Mental Health, My Writing

My Biggest Fear.

My biggest fear is loneliness.
The thought of waking up with nobody to talk to… scares me.
In fact, in under a month, I’ll be leaving college.
The people in my classes?
The people I speak to on a daily basis?
Gone.
Just like that.
And there’s a good chance that I’ll never see them again.
Or hear of them again.
Or even speak to them again.
Just a young man, living life on his own.
His only companion the thoughts in his head.
As he travels across the empty road,
Trying to find a purpose in life,
Just merely existing in the back of people’s minds.

That is truly terrifying.

 

Photo Credit: @ShiftGraphiX

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Why I Don’t Want To Go To University Anymore.

Picture of the University of Bristol, where in the past month, three students have tragically ended their lives.

I feel like I should preface this with some information about myself. I’m 19, currently in my third year of college, and for the past eighteen months, I’ve been struggling with a bout of depression and social anxiety. I’m not particularly sure if “bout” is the right word – I’d argue that eighteen months isn’t “a short period of time” as it’s defined in the dictionary, but we’ll go with it.

To be able to describe all of the issues, challenges and difficulties that I face on a day-to-day basis – well, let’s just say that a simple paragraph isn’t sufficient. However, to give you some context about what my life is like, then here you go. I take 100mg Sertraline every single day, just to stop me from bouncing around the walls. I spend the majority of the day confined to my bedroom, locked in my own thoughts of self-loathing and self-pity. I have no life, no enjoyment, no motivation. Getting out of bed in the morning can be one of the hardest things I do. And even when I go out in public, I feel constant agoraphobic and anxiety, which means that I can’t stay in a public place longer than an hour and a half.

And because of this, I feel like I have to put my mental health over everything; as much as I hate to admit it, my mental health controls me and everything I do. In fact, in my second year at college, I had to drop and defer two of my courses, because the stress was too much for me – bear in mind, also, that this was in October when the academic year had literally just begun. It’s ruined relationships with some of my closest friends. Some days, I even wake up and think if there’s any point in doing anything, when I know I’m not going to be alive in a years time.

So what does all this have to do with going to university?

Well, over the past week, you might have seen numerous articles criticising universities for ‘letting down students’ and ‘failing a generation‘, especially after three students at Bristol University committed suicide in the past month alone.

“The number of students dropping out with mental health problems has more than trebled in recent years…  in recent years, there has been a steady increase in the number of student suicides.”
University UK, “Minding Our Future”

Now, if there was one thing that was going to stop me from going to universities, it was my mental health. After all, it’s clear to see that I struggled with college, so to go university and be put under more educational stress, where I’d have to look after myself, making sure that I eat and sleep properly, socialise with “friends” 24/7, all whilst living two-three hours away from home? How am I going to cope?

My paranoia got so high that during my last mental breakdown (which forced me out of college for almost a week, I should add), I emailed my tutor, asking her whether to cancel my uni application. Of course, I got a generic answer back – saying something like “there are people who can help”.

But then you get these stories which disprove their claims.

At the end of the day, from someone who has intrusive thoughts daily, is there any point going to university, where I could be another addition to the statistic?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m getting too paranoid again. Maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe I need to take my tablets today.
However, what’s becoming apparent is that the more I think, the more I realise that uni isn’t for me after all.

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Mental Health, My Writing

New Message (Part 1)

New message. At twelve. Twenty-four. AM.

“Hi. it’s your depression again.
Just seeing if you miss me.
It’s been over a week since our last meeting,
But don’t worry – I’ll be back in three.
And just before you decide not to answer like last time,
Remember who’s got a spare key.
I can unlock your mind, any time or place
So you’d better get some therapy!
You try to block me out of your mind,
But it’s clear to both of us that I’m here to stay.
And no matter how hard you’ll try,
I want you to know I’m your guardian angel and will show you the way.
You think I’m the devil? You must have it twisted,
I’m giving you the harsh truth.
Want to believe in that man looking down at us?
Ha! You really do have some screws loose!

You want to get better? Look at yourself!
Stop living in this fantasy
Get your head from the clouds into a dictionary.
Look up the definition of insanity.
Soon enough you’ll be hit with de ja vu
And a sense of reality.
Still don’t get it? My God, your pathetic.
Looks like I’m gonna use profanity.

So you’re gonna blame me for your symptoms,
And act like the victim?
Not the fact that you’re like everyone else,
and you don’t fucking listen?
You stay confined in the walls of your room,
Like it’s a prison.
Let me pose you this question, Matt:
Is that a life worth living?
You convince yourself that I’m my visions are lies,
They’re ‘all in your head’.
But how can you live life in your own bed?
How can you live life WISHING WE WERE BOTH DEAD?”

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All Posts, Mental Health

SAD.

That amazing moment
when you look outside
at 6pm
and see the sun setting
in the sky
blinding you with sunlight.
Because at that point
you feel a sense of optimism,
your “lighter side” is shiner through
as the realization hits you.
The days will get lighter,
and longer,
and a lot warmer.
And at this thought,
you smile for the first time
in a while,
as you can feel your seasonal depression
start to evaporate
in front of your eyes.

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All Posts, Mental Health

Cold Turkey.

Serious trigger warning.

I want to talk about something that happened to me a few weeks ago – something which I’m only now mentally prepared and willing to talk about… even on here.

(Just a quick post-edit: I thought I was, but seeing as I found this tough to write, I think it’s fair to assume I’m not. :/)

But beforehand, I want to give you a little bit of a backstory. About a week before Christmas, I went to see my GP, for the last time that year. It was only a ‘check-up’; well, I say that like it was nothing, but to be honest, it was everything because I was struggling. I wasn’t wasn’t feeling the festivities or goodwill, that’s for sure.

As a result, my doctor prescribed me a stronger dose of antidepressants to take (100mg Sertraline – double what I was previously on), and the idea was to go back in four weeks for another appointment.

(…you might be able to see where this is going to go already.)

For the most part, these tablets were effective. Aside from a few “off-days” here and there, I felt great. Happier. More… normal than I’d ever felt. The tablets were working – even after the first week… and the second… and third… and forth…

But then, I ran out of tablets to take. And here were some of the problems that were going through my mind at that point.
1) I couldn’t exactly get an emergency appointment at my doctors’ surgery, and waiting times for appointments are at least three weeks.
2) I turned 19 on the 2nd Jan. Now, for any prescription of tablets in the UK, I could get tablets for free until I turned 19, and then I had to pay for them. However, for someone who doesn’t have a job, I didn’t know how I could pay for them. Sure, I could have asked my parents, but I was too nervous. I’m not very good at asking for things.

And 3), the most challenging obstacle, was that I was terrified. The thought of going to my doctors surgery once, to see my GP (who I’d only spoken to once beforehand, as all the other doctors keep leaving my surgery) and admit that I need help once more just terrified me. Even thinking about it now makes my hands shake.

I know it might sound ridiculous to you, but for me to see my doctor and admit that I have a problem requires serious courage and strength.

So, in the end, I took the decision to do exactly what you’re not supposed to do, which is to stop taking my tablets. And straight away, I started to feel weird. I’d get an occasional tingling sensation on my face. I started getting these periods where I felt like I could run 100m in 5 seconds. I felt physically ill every day. I suffered from migraines. I distanced myself even further away from my friends. My social anxiety increased once more.

But something that rang alarm bells was my dreams – or should I say nightmares? Because that’s what they were. I’d have dreams where I was being locked up in a mental health institution or prison cell and being forced onto a bed by numerous people during a mental breakdown. (There were other dreams too, but I don’t know if I’d be able to talk about them. But it was fucking terrifying).

And after two weeks of feeling like this, I couldn’t do it anymore. I spent my entire day in bed, and when my mum checked up on me, I broke down and told her everything that had been going on.

To be honest, it was a good thing, because after my mental meltdown, my parents contacted my doctor for me, and was able to get me a repeat prescription to prevent this from happening again.

And I’m so thankful because I’m now taking my tablets again, and I feel better! xD

 

I’m sorry this was such a long post, but it’s just one of these things where you have to share with someone, just to get it off your mind. And more importantly, I suppose I wanted to reiterate this important message:

“Please don’t do what I did.”

– Matt

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All Posts, Mental Health, My Writing

The Man In The Mirror. (Poem)

I look at myself in the mirror.
Or at least, I think that’s me?
I don’t know anymore.
This person looks emotionally drained,
With bags under his eyes,
Dilated pupils – like a deer in headlights,
He stares into the abyss for a moment,
Until your eyes meet with him.
That flicker of confusion and terror plastered on your faces,
Will stay with you forever.

God.
It’s like you’ve both seen a ghost.

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