4am…

So, it’s 4am, and I’ve not yet slept.  Hurrah for insomnia!

I’m no stranger to this stupid fucked up sleep cycle, I’ve been living with it for years, but I’ll never get over the fact that 4am is so utterly boring!

I’ve been looking at recipes.  Mainly healthy ones.  It can never hurt to try to eat healthier, can it?

I’ve been browsing the Shitty Watercolour Facebook page.

Listened to another episode of Paul Temple.

My brain isn’t ready to switch off.

A million and one things are racing round my head.  I wonder how they all fit in there.

Just had a mug of hot chocolate, but now I feel sick.

I should probably go back to bed as I have important things to do tomorrow.

It’s too late to take a zopiclone, as I won’t be up before lunchtime if I do that now, and if I was to be, I’d have the mother of all hangovers from it.

I kind of hope that spilling here will allow me to get at least a couple of hours sleep.

I wish I could put my finger on one particular thing that’s bothering me right at this moment, but I guess it’s a culmination of things.  So many things in this old brain.

I applied to go back to uni, so I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear about that.  I’d love to be able to finish my Film Studies course, but unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it may seem.

I’m totally lacking motivation to do anything at the moment, so that’s making me feel guilty.  I enjoyed the sun the other day though, and went for a nice walk.  Baby steps.

I wish people would mind their own sodding business, and focus on their own lives rather than trying to ruin other peoples.  Makes me think of the old ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.

I’m worried about this whole election business.  Still no one seems to know what Brexit is, and whilst the media are talking about Diane Abbot getting muddled up in an interview, the government are pushing through some very worrying policies that will affect our young people.

One of my cats has been more clingly than usual since she was spayed the other week, and I don’t know if I should be concerned about that or not.

I feel terribly guilty for not making more effort to see people this past goodness knows how many months.  I currently don’t have a car, so I’m feeling somewhat isolated.  I liked being able to just go out for a drive sometimes, particularly if the weather was nice.  Just go and see places.

I don’t have a light summer jacket.  I have cardigans and winter coats, but nothing really in between, so I was thinking of making the ‘bomber jacket’ from Gerties  ‘Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s’ (seriously, something I’ve been thinking about whilst unable to sleep!).

There was something about shoes too, but that’s not in my brain any more.

I worry a lot.  I think too much.

I need to sleep.  It’s now almost 5am.  Fingers crossed for the sandman.

xxx

 

 

 

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The Narcissist

Whilst browsing my Facebook this morning, an article about narcissism popped up.

I found this very interesting indeed.

I have dated a narcissist, and now I realise the whole time I was embroiled in a mentally abusive relationship.  Each one of the traits accurately describes them.  Things would go wrong, it was always my fault.  I’d try to distance myself, but they wouldn’t allow it.  It was ok for them to make fun of me, but god forbid the joke be on them.

But lets not forget here, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental illness in itself.

The Mayo Clinic describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder as –

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

I could always see the depression in them, but I always felt like I was treading on eggshells.  I had no idea what might set them off, and I altered my behaviour accordingly.  A real sign of an abuser/victim relationship.

Another trait of the narcissist is lack of empathy.  I saw this frequently.  It was ok for them to be self absorbed, but if I needed help, no way!  And that would result in me being put down.

The Mayo Clinic article goes on to describe key features of the disorder;

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

I find it worrying that almost all of these traits were displayed by the person I was in the relationship with.  I can even go so far as to say I recognise all of these traits in certain people I know.

So should we feel sorry for the narcissist? I mean, after all, it’s a mental illness, right?

The best thing I did was distance myself from this person.  They ‘lovebombed’ me.  They couldn’t be without me.  The missed me.  But ultimately, they had issues they needed to deal with, and I couldn’t put myself through the turmoil, and ultimately detrimental effect this relationship was having on my own mental health.

The narcissist needs help, but as with all mental illnesses, they need to make the decision to get that help themselves.  They can be very damaging for people that come into contact with them, but that doesn’t matter.  As I learned, it is always someone elses fault.

Don’t treat them with kid gloves.  Don’t fall for their demanding and manipulative ways.  Stay strong, and hopefully, at some point, they will realise they need help and seek it out for themselves.

Your health is what matters.

Homeless and needing help…but… (an open letter to MPs)

13 years ago I was diagnosed with chronic, clinical depression for which I have been taking medication since.  I also suffer from Generalised Anxiety Disorder, crippling tension headaches and panic attacks.  I take medication for the latter.

Back at the end of March, I lost my home.  The same week, my uncle passed away very suddenly.  The following week, my long term partner split up with me, and following that, I lost my job as a result of my depression.  All this in 14 days, a lot for anyone to deal with I’d think.

I currently reside in a caravan on the Worcestershire/Herefordshire border – a 23′ touring caravan, not a huge static.  I have no shower or toilet facilities in my caravan.  I use my parents address for correspondence.

The site I am using is not a residential site.  I am technically homeless, yet I still have to pay rent.  I’m not, however, entitled to housing benefit.

I am registered with Shropshire Home Point – my registration took less than 24 hours.  On Friday 1st July I took a paper application into the Hive to register for Worcestershire Home Choice Plus, as there is some sort of problem with the system that wouldn’t allow me to register online.

Yesterday, I received a letter from WHCP saying that I had not put my connection to Worcester on the form.  I’d clearly written ‘Mother – *name* lived in Worcester for X years’

They said they also needed information about the length of time she has lived in Worcester, as well as her address.  I wrote in section 16 (as I had been asked to), that there is no room for me at my mothers house, and that I use he address for correspondence

My C/O address is quite clear on the form also.

I stated on the form that I will be asked to leave my current site within a month, as it is not a residential site, and that my living situation is affecting my health.

I have been sent a medical assessment form.

Please bear in mind that to go and pick up my post is a 60 mile round trip, costing £10 in fuel.  WHCP could have emailed me.

I apologise that my situation isn’t straightforward, and that people may have had to use their brains, but I am desperately trying to make my life better, and I am met by obstacles at every turn.

I have been going through hell trying to sort out Universal Credit, I have been patronised and spoken to like I am sub-human.

And now, for some reason, WHCP are playing delay tactics, that if they just used their brains, wouldn’t be an issue and I could start trying to look for a home.

Needless to say, not one part of this is helping me illness, and I am truly concerned for my own welfare at this point.  I recently started a part time job at 6 hours per week, which I am seeing as a stepping stone to getting my life back on track, but the fact that there is no help, no easily accessible advice, and a seemingly arbitrary system in place for any government services, it’s not exactly helping my things.

I can’t help but wonder that the overall plan is just to get rid of all people suffering from mental health issues to make things easier for the people that could make a difference.

It’s funny, I’ve worked since I was 16, and paid taxes, yet I’m treated like I’m the one sponging off the state.  £317 per month is meant to keep me.  I still have the same bills as I did at the beginning of March.  What do you get from the taxpayers each month?  Are you constantly treated like you’re taking directly from someone’s pockets?

I urge you to read my blog at www.widdleswobble.wordpress.co.uk for more in depth information about what I have been put through at the hands of the benefits system and how this impacts on ones mental health.  It seems as though people like yourselves that are able to make a change are completely oblivious to what actually goes on.

I look forward to your reply.

Just more of the fun & games with the government system, huh?  This letter has been sent to Robin Walker, Harriett Baldwin and Stephen Crabb.

Claiming Benefits.

I’ve been unemployed since the beginning of April. I made a claim for Jobseekers Allowance, and was put on Universal Credit.  I had to wait until 10th June to get a payment of £238.  I still have all the bills I had to pay before losing my job, so I wonder how people cope, as I can guarantee that I’m not doing so well.  I guess one benefit is that I don’t have to pay for my prescriptions.

Going through the benefits system has been nothing short of traumatic.  I have been patronised, spoken down to and treated like a sub-standard human.  I have asked if I know how to look for a job, been told that I shouldn’t be overdrawn and given incorrect information time and time again.

I have been in work since I was 16, so I know how to look for work.  I am not uneducated, and I’m certainly not scum, so why do employees of the DWP feel it necessary to treat me this way?

From speaking to other people, this is common practice.  It’s almost as if we a taking money from their own pockets.

At no point have I been offered any kind of support.

The benefits system is seriously failing people with mental health issues.

How can Stephen Crabb (Secretary of State for Work & Pensions) even imagine that the system is fine how it is?

When information and support is deliberately withheld, how can this be a good way to run the system?

For instance, I read about budgeting support.  I’d quite like that help.  I was given a leaflet from Debt Advice.  If you ask, you can have your benefits paid bi-weekly, but you have to know about this in the first place to be able to ask.

Universal Credit is meant to ‘reflect the world of work’, but I was paid weekly, all my bills were set up weekly, I budgeted weekly, so how does that system help me?  The amount of Universal credit is roughly what I earned per week, so far less than minimum wage.

I honestly wonder if the system is set up in such a way that they hope to kill off people with mental health issues.  It wouldn’t surprise me.

Maybe Mr Crabb doesn’t realise how this affects someone with such an illness?

Let me enlighten you.

I already mentioned having exactly the same bills now as I did when I was employed full time.  You start getting threatening letters because your bank account is overdrawn, you get phone calls from people wanting the bill paid.  As a sufferer of depression and anxiety, you dread the phone ringing, you don’t know what to say to them, so you ignore it.  You don’t know how to deal with it.  You feel helpless.

You try to eat a healthy diet because you know it helps you feel better, but you can’t afford the good food that you could when you were earning, so instead you start living on pasta and sauce and cheap ready meals.  Your stomach constantly feels bloated and you feel sick.  You feel lethargic and even less inclined to leave the safety of your bed.

You can’t go out anywhere because you can’t afford the petrol.  You certainly can’t afford to socialise unless you’re being paid for, and that causes feelings of shame and guilt.  How can you replay them?

You dread your bi weekly visits to the job centre to be judged by someone sat behind a desk, tarring you with the same brush as those ‘benefits cheats’.  The dread starts a few days before your appointment, and when sat in front of the guardian of the money, you bite back the tears as they decide if your attempts to find work in a place where no work exists were up to their own standards.  You want to yell and scream, but you turn into a tiny, quiet little mouse.  You just want someone to help, but know it’s not likely here, and you have no idea where to turn.  They’ve beaten you down.

All the while, those with the power to make a difference put in their expenses forms whilst you struggle to get by on the pasta and cans of beans you had left over from the last time you were able to do a proper food shop.

I wonder if Mr Crabb will read this?  I wonder what his thoughts are?

This is why I want to move.  I want to make a better life for myself, but how can I even make that happen when I can barely afford to feed myself?  It’s a never ending spiral of worthlessness, failure and shame.

I wonder if Mr Crabb would like to donate?  He could always claim it back on his expenses…

Please consider donating to my Go Fund Me

Excellent start to the week…plus a little request…

I’VE GOT A JOB!!!!

It’s only 6 hours per week, but there may be the possibility of more if I’m needed, but I HAVE A JOB!!!!  After being unemployed for going on for 3 months, I can’t tell you how happy I am at this news, plus, as it’s so few hours, I feel it is totally managable, and will be of great benefit to improving my health overall.

Plus I’ll be able to feed myself and the girls!

After a wonderful weekend at the Tenbury Music Festival (where I was papped!!!), this is just the perfect start to the week!

This news (ironically) came at a very interesting time.

Last night I was browsing the interwebs and I came across an article about Go Fund Me campaigns.

Maybe first I need to give you a bit of backgroud before I move on to the request…

When I was a lot younger – 14/15 – I was having a really awful time at school, being bullied relentlessly both in and out of school.  I took to the internet (it was dial up at the time…!!), and met a group of people with similar interests to my own.  One of those people was a wonderful lady who came from Sweden.  We met at a group meeting from the webchat we used, and she came to stay with me in Yorkshire for a few days.  As happens, we lost touch at some point, but I came across her LinkedIn profile some years later and got back in touch.  We keep in touch regularly now, thanks to the wonder of Facebook.

So, we’ve had an idea that we’ve been throwing around for a while, but the time never seems to have been right.

My friend has suggested that I move to Sweden, and start afresh.  The time couldnt be more right.  I have no permanent home (although a caravan is a permanent home of sorts, it’s not actually ‘permanent’ permanent), no friends in the area, and, although I had my good news today, I don’t have a career here.  So why not?

Money.

So I started a Go Fund Me campaign.

That’s what I was doing when I got the call about the job.

As I have now got a job, and money I can put towards my fund myself, I will, of course.

I need to get passports for the girls, which can cost up to £200 each.  I’ll need money to live and pay rent until I get a job (I am already sending my CV to companies out there), and of course I’ll need a plane ticket.

I’ve decided that anything over my target will go to the mental Health charity Sane, as well as anything left after I get a job.

Sane have helped me through one of the worst periods of depression I have experienced since I was diagnosed so many years ago.  They do amazing work, and I want them to continue helping people in the way they have helped me.  I can honestly say that their TextCare service has been one of the things to have kept me going this past few months.  Please take a look at their website to see the amazing work they do.

This is my chance at a brand new start, and I’ll be very honest, asking for help is not something I do easily, but I here am asking for your help.

So, my request; please, at the very least, share my funding page – https://www.gofundme.com/2acc9xw

I don’t expect anyone to donate, but I’m seeing it as a way of at least trying, and if it doesn’t work, what have I lost?

Thank you so much

W xxxx

Having fun at the Tenbury Music Festival

Having fun at the Tenbury Music Festival!!!!!!!!

Part 2 – The Aftermath

Click here for part 1

I don’t remember very much of that weekend, I think most of it was spent in tears.

I returned to work on the Monday, I had to carry on like normal, after all.  I was under a lot of pressure from work as I was in the shit for taking time off to find a home and after my uncle passed away, so I dragged myself in.

I made an appointment to see the doctor – something I probably should have done weeks before.

I was given a sick note for 2 weeks.  My doctor was horrified at what I told him, and was really supportive.

I emailed work and told them I had a sick note.  My boss knew what had happened, and knew I was going to see the doctor.

That Wednesday I received a letter from my employer saying I was fired, but they would pay me 4 weeks pay and I didn’t have to work my notice.

The reason was ‘gross misconduct’. There were a few things mentioned, but no actual reason for them considering whatever I’d done as ‘gross misconduct’.

But I wasn’t well enough to do anything about it, and by God I wanted them to know they can’t just treat people like this.

I was being harassed by someone at work as a direct result of their inability to nip the problem in the bud before I even began working there.  The worst thing?  THEY ADMITTED AS MUCH!!!

Anyway, I was then at a point where I was unemployed, alone, and living in a caravan just a few miles from my previous house.

A few things occurred to me – why, if my now ex partner had been ‘thinking about this for a while’, had he allowed me to look for a place near him, knowing my family and nearest friends live an hour away?  This pissed me right off.  It still does.  We’ll not go into what I thought (and still think) about the ‘friends’ that I made whilst living round here.

My depression had been kept relatively under control until the beginning of April.  I was looking forward to moving and getting on with life, looking to the future, then things fell apart.

I couldn’t see any reason to carry on.  It was honestly the thought of my cats eating my face that kept me from doing anything stupid.

The week after I was dumped, it was my uncles funeral.  I felt so selfish for feeling like I did.  Here I am, unemployed, newly single, and all pretty much my own fault, and my cousins are now without their dad, and my auntie without her husband.  How self absorbed.  I was swinging wildly between feeling despair and feeling self loathing for feeling like I did.

Guilt is a big part of depression for a lot of people.  Being brought up Catholic, well, guilt is like a default setting for me.  It feeds the depression.

I spent most of my days crying, utterly unable to see a way out of this mess.

I spoke with my ex partner a couple of weeks after he dumped me, and I felt like maybe things were not all lost, so I emailed him.  It could be that he’s not seen it, or maybe he deleted it.  Whatever, he hasn’t seen fit to reply.

I probably don’t need to go into the negative thoughts I have about this.  Needless to say, I’ve come to the conclusion that actions speak louder than words, and his feelings towards me, and our relationship are obviously not anywhere near what I feel about him.

Yes, I still love him.  Yes I’d love a future with him.  But somewhere along the line he decided that wasn’t for him.

Maybe there’s someone else.  I don’t know and I suppose I’ll never know as this person that I love and care about so deeply, the person I miss each and every day, wants absolutely nothing to do with me.  Every day it feels like my heart is breaking afresh as I look at my phone and don’t see my ‘good morning princess’ message from him.

I find it unbelievable that I managed to make him think this way, when I think of other people and how they are with each other, the things that they have been through and they are still together.

I do have a point to make, but you’ll have to bear with me, this is all relevant stuff.

I haven’t cried for 3 days, which is good going, but writing about his morning message has set me off.  It’s the silly little things I miss the most.

It’s these things that kept me going and stopped me from succumbing to my depression sooner.

Someone said to me that you shouldn’t rely on anyone else for your happiness.  I know this full well, and it wasn’t relying on anyone for happiness.  It was having someone there that understood and just their very existence made each day bearable.

I didn’t want him to bail me out, I told him as much.  I didn’t fuck up on purpose, I just can’t deal with things very well, I thought I was doing the right thing.  Maybe I was doing the right thing in my head, but when your brain doesn’t work too well in the first place it’s hard to tell, and certainly looks like a huge cluster fuck to the average outsider.

So onto the point I wanted to make with this story.

Being with me, you don’t just get me.  You get me, and my depression.  Being with someone with depression is like being with 2 people.  Always this horrid thing is there, you may not see it all the time, you may not see it often, but it’s always lurking.  You may not realise how it can rule someone’s life, even when they look fine and seem to be acting fine and holding shit together.

It’s a constant darkness following you.

At times it feels like a tangible thing.

It’s suffocating.

When it comes down to it, my darkness pushed the one person I have ever been able to see a future with away.  I don’t mean to sound like I’m making excuses, but sometimes the way my brain works may seem totally normal to me, but it’s not to other people.

It’s kind of ironic that the main theme for this years Mental Health Awareness Week has been relationships.

So here I am, still alone in my caravan in the middle of nowhere, still unemployed, still struggling through each day.  Some days I cry a lot, some days I feel ok.  I am back to not even considering a future (I never had done until I met my ex), it all seems pretty pointless at the moment when I have to force myself to get out of bed in the mornings.  I can’t plan too far ahead as I’ll either forget or be unable to do it.  Have I mentioned that my memory goes completely when I’m ill?

I am lucky that I have an extremely supportive family and a fantastic group of friends that have gone out of their way to look after me. Social media sometimes gets a bad rap, but I can say, hand on heart, that I would have been absolutely lost without Facebook & Twitter.  It’s not easy scraping together money to travel to see people, but at least if I’m able to steal wifi I can at least stay in touch.