Sometimes I feel like doing nothing. Sometimes I feel like doing nothing a lot. Most of the time, I would put this down as utter laziness – criticising myself in my head that I’m completely useless, punishing myself for not having achieved anything in the day. I didn’t – and sometimes still don’t – recognise this as part of my depression. My depression would mumble such negative things about me that I would have to retreat under the covers or cry until I was numb (which is a terrifying feeling by the way). This only worsened my “laziness” because I had let my negative mind take complete control of my day.
When I couldn’t face going to work I put it down as being lazy. I was letting my colleagues down, my bosses down, my clients down, my mum down (my mum has always had an excellent work ethic). I phoned my doctor for a doctor’s note – he had seen me several times over the last few months and had been the first GP to diagnose me with depression and anxiety, which in itself was hard to come to terms with. My days after that consisted of waking up early, waiting til my housemates had left for work, grabbing a cup of coffee and watching Netflix. The cat would sometimes join me which was nice. I’d eat a small meal, go back to hiding in my bed, and wish for sleep. This cycle lasted for what seemed like forever. I thought my laziness had hit a new high, or low. Even after being diagnosed months ago, my mind was telling me that I was just being a sad, lazy person who was letting everybody down.
With body dysmorphic disorder, I genuinely believed that I was a very ugly person. I thought that those who gave me compliments on my appearance only did so because they felt sorry for me and my ugliness. In the days of MSN, I was paid a compliment by somebody that I liked, but was sure that he couldn’t have meant it, so in response I asked whether he was with friends – I thought they were grouped around his computer mocking me.
Once I was out shopping with my mum for some new jeans in River Island. This particular store (I can’t remember if they have changed much) was brightly lit with white walls and lots of mirrors. My mum told me to try on the jeans I had picked out because she didn’t want to buy them just to have to return them again (fair enough). This put me in panic mode. I got into one of the changing rooms and locked the door. I took one glance in the mirror (brightly lit) and sat in the corner, sobbing. I was so ugly that I couldn’t bare to see my reflection, let alone change into a pair of jeans.
Of course, the fact that I had been crying meant that I was going to look even uglier compared to the beautiful salespeople; with my red puffy eyes and black mascara running down my face. I don’t know how long I was in there, but it was long enough for the salesperson to call over my mum and ask if I was okay. Mirrors and bright lights were a nightmare concoction – not only was it exposing just how ugly I was but I also had no control over it, apart from to close my eyes. The only times I would ever look in a mirror were if I had control of the lighting – whether that be by dimming the lights or turning them out altogether and using light from the next room (which I did regularly). Really, this symptom of feeling a lack of control and an overwhelming belief that I was ugly was part of my (then) undiagnosed body dysmorphic disorder.
“I’m A Loser”
I often think about my lack of a social life and think of how much of a loser I must be. I worry about not having anybody to invite to my future wedding, and I feel like I never have enough friends attending my birthdays. Problem is, I dislike being part of a large group of people and the pressure of starting a conversation. When meeting new people, I tend to avoid eye contact when speaking, fidget with my hands and try to say something humorous to get them to like me.
For a while, I cancelled a lot of social arrangements because I didn’t think I was worth seeing. I thought that nobody would enjoy my company – my humour was lacking because of my depression and I had nothing new or exciting to tell my friends. I didn’t think I was worth their time.
When visiting a new doctor as my GP was busy, I felt so anxious about talking about my anxiety that I almost didn’t attend. I forced myself to go and once in the room, I was almost cradling myself; my back was curved inward and I was rocking slightly; I was so uncomfortable and nervous that I’m pretty sure the doctor could see the anxiety as soon as I sat down. I couldn’t look at her when I started to explain why I had made the appointment and muddled my words. After some research, I realise that this may be a social anxiety – but I’m yet to discuss it with my doctor.
With these mental illnesses, I often think the worst about myself. I am often my own worst enemy and my own bully. My mind tricks me into believing the insults that I tell myself.
I wanted to write this for my own reflection but also for those of you that are going through something similar. I wanted to remind you (and me) that not everything that we think about ourselves is true or to be believed.
Harder said than done, I know.