Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Posts Tagged ‘future

Plans

Posted on: August 27, 2013

Optimistic Laura

I’m going to move out. I can buy a house, or a flat. I’ve been looking on property websites, and there’s a flat for sale in almost the perfect location for me – a short walk or bike ride from work, close enough to home for me to visit occasionally, for Sunday dinner or DVD marathons, but too far for my mum to walk over and cry on me when she’s annoyed. I can afford it, or something like it. I could buy it, get a mortgage sorted, live at home for a few weeks and go round to decorate and move in furniture, then I could move in and be surrounded by my own peace and silence.

Then I can start studying again. I’ve been looking at Open University courses. I’m interested in so many things, I just want to find stuff out, I want to get new skills and knowledge. Start small, don’t make too big a commitment until I know I’ll be okay with it, but just do something, a few hours a week, to make me feel like my brain is still working, like I really can learn something new every day. I can do other things, too. Maybe relearn the musical instrument I used to play as a child, and join a gym, and learn to cook. Tentatively, I might try writing again, like I used to always want to, although I’ll do it with the knowledge that even if it doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. I might learn a language. I might volunteer for a charity that helps people.

Every day, the not-getting-the-job thing gets easier. I can say it without the stabbed-in-the-heart feeling now. I didn’t really know if I wanted the job, so I can’t be surprised that I wasn’t really considered for it. But the whole incident has shed light on my life. I was right when I said it: everybody needs something. More than one thing is best, in case the one thing falls apart. I want to fill my life with activities, things that make me feel movement and progress. So even if work, or anything else, isn’t going particularly well, I can carry that with the strength I’ll gain by all the other things. I can build skills and knowledge and confidence and independence, and that’s happiness, for me.

I can write a timetable for every day and a budget for every month, and I’ll be happy. I don’t know what job I want to do, I don’t know where my future lies, but you build your future in the present, and that’s what I need to do. In the words of Malcolm Tucker, “life is just a succession of five minuteses”. If each five minutes is the same as the next, and they’re all dull and empty, then that’s my life. I need to stop worrying about the long-term, if I don’t have a plan for it, and focus on making now work.

 

Pessimistic Laura

The perfect opportunity is coming up. I need to take this time to withdraw money from my bank account. Small amounts, consistently, so I can build them up. Once I  go, that’s it. I don’t want to be traced by my card transactions.

I have an old friend, who lives in a different city. I can say I’m staying with her. I haven’t seen her for ages, but I used to go to visit her regularly. My parents don’t even know she’s moved, so I could say I’m going to stay with her in the city she used to live in, to cover the trail further. She wouldn’t have to lie for me, my parents don’t have her number, so they wouldn’t be able to contact her. She wouldn’t have to know. 

I’ll leave it open-ended, say, “a few days”, so they won’t be expecting me back at a particular time. I’ll take a bag and say we’re going to sight-see and have a few drinks and just hang out for a while and catch up. Then I’ll go to the train station, and get on a train in the opposite direction. I’ll head to the coast. My mind is full of sea and horizon and cliffs, and that’s where I want to be. I could stay for a day or two, get my head straight. Breathe fresh air and cushion myself in quiet, and think properly for a moment. I could send a postcard, maybe. Not a note in the traditional sense, just something to let them know where I am. Maybe an apology.

Jumping off a cliff seems a simple way to do it, but there’d be other methods available too, if for some reason that doesn’t work out. I will end it there, or else move on and find somewhere else to do it. No turning back. I want to be in a place where I’m a stranger. Somewhere calm. I will run until I can find it. No-one will mind, no-one will care, because no-one will know me.

 

The awful truth

I’ll probably do neither. Lately, I’ve been believing both of these things, pretty much at the same time. But this is me we’re talking about. I can’t change.

I’ll stay at home, doing nothing, and let my brain rot. Too scared to make my life better, too scared to end it. This is it, this is me – forever.

I wish I had the courage to do one thing or the other.

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I get a text from a friend. We’re going for pizza. Want to come?

Simple question. Yes or no. But then I have a massive fucking debate in my head, because I like pizza but I really don’t feel like leaving the house, and obviously no-one will want me there anyway, they’re only asking to be polite, and maybe I should leave the house because my mother’s pissing me off and I’m not working this weekend but I’m not doing anything else either and time is just draining away. I really like this friend, and the other people who are going, but what will they talk about? What if it’s a subject-matter that makes me uncomfortable? What if it’s something I don’t know how to talk about? What if it’s silent and awkward? Maybe I should text back and say I can’t go, but what if they want to know why? I can’t say it’s because I just feel weird and I’m anxious about conversations I can’t predict, that sound stupid. Maybe I should just go? But fuck, I feel like I’ll cry if anyone looks too closely at me. Maybe I should just ignore the text, turn my phone off even, and then next time I see them I’ll pretend I didn’t get it until too late – but I feel uncomfortable about that, too, like they’ll see right through me and know I’m making it up. I start wondering if my friend gets delivery reports.

I agonise for 10, 15 minutes. I can’t go but I don’t know how to say no, and I turn my phone over and over in my hands, not knowing what to say. Eventually I text back, make an excuse about having family stuff to do (nobody knows that my family is fucked, that we don’t do stuff together, that there are few things I wouldn’t rather do than play happy families). I feel sure that my friends feel relieved, and – duty done – can now enjoy an afternoon with the people they actually want to spend time with.

I know it’s stupid. I’m just finding other people difficult right now.

Everyone seems kind of disappointed in me. Everywhere I go, people are telling me that I need to do something different with my life. Some of them have specific plans for me (there’s one person who insists, every time we bump into each other, that I’m born to be a librarian), but mostly they just say that I’m wasting my life and that I need to make plans and move on and do something better. I know they mean it well. They mean it as a compliment. They see me as intelligent, and they want me to succeed. They say, “come on, Laura, what are you going to do?” Whether it’s good friends or acquaintances or people I hardly know (at work, a manager from another department came and spent a couple of hours with me, getting to know what our department does. By the end of that short time, he was trying to inspire me to hope and dream and push forward, trying to work out my aspirations and encourage me to go for them) – everyone wants me to be ambitious.

It’s not that I lack ambition, as such – I like being good at things. But being ambitious involves thinking of the future, and that puts me on shaky ground. Everybody means well, but all I hear when they try to push me is that how I am now isn’t good enough, I’m worthless, stupid, useless. The people in my life see potential in me and they won’t stop talking about it, and it makes me feel like a fraud, like I’ve somehow lied to them or tricked them into thinking things that aren’t true. Their faith in me feels like a burden. People ask me what my plans are, what I’ll do with my life, and I shrug and look lost and stop being able to form sentences. They think they’re being helpful, but they’re not. They’re just reminding me how much I’ve ruined my life.

How can I think of the future? How can I plan or hope? I’m clinging to a sinking ship: whatever I do, I’m fucked, so I’m holding on to the familiar. 

I shut myself in my room. I try to find meaning where I can, but I struggle (I remember when I would listen to music, and memorise the lyrics that touched me. I remember when I would read books, and see myself reflected in certain characters. I remember when things meant something to me, when I could make a connection with something outside my life. It all seems so long ago). I avoid my friends and I avoid my family. I avoid thinking about the future, and the past. I take deep breaths and I lie in the dark and I don’t cry – too tired for that. I don’t even really think about anything. I’m just hyper-aware of time passing and nothing changing and I feel trapped.

(With all the melodrama I feel able to muster,) the only thing I hope for is death.

That’s it. A life, wasted. Even if I had the energy to get out of this, I don’t know what way to go.

The past doesn’t seem real anymore. I think about events in my life and they strike me as things that happened to someone else.

I feel like I never went to uni. I talk about it, sometimes, about funny or interesting things that happened while I was there, about the people I knew, and it feels like a dream or a story someone once told me.

And really, I might as well have not gone, hadn’t I? I mean, I know that if I hadn’t, I would have regretted it. I would always be thinking, I could have done that – but I’d be wrong. I know that now. Four years of my life and I can hardly remember most of it, and I’m no longer in touch with the people I knew (what is it people say? The friends you make at university will last a lifetime), and I don’t even have a degree to show for it, letters I can put after my name as proof that I did something, proof that I was there. All I have is a gap in my employment history that to explain would mean to admit failure.

I feel like I’ve betrayed the person I used to be. I think of myself, all those years ago. All the aspirations I had. I was going to write books, or if that didn’t work out as quickly and as successfully as I hoped, I’d become a teacher. I was going to fall in love and be a mother. I was going to have a house of my own, and lots of friends. I was going to achieve something, even if I wasn’t quite sure what.

It’s stupid, isn’t it? Nothing in my life ever gave me any indication that I’d be able to do the things I dreamt of, and since dreaming them life has emphatically proven that I’m incapable.

In a way, I know that I’m being premature. Giving up too early. I’m 22 years old, and there’s still time for any or all of those things. But I can no longer see any of them happening, and I’m not even on the right path anymore. I know that, if this were a story, and I were the hero, I’d be more determined. I wouldn’t give up just because there were obstacles in my way. But it’s a long time since I’ve felt I’m the protagonist in this winding, plotless tale, and I’ve never felt like a hero.

I’ve never known how to try again. I’ve always been someone who tried once and then, on failing, quickly moved on, pretending the thing I’d tried for was worthless. If I fail once, I take it as a sign that I am neither capable nor deserving of success. And by that method I close every door, I cut off every path that’s available to me, and I stand in this same place, unable to move on.

I sit and wait, watching life trickle away, too quickly to change it but too slowly for comfort. I see my life as another thing I’ve tried to do, some task I’ve set myself to. And I failed, so all there is left to do is pretend it doesn’t matter and refuse to try again.

I’m not even sure any of that makes sense.

I don’t even really know how I feel, or what’s happening in my life.

I know that life at home is easy in all the ways that really matter – food on the table and a roof over my head, and I don’t have to worry about money. And I know that life at work is probably better than I had any right to hope for – not too taxing, relatively interesting, and surrounded by people I suppose I get on with.

But home is a struggle, always (and even back when I hoped to become a mother, I wonder if I’d ever be so selfish as to go through with it, knowing that there’s a chance I’d end up like my own, who sees her children as adversaries and inconveniences – lingering unpleasantnesses that she’d hoped to be free of long ago). And at work, there is too much time for chat, and it makes me uncomfortable. Already, I can see their puzzled glances. I’m never who I was the previous week. Everything I say and am seems to contradict everything they already know about me, and they have questions that I don’t know how to answer.

I sit in the dark and cry. I wake too early and fall asleep too late. The mask is in place permanently, and I have no time to be myself, to fall apart, without the fear of discovery. I’d call it a good thing, the enforced routine serving as a crude sketch of a life that maybe one day I will learn to live, but I feel myself becoming exhausted by pretense, and irritable with the people in whose presence I have to pretend.

I feel the weight that pushes down on my shoulders, and I see the walls that pen me in. I force a smile and carry on, and everything twists, and more parts of myself become irretrievable, and every day is another day I’ve lost forever, and another day I get to tick off in the excrutiatingly slow countdown to the end of my life.

It’s all I can do now, sit and wait, having neither the courage nor the energy to either end or change my life.

Posted on: October 5, 2010

I’m now officially trained and doing my job. I don’t know how the hell that happened.

I’m finding it a bit difficult, if I’m honest. Halfway to a panic attack most of the time – all day, every day, shaky and nervous and that awful sensation in my chest – like my heart leaps a few inches forwards – every time the phone rings or someone asks me something.

I’m becoming a bit withdrawn. People have stopped mentioning my confidence. They might have even stopped noticing me altogether (far too often, I speak, and everything just carries on as normal. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m speaking more quietly or if it’s because I’ve stopped being interesting or even if it’s because I’ve stopped existing – I often feel like that’s the case).

So I’m speaking less, and I’ve stopped drawing attention to myself: arriving last, leaving first, sitting alone at breaks (if a computer’s free, I’ll go on Facebook. Not to do anything, just to look busy, sat there looking at the profiles and comments and statuses of yet more people who’ve forgotten I exist). I come home and I try to hold it together for long enough to make it to my room, where I sit quietly and cry guilty, frustrated tears, thinking vaguely of running away or dying or just vanishing in a puff of smoke (because it’s not necessarily that I want to get away, or hurt myself – although I find the vivid images of both hard to erase from my head -, it’s just that I want everything to stop. I want to go back in time and erase myself from history. What I want more than anything is to never have existed).

The man who was training me kept telling me not to panic. I know he was only trying to help, but in a way that made me panic more – partly because I’d been hoping I was keeping it together enough to stop people noticing, and partly because I know that if it’s noticeable then it’s a nuisance and a burden and I fucking hate that.

I also kind of have a problem with doing things. I haven’t contacted my previous employers to chase up a P45. I haven’t taken in any proof of my unemployment to my new work. I haven’t even contacted my uni about my dissertation (it’s probably too late now, and even if it isn’t – I’m really not ever going to be able to do it. I still don’t even know what the fuck to write it about).

I’m not sure I can define what the problem is. I’m sure it’s mostly just laziness and stupidity and fear, but perhaps there’s something else, too. For all my worrying about the future, for so long my biggest coping mechanism has been living in the immediate present. Right here, right now. Thinking about the future makes me panic even more, and it’s not an unusual day when the only way I can get through it is by promising myself that I’ll die as soon as possible. I never do it, and I very rarely even mean it, but the only way for me to function in the present is to pretend it’s all there is. Thinking about the future is the surest way I know of making me feel overwhelmed and terrified and like I really do need to die, just to get rid of said future.

Which is all well and good, until I actually have to do something that relates to any kind of future further afield than the next week or so. Because I can’t make it make sense, I can’t make myself connect with it. The only way to survive the present is to trick myself into thinking there’s no such thing as the future.

I confirmed that I would go to the counselling appointment. It’s tommorow afternoon.

I get the awful feeling that this is a very bad idea. But I’ve said I’ll go now, and if I don’t I’ll just feel guilty because somebody else could have that appointment.

There are so many things I should talk about, but I feel comfortable talking about so very few of them.

I’m scared of being told the truth – that this is all my own fault, that I’ve messed up everything and should just shut up and sort it out. But if I am told anything else then it would feel like ridiculous empty lies.

I have to go because I’ve said I will. But I’m scared that it will make things worse. I don’t respond well to talking about things – perhaps even worse than I respond to keeping them locked away. But it’s what you’re supposed to do, isn’t it? Talk and discuss and face it head-on even when you want to hide and pretend nothing is happening.

I’m so tired. I just want to curl up and go to sleep and never wake up. My parents keep telling me to apply for jobs but how can I? When I don’t believe I can do anything. When I’m not convinced I’ll be alive in a few months or whenever. When I can’t do interviews because I can’t speak properly. When every fucking job has a medical form and technically I’m sure I could probably get away with no, I haven’t ever had a serious mental illness, but it still feels a bit like lying if I don’t add but I’m stupid and lazy and unreliable and I can’t guarantee I’m not going to run away or kill myself or just sit in a corner and weep all day.

Oh, God, what do you do, when you’re nothing? When there isn’t any place for you anywhere anymore? When you spend so much of your life wishing to turn back time that even more time passes and you haven’t changed, you haven’t done anything and it’s getting harder and harder to pretend that you haven’t closed every possible door? When nothing’s turned out like you thought it would, and you don’t have a contingency plan? What do you do when you are nothing, and deserve nothing? 

What do you do when none of your options is really an option at all, and when the smallest sacrifice it’s possible to make is your entire future?

I’ve let everyone down, and I continue to do so every fucking day. And I don’t know how to stop it, let alone how to reverse it.

My mum’s obsessed with what I’m going to do with my future. She never stops asking, or suggesting, or wondering why I don’t know, why I don’t have any plans. Today she was reading the local paper, and found a job for me.

It sounds pretty good. Interesting, challenging, and exactly the kind of thing I’d like to do. And the pay’s good, too (in perspective, it’s not millions, but it seems a lot to this stupid layabout who’s never had a full-time job). Read the rest of this entry »

Blaaaaaah.

Posted on: March 7, 2010

It’s neverending. It’s not going away. It just keeps on and on and on and it’s nearly the end of term and I don’t know how time has gone so quickly, I don’t understand it, I keep losing time…hours, days, weeks just flying past and I don’t even notice until they’re gone.

I’m so exhausted, despite having done absolutely nothing for about two months. I just sit and hide and cry.

And I think, maybe I should see a doctor, but I think my mind is tricking me, because I only really start thinking about it as a possibility when it’s the end of term, when nothing could be done – I don’t start thinking I can do it until I know that I can’t. If I go to the doctor now, they’ll say, “okay, we’ll refer you”, and then nothing will happen until I’m not even here anymore, and there’ll be no point to any of it.

And even if I did manage to speak to someone, I wouldn’t be able to be honest because I have some sort of stupid inability, when in a room with another human being, to actually express my feelings.

And it doesn’t fucking matter anyway.  Because as soon as I finish uni – whether I get kicked out or I actually get my degree – I’ll be going home. And I can’t get help when I’m at home. I just can’t. I can’t have them knowing and always talking about it. But I’ll be too depressed to do anything and I’ll have no references so I won’t be able to get a job and I’ll just sit at home and pretend not to cry and not get any help and not talk to anyone until I die.

That’s it, then, isn’t it? Everything, pissed away. Everything turned to dust. The fucking end.

And maybe I’m being melodramatic, but I don’t want to live like this. I know what’s going to happen and it’s going to be hideous. I want out.

I’ve fucked everything up. I’m sick of feeling like I am dying, and I wish that I would just get on with it.

I’m not one of the people who gets over it. I’m not one of the people who finds a way to carry on. I don’t have it in my to be that person.


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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