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In Blackest Night: Disclosure & Addenda

I’m feeling rather lost lately.  I had my last appointment with my MIND counsellor last week and the loss of that crutch seems pretty pertinent lately.  After some minor highs and some right kicks to the balls (the reasons to which I cannot go into because of other factors that preclude me from free speech), metaphorically, I’m left feeling pretty bewildered and I’m still trying to come to terms with my disability (or disabilities, as the case may be).  I feel disgusted, dismayed, disappointed, betrayed, fucked over and fucked off.

It occurred to me that, when I refer to my “Depression” or my “Anxiety” it is said in a similar fashion to me talking about my wife and kids.  It’s like the tone and ownership have given them this status of being more than just in my head.  It’s almost like I’m talking to someone who looks at me as if to say, “Aren’t you going to introduce us?” And then I oblige, “Oh, by the way, this cheeky little rascal is Depression”.

I’ve had a number of conversations which have steered towards me and how I’m doing and it feels like I have to make a little disclaimer about my condition(s) just to clarify/excuse certain things I may do or say.  Kinda like when an embarrassed parent will say, “Don’t mind him, he’s special.”

In hindsight, it’s a horrible way of belittling or trying to excuse something that one shouldn’t have to explain or justify.  But that’s the self-awareness kicking in.  We know what it’s like to feel uncomfortable by situations and try to consider others in our every day-to-day activities.  It would be easier and less anxiety-heightening to just hand them a dossier with everything to save addressing or even mentioning that elephant in the room.  I find it feels like (how I’d imagine based on seeing it in movies and TV shows) getting up to speak in an AA meeting – Hi my name is Craig and I suffer from social anxiety, general anxiety, depression and agoraphobia (to a degree).

I was asked recently what I’m like on a ‘good day’.  The very notion of a ‘good day’ makes me laugh (in more of a ‘you haven’t got a fucking clue’ kinda way).  A ‘good day’ would be none of the aforementioned issues.  No such luck.  So, as I’ve said before, a ‘better day’ is where the anxiety and all the internal workings and physical manifestations of it are less than usual and I don’t keep fantasising about how I want to die or generally just cease to exist.  A ‘better day, could very well involve me looking at something and working out the pain/success ratio but I daren’t mention that because, to the uninitiated, it seems to extreme and cannot possibly be a ‘better day’.

The irony of the situation is that I know I shouldn’t bottle things up and should be open and express myself in a constructive way so as not to tumble down the deep dark hole again but to get by on a daily basis I have to choose what I say carefully so as to avoid awkward conversations or concerns and so I end up bottling things up again.  It’s a very contradictory cycle to try and fly low on the radar to keep the virtual men in white coats away.  Every day becomes an increasingly difficult test of will and mental ability, applying tension to simple conversations and experiences where the only reward is getting through another day even though the noose will become tighter tomorrow.

I’ve seen a number of things on TV and online covering mental health and the importance to talk and offer/accept support and, while I appreciate the efforts of those fighting for the cause, it seems society is still not ready to openly accept the hard work that that entails.  And because folks like me know this, we hold back which makes the demand for such a thing seem a little less than the stark reality would show.  It’s easier to say I’m okay than it is to say I’m not doing so well.  Why?  Because the response to “I’m okay” is something along the lines of “Okay, good.”  If I gave you the honest answer, your mind would be like “Oh fuck, I’ve opened a can of worms here, how do I close it again?”

It’s such a shame because now, more than ever, we need to be talking about these things and I do find it helps but because I don’t have a strong support network around me, I minimise my thoughts and concerns and that drives the negative feelings to spiral out of control.  If only you could just read the notes that accompany me to save me from having to explain it all again.  If only.

Despite one in four people in the UK likely to be affected by mental health issues, the level of ignorance and lack of support is astounding.  It’s like a cosmic joke that we are made to feel isolated considering our conditions cause us to feel that way anyway.  If only our thoughts gave over and let us enjoy the silence.

You Give Me (Hay)Fever

I hate Summer.  In fact I hate every season but namely Summer as that’s usually when it’s at its worst.  The pills’ effect seems to reduce every year.  Unless you have it, it’s impossible to know what it’s like.

I’d choose a terminal disease over this any day – at least then I know it will come to an end.

The dry throatiness, listlessness, sniffles, nose bleeds, eye itchiness, sinus pains, congestion, skin irritation, itchy mouth, sneezing, tiredness, coughing, shortness of breath, tight chestiness and ultimately a cold/flu when it gets bad enough (which usually happens to me) are enough to drive you insane (for a full list of symptoms, click here).

I found this rather interesting as no one who I know who doesn’t suffer from hay fever is aware of the impacts of this:

“Left untreated, however, hay fever symptoms can worsen and may also impact a person’s work, home and family life. Hay fever causes a range of symptoms but these tend to be centred in the upper respiratory tract and facial area. Inflammation and painful irritation around the nose, throat and eyes often occurs.”

This is an excerpt from the above link which provides details on the symptoms and affects of the disease.

What I find really disheartening is that non sufferers fail to appreciate how bad it actually is.  The list of symptoms is enough to make us who suffer it feel worse just by reading them.  Although, if and when the symptoms worsen to the point where it manifests into a cold/flu we then get the blame because we infected them (partners, friends, family or colleagues usually).

Here’s another excerpt from the same source which I find more interesting:

“Hay fever may occur daily, or intermittently, but its presence can lead to missed days off work, irritability, depression and anxiety. This is due, not only to the pain and discomfort from the symptoms themselves, but also from the social anxiety related to a runny nose, bloodshot eyes and facial redness.

Hay fever sufferers often cite self-consciousness as a major issue related to hay fever and these symptoms can lead to the anxiety, withdrawal and depression.”

I don’t remember it being this bad for a while but I can tell if it’s going to be bad as soon as I wake up – if I sneeze within 10-15 minutes of being awake that’s enough to tell me I’m fucked for the rest of the day.  And over the past week or so I have been extremely irritable and tend to want to be left alone to reduce the chance of me snapping unnecessarily.

I have tried various types of allergy pills from Piritin/Piriteze to Zirtec and even the cheapy own brand for Asda etc.  I’ve tried herbal remedies and nasal sprays (which were the worst as no sonner would I spray the stuff but I’d sneeze and have that awful taste in the back of my mouth for hours later).

Apparently there are talks of bringing back the injections they used to administer for it, not sure what it’s called but after Googling ‘Hayfever Injections’ I found details of Kenalog which some people have had over the past few years as a regular form of treatment for Hayfever but are now being denied it by their doctors as it can ‘thin your bones’ in the future.  You can view details of this here.

On the above post (by clicking ‘here‘ you will go to the forum I found) and a lot of sufferers are also claiming that their hay fever is the worst it’s been in a while also so I’m not the only one and its reassuring to see other people who are in the same boat as myself.

I hate needles but if it meant I could reduce or even prevent the symptoms from taking hold of me I’d gladly do it.  It’s a real spoiler considering the natural thing to do is go out when the weather is nice but I try to avoid going out more than an agoraphobic does!

Saying that, though, it doesn’t matter if I’m indoors or out, it still gets me as my form of Hayfever is is all year round (perennial allergic rhinitis).

“Perennial allergic rhinitis, unlike seasonal allergic rhinitis, occurs year round. The majority of people who suffer from hay fever, however, will find they have the seasonal variety.

Those who do suffer from hay fever year round tend to be sensitive to allergens that aren’t exclusive to the summer and spring months. These include dust mites and pets.”  – Source

If anyone reading this has some or even all of these symptoms and you haven’t contacted a doctor about this yet, my advice would be to do so.  But for those who have been diagnosed and are still battling on, hopefully some of the aforementioned links can provide more info/tips on things you may not have done/tried yet.

If any of you, like me, suffer from it all year long then I hope that some of the info helps as well but at least you know you’re not the only ones and it doesn’t appear to be as rare as the t’internet would lead you to believe!

Let’s just hope this Summer gets a bit better for us so we can actually enjoy it rather than detest it…

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