It's all me, me, me...

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Vivre Sa Vie
London, United Kingdom
Well hello there. My name is Viv (well, it's not really), and, like a lot of people, I'm ever so slightly neurotic... I have panic attacks and anxiety (ranging from mild to pretty intense), on and off. I also have an amazing and quite high-profile job, so I'm choosing to remain anonymous on here. Not because I'm ashamed of the aforementioned neuroses, but because I don't want to be googled and for my colleagues to read bizarre posts about me breathing into a paper bag and popping lorazepam. I've worked for bookshops, mixed arts festivals and charities, and have met (and still meet!) a lot of famous, fetching and fantabulous people for my job. (See, anxiety doesn't need to stop you being AWESOME and doing what you want to do) Here's hoping you'll find some helpful hints and tips on here which will help you tackle the evil panic heebiejeebs... PS. I'm an Australian, but I live in the UK, and have adopted tea-drinking, pubs, Wodehouse, and a Welsh man.
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Friday, 21 September 2012

Half-full?! There IS no bloody glass!

'And THIS ONE'S CLEAN TOO?! Is there no end to the gifts and blessings God will bestow upon me?!'


I realise this statement is ironic in itself. I can sustain the bright, sunshine-y thing for about half an hour, or during the day, but by the time I get home from work, I'm back in the land where everything is awful, where nothing will ever be right again, and where I am a dysfunctional, horrible poison wafting around the house and emptying vitriol over my boyfriend. 

If something is wrong, I just find it really hard to believe that everything isn't 100% terrible and an utter catastrophe. I re-tread this miserable little neural path over and over and over again, and I despair of anything ever changing it (which itself is completely catastrophic and further grist to my specially patented self-pity mill). I get myself tangled into a net of woe and anger and fury about the situation, and about my inability to change it, and about how horrendous the whole mess is, and end up so beyond exhausted I can't even comprehend what exhausted means.

I have spent at least half an hour sobbing every day since about two months ago. I can never believe it when I read those twenty question interviews in the Guardian and they ask the person 'when was the last time you cried?' And they say 'oh, ten years ago when I watched Free Willy' or something. I would be like 'oh, five minutes ago in the taxi on the way to the interview, and before that, ten hours ago in the shower, and before that five hours ago when eating my dinner' etc etc etc ad nauseam. Will I ever get to the point where I can't remember the last time I cried? Can you get repetitive tear duct syndrome (RTDS) or early-onset blindness from too much YSL mascara in the retinas?

I've been googling positive thinking, and all I can find are these blogs with people who've got fibromyalgia and cancer and two amputated limbs and lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and a heart condition and a drug addiction and an abusive childhood - and they're all UNBELIEVABLY F*&KING POSITIVE! Which makes me think I'm a horrible, ungrateful, twisted little self-pitier with a black steam of smoke for a heart and Eeyore for a God.

(You can tell I'm desperate by the following sentence, which actually hurts me to type out) Do any of you have any mantras or sayings or prayers or anything that keep you upbeat and out of the asylum? I'm running through depressive treacle here and could do with your advice.

So far, the only one that has come naturally to me, was when I was curled up in the foetal position in the corner of my open-plan office, being watched by my colleagues, and crying with gallstone pain this Tuesday. It was 'This will soon be over and I'll be watching the Great British Bake-off with my boyfriend this evening, this will soon be over and I'll be watching the Great British Bake-off with my boyfriend this evening'

Which, I think you'll agree, needs some work.

'THE TOAST IS BURNED! My life as I know it is over. I might as well throw myself into the bin with it now and wait for the dustmen of doom to take me to the scrapheap of suffering'


Anonymous said...

ummm, here's what I have done... recorded myself on my phone (when I was well) telling me that this time of intrusive thoughts, inability to stop crying, self disgust, self harm etc etc... is awful, that I know it is awful, but that it wont last forever...that I don't have to do anything about will go away on its own soon.
Also, your life sounds manic... it is ok to do nothing for a while, it is ok to stop, sit and stare at nothing for a while. Remember, every day when you cry that you are doing your best, all the time doing your best... I promise it will get better x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Wow - that is a really fantastic idea - thank you so, so much! I write stuff like that down, but I don't really believe it when I read it back when I'm depressed, but the sound of my confident, happy voice telling me that might work.

'I am doing my best - all the time I am doing my best' is PERFECT, thank you. I will definitely remember that one and will practise using it today. Thank you, THANK YOU! You can record one for yourself saying 'I helped someone feel better today - I am a wonderful person and I have improved the world a little bit for someone out of the goodness of my heart!'

V x

Anonymous said...

bless you, you are so welcome. I have got a lot of stuff which I think might help you, but too much to add to a comment box... think I will write an e-book then send you link!

Nat said...

"eeyore for a god" hahaha love it. You're hilarious!

Sheryn Wilson said...

Heya.I discovered your blog recently when I was beyond anxious about starting a new job.You are truly inspiring.I love your honesty and your humour.Everday i check to see if you have written anything.I want you to know you are making a difference.The mantra I use is I am a beloved child of the universe and the universe lovingly takes care of me.Good luck and god bless your heart..

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Thanks Nat! V x

Wow, Sheryn - that's beyond lovely, thanks so much! I doubted if I was doing even that (was beginning to worry I was just whingeing online and reliving my 15 year old journal!) but I am so, so pleased (and amazed!) that it's helping. That really helps me, particularly during weeks like these.

How is your new job? I hope it's going well and the anxiety is subsiding a bit as you get to grips with the surroundings and people. It's always hard at the start, because it's so hard to feel masterful and efficient when you can't even find the toilets without help, but it passes surely enough. Let me know how it's going!

And thank you for the mantra - I think it will really work, because a lot of the time I worry that I'm *not* beloved by the world, and that it's *not* going to take care of me, so speaks directly to contradict two of my fears!

Thank you *so* much!


Scarlett said...

Well, you know me, cynical and practical as they come. I think that trying to be someone you aren’t isn’t good for anyone, so maybe concentrate on adding a realistic note to your thoughts rather than forcing a positive one? So if the toast is burned – “oh bugger, the toast is burned, that’s a pain” – is fine, it just needs to have the current “my life is ruined bit” removed. In short – from Raj Persaud (sorry) if you’re going to stop your RANTs, you need to kill your ANTs (automatic negative thoughts). You’re not talking out loud I presume, but still, clamp your hand over your mouth when you reach the end of the rational sentence. It will help your brain get the message not to catastrophise.

One thing at a time is good, so just cutting off that part of it is a good plan.

Btw does this daily crying coincide with coming off citalopram?

I don’t have mantras as I’m just not the type, but when I feel low I listen to Noah and the Whale – many good songs but in particular, “L.I.F.E. G.O.E.S O.N” – I like the lines “you got more than money and sense, my friend, you got heart, and you’re going your own way” and “what you don’t have now will come back again”.

Sorry to hear you are suffering so much with the gallstones – hope it gets sorted soon.

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Hi Scarlett!

Yes, the crying does seem to have coincided with coming off Citalopram, so I am a little worried that I simply need to be on it again. But on the flipside, all this health rubbish happened at the same time, so it could easily just be that that's causing this blip. I've had horrendous blips before when I've been ON the Citalopram too, so I'm going to give it a while before I give in and go back on them. (I don't remotely think there's anything wrong with being on them, but I had side-effects that I'd rather not put up with if I possibly can).

I'm definitely going to check out the Noah and the Whale song - thanks so much! And I LOVE the idea of trying to stop and clamp myself at the end of the 'rational' bit of the sentence - God knows if I'll be able to do it though! I'll definitely give it a bash.

Thanks so much lovely!

V x

susan said...

I'm not sure if I can add anything to make you feel better in any way but a lot of what you feel I feel too, not every single day but 5 1/2 out of 7. I have children (grown up who still live at home) so have to mask a lot of my pain, joke about, dance in the kitchen etc, but inside I'm crying/shrieking/moaning. I don't know what's better - hiding it or expressing the anguish. I tell myself that I am ungrateful, that my problems are a gnat's dick compared to others but still I feel like shite....then I have a good day and hope that there may be the odd hormone lurking and that is what the cause is (am currently waiting referral for counselling from the GP cos have finally asked for help after thirty years of depression). My son is on Citalopram after a bout of serious depression and a month spent in hospital with 'suicidal ideation' last year and I thought life couldn't get any worse during that time. He is much better now and I am so grateful for that it makes my depression more 'bearable' if that makes any sense at all.
Your boyfriend sounds like a Good Man and there ain't many of them around. My husb just thinks I'm a moany cow and so does his family, ho hum.
I hope things do get better for you.
Susan x

Vivre Sa Vie said...

Hi Susan - welcome!

So sorry to hear you've been having such a terrible time for so long. Sometimes I think being forced to mask one's pain is actually very therapeutic, but only in small doses and if you are *also* having it treated/acknowledged and you know something is being done about it. So I'm really glad you've gone to your doctor - there's absolutely no shame at all in asking for help (in fact it's a very brave step and you should be proud of yourself for stepping up to the plate like that).

I hope you get some really good counselling/therapy (it genuinely works, I promise) and take heart from your son's recovery. Sorry your husband is not more sympathetic - that's absolutely not on! Tell him I said to buck up and be a man and support his lady! And to make sure his family does too. Perhaps if you explain exactly how bad you feel sometimes he will understand and have more sympathy.

I hope things get lots better for you too - stay in touch!

V xxx

PS. Have you seen the Time to Change campaign? They have some very interesting blogs and bits of information about depression and mental health on there, so both you and your son could check them out perhaps?

Vivre Sa Vie said...

PS. Having a son in hospital does not sound like a gnat's dick of a problem at all - you've obviously had significant things to deal with, so don't beat yourself up! And even if you didn't, the depression in itself is 'a thing' - plenty of people have suicidal depression in the middle of 'perfect' lives, but it doesn't mean they're ungrateful - it means they're ill in another, more invisible way.

V x

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