Loopy, Lonely and Lost

Posts Tagged ‘hope


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.

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.

There’s a part of me, a tiny little part, that thinks I have some sort of future. There’s a person inside of me that believes I can stay alive, not just on a short-term, make-it-to-next-week basis, but for decades, for an entire natural life.

That person, she makes plans. She wants to find a house, get a mortgage, live alone. She wants to push on and succeed at work, do some volunteering, join a gym. She wants to create a little haven of calm, a home in which she’s not always watching the door, waiting for someone to barge in. She wants to learn to cook properly and paint some walls and organise her life. She wants something to organise, expenses to budget for, a diary to arrange and a life to keep in order. She dreams, vaguely, of writing something. Not for publication (even the dreamer in me is slightly realistic), but just an exercise in creativity, something to uncover her childhood enthusiasms which have been buried for so long.

But a dream is all it is. I fantasise about being a functioning adult human the way a child fantasises about being a film star or an astronaut or a Barbie doll. Having an actual life is about as realistic an aim for me as growing an extra arm. Read the rest of this entry »

Lately, for the first time in so fucking long, I feel better than okay. I feel magic.

I know that a person with a bit more sense than me would be saying, now, wait a minute, Laura. Take a deep breath and don’t get ahead of yourself. Think about it. Maybe you’ve been here before. But, honestly, fuck that. It’s not that I want to be irresponsible or stupid, it’s just that I hate doubting my happiness. I want it always to be that I feel good because life is good, and even if that’s wrong sometimes, I don’t want to miss a single second of genuine goodness in worry that it’s not real.

I’ve had my birthday. I didn’t get much, but I felt special, anyway. And I’ve had my pay-rise. And I won a bottle of wine. And my friend who was living miles and miles away has moved back to our hometown. And I can just feel happiness bubbling up inside me like a fountain. I’ve been fantasising about being successful, and staying up most of the night, and being extroverted, and speaking to people whether I know them or not.

I hope, so very much, that this is it now. That I’m back to the person I used to be. That I can plan things, and not be afraid.

And you know what? If I can’t stop tapping things and jumping at small noises and pulling things apart and making dreadful puns, I don’t care. It’s a small price to pay.

Okay, so things are still going pretty well.

I feel, weirdly, like me again. A slightly distorted version of me, a me that doesn’t really have any friends, and is sometimes a bit awkward, but really, remarkably…more and more like myself.

I’ve been getting excited about the election. I’ve been buying shoes. I’ve been chatting to the people I work with with surprising ease. I’ve been showering, and eating regularly, and going for walks. Read the rest of this entry »

Okay, so ‘turning a corner’ is a bit strong. It’s perhaps more like ‘swerving slightly to one side on the slightly wavy road to HELL AND DAMNATION’. But, fuck it. I’ll be positive if I want to be.

And I do.

I feel strangely determined. I feel – sort of, against the actual shit of life – like I can do stuff. Like I can sort stuff out – like some things don’t need to be sorted out, like they’re melting away. Like everything’s going to be okay.

I’m trying to be very calm. Deep breathing. A sense of perspective. It’s half past four in the morning, and it’s all words right now. Don’t get ahead of myself.

But, still. It’s the 12th of March and it’s the first time this year that I’m feeling even a tiny ray of hope or cheer or anything other than more or less utter misery. I feel reasonably cheerful, reasonably hopeful, and whilst I don’t want to get carried away, it’s about fucking time, and I desperately hope it lasts, stays like this, for a useful amount of time.

It feels, very slightly, like it might end up in anxiety. My chest feels a bit funny, my pulse slightly fast. So I’m trying to be calm. Trying to keep this mood sort of level, sort of something I can actually do something with.

I’m not making any promises. I know too well how this can turn.

I just want it recorded somewhere, that here, at this moment, I feel alright. I feel like life is worth living.

For perhaps a day or two, I have, without really noticing it, been incredibly cheerful and optimistic.

I’ve been looking at PGCE courses again. I even started an application.

I’ve been looking for jobs for when I’m back at uni. I even emailed my CV to one of them.

I’ve been looking at volunteering again. The schools one and another placement. I’ll go, this time, I’ll go more often and really make the most of it.

I’ve been on the university’s gym’s website, planning what I’ll do and when I’ll do it so that I can lose weight, but being careful to pay attention to the costs of it…which lead to quite a detailed budget plan.

I’ve been planning, planning, planning. Listing things I need to buy before I go back. Planning what meals I’ll make for myself. Actually feeling hopeful about getting a decent dissertation topic, even at this late stage. Planning to talk to new people, make friends. Imagining it in my head.

And then, just now, I realised I was doing it. I realised I was looking at the future as it if wasn’t an obstacle, as if it was something fun and exciting, and as if I was running towards it at great, gleeful speed.

And I just feel like…oh.

I only ever really feel good when I’m hurtling towards something…thinking about it so incredibly, but at the same time not really thinking about it. I feel good when I’m lost in something, not when I’m jolted into the present.

It’s not that I feel bad, now. Slightly foolish, perhaps. It’s just that the total, uninhibited joy that I was feeling when I looked towards the future has dimmed quite a bit. And I’m trying to stop the thoughts from creeping in.

You’ll never get accepted on those courses. You won’t get a good enough degree or good enough references and you don’t have enough experiences and the places on them are so limited and who would choose you over anyone else?…You’ll never get a job. They won’t contact you, and they’re not alone. Everything you ever apply for, you’ll be turned down. Even if you make it to an interview, you won’t get the job because seeing you face to face is enough to make anyone realise they don’t want to do it again…As for the volunteering, you KNOW you’ll fail at that, because you failed at it last year. You signed up for it and got all enthusiastic and then you hardly ever went because you’re lazy and stupid and you throw every good chance away…Gym? Are you having a laugh? You can’t do it, you won’t do it, you’ll fail like you fail at everything else and you’re always going to be fat, always going to be unfit and unhealthy and ugly…It doesn’t matter what you buy, because you won’t be using it. It doesn’t matter what meals you plan, because most of the time you’re too scared to even go into the kitchen. You’re pathetic. It’s too late to sort a dissertation, so you’re going to fail your degree. It’s not like you don’t deserve to fail, you are a FAILURE. As for making friends, don’t be ridiculous. You don’t have any friends, you’ll never have any friends because EVERYBODY HATES YOU…

The thoughts aren’t properly there, yet. I have them, but they haven’t taken over. They’re not consuming me. But it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? I feel so weak. I see them, hear them coming, but I can’t stop them, can’t avoid them, these awful thoughts…they eat away at everything, they eat away at me. They make themselves true.

I want  my optimism back. Even if it’s hopeless. Because at least if I’m optimistic and confident, I will try to do things, try to achieve something. And maybe some of it will stick, some of it will work, and I will be a better person, and it’ll be something to hold, something to use, something to show me and my thoughts that I’m not completely useless.

But it never lasts. All that happens is that I end up embarrassed and rejected and even worse, because I’ve done stupid things and I’m no longer brave enough to cope with the consequences of all these plans and enquiries.

I need consistency. I need stability. I need some kind of middle ground.

I feel like such an idiot now.


Posted on: August 31, 2008

I’m feeling a little better today, but still…things are hard. Read the rest of this entry »


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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