I’ve been anticipating it for a while now; warning others around me that I was going to crack at some point, and with my illness I call it ‘going bang,’ when it all gets too much for me and I finally crack.
I don’t function well under pressure. In fact I’d go as far as to say I don’t function at all. I get ill when I’m stressed and I can’t deal with responsibility. Whether or not that will ever change with time I just don’t know, I can only hope. I’ve been this way for almost the whole of my adult life. When I was much younger, before the illness took its hold on me, I was able to cope with having a job, going to school and studying to get good grades. I was happy; surrounded by friends and virtually care-free. But that was a long time ago.
The last job I had, in 2012, sent me into an alcoholic rage which soon led to a suicide attempt. At university, between 2009 and 2014, I was desperately unhappy and I hated studying and the pressure that it brought upon me. For some time I lost the will to socialize and I neglected my work. My grades began to decline and so did my social relationships. I just wanted to hide. Things began to improve with sobriety, but then AA became my sole social life and in the end I hated that too.
Manic and depressive episodes came often and I became very unwell, mentally. In the end I managed to achieve a 2:2 which was nothing short of a miracle having gone through so much turmoil, drunken escapades and multiple suicide attempts throughout the duration of my degree.
Since then things have never really been simple or easy. I have suffered repeatedly with manic episodes, psychosis, suicidal depressions and almost killed myself with anorexia.
But in April of this year- after a long string of self-destruction and unhappiness- my ship came in, at long last. The love of my life and I reunited and I moved to Greece to be with him. In the beginning I didn’t do a very good job of building a life with him here. I was in culture shock; afraid to even leave the house on a daily basis and for some time incredibly unwell, physically and mentally due to withdrawal symptoms of tapering off of Quetiapine. But four months ago I enrolled on a course at the University of Athens, studying modern Greek. It went swimmingly in the beginning. I had a structure to my days; I was keeping a steady sleeping pattern as well as continuing in my remission from anorexia. Gabriel and I were starting our days together and this did our relationship a lot of good. I enjoyed being at school daily and I was excited for the good that would come of it. I soon learned to read Greek and I worked hard at home, increasing my ability to speak a little.
Time passed, maybe a couple of months, and things started to get a lot harder. When we began studying grammar I found it to be a huge challenge. I realised that I have serious short-term memory issues and very low energy as a result of being on Olanzapine. I couldn’t concentrate in class and as soon as I got home I would fall asleep for the rest of the day which meant I studied a lot less. Things began to become a lot more stressful than I imagined they would be and everything became very, very tiring.
In the past few weeks things started to get too much for me. I realised my limitations and this got in the way of me functioning in any way and I became depressed. I dreaded school every day and I started having disabling panic attacks during the lessons. On a daily bases I was running out of the classroom to shut myself in the toilet to shake and cry. I couldn’t breathe and my heart would race at an alarming rate, making it almost impossible to walk back into the classroom and face everyone. I thought the sole cause of these attacks was being asked questions in front of a busy class, and that perhaps the attacks happened as a result of my fear of getting things wrong, which was more often than not. In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have given myself such a hard time but I was so afraid of failure. But now I believe my fear of the classes is a lot more deep-rooted and subconscious than that, and so far I honestly don’t know why it keeps happening. I have discussed this over and over with my therapist but so far we have found no answers and certainly no solutions.
Last week I cracked under the pressure, and it was two days ago that I ‘went bang.’
I turned up for class as usual and sat on the bench outside smoking. As more and more time passed I became increasingly anxious about the lesson beginning and having to walk in there and face the teacher and students. And so the tears came. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was miserable. In the end I couldn’t do it. I messaged my boyfriend and told him I couldn’t face class that day and I left.
Gabriel suggested going to a café and having a coffee to cheer myself up, and so I did, and it worked. I knew that he was supporting me and I felt better for it, even though I felt like a failure and a let-down.
After that I went home and gave myself permission to just sit and be quiet for a while, with the intention of relaxing. But calmness soon turned to anxiety again and the anxiety led to horrible thoughts and even suicide. But I rationalized these thoughts and I came to the conclusion that life was far from over and things could soon improve. However I was still full of fear and totally uncomfortable in my own skin, having the feeling that something awful was going to happen, although I didn’t know what. And in the end I was right; it was the devastating effect that my low mood and change in personality was about to have on my relationship.
When Gabriel came home from work I had calmed down a bit, he hugged me and showed his support and I felt safer. But then these dark feelings all came flooding back and I couldn’t hold back the tears. I cried uncontrollably and went down the rabbit hole. Everything went dark and I couldn’t see a way out.
Things went from bad to worse throughout the night, and Gabriel and I ended up arguing until 3am. I fought his words at first; I was defensive and angry and suffering a great deal and so lashing out at him, being the closest target to me at that time. We have argued and argued since then, and now I regret every word I said and every angry remark. I am deeply sad and I have no idea if he even wants me anymore.
‘Merry fucking Christmas everyone,’ I said.
Last Christmas I was miserable because I wanted him and I thought I would never have him, and I fear this Christmas will be much the same. WHY always at Christmas?
Today I am trying my best to hold it together. I am trying my best not to cry and trying my best to avoid any further arguing, there is no use in that and I don’t want to push the man I love any further away from me. I wish I could give him some sign that I am worth keeping around, but for that it is obvious I need to change, somehow.