Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Archive for July 1st, 2018

So much has happened since I last wrote here. So much of it positive, but I am still the same person.

I guess the headline news is, I bought a house.

I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to do so. It took seven years of living in my parents’ house,  by nature spending very little because of my inability to socialise or get really interested in anything. This blog is testament to how difficult those years were, and although I know I struggled to achieve this, still I feel something akin to guilt when there are news items about how difficult my generation find it to get on the housing ladder.

It’s a beautiful little semi-detached in a quiet neighbourhood, with a sunny little garden and lots of space to store my books. I’ve been here for 8 months now, and it’s changed my life.

I get on better with my family, not having to be with them all the time. My mind has room to think and grow and just be my mind in all its complexity without having to hide or apologise. I finally feel there’s room for me to be me. All day long, no conflict. Just cups of tea and good TV and a soothing silence.

It’s the best decision I ever made.

In order to do it, I had to break it up into the tiniest of steps. And I didn’t tell anyone about it outside my family. I couldn’t have coped with the regular well-meaning enquiries. It would have made me panic.

Instead, it was smooth and straightforward and stress-free. But I never found the right time to tell anyone. My family knew, of course. And over time I told a couple of friends, who both came to visit a few times, making me so happy. But people at work? I don’t know why. I guess I felt like it was none of their business. I guess I liked having a secret. When people think you’re an adult living with your parents, they make certain assumptions about what your life is like. It amuses me to secretly know that every element of their assumption is wrong. It comforts me to keep myself from people. To not be known. Being truly known has always terrified me.

But slowly the secret has built inside me, and I should know by now that secrets breed anxiety.

For months I didn’t care. Walked to and from work every day, thinking – if I bump into someone, I’ll tell them the truth. But I never did bump into anyone, and to tell the truth I timed my commute to make it less likely. Occasionally on weeknights taking a stroll up to the local shop to pick up bread or milk. Popping to the bus stop at the weekend and going into town.

But one day a colleague drove past me, and called to ask what I was doing in the area. That was my cue, but I lied. Said I was visiting a friend.

As time’s gone on, my world has shrunk. I’m scared of leaving the house.

Initially as a response to the hot weather, I started commuting by taxi instead of on foot. I can afford it, but obviously it’s a waste of money – I can walk it in less than half an hour. But I’m getting increasingly panicky at the thought of walking again. Even in the taxi, I’m scared someone will see me. I’ve been doing more and more shopping online, trying to eliminate the need to go out.

I see my parents most weeks, go round for Sunday dinners etc. They come and fetch me, and on the journey to their house I am constantly alert, ready to pretend I’ve dropped something and duck down on the off-chance we drive past someone I know.

I am so happy in my house, but so anxious about leaving it. I’ve been deliberately avoiding socialising, because I’m scared someone will offer me a lift home.

My sleep pattern’s sliding, too. The weather and the season haven’t helped – it’s too warm, too light, never truly night. I can’t get to sleep and I can’t stay asleep, waking up ridiculously early most mornings. I take the opportunity to go to work early, changing up the times each day, so no-one sees me arriving by taxi too many times, and asks me why I haven’t got a lift anymore. Then, more often than not, I work to my usual finish-time, working up to an extra hour each day. I don’t want to draw attention to how early I’m coming in, in case they ask more questions.

When they notice my changed hours, I just say I’m not sleeping properly. Blame it on the heat. Nobody knows me well enough to know how dangerous a lack of sleep can be. They nod and smile and say they understand. I’m already at the edge of my nerves, jumpy as hell and easily startled – a while ago I gave a colleague a pretty bad fright by actually screaming when he came up to speak to me without me noticing. Getting into habits of obsessively tapping hands and feet in certain patterns, quick and agitated and pointless, struggling to stop. Veering between shrill laughter and quick, creative wordplay, and bleak irony and silence.

Feeling reckless and angry. Voicing the things that piss me off, rather than just thinking them. Answering everyone quickly and sharply, destroying everyone with a tongue like a blade. And all the while longing for peace and home. Dreaming of locking the door behind me, kicking off my shoes, finally feeling free.

I know I’ve done this to myself. I desperately want to turn back time and make myself act like a normal person for the past year. Or I find myself thinking, maybe it’d be easier all round if I just got another job.

But things have been going well. I got a promotion earlier this year. People are always so kind and full of praise. They say such nice things about my ability to do my job, and how much they trust me to do it well. But every time they say these things I doubt them more, and retreat a little more inside myself, and wish they’d shut up.

I don’t want their attention. I just want to be invisible.

It’s all I ever want.

 

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Hello

My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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