I kind of knew my day was doomed when I woke up an hour and 33 minutes late, having slept through over 12 alarms.
Around 10 days ago I took a huge step and arranged an appointment for 9am today with a psychiatrist. This was a big, big deal for me. I know it doesn’t seem like anything significant, but to me it really was. I found myself melting down on Wednesday because I felt like a burden to everyone and everything and among other far more alarming things, I wrote in my journal, “I don’t know how to handle everything […] My life feels like a void. Will it always be so difficult? Will it always involve so much trying? Will I ever find someone or somewhere?” I couldn’t see a way forward and I couldn’t see a way to tolerate my own presence on the planet, and couldn’t understand how or why other people could.
“But what if I’m never thrown that bone?
And what if this tear in my side
Just pours and pours and pours?
I wonder if they’d notice that I’m not around
The loss of a lonely man never makes much of a sound” – Frightened Rabbit, Yes I Would
(My phone spat out the above song while I was on the train home from Auntie Godmother’s. When I ran the day before that, it played This World Is Yours by Adam Martin – which is super motivational)
I’d say that what changed that outlook was a psychiatrist. But it wasn’t. It was Uni Mum. I met with her last night for the first time in months. We went to the pub. We had drinks and I ate food, and I talked openly and honestly to her because she’s the only person on the planet who I can be myself around and let everything out to. She understood (and related to) hating myself. We laughed between the serious moments and we talked about things I’ve been unable to even let myself think about. She could read me like a book, I couldn’t hide anything, and even when I resisted I was so comfortable in her company and so desperate to just let it all out that she won anyway and I told her it all. I always always feel like a bother and she knew that because she knows me better than pretty much anyone else that ever existed. She said she was there because she liked me, that she’d been told to steer well clear of me but that was never going to happen (it kind of did for a few months…). She rolled her eyes when I said the two words that both uni parents banned me from saying (“thank you” and “sorry”), she knew I’d send her a message saying both of those words after we met, and told me she’d respond with “hahahahahaha” and several swear words. I told her she had no idea what she’d done for me. She said the same to me. After 2 1/2 hours we parted ways and I hated walking home to be alone, but I felt better about my existence.
The reason why seeing a psychiatrist this morning didn’t change that outlook is because… I never saw a psychiatrist.
Background: I was already stressed. HK Uni Friend went to stay with her family in Paris a day before her coursework was due in, and needed the extra day to complete it. She decided to leave me her half completed coursework to submit, and gave me the responsibility of printing the other half from an email (I don’t have a functioning printer, and I was immediately stressed out at the idea that it wouldn’t send or print or something). I then had to attach it to the rest of her coursework and submit the whole thing. This was so much pressure and so much responsibility, and she didn’t seem to understand just how much the responsibility of looking after, assembling and submitting someone else’s coursework was stressing me out. There was an assumption that I’d definitely be able to submit that, and as I woke up to heart palpitations in Aunty Godmother’s spare room, I wondered if I’d even make it back to uni, let alone to my own lab session today (we got to play with starfish. It was so cool. They were from a coastal area of Kent that I visited often). I always stress about the fact that I may miss out on uni due to my health, or miss submitting my own coursework or attending my own lab due to health issues… I freak out enough over that. Adding the pressure of being present and functioning for someone else as well and I was just tearing myself apart with the stress. Stupid. No need for it. But it was there.
Further background: I hate being late. My parents taught me never to be late, and I’m usually stood outside (or sat in) my lecture theatres 20 minutes before the lecture starts because I’m so scared about being late that I overcompensate hugely to chill myself out. I get so stressed about being late for things. I had an appointment in Commercial Street at 9am. Between me and Commercial Street was a five minute walk from my room to the tube station, 2 stops on the central line to Liverpool Street, and a 10 minute walk. I messaged the number that the psychologist had called me from to tell her that I was running late. She’d said that she would email me the address of her clinic or whatever, and after 10 days still hadn’t, so I asked her for the details of where to go.
I reached Commercial Street at 5 minutes past 9. And I’d still heard nothing. I called. I messaged again. I went through every single email form the last 10 days (multiple times). I emailed her again. I looked on the website that had put me in touch with her and she hadn’t posted an address or marked her location on the map like everyone else had. My mum had told me that she was probably a con-artist and had somehow managed to convince me that I was going to meet a serial killer. I was getting later and later. All I could think about was HK Uni Friend’s coursework and when I was going to find time to go home and grab it.
Long story short, I ended up sat in a bus stop for 40 minutes until I was so cold that I couldn’t feel my hands to message any more. I called and called until the number stopped ringing with each call. I emailed. I messaged. I hated myself. And I hated myself. And I decided I was a huge screw up who could do nothing right. And into this very destructive spiral my mind went, until I was sat there freezing cold, trying not to cry.
Eventually, feeling completely awful and 100% blaming myself, I left the bus stop and headed back to the station. My eyes were brimming with tears. I cried but those tears never fell (if that even makes sense). I stopped in a shop and bought food and drink (I was so dehydrated that my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth and my lips were stuck to my teeth – which is ironic seeing as how since my run I’ve completely puffed up and ballooned with ascites and excess fluid generally everywhere). I then stopped in a café and bought myself a baguette, kind of crying into my phone as the cashier stared at me in alarm. I at in Liverpool Street Station because I just couldn’t handle the idea of heading home. I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I got a grip eventually, and headed home with this horrible heavy hatred of myself sitting inside of me.
Blah blah blah… Met Uni Babe (who freaked out at THE IDEA of being responsible for handing in and assembling someone else’s coursework), headed to someone’s flat for a surprise party organised by a group of friends who are so sweet (I don’t really hang out with them much, but I joined them all anyway because I’m all for putting myself out there at the minute). I struggled to stay awake. It was so embarrassing. The person whose birthday it was started chatting and then mentioned that she’d just started seeing a cardiologist because her heart occasionally beats a little too fast (but in a normal sinus rhythm). She said she saw him at the hospital where I see my current cardiologist (the only doctor I’m willing to see right now, because hey I want to run). I spoke up, and it turned out we see the same consultant. WEIRD. SUCH A SMALL WORLD. She is as interested in cardiology as I am, so we walked back to campus together chatting about hearts and how fascinating they are (such nerds, I know) and she asked if we can meet up just to chat away about cardiology. Erm… YES!
I had a small meltdown because I genuinely didn’t have enough time to go and get HK Uni Friend’s coursework from my room. I was almost late for my lab because I went back to mine to get it. I didn’t have anything I needed for the lab. We were meant to print the entire booklet. I hadn’t. I hadn’t even looked at it. I was falling asleep, and I was drinking and drinking and puffing up like a balloon but my mouth was dry. For a few hours we stood looking at slides of starfish under a microscope. Then we held them. Our lecturer had discovered and named the neuropeptide we were studying, which I found so cool! Seriously, how awesome would it be to be able to say something like this?! I’m often in awe of my lecturers and their achievements. I turned to Uni Babe and decided that I’m going to see my cardiologist and actually be honest about my attempts to exercise in hope that he can actually help me get back to exercise…
Then I went home and changed into running gear. I wanted to run. I didn’t care if it killed me (I think a small teeny tiny part of me hoped it would, but that wasn’t why I wanted to run, just a potential happy accident). I just wanted to be free like running makes me feel. I wanted to be happy. (Uni Babe told me that running three times a week has the same effect as taking an anti-depressant every day. I can see how that could be entirely true). I woke up three hours later dressed ready for a run. All I could taste was the unmistakable tang of acidic bodies (ketones). I was in the start of acidosis (I’m always in the early stages of acidosis at the moment. Have been for over a week. My body has adapted, but today it gave up). Suddenly my all day tiredness made a lot of sense. I had a huge problem, a huge lack of motivation, a complete incapability to face the problem, and a huge desire to go for a run. On top of that, my own coursework is due in tomorrow, and I’ve been feeling so awful over the past week that my brain just can’t even, so I am currently in a huge panic about that too.
I injected into veins. I drank 4 litres of fluid because I was so thirsty I couldn’t not. I stared at myself in the mirror – at least I didn’t look unhealthily thin now that my cheeks have puffed up a little and my stomach has ballooned so that I look pregnant. I didn’t know how to deal with everything. Like… I can’t even. There’s so much I need to do. And I’m going back to my family home for the weekend (which I know I will regret, but I miss my dog so much and I miss being around other humans – even if I know the company I’m in will be awful for my self esteem… I also know that after being there, coming back home to an empty room will be so much more difficult… Although my little brother may come back with me for a few days and we’re so close now that we live apart – we talk for a couple of hours 4-6 times a week now!)
I’m stressed beyond relief for such stupid, stupid reasons. But the thing is, life goes on. Time keeps moving and the world keeps turning. What feels like everything isn’t… And yet it feels so important that I’m struggling to handle everything.
I did meet a first year who is having a worst first year than I did, but that’s another day.
And my old journal/ notebook got filled up, so on the way home from Auntie Godmother’s yesterday I stopped in Embankment Station and bought myself a new notebook to try and start over. I’m trying so hard to get out of the rut I’m stuck in.
Sorry this junk went on so long.
I’m really really trying. In every sense of the word. Today wasn’t even that bad, it’s just the tip of a very large iceberg, and it was topped off with the grim reaper calling my name again and I don’t know how to stay out of his company. I can’t university right now. I’m such a poor excuse for a student. Compared to everyone else I can’t put in the work and I’m so inadequate. Maybe I should leave? But no. Not doing that. I don’t even… I can’t even… What even am I saying/doing? I’m rather pathetic right now, forgive me.
I just got a message from HK Uni Friend saying she randomly went for a 5km run and it was surprisingly easy, and honestly, for reasons that if they aren’t already clear then I don’t know how to explain… It felt like being shot. I’d love to just for the sake of it go for a random 5km run through Paris, and for it to be so easy that I could message people telling them. I’d just love to run. I’d just love to be a little more healthy, just for one day. I don’t mean to be ungrateful, just today I can’t even.
No way but through. Somehow. I hope.
I’m trying to get it together, I promise.
I just have no idea what “it” is…