Living alone is painful.

me

I have lived alone for the majority of the time I have been out of university, around 8 years. I once lived with a friend for a while in Hong Kong and with a guy whilst I rented out a room in his house.

I thought I was good at it. I’d hear people talking about their partner going away for a night or two and how they wouldn’t be able to stay at home alone. Now, I’m not that bad, but I am beginning to realise just how much living alone effects me.

My partner and I have just come back from a holiday away as well as a few weeks when we were both off work. During this time he lived here with me in my apartment. Things had a purpose. I washed up because we needed new dishes, I tidied so we could eat or work or play uno. He also picked up the pieces if I felt ill or tired and vice versa.

After a week of constant contact, he returned home, about an hour away. As soon as he left, my body seemed to stop functioning. I lay on my bed being inhaled by social media and by the time he’d got back I hadn’t moved. The last few days have mirrored this. I’ve begun to tell him that life doesn’t make sense without him. This hurts my sense of independence.

I have always been able to get on with life and have never needed someone by my side to do anything. I’ve travelled alone, flown alone long haul and moved to a new country. As I think more, I realise that the same thing has been happening for a while now. If I have something to do, I’ll be able to function, go along have a laugh, but I return home and life stops again. I’ve spent holidays sleeping through days and finding myself unable to cope with my own space. I used to sleep through weekends, fuelled by my hectic schedule, but it was more than that. I knew I needed time off work, but when I had it, I couldn’t find the energy to do the things I had wanted to, alone. I would return to work unable to properly explain what I’d done in the last 7 days and it made me so sad.

It’s true if my schedule is full, this becomes easier as I fill in the gaps with housework, errands and cooking. Having another person with me means the world makes a lot more sense. Whenever he’s here I find myself ‘pottering’, going around the apartment and sorting little things I hadn’t before, almost wasting my time with him.

Thinking about it, life has never made sense without someone. For years I have longed for a companion. I have found friends who I’d spend long periods of time with, go to events with and do the things you’d do with a partner as two singles who want to just bloody go to that fun new activity. Everyone I sought this friendship with grew wary of my presence. There’s always been remarks about how we’re ‘spending a lot of time together’ and how there ‘must be something else going on’. It’s unfair really, to assume things like that of people. It was most likely too much for them to handle, after all I needed someone to be there for me. No one was invested in keeping me sane!

I don’t think it’s to do with my partner that I say these things to him. I am independent with and without him and I know a lot about the world, but my mental health is poor and being alone has really stirred that up.

I always seem to write on here just before an ‘episode’ where I’ll have a period of depression or a worsening of my anxiety. Perhaps that’s also what drives the feeling of loss I suffer when people leave. I can get upset very easily at the thought of him not being here. It does show however that I truly believe him to be worthy of companion status, perhaps a little more than that and it’s been so wonderful to have someone who finally has wanted to take on that role, without shame or question. I’ve found a good egg. I still find myself trying not to put all my problems and emotions onto him though. I’ve learnt that it’s best to share it around with friends and family too. It gives each person a chance to have their own life too as such. The next time you talk to them after a small break, they’re ready to listen again.

Living alone is still shit though.

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Am I anxious or just lazy?

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I think most people with anxiety have had a comment or two about how they just need to suck it up, get on with it or ‘snap out of it’ and many may have experienced another;

‘You’re lazy’.

This was on my mind recently until I got a chance to try it out. Like many days, when I find myself working from home, I lie in bed or return to my bed at some point in the day feeling lost and overwhelmed. So this time I sat with myself and asked ‘Are you being lazy or is this something different?’

I analysed the feelings I was having. The thought of moving made me feel like crying, the thought of leaving the house horrified me leaving a feeling of dread, I thought about all the things I had to do for work and I felt my body ache, hurt and tense up. When someone is being lazy, they know full well they could do the task, they just choose not to. This was SO MUCH MORE. To feel physical pain from the thought of leaving your bed is far from lazy. It’s overwhelming. It’s tiring. It’s all consuming. It’s not in any way lazy.

I think naturally as someone with anxiety I tend to get frustrated by my own symptoms. At the moment I am really struggling. I’m on medication that has kept me on the straight and narrow for going on about 2 years, but all of a sudden it’s effect is not as great as before. I have begun to get a tight chest and feel anxious just for going to bed, something I have experienced in the past. I would often avoid going to sleep because of it causing me to be tired at work and have a bad day, but it would repeat as quickly as before. I have noticed that I don’t want to leave the house unless I have to. That makes me sad. I love to be out in the sunshine, so to see the sun from my window and not want to sit out in it is a horrible feeling.

I managed two panic attacks last week in the same day. Something I am neither proud or happy about. But since then, I have not been the same. I can’t seem to shake it. I’ve cried, I’ve hidden, I’ve pulled the duvet over my head and in the last two days my brain has needed stimulus at every moment. If there isn’t something on in the background my brain is going crazy and making me feel like a failure. One thing that’s different though, is there’s no particular reason for this spell. Thats when it makes me re-visit my (self-diagnosed – doctors have talked to me for years about anxiety and depression, but never given a diagnosis.) GAD, Generalised Anxiety Disorder title and realise that this is something that has to be caused by an imbalance. To have your mind be empty but your body tense, chest tightening and a serious feeling of dread is FAR from lazy.

I hope to return to the Drs in the next week or so, but the thought of a Dr who doesn’t know me, worries me. I want to do the next step, I want to see what else is available, I want to see a psychiatrist. I do not want to have my medication increased. If I have anymore medication in me, I feel like I might become a lifeless box and there is so much life in this box I just refuse to lose.

Be confidently anxious.

The Tiredness is Overwhelming

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Today, I saw a friend, looked after a super sick boyfriend and then was ready to spend the evening doing e-mails or maybe even something more exciting. But as soon as he left, I just wanted to sleep. I am now very much a believer of doing what my body needs if its realistic to do so, but as I lay there, I realised I wasn’t tired, I’d just lost my energy.

Recently I’ve had issues with my anxiety, last week I had two days where the strain showed through. Migraines, easy to anger, crying, confusion. I thought I was through the worst and aslong as I remembered to take my medication everything would get back to normal, but instead things are different.

The other day I woke myself up in the middle of the night, anxiety pulsing through my chest. I had dreamt I was going on holiday and it was the night before, so my body had started its usual thing of getting anxious for the flight. Except…there was no flight. Just me in my bed freaking out about it. I hadn’t experienced this in years. It was an unwelcome memory.

With my medication, my anxiety is now reasonably stable. Last week however, it was like i could feel the anxiety bulging out the sides, I knew it was there even though it was being pushed down. Today this became ever clearer, I went with a friend to a nearby cafe for brunch and felt my chest tighten just sitting with her and chatting. This was the first sign I started to get after being back from Hong Kong that my anxiety was bad. Otherwise I was able to function, eat, there was no need to rush to the bathroom, but it sat there heavy on my chest as a reminder of past experiences.

Once my boyfriend had left this evening, I went about airing out the room hoping not to get his illness. I had begun coughing when he was coughing, but I knew it wasn’t the same thing, I was there for the first 3 days he was ill and I haven’t caught it yet, but I admit I became quite the hypocondriac. Before you know it, my chest is tight, my throat hurts and I’m coughing. I stop myself and as I mentioned earlier just lay down to rest.

I’d forgotten how tiring and debilitating anxiety can be. I hadn’t even thought of this until my friend mentioned it at brunch. The medication makes me tired and I can sleep for hours, but the anxiety can turn my into a lifeless potato. I’ll lie and get nothing done I was supposed to, my normal entertainment gives me no stimulus and my mind starts to wonder into self doubt and damaging thoughts.

I know I need to use my tools here, a little meditation perhaps, but you need to be strong and willing to do that and often willingness isn’t your own choice.

 

Keep strong.