to know that I understand (at least, a little - I've never been suicidal and I've never been a self-harmer but a lot of the other things you wrote - even just freaking out about trying to decide which book to buy for instance - I can completely understand) and you obviously have blog-readers who support you. I don't want to (and hope I haven't) give you any advice because I won't give any unless it's asked for (it's one of my pet peeves) but if you want to 'talk' I'm here, too.

-Andi x

BevoG said...

I really appreciate the courage and honesty it has taken for you to share this with us. I visit your blog often (although I have never commented). You are definitely connected with many of us out in the blogosphere.

I wish you well.

Stefanie Valentine said...

I think you are extremely brave to write this and at no point should you ever feel you need to apologise for it. I too sometimes don't let people get too close for fear of them thinking I'm boring and then deserting me, but I've never suffered from depression or anxiety so I obviously don't know what you're going through at the moment, but I do know that you're a very strong and wonderful person and I really hope you feel better soon. You have your friends and family around you and all your blog friends who will be here to support you in whatever way we can. Big hugs, take all the time in the world that you need and I hope to see you on here very soon xxx

BaronessVonVintage said...

Words cannot express how courageous I think you are to post this. Bravo to your loved ones for caring enough to urge you to get help...and kudos to you for accepting it. Sending you lots of positive healing thoughts.

Bombshell Bettie said...

As corny and as insincere as it may sound I have struggled with the same issues. mine are less society based and more self-worth based. I've never thought anything of myself...and I don't really think much of me now...but I will say if it weren't for my cyber friends...i'm not so sure i would be here. they are a strong support group and are always willing to help you through anything you may come across. The vintage network has done a lot to keep me out of deep depression and I cant thank them enough. I'm still depressed...but i don't feel sad. I'm grateful for the friends I've made and hopeful for the friends i will make. I don't have any friends off-line...and I think that is because no one is as good of friend to me as I am to them. You are a treasure hun. look how much support you have. I know life seems hard...and you don't even know why you bother sometimes (been there, done that)...but there ARE reasons for you to be here...we all need you!

jack said...

Emmi, you're gorgeous and intelligent. Always remember that. xx

Miss Magpie said...

Going to the doctor was the right thing to do, a big brave thing and you should be proud of yourself. As a veteran of most of what you have been through (never self-harmed) there is a way through. Councelling is good, so is just talking about it, I found cognative therapy helped me, you'll find what helps you.

Just remember baby steps and BE KIND to yourself.

I love my life now, I'm grateful for it and never cease to be amazed at the pleasure that can be derived from the simplest of things. I don't regret my depression it has shaped who I am. It never goes completely, I use the black dog analogy, it runs mute by my side. I
know the triggers now and have coping mechanisims to stop it getting out of hand. I wish you success on the long journey you have embarked on, it's worth it.

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