I was speaking to an old friend of mine on the phone last night. Just over a year ago she had no job and was single – really struggling to find or stay in a relationship. A year on she has a boyfriend she really likes and a job she is enjoying. And it was very interesting what she then said to me – “but I am still struggling with depression. It’s funny, you think when you finally get that special person you really enjoy being with things will change, but you still have to cope with yourself”.
So I have made it through another year. I am not sure if I should feel happy about that or not? Is existing an achievement? My therapist tells me that I expect too much from life. Not everyone can be exceptional and do great things - otherwise exceptional would just become ordinary. She says the same is true for life - wanting to feel my most energetic, happiest and most confident all the time is simply not realistic. Which leaves being ordinary. Feeling ordinary. I am just one of 7.5bn people trying to make sense of a largely ordinary life.....
It has been eight months since my last blog, which feels like a long time but at least has the advantage of making it easier to reflect on the highs and lows that have happened in that time.
I was pretty much ready to move job - indeed, thought I was going to get an offer in March. But March turned into June, June went to August, August to September - when I was actually interviewed - but since then, neither a yes or no.
I find it strange how I can be told something about myself, many times, over many years, and suddenly a point comes where I can finally really get it. In my case, that is how I feel about myself, and how that affects relationships with those around me.
I am writing this almost exactly a year after a I wrote a document "Things to do in my last year of life". I extended the three day rule I talk about in Help me to one year. I only had four things on that list.
Ever been handed something valuable and it just slipped out your hands onto the floor? I have been thinking more and more lately that the summer feels like one of those things, that somehow I can't hold on to without juggling it, but it turns to sand and I am trying not to let the sand all fall to the floor, but failing. I keep trying to catch the sand and it keeps slipping out. That is what my life feels like.
I am ashamed of who I am. Yes, no question about it. I am deeply ashamed that with a relatively good set of life circumstances, I spent the best part of four months wishing I was not alive. And really, I didn't want to be alive. Something seemed to stop me putting the thought into action, although I did research gas regulators at one stage. I don't even know what stopped me to be honest. Maybe I was too apathetic to even take action to kill myself.
This has been one of the harder updates on "my story" I have had to write. In fact, I positively don't want to write it. I don't want to admit to the millions that come on to this site that I am not a happy, well-adjusted person by now. I feel I have to stand as a shining example. So many people have said my story has inspired them. What happens if people read my story and conclude there really is no hope?
I thought I would post some links to recent articles about a proposed change to the law in the UK which would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose to terminally ill patients judged to have less than six months to live.
The changes were debated in the UK House of Lords, and provoked a very mixed reaction. The debate itself was split, and whilst the proposed change to the law was approved for further discussion, the consensus was the change was unlikely to become law.
This is the third try at starting to write this post. You see, some people write on their feedback surveys that the site is a disgrace. Some write that it is useless as it does not give enough info. Some say it is great. Some say my story is inspiring. So how to write a blog post that appeals to such a wide audience is beyond me!
I remember writing in the Help me section of the website that life is always changing. In February 2014, when I started writing this post, I had written:
So I sit here, alone in my home on Christmas Day 2013, and I already have tears in my eyes writing an update for the last 12 months. Running this site makes me very emotional. It touches me that so many people in dark and desperate places find their way to LostAllHope. It saddens me there are so many people in those places. It upsets me that so many people don't get the support and help they need.
People say they find my story inspiring, and so I thought it best to keep updating it to show that life goes on. Since my last update in April 2012, my mother passed away after a brave but ultimately tough-to-watch fight against cancer. My father died 18 months before that.
I am often surprised at the number of people who write in having read my story and saying it gave them hope, or inspired them to try live through the dark place they are in. My life does not feel that special. But it does feel very different to how I felt in my dark days in 2002. Not because I feel filled with optimism that life will work out great in the end, but more because I don't spend a good chunk of every day thinking about ending my life. I don't look forward to that event any more.
People have written in asking if I am still alive, or wanting to know if life is still a struggle. So I started posting an annual update to My story, but then had to remove the previous ones. So I have created a blog page, so people can read a little more about my journey, and I hope I will be able to post to it more than once a year.