So, I’ve been sharing others experiences, and will continue to do so, but I feel like one thing is missing. How can I expect others to open up if I don’t continue to do so myself? Yes I’ve admitted I’m struggling, but I haven’t explained myself in the same way many contributors have. Because of this, I’ve decided to share. 100% honestly. This will be difficult as I’ve never fully been honest, maybe not even with myself. Here goes nothing I guess…
When I spend any period of time by myself or able to think, my mind controls me. To someone who hasn’t experienced it, this may seem bizarre, but I’ll try to explain it as best I can. I’ve started with this because the lack of control is the worst part of it all. I can have good days, days where I laugh, smile, joke and appear fine. But there is always this feeling bubbling under the surface. The second I have time to think, it comes to the surface. I can sit for hours staring into space, dark thoughts in my head, unable to break out of it. This underlying darkness has been with me as long as I can remember.
I trust nobody, I can’t. I think that people are out to get me, I get too close to someone and I become defensive. I shut myself off. I always think there’s 3 layers to my personality. There’s the “me” you meet at first, kind, happy and carefree. But when I feel myself getting too close to someone, I become closed off, defensive and hide a lot about myself. Because of this, I gained a reputation at work as the “chav”, the lad only known for being the one who people were slightly scared of. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Luckily, if you break through that, which a few colleagues have, you get to the real me.
The real me is nothing like the “layer 2” me I portray. The defensive, cold hearted me. The real me is an overthinking, depressed, gay man, with trust issues and a complicated past.
Growing up was difficult. My parents did the best they could… well, one of them anyway. My dad and I have always been inseparable. I’m incredibly grateful for all the struggles he’s been through for me, and probably haven’t expressed it enough to him. The relationship with my mom was far more patchy. She left when I was young, and the “fiery” relationship I had with her growing up has definitely had an impact on me. My earliest memories are of hiding from her, as she rants and raves.
I guess what I’m trying to explain is that there are so many reasons for how I am, which contributes to this feeling of no control.
On top of this difficult relationship, I have the struggles with my sexuality. I don’t hate it, I’m not confused by it, but it’s contributed to a sense of not fitting in. I know I’m guilty of isolating myself, but I can’t help it, and being “different” on top of that doesn’t help. I’m not your stereotypical gay, and never took any Sh*t at school if anyone tried taking the piss. I used to get in scraps and things because of it.
Having been called a “bender” and a “f*ggot” by many in my time, and having lost a few friends because of it, I’d like to think I’m thick skinned to it now. That probably isn’t true. I likely wouldn’t have mentioned it if it were.
All these things together led to me having some anger problems. An example of this is aged about 13/14 I was kicked out of class after hurling a desk at my teacher. I was never allowed in their class again. Not my proudest moment, and I think back in disbelief at how I could’ve been that out of control. Yet, I still feel it, just manifested in different ways. Where I would’ve got into fights or arguments, now it’s more subtle. And usually directed at myself. Not a self hatred as such, but an anger. I drive myself mad with it.
I always looked for a way out, a way of feeling better. This has led to me developing an addictive tendency. As ridiculous as it sounds, in my early-mid teenage years I was addicted to caffeine to the extent that I would drink up to 20 red bulls in a day (Probably explains the desk hurling!!!). As I got older, this developed into smoking and drinking alcohol. I’d drink every day, but it would make me feel worse. Even recently, while I don’t drink as often, when I do, self control is hard. I’ve been known to spend a months pay on rounds of drinks in one night. I have no clue why. It can feel like a lottery, always the possibility that I could totally lose the plot.
However, it’s not all bad. I have found that this addictive tendency can be used for good. When I start something, I become obsessed. For example this blog, which I’ve only been writing a couple of weeks. I spend all day and night thinking about what to write. Maybe it’s unhealthy, but it’s just the way I am. It helps me distract myself from the total numbness I feel every day.
The problem is, eventually you burn out. For me, this usually ends up with me wandering somewhere, sitting and clutching my head in my hands, shouting at myself trying to get control back, hysterical. To an outsider, I’d seem completely mental, but I’m not. It’s sheer frustration. Frustration at myself, at the world, at whatever god there may or may not be. These are the points where I’ve had the darkest thoughts. If it wasn’t for my family, I would’ve made some stupid decisions long ago. I’ve written out my goodbyes before now, and I still have them. I keep them on me always. Not because I want to end it all, but to remind me never to go there again. I use it as my determination, a list of people who care; a list of reasons to live.
Another struggle is the numbness. I can have days where I don’t feel anything. This is far worse than it sounds. I can spend a day at work, not feeling like I’m even there. I feel like I’m watching myself, rather than actually existing. I know that sounds crazy, but it happens. It’s like a dream, like I’m living in third person. People talk to me, I hear myself reply, but I’m not really there. It’s like a dream. A horrifyingly realistic dream.
I can’t imagine myself growing old, far from it. I can barely think past the next hour, the next day, the next week. It’s a battle, and I’m fighting myself.
I used to worry myself sick about death, I’d give myself panic attacks over it, unable to comprehend just not existing. Now that doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t scare me at all. I guess that’s a positive, but it’s scarce comfort.
I can’t sleep. I sit up late every night thinking. Not worrying, not mulling things over, but just thinking; stupid thoughts just running round my head over and over, feeling alone. One of those times, I felt like I had run out of options to the extent I had to reach out. That’s how this whole thing was born. I tweeted that I was struggling, and was shocked that I’m not alone. Far from it. There’s loads of us, hundreds, thousands. A whole hidden epidemic; unseen, rarely dealt with.
This muddled dump of my thoughts is as close to an explanation as I can provide, yet It feels far from complete. If I could explain in real words the unending numbness I’ve experienced for periods of my life I would, but I can’t.
I have counselling, but it rarely feels like it helps. I feel like it’s too complex to get to the root cause of.
So, I’ve got a lot of thinking to do, about my future direction in life and what I want to gain from it. I’m not sure how it’ll pan out, but hopefully it gets better.
This may seem rambling, but it’s unedited. A brain dump as it were. I hope it shows why I genuinely want to help others who have the same struggle. For me it’s not a topic to talk about, it’s life. Thank you for listening, thank you for helping and thank you for being so supportive. I guess this is me putting it all out there, in the hope I can both help others, and find answers for myself. This blog site is not the end, I will not stop until I can make a real, genuine difference.
If it wasn’t for the response I had on here, I’m not sure I’d have managed to make it through the last few weeks. Instead, they have been some of the most positive days I’ve had in years. I genuinely think this can become big, a movement within our community to open up and help each other. We can lead the way, shine a light on issues and break down barriers and misconceptions. I want to develop this as far as it’ll go, and hopefully I can involve some of you along the way.