I admit it. I'm totally and utterly defeated. I've tried so hard to fight this, to try and still do at least some of the things I love to do, the things that make me, me, but I can't. I've put a smile on. I tell myself every single day that i'm lucky I only have the problems I do have and that things could be so much worse. I tell myself, well thank goodness I'm still drawing breath, i'm not crippled, I still have a life.
My problem is with the size of my life, which has gone from being SO big and full of possibilities, down to tiny, forcing me to do things I hate like sit around in order to rest. Previously, anything I wanted to do, I could do! The only thing I had to consider was money and time. If I could afford to do something and had the time to do it, then I could do it.
My world was as big as I wanted it to be, and now my life has shrunk. The things I can do have been so badly limited that i'm left with so few options, that I no longer feel like i'm living. Yes i'm drawing breath, but life to me is not simply about breathing, it's about doing and experiencing.
I have a hobby called LARP and I go to around 4-6 LARP events each year, or I used to. Some contain just a few hundred players, others, several thousand. The biggest event takes place over August bank holiday weekend and is something we talk about and plan for, weeks in advance. The event is as exciting to me as Christmas or going on holiday. It's a massive 5 day festival-like atmosphere where all of the players take part in a massive, complex, demanding and physical but fun game. We play a character of our choosing, we dress up and act like that character as the game unfolds, which is full of twists and very complex plot that we use our character skills to try and overcome. We all work together to combat the bad guys, and whilst dressing up and taking part in a live version of Lord Of The Rings isn't to everyones taste, i've met some truly amazing people doing it, and it's a hobby that I dearly love. The friends I have met through the game, are spread out all over the county but at least once a year, for the biggest annual event, we all get to spend precious time with each other.
I wanted to go, I booked the days off work at the start of the year, at the same time i bought my annual ticket that would allow me to play all the events (All events have a ticket price from around £45 to £60 per event and there is a very large 'back stage' team of crew that direct the players, consisting of actors who know the plot, game referees who make sure the rules are adhered to, make up artists, writers and plot team, first aiders and so on). So far this year I've managed only 1 event due to ill health, and had been unable to go to all of the other events i'd paid for. This was the biggie that I was determined to be at. I lasted less than 24 hours out of the 5 day event, I then had to drive home.
I have what is meant to be the holiday of a lifetime coming up to celebrate my 40th and my daughters 21st. I've invested a lot of money into a luxury fully catered snowboarding holiday for her and myself and we are going with 12 other friends. Usually around now, i'd be starting to get excited, but i'm filled with dread because if something doesn't change, I'll have spent all that money, to sit in the chalet, on my own, looking out at the mountains, using all my strength to resist the urge to hurl myself off the balcony.
Last night on my drive home from the event, I imagined myself over and over again just pressing my foot all the way down on the accelerator pedal and closing my eyes.
I know the signs. I'm suffering from depression, and only just managing to hold it together.
I know things could be worse, I know I should put things into perspective, but i'm fed up of feeling like i'm not allowed to mourn the loss of my life. I'm fed up of the impact this is having being casually shrugged off and i'm fed up of having to pretend that i'm strong and able to just get on with it.
I've worked so hard over the last 10 years to become a person I was happy to be, to be a person I liked and now, my entire identity has disappeared. I have no idea who I am. I just see myself as utterly useless, pointless and all the things that make me happy, all those things I would look forward to, I now no longer have. So now what?
I can not begin to explain how isolating this experience is. The stress i'm under as I continue to worry about every aspect of my health and the horrendous uncertainty of still not knowing has worn me down so much that I no longer have the ability to bounce back up again. I feel utterly, utterly powerless. I *should* have my second appointment with the Rheumy some time in November, but I won't even get a letter telling me about the appointment until 2 weeks before. What if that letter doesn't arrive? What if he is horrible and dismissive again and once again, gives me no answers, no course of treatment?
I am actually scared of what i'll do. Genuinely so.
I don't have close friends. I don't have a girlfriend I call regularly and share everything with. My partner, I feel, can only take so much and is struggling himself to come to terms with essentially becoming my carer and having to take on so much responsibility. I don't have anyone to turn to or to talk to and the way I feel, is something I remember feeling a long, long time ago, before I ended up in hospital having my stomach pumped when I had a nervous breakdown and was in the clutches of post natal depression.
Just admitting feeling this way, makes me loathe myself more because i'd worked so damned hard to leave that pathetic victim version of me behind.
I LIKE the old me just fine. This new me? The one that has to constantly make excuses and cancel plans, the one who is now unreliable after a lifetime of priding herself on her reliability. The one who loves music, but can't go to clubs or gigs or festivals any more. The woman who is so exhausted she just sits on the sofa; who is so forgetful that birthday cards get written but not posted, and is constantly forgetting things and losing personal possessions. The one who can no longer do the two hobbies (Snowboarding and LARP) that mean the world to her, that gave her a life back after many years suffering the isolation of depression - those things that saved me, I no longer have and I don't just dislike this new person. I loathe her.