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>More future talk…

>Thank you very much for all of the replies to the last post. Although everyone offered slightly different opinions, the general consensus did seem to be that I should apply this year, and a lot of people though that doing the 1 week course would be a good idea. My issue with the 1 week course isn’t much to do with the course, but mostly to do with the accommodation. I contacted the college a few weeks ago to ask what they recommended for accommodation, and basically it isn’t something I can see suiting me at all well, even for 1 week. It is a big house, and the landlady provides all the food (problem number 1 – I am incredibly fussy, and then obviously also eating disordered, and just think that would be a massive problem), and also the bedrooms are all shared with up to 5 people a room. I value my privacy far, far too much to consider sharing a room, even for a week. I would just find it completely stifling, and I just couldn’t cope with it. If I had a friend in London I could stay with then I would definitely give it a go, but there isn’t anyone, and so accommodation is definitely a problem. The alternative to the accommodation suggested by the college would be to find somewhere else, maybe at one of the YMCAs or a cheap B&B or something, but I am concerned that if I did that I would be very isolated in the evenings, as I would be on my own, which isn’t great when I am feeling bad, and there is also still an issue with food. So accommodation would be a big concern.

Applying for 2011 entry for full time courses is difficult for several reasons. Firstly, if I had an audition come up and I was feeling how I have been lately I just couldn’t go – I couldn’t face it. You also have to put in an awful lot of work for audition preparation – finding suitable monologues is a case of spending hours and hours and hours in somewhere reading through hundreds of plays, and I just don’t have the concentration to do that at the moment. Then you have to put in a lot of hours of work over at least a few months learning and preparing them, which I also don’t have the concentration or motivation for. Technically this should all be done before you even send off audition forms, as you sometimes only get a couple of weeks notice of an audition date (although usually it is longer), and I would want to send my forms off by the end of November at the absolute latest – my original plan was October. So I am starting to push it a bit time wise, but I just haven’t been in a good enough place to be preparing, and I still don’t really feel up to it if I am honest. I am also worried because if I am doing auditions I need to be well enough to focus on it so completely – there is no point going to an audition if I am feeling shit, as it will not go well – if you are’t completely connecting to your monologue then they can see and there is no point in going. I have had that before – I auditioned at a very good school and was feeling pretty crap, wasn’t expecting to get through to the recall stage and yet somehow did, and I completely fell to pieces. I ended up having a proper panic attack (not in the actual audition, but when I was waiting to go back in) and then when I went in I was just absolutely shit, and they could so obviously tell something was wrong – after I had finished and gone out one of them came out and spoke to me and asked me to go back in, presumably to give me another chance as I had been so shit, but I was no better. And it just really destroyed my confidence – I usually really enjoy auditions, and being so terrible at that one worried me. But you can’t bullshit your way through – if you aren’t on top form there is always someone else who will be, and realistically I am not likely to be on top form much of the time when I am feeling as bad as I do the majority of the time. Plus it is expensive. Audition fees are a lot of money, and if I was applying then I would want to apply for a lot of colleges, as I don’t see the point in just applying for a couple, so realistically it would be about £400 in audition fees, and then travelling fees, and sometimes I would need overnight accommodation too. It really does end up an expensive process, and so for obvious reasons I don’t want to apply if I don’t feel like I am going to have a good chance or be able to do my best.

I am aware I am sounding really negative, which I suppose should tell me something. I think the trouble is, if I am honest I don’t feel like I am nearly ready or well enough to be auditioning for full time courses, but I feel like I need to, because I don’t know how I will ever be able to change things to make myself well enough to do this, and every year that goes by I feel like I have wasted another year. But I feel like if I tried to apply at the moment I just wouldn’t want to go to any of the auditions, I wouldn’t feel up to it, and I would end up making myself stressed and more ill over it all. I suppose I have essentially answered my own question, but I don’t want that to be the answer. I want to feel able to do it. I want to want to do it. I want to really care about something – to love doing it, and for it to excite me and make me happy. To look forward to rehearsals and auditions, rather than dreading them as I do now. I want to have my passion back. And I don’t know how to get it. I just feel numb and dead. I feel like I am just a shell, and everything that made up me, and who I was, has disappeared, and I don’t know if it will ever come back.

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>I am feeling quite pressured at the moment. Well, I have been for a few months actually. I am not sure what to do. It is about my future etc. Obviously people often ask me what I do, and I have to say nothing. They ask what I want to do and I say perform. Then sometimes they ask if I want to go to drama school and I say yes. They ask if I am applying. And that is where I am not sure. I have applied in the past, and had final recalls but not places. Getting a place on an accredited course at a drama school is tough – most of them take between 1% and 4% of applicants per year, so obviously it is stiff competition. But that isn’t really the issue. I don’t mind doing auditions – sometimes I even quite enjoy them, and if I don’t get a place I can reapply – that is almost the expected thing to do. The issue is if I got a place, realistically would I be well enough to take it? It is really long hours – 50 contact hours a week would be the minimum, and usually it would be a lot more than that. And a lot of pressure. And I think you really have to be pretty stable to cope. It isn’t unusual for people who have previously been fine to end up having breakdowns and having to leave. People assume that performing is just a nice, fun, light, easy thing to do, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

So every year I have the dilemma of whether I think I would be well enough to go the next September if I were to get a place, and therefore whether or not to apply. Last year I couldn’t – I was having all the problems with my voice, and so it didn’t even come up. But now that is resolved to a large extent I am back to not knowing what to do. There surely has to be a limit to how many years I can sit at home doing nothing, but when nothing has changed in terms of how I feel etc, how can I expect to be able to switch to doing something very demanding, with very long hours? My mum is taking it as a given that I will be applying for drama school this year. She keeps asking me if I have got my audition pieces sorted and if I have sent off my forms etc yet. My singing teacher who I saw in the summer for my voice asked if I was going to be applying when I saw her. The general expectation from people seems to be that I will apply, which is understandable really because you aren’t meant to just do nothing, and performing is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. But I don’t know what to do. I can’t imagine being able to cope with it, but then will I ever be able to?

I am not getting any younger. If I did apply and get a place for next September, I would be 25 when I started. That isn’t that young. Ok for acting, starting to be quite old for musical theatre. Still ok, but definitely on the old side. Already too old for dance based musical theatre. So there is time pressure there. Everyone gives me the whole ‘you’re young, you can do whatever you want, you have your whole life ahead of you’ line, but that is only true to an extent with performing. And that is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. I just want to be better. I want to be able to cope with things in the way that everyone else does. I don’t want ‘could I cope with this?’ to be the thing running through my head at auditions. And it always is. It isn’t just the course. That would be a lot of work and very stressful of course, but there is more to it than that. It would mean moving out. Having to look after myself properly. Having to flat share with other people. That would be really hard. If there weren’t immaculately clean in the kitchen then I wouldn’t go near it, which could be a problem. There are so many things that could be a problem.

I don’t know what to do. Performing really is the only thing I have ever wanted to do. I was looking at prospecti from drama schools from when I was about 11, desperately wanting be 18 so I could go there. But by that time everything had gone wrong. And it has never been right since. If I can’t do this then I don’t know what I can do. It sounds really melodramatic, but if I am not going to achieve the only thing I have ever wanted to do then I really don’t see the point in being alive. There is a 1 week course the week after Carousel at one of the colleges in London that I was planning to do, but thinking about it terrifies me. Not the course itself as such, but being away, having to live with other people for the week, how I would cope etc. And if I can’t even cope with the thought of a one week course, then applying for 3 year courses seems fairly ridiculous. I really don’t know what to do. If I decide not to apply this year I don’t know how to explain it to people, and I also worry that I go through this every single year, and nothing ever actually changes, and I don’t know how it ever will. I could tell my mum, and anyone else who asks, that I am not going to be applying this year, but ultimately that isn’t actually going to solve anything. I am still going to be left in this weird limbo where I can’t cope with doing the only thing that I have ever wanted to do, and can’t see how I can change things to make myself able to do it. And if this is going to be my life then I don’t want it.

I honestly don’t know what to do. Do I a) get on with it and do the applications and auditions and see how I get on and then decide (expensive due to audition fees but an option) b) Force myself to do this 1 week course in a few weeks and see how I cope with that, even though the thought of it currently absolutely terrifies me. There is an alternative 4 day course that I could commute to daily, but to an extent that would defeat the object as living away is a large part of it, plus the other college is somewhere I would want to apply to – this one would just be doing it to work on skills, c) accept that I am not going find a miracle cure in 11 months and leave it all for this year and maybe every other year too, and accept that realistically this isn’t something that I am going to be able to do, or d) other. Please reply with your thoughts. I really genuinely would like as many opinions as possible, and what you think I should do – a, b, c, or a suggestion you have? So even if you don’t usually comment, I would really appreciate it if you would reply to this. You can even comment if you don’t have an account – I have anonymous commenting enabled. Thank you.

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>CPA Review

>I don’t really know what to write. My head feels in a bit of a spin really, but I don’t know why.

I had my CPA review this afternoon. L came out and said that Dr E was running a bit late so she would have a chat with me first. She asked how I had been the last couple of days, and I told her that I was struggling, and had been purging daily, and that I had self harmed again last night etc. We talked briefly about the self harm, and what was behind it etc, and why did I think I was doing it at the moment, when it is so rare for me to do etc. She asked if I had thought of anything in particular I wanted to talk about in the review, and it was about then that Dr E came in. Things went pretty much as expected really. L gave a little summary of how she saw things over the last 6 months, and Dr E asked how I had seen things etc. L brought up medication, and said how I felt that I have been lower overall since I have been off it. Then there was lots of talk about needing to set goals, so that there was something objective to look at in terms of improvement etc. I switched off slightly – it was all a bit much for me to try and think about. I think this went on for a while – them talking about trying to set little goals, and get me into a better routine etc, and me saying the odd word but nothing too much, as it is hard to think about. Dr E didn’t seem to want to prescribe any medication – she didn’t mention it again after L and I had talked about it. Basically the outcome was that the next 6 months would be spent trying to set (and achieve) some goals, like sorting out my sleeping and that sort of thing. I am not going to be seeing Dr E regularly any more, since I am only on Diazepam at the moment – if I need to see her for something then L will get me an appointment with her, but I won’t have any regular appointments with her. And that was about it. Pretty much as I thought really.

After that Dr E left, and I talked to L for a while. She asked how I was feeling. I said that I didn’t know why, but I felt like bursting into tears. I told her that I had found it really difficult talking about goals etc, as I was feeling so suicidal that I just didn’t see myself being here, and that was all I could think about. That the whole time they were talking all I could think was that there was no point trying to set goals because I wouldn’t be here. And that that is all has been going round and round in my head the last few days. It has been so frustrating the last few weeks, knowing that things have been going downhill, and yet not knowing how to stop it. I said that when I saw her on tuesday and she said she was on leave next week, that the first thing I thought was that in that case I wouldn’t be seeing her again, and that I hoped she wouldn’t think I had killed myself because she wasn’t there. I was finding it really hard to talk, because I was on the verge of tears. When I left I went into the toilets and cried for a while – I just felt so awful, and completely hopeless.

Since then I have been feeling pretty numb and flat, just drained really. I just don’t want to be here, and the thoughts are so strong that I don’t know how to get rid of them or stop myself acting on them. But I know I have said things like that before. And I know that really there’s not much anyone can do about it. It just feels very isolating and overwhelming and suicide really does feel like the only option – I can’t see a future and I don’t want a future. I couldn’t honestly say what will happen over the next few days or week. I might be fine, or I might not – I really don’t know at the moment. I know how I feel at the moment, but what I think will happen doesn’t always.

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>Today

>Today hasn’t been too bad. L came to see me earlier. She wanted to go out somewhere, and suggested we either go to a coffee shop and chat, or go for a walk in the local country park as it was a nice day, and suggested we take the dog. Since the dog was standing there looking at me as though he knew every word L had just said I said we had better take him. Cue much jumping and bouncing (from the dog, not me), with L making him more and more excited!

We walked around the country park for an hour or so and chatted a bit generally, and a bit about what I had written, and did a lot of throwing a tennis ball for the dog! Oh and the dog was stupid enough to run at a swan, who then got very angry and started to walk after us and we thought it was going to start chasing us and L was rather scared! My dog is pretty dumb. He is a cross between two types of sheepdog, and yet he is terrified of sheep. Cows petrify him even more, and he thinks horses are fairly scary too. He is usually scared of swans too, but seemingly not today.

I had the first performance of the play tonight. It went ok. Don’t think the audience knew quite how to take it – it is pretty weird. There were a couple of slight issues with props being set in the wrong place – for my main scene everything was slightly too far upstage left, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it made manoevring around it a bit difficult, and it also meant the lighting was ever so slightly off because of us being further stage left than we should have been. Plus a chair somehow wasn’t struck before the last scene that should have been, and it nearly made me corpse – little things like that can really throw you. But it all went ok really – no major problems.

I have been basically offered the part of Miranda in an open air production of The Tempest (ie would you be available for the Shakespeare – I was thinking of you for Miranda), which would start rehearsing at the beginning of June, and the performances would be at the end of July, in various open air. I am not really sure about it. It would be great to do a lead in a Shakespeare play, but I am concerned about line learning given my concentration at the moment, and also I know how I have felt about the play I am doing at the moment, and I don’t want to commit myself to something else that will stress me, and have me at every rehearsal wishing I wasn’t there. Plus of course I am still having such strong suicidal thoughts, and so thinking a couple of months ahead is really difficult. I know people will say to go for it and that it would be a good thing for me to do etc, but I also need to take into consideration how stressed I have been by this play, and this is just a 1 act play – not a full length Shakespeare. I have a week or 2 to think about it before the read through/auditions, after which it will be cast.

I saw 2 tiny fox cubs playing last night on the way home from the theatre, just down the road from my house. They were so sweet – I want one! And then tonight on the way home from the theatre we saw a mink. I have never seen a wild mink before I don’t think.

I am tired. Even though I haven’t been that busy, I have been doing a lot for me, and I do feel like it is affecting me. I don’t know if I am finding things so hard because of how low I am feeling, or if doing more is making me more tired and therefore making me feel worse. I have been thinking more about going back on anti depressants. Even though I have always had really bad patches I think that this time I have been lower for longer, and I think things like my memory and concentration have been more affected than usual. It has been so many weeks since I have been able to read a book for example, and when things are better for me I read so much, and so fast. I can’t read at all at the moment. I just don’t have the concentration. My sleep is very bad, and I suspect that isn’t helping either my mood or my concentration. Feeling so terrible about my weight isn’t helping either. This is the heaviest I have been for over 4 years, and I desperately want to lose weight but it just isn’t happening. I suppose there are lots of things contributing to how low I am feeling, but I don’t know how to change any of them, which just leads straight back into the suicidal thoughts. All of the things I wrote about what being well would mean to me just seem like a complete impossibility. They aren’t what I am hoping for, because I can’t imagine them ever happening. But I don’t know what I am hoping for. Living feeling like this really doesn’t feel like a possibility for me anymore, and I just can’t imagine how things could ever change.

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>When I saw L on tuesday she asked me to write about what being ‘better’/well means to me, and what I would want from life if I didn’t have mental health problems etc, ie how I would want my life to be if I recovered from this (she didn’t say if – she said when, but to me it is a big if). I am finding it very difficult, I think largely because I find it so completely impossible to imagine. My adult life so far has been completely taken over by my mental health problems, and even before I was diagnosed as having Depression, and given medication etc, things were not right for quite a few years before that. I am not sure if they were ever right, I have a bad memory.

I do remember that even when I was very young, ie primary school age, I didn’t fit in, and I was more comfortable in the company of adults than I was with other children. I had one best friend, who lived down the road from me but went to a different school, and I wasn’t massively interested in having other friends. I was very jealous when she was spending time with her other friends from school etc – I didn’t want to share her, I just wanted her to be my friend. I suppose I did have friends at school, and I did have friends round to play and went to theirs etc, but they weren’t really close friends that I can remember. I was teased a lot at school, which turned into bullying when I was older, although only verbal – nothing physical. I am kind of side tracking here, but I suppose what I am trying to say is that there was always an element of not fitting in and of being different, and quite isolated, and then quite a lot happened around the time I was 10/11/12 – nothing really traumatic, but things that were big to me as a child. Within a couple of years my brother moved out, which I remember being very upset by, although I am not quite sure why as he must have been about 23 at the time, and I don’t remember spending a lot of time with him prior to that or anything. My granddad died, who I was very close to. And my parents split up. I think it was also around that time that my relationship with my sister started going wrong. She had absolutely doted on me when I was little – she was almost like another mother, and she used to take me out a lot and buy me all sorts of things. Then suddenly (it seemed to me) she just kind of turned on me and started saying how spoilt I was, and just not being very nice to me. I probably was spoilt, but it was her who had been doing the spoiling – my parents didn’t spoil me. Even the things I did hobby wise, like dancing, had been on her insistence – she had been desperate for me to do ballet when I was little, so I did. But at some point she seemed to start resenting me a lot – I think partly because of the opportunities I had that she never had, and partly because I obviously had most of my Mum’s time etc – she is 17 years older than me. Our relationship has never really been right since then. Sometimes she is fine with me, and seems to want me to spend time with her, but she can be really quite nasty sometimes, particularly when there are other people around, and she isn’t at all supportive of my mental health problems. She is quite a difficult person generally – everyone is really careful of what they say around her as she is liable to explode over tiny things – comments she takes the wrong way, or something she perceives as criticism, or really anything at all. So people tiptoe around her. I suppose if I am honest I can see similarities between us behaviourally, but I tend to bottle things up far more than she does I think, and I think I probably direct more of my anger inwards, whereas she gets very angry with other people. Although having said that, I do too sometimes – I can completely explode, generally at my parents, and be really aggressive. I don’t know. Maybe we are more similar than I would like to admit. Anyway, this is all digression.

So my pre-teen years were quite difficult. I was particularly affected by my parents splitting up. My dad used to come and see me, and I would be completely distraught when he left, really hysterically crying and screaming and trying to chase the car as he drove away, and laying down in the middle of the road outside the house after he had gone. Then sometimes I would refuse to see or speak to him for months at a time. Then it would be back to him coming over as though nothing had happened. I think I was very confused and upset – my parents had always been the couple that would never split up, and I had no idea he was leaving until the day he left. I was a mess, and my mum was a mess, and so I would try to be ok for her, because I didn’t want to make things worse for her. She went for counselling for a while, but I never talked to anybody. We didn’t tell anybody he had left. We just pretended he was still living there. Nobody at school knew they had split up. Most of my friends didn’t know. This went on for years really. Just keeping up a facade of happy families. He would always come and stay over Christmas, and come on holiday with us. I was always devastated when he left again. For some periods of time he would spend every weekend with us. Then either my mum or I would decide we didn’t want to see him, and he would disappear for months, until we let him back. It was all pretty confusing really. I didn’t have any friends at school, and over the years I started to grow away from my best friend. I wasn’t happy. I used to skip school quite a lot. I did get ill quite a lot as a child, and when I wasn’t actually ill I would pretend to be to get time off school. The only time I was happy was when I was rehearsing shows or performing. I felt accepted there. I felt like people liked me. I could pretend to be someone else. I think that was when I first started having a happy face that I would put on, however I felt inside. I was 12, and I had just auditioned for my first big production outside of school (Annie), and then between the auditions and rehearsals starting my dad had left, and I was confused and upset and all over the place, and those rehearsals were a safe place for me. I had the lead part and I didn’t feel useless – people thought I was good and all of the cast were nice to me, and it was my escape. It was also around that time that I first remember getting attached to people. Not to the same extent that I did when I was older, but it was definitely there. I idolised the woman playing Grace. My teen years were basically spent avoiding school whenever possible, and going from one show to the next, because rehearsals were the only place that made me happy, and where I felt good about myself. And where the various people I got attached to over the years were. So although I was 17 before I ever spoke to anybody about how I felt – I had really never ever talked about emotions and feelings at all before then with anybody, not even in a general way – and was referred to the CMHT etc, right through my childhood and adolescence things weren’t right. I wasn’t happy. I wouldn’t say I was depressed as I did still enjoy things, or performing anyway, but I wasn’t happy either. And I think that is partly why I find it so difficult to think about the future, and what I want, and being happy and living a normal life. Because I don’t really have much experience of that – certainly not as an adult, but not really even as a teenager or child. But I did have a clear idea of what I wanted when I was a teenager, and so I will try and write about that. Occasionally I will have moments when I remember why I cared, and why I wanted things, and I try to hold onto those, but they don’t last long. I think one of the reasons I am finding this play so frustrating is because I am just not enjoying it at all – I have spent all of the rehearsals wishing I wasn’t there, and when performing was my only outlet, and the only thing that I enjoyed for so many years, it is really hard to know that even that doesn’t make me happy now. It makes me feel more hopeless.

I compare myself a lot to other people. People I went to school or college with. Who now have virtually all moved away from home and been to university, and are now working. A few didn’t go to university but have been working. Nobody else seems to have done absolutely nothing. One girl from my class at school is a Doctor now. Another is doing a Masters degree. One guy is in a band that have had Mercury Prize nominated album and toured all over the world. I feel completely humiliated when I see people I haven’t seen for a long time and they ask what I am doing, because I am not doing anything, and I haven’t done anything since A levels. And it frustrates me because I know that I was as clever as everyone I was at school with. I don’t mean to sound arrogant when I say that, but I was. Even though my attendance at school was relatively poor, and I didn’t work terribly hard, I always still did well. Not as well as I could have done, but better than most people. I got the best GCSE results in my year, and I didn’t do any revision. Admittedly my year group wasn’t the brightest (both girls I have mentioned had moved schools before GCSEs), but even so, I should have done something. I feel like I have been left behind. Not just academically either. In life generally. Some people I was at school or college with are engaged or married. I even feel useless when I compare myself to friends I have who also have mental health problems. Even compared to them I seem to have achieved less. Some of them have also been to university and got degrees. Some haven’t managed to get their degrees, but at least managed to do a year or 2 before leaving. Some have worked. Some have travelled. Nearly everyone I know apart from me seems to have a driving license. There is just an endless list of things that I haven’t done that other people I know have. And that makes me feel really useless.

To me, being well would mean;
– Feeling ok about my life. Not wanting to kill myself. Not happy all of the time, because I know that isn’t realistic, and that people aren’t happy all of the time, but happy some of the time. And ok most of the time. Everyone has bad days, but every day shouldn’t be a bad day.
– Feeling well enough to do things, like the summer course in America for example.
– Enjoying things. Having things that make me happy. I am completely lacking this at the moment, and it is probably one of the hardest things to deal with.
– Being able to go into busy places, like bars or something, without getting such overwhelming anxiety that I have to leave.
– Having friends, and wanting to spend time with them and go out with them. I don’t really have many friends who don’t have mental health problems themselves, and whilst I do have some really good friends, I would like to be able to have friends who aren’t caught up in the whole mental health world. I know why I tend to stick to people who have MH problems – it is because they understand when I am having a bad day and just can’t stop crying, or when I can’t cope with leaving the house, or I can’t have a proper conversation because all I can think about is suicide. And because I have been hurt by other friends I have had who haven’t been able to deal with that, because they just don’t understand. Or because they get bored of me never wanting to go out with them. Or because they have been scared off by seeing me or talking to me when I have been bad. But it has all lead to me feeling abandoned, and so now I am scared of making friends with ‘normal’ people. If I was well that wouldn’t happen. I would want to go out and see them, because I wouldn’t be anxious about being around people, or feel like I had to put on a happy mask all of the time, or be too pre-occupied with suicide to hold a normal conversation.
– Having relationships. Wanting to see someone. Falling in love. Not feeling like I don’t deserve it, or like I shouldn’t be with someone because it wouldn’t be fair on them to have to put up with me.
– Accepting my body and weight. Not neccessarily being happy with it all of the time, because again that isn’t realistic, but just having the type of relationship with my body and food that other people do. Not desperately wanting to purge when I eat ‘bad’ foods. Being able to eat healthily without going into restriction mode, and being able to eat some junk food without beating myself up about it, and then letting myself just eat as much crap as I want because I have ruined the day anyway. Finding a balance between eating whatever I like (mostly rubbish) and restricting. Not letting the scales determine whether it will be a good or a bad day. Not constantly thinking about calories and weight whenever I eat.
– Having my own place. Not supported accommodation, but actually my own flat, or flatshare. Just like other people do.
– Being able to go to drama school. This is probably the biggest thing, as it would mean being able to do most of the above, plus be in college 40 – 60 hours a week, as well as all the work outside of college – vocal work, body conditioning, learning songs and scripts, writing essays etc etc
– Not being reliant on benefits for money. Working like everyone else – ideally in acting, but doing the typical out of work actor jobs like temping and telesales when there is no acting work.
– Being out of the mental health system. Not needing therapy or medication, or support in that way. Just dealing with bad days however other people do.
– Not wanting to turn to some form of self neglect or self harm all of the time, and not seeing suicide as the way out when things get overwhelming.
– Being able to think in a more balanced way, rather than just in black and white.
– Wanting to live. Seeing life as a positive thing, rather than something that I want to be over as soon as possible.

I am writing all of this but it feels like something that is a complete impossibility. I can’t imagine any of it ever happening. I find thinking about the future so overwhelming, because the things I always wanted seem too far out of reach, and I don’t even know if they are what I want, because I don’t want anything at the moment, except to die. Thinking about the future goes against every instinct I have – I find it difficult to even think a day ahead, let alone years into the future, and I find it very anxiety provoking and just scary I suppose. Because I can’t imagine any of this ever happening. Because all I can see is years of feeling like this stretching out in front of me, and I can’t cope with that.

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>L arrived bright and early this morning. She was bright anyway. And it was early. I was tired and still in my PJs, but I was out of bed so she was very impressed. I asked if she had been planning to come and drag me out of bed if I wasn’t up and she said not to put it past her. I think she would actually. Anyway, she took me to see the supported housing and someone gave us a tour of the place.

The vibe of it was very like a hostel or something. Very young – everyone I saw looked under 30. Very bright and colourful etc. There was a games room with a pool table and TV with various game things, and a computer with internet and a karaoke machine (!!). Then there was a TV room next door, which apparently has Sky. There was a garden and smoking area etc, but I don’t smoke, and an art room, and a little gym with a treadmill and cross trainer and weights machine things etc. A laundry room with a couple of washing machines and a tumble dryer. There was a really massive kitchen/dining thing. It was like 2 kitchens really – the room was really long and there was a kitchen at each end, and then 2 big tables with chairs in the middle. Apparently everyone has a cupboard that locks to keep their stuff in, and then fridge space etc – there seemed like plenty of room. The bedroom I saw was quite nice. Apparently it was one of the smaller ones, but it was a reasonable size, and all of the rooms have ensuite shower rooms. They have furniture – bed, desk and chair, wardrobe and chest of drawers, but they said you can keep as much or little of that as you want. There are 12 rooms. It seemed fairly male dominated – there are currently only 3 girls. It seems like you get a lot of support. They come up with a plan of what you will be doing on a daily basis and what things you need help with, for example if you need help with cooking then that goes on there, or if you need help with your medication or shopping or whatever then they support you with it. There is always a member of staff available through the night etc.

I am not really sure how I feel about it at the moment. My biggest concern would be sharing a kitchen. I am not sure if I could cope with that. I wouldn’t want to use anything that other people used. I also wouldn’t go in there if I thought it might be dirty etc, and that could be problematic. I am a bit neurotic about cleanliness outside of my house, and even at home I am paranoid about what things have been used for etc. So I suppose the kitchen situation would be what I would find most difficult to deal with. I think I would also find it hard being around people so much more than I am now, but I suppose that is something that I should get used to really, as I know I probably spend too much time on my own at the moment. I think I also have difficulty seeing myself as needing supported accommodation like that. It just seems like something for people who are really ill, and I can’t think of myself like that. On the other hand, I know that I would need quite a lot of support if I wasn’t living at home. I think the time scale kind of freaks me out too. They said people stay there up to 2 years, and then there are 6 move on flats, so people either move into those, or they support them in finding somewhere in the community. I can’t cope with the concept of being ill, or having problems that need support for another 2 years. It freaks me out. I feel like I need to be better now, or really soon, or I just can’t cope. There is no point in having a life unless I am better now. Or really soon.

I really really hate thinking about the future. I am feeling really stressed and tense about everything. I am stressing about the summer course in America. I absolutely have to make a decision about it and I just can’t. I don’t remember the last time I had a month when I felt fairly stable the whole time. So why do I think I could have a stable month in another country, where I have absolutely no support, and would be working hard. Plus things like cooking and just looking after myself generally. There would be nobody to help me, either practically or emotionally. Unless I felt a hundred times better than I am at the moment then there is just no way at all that I could cope. There is also the added problem that I really don’t know how my voice would cope – I haven’t sung properly for over a year because of the problems with my voice, so singing a lot is probably a pretty bad idea. There is also the issue of cost. I have been lucky and been allocated some funding for the course, so it is a lot cheaper than it would have been otherwise, but it is still a lot of money, and by the time I have added on other costs such as flights and travel and food over there, and a couple of nights accommodation first to get rid of jet lag that is already a lot of money. And then I was intending to spend some time in New York after with a friend, as I have always wanted to go to New York, and so it would seem silly to not spend some time there when I would be flying home from there anyway. So basically the whole thing would cost me in excess of £2000. I do have that money, because I am a hoarder with money, and have saved my whole life, but I absolutely cannot afford to waste it. Which puts quite a lot of pressure on this decision. If I pay for the course and flights then that is immediately £1500, and if I was too ill to go then that would just be money down the drain. Thinking about it like this, the logical thing really seems to not go, and to reapply for next year if things are better by then. But if it gets to the summer and I would have been well enough to go then I will be really upset and frustrated with myself, and even if I know logically that I wouldn’t have been well enough to go, I will still beat myself up over it because that is what I do. It will be added to my list of failures. And people keep telling me what a fantastic opportunity it is, and what a great experience it would be, and that just makes me feel even more pressure. I really wish I hadn’t applied. I hate myself for always doing this. I always think too big, and end up getting stressed and frustrated and upset. I either back out of things and end up angry with myself for it, and thinking I am useless and pathetic, or I try and do it and end up getting ill. There are 2 occasions I have really tried to do something big and gone through with it – once was going to university, which landed me in hospital twice, and once trying to move part time to London to do a part time course, which resulted in me trying to kill myself. So I don’t have a great track record. Admittedly these things were different, in that they weren’t just for a month, but when I tried to do the course in London I spent 3 days crying, came home for the weekend, and tried to kill myself. So although it would have been more long term, I was only actually there for 3 days. God, I am so confused. I feel really stressed and overwhelmed.

I have spent hours writing this. Over 5 hours. I can’t concentrate. I am really struggling. I just feel like everything is getting on top of me. I am really feeling like I can’t cope. I suppose my dreadful sleep isn’t helping. And my mum still hasn’t picked up my Zopiclone. I am just having really strong suicidal thoughts. And it is really hard to think about the future when I don’t even want to be here by tomorrow. I want to overdose. I really don’t think I can cope. I don’t want to be here. I feel really exhausted.

I feel like things are never going to get better. I feel like my brain is all broken into lots and lots of little pieces, and nothing can put it back together. Like Humpty Dumpty. It is about 6 and a half years ago now that I was first given anti depressants and referred to the CMHT. I am only 23. That is a big percentage of my life. Over a quarter of my life. And I have had lots of different medications, but none seem to have helped much, and so they seem to have been given up on. And I have seen so many different people – Psychiatrists and Psychologists and CPNs and OTs and Social Workers and Support Workers. And none of it has helped. I feel as bad now as I have ever done. Maybe worse. And I just don’t see how things are going to get better. It feels impossible. I feel like I am too broken; my brain is too confused and scrambled up to ever sort out. I can’t believe that I am nearly 24 and I have achieved nothing with my life. There is so much I thought I would have done by now, and now if I manage to shower and get dressed then that day has to be seen as an achievement. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just cope like other people do? Things should have got better by now. If I was ever going to get better then I feel like I would have started to by now. Where do I go from here? Am I supposed to just accept that this is my life? Because I can’t do that. And I can’t see things changing. Which brings me back to the option of killing myself. Whichever way I look at things, it seems to be the best option. In fact, at the moment I don’t see any other options.

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>I have too much over the next few days that I have to do. There isn’t too much I can get out of either. Basically I have ballet lessons on mondays and wednesdays every week, which I sometimes skip, but I generally try and make myself go to however bad I feel. I have the advantage of knowing the syllabus so well that I can pretty much do the class on auto pilot, but because it is pretty much the only time I leave the house apart from for appointments I try to go. Plus if I don’t go I get a lecture from my mum about how good it is for me to go etc, and that ends up being more hard work than going. I am also rehearsing this stupid play, as I have mentioned before. I didn’t go to the rehearsal for that on friday – I emailed the director saying that I was ill. Imagine my delight when I got an answerphone message yesterday saying that they had decided to schedule an extra rehearsal for today (sunday). I called and said I was still ill. However, I really can’t get out of any more. So far my week is looking like this. Everything is in the evenings unless I say otherwise, so I do at least have all day to flounder in bed, but I find it such an effort to leave the house because it involves putting on such a big act continuously, and that is draining, which isn’t good when I am already exhausted.

Monday – Ballet class. However, it is also my niece’s birthday, and she lives in the same town where I dance, so my mum wants us to go and see her for an hour before my class. Considering I wasn’t even planning to go to the class, this is far from ideal.
Tuesday – Rehearsal. Regretting getting involved with this play more and more.
Wednesday – Appointment with L at 10:30, followed by N at 12. Then ballet class in the evening. Not terribly happy that all my support for the week is happening within 3 hours, as that leaves me the rest of the week with nothing. I usually see L on a tuesday, but she couldn’t do tuesday this week.
Thursday – Photo session for the newspaper for the play. Will at least be short, but will involve putting effort into my appearance which takes too much effort.

I also have to decide this week for sure about this course in America, as the deadline for the (non refundable) deposit is this week. I am really not in the best frame of mind to be making decisions about my future, when at the moment I don’t want one. The obvious choice would be to back out of that, which I could easily do. Particularly as when accepted I told myself I would only go if I had lost some weight by the time I had to pay. Which I haven’t. But if I am alive in August, and doing a bit better and could have coped with it then I will be furious with myself. And even if I’m not it will become yet another thing added to my list of things to beat myself up about. Another time when I have intended to do something and then not been able to do it. Another failure.

I am feeling so overwhelmed. I am still having really strong suicidal thoughts and images etc – they aren’t getting any weaker. I still can’t concentrate on anything at all to distract myself. My sleep is awful and I am constantly exhausted. I had a shower and washed my hair this afternoon, as I was getting pretty disgusting to be honest, and I felt like I had run the marathon afterwards. So how am I supposed to get through the activities of the next few days? I feel pathetic. I know it looks like nothing to people who go out to work every day, or are in education, or just have really busy schedules, but it as about as full as my schedule tends to get, and it couldn’t be a worse time for it. I will possibly scream if anyone suggests that the distraction will be good for me. If I was doing a bit better then that would possibly be true. But when I feel like this I just find it incredibly stressful, and I don’t get distracted, I just get desperate. I want to scream anyway actually. And cry. But I am numb still. I just can’t cope.

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