Nice Days Don't Reach Everyone

by ukconfederate about a year ago in bipolar

Let me explain...

Nice Days Don't Reach Everyone

I’m the first to admit that I’m a real moaning git when I have anything wrong with me. I hate being ill, even in the slightest way. I always feel like I’m a "malfunctioning human" when I’m ill... "defective"... a thought contributed to by people close to me slagging me down because I can’t work and make money.

For a few years now, constant disabling pains in different parts of my body, depression, and the bipolar curse in general (as I call it) mean I just "exist," in a way that nobody seems to understand (including me sometimes).

I feel like I’m not running on all cylinders and my body’s not working properly. I’ve often said, "If I was a car they’d have scrapped me years ago."

But to return to my opening words, the reason I'm a person who tells people close to me when I have aches pains or an illness that's out of my control is because if I stay quiet about something that’s bugging me, pulling me down, or generally making me feel crap, (a) nobody gets why I am a bit grumpy and down in the dumps, and (b) if I DO mention something later when I’ve been ASKED why I seem so pissed off, and/or angry for no obvious reason, I almost always get the reply, "Well that’s the first I’ve heard of it, you’ve never mentioned it before. You CAN’T have been in pain all that time and not said anything. You look fine to me. You’re a hypochondriac.”

So I can’t win really. If I share my problems, I’m a moaning sod that just needs to be a man and get on with life regardless, I need to "man-up," "pull myself together," and if I DON’T mention something’s wrong with me, people think, "It can’t be that bad, or you’d have mentioned it."

But I’ll try to explain the shit that goes on in my life anyway, although I know it won’t be easy to do in a way that people will understand. There are so many things in my day to day life that are affected and that happen, and it’s quite possible I’ll probably forget to mention something anyway, but I’ll try.

Psychological shit, aches, pains, diabetes, psoriasis, evil headaches, and Christ knows what other bollocks my body or mind throws at me take some coping with, but they're all things I tolerate daily. Even with prescribed chemicals to help, when doctors, consultants, shrinks, or even family ask, "What does it actually do to you, how do you feel, how is your day to day life?” and I try to explain time after time after time to them all, I always feels like they just don’t get it, or they think I’m exaggerating. But when I know myself that something is wrong with me physically or mentally, I’ll fight tooth and nail forever to get to the bottom of it, 'til somebody figures it out and gives me some help in some way. It’s really monotonous though, having to continuously repeat myself, and I wish they’d all come together in the same room just once so I could tell them all in the same day.

My take on MY pains ? I haven’t had one single pain-free day for as far back as I can remember. The same applies to my screwed up brain... I’ve had no mental peace for years. No, I’m not exaggerating, they're facts. Can you even begin to comprehend what that’s like?

I’ll tell you. It makes your life a misery. Thing is, because I’m 65-years-old (September 2019), it’s very easy for people to assume (and say) that my pains are just due to "getting older." But they are NOT age-related pains. When I’ve personally seen people who look 5 years older than me jogging, it’s pretty obvious there’s something amiss with myself. I’ve never been a fitness freak or sporty person, so I suppose you could say I would feel my age more than someone who is physically fit for their age, but I still don’t accept that the shit I put up with on a daily basis, painwise, is typical for my age group. So read this, and draw your own conclusions.

This is how life rolls for me. I suffer a lot of trouble with my back. It aches more or less constantly, but it throws in the odd stabbing pains during the day on top of the constant ache. It’s even dropped me to my knees totally unexpectedly before, but believe it or not, the aches and pains are something you just get used to... to a degree. I just tolerate it with the help of painkillers.

It’s an annoying fact, but kind of understandable I suppose, that people instantly think when anyone mentions problems with their back, "Oh THAT old chestnut,” which riles me into trying to explain all the ins and outs of why MY pains aren’t the common or garden variety of backache. Although God knows why I feel I have to explain to idiots.

Yes, I know millions of people get back trouble, and many can shrug it off and just soldier on, but the pains I get in my back aren’t just "ordinary" backaches people get after hard manual work like digging or lifting heavy objects. They’re pains that take very little physical effort to antagonise and pains that "come on" with such power that they force me to stop whatever I’m doing and find somewhere to sit down sharpish. If I can't find somewhere to sit, I have to press my back against something solid for a while 'til the pain eases a bit, often with a tear in my eye.

I’ve had loads of chats with my doctor about it, and after he arranged an MRI scan, the scan results showed that I have three damaged discs between the vertebrae in my spine. My doctor thinks this is probably what’s causing a lot of my problems. He said he has seen worse, but they are damaged or excessively worn (can’t remember exactly which he said).

I was told that there IS an operation that can be had to correct a damaged disc, but (a) nobody can guarantee it will definitely cure the problem, and (b) they won’t (or can’t) do it for three discs. Particularly when, as in my case, they are in three different places on the spine. As a corrective operation seems to be out of the question, I’ve used prescribed co-codamol regularly for a long time. It doesn’t stop the pains completely, but it does tone it down a bit and make it more bearable. But at least the MRI scan has shed some light on what’s possibly causing my aches and pains, which is some kind of move forward.

As I’ve said, my doctor thinks the pains in other parts of my body that I’ve mentioned to him could also be because of the damaged discs, but to give an insight of how it all affects a "normal" day for me, I can tell you that I sometimes even hear my back or neck "crunching" during normal body movements, and occasionally, my left shoulder does it, but my neck, both shoulders, elbows, wrists, legs, and feet all hurt on a regular basis.

My legs cause me a LOT of pain. It’s a hard pain to describe, and the only comparison I can think of is to say it’s like having toothache in my legs. I don’t have to do anything strenuous or walk very far before the pain gets real bad, but it’s more or less always present. Dull aches. Not every minute of every day, but a lot, let's put it that way. Whatever causes it also makes all of my leg muscles ache as though I have just finished the London marathon... not some ordinary everyday task. I don’t care what anyone tries to convince me of, it’s definitely not normal, and it’s very restrictive. When I’m standing or walking (whether I am actually doing anything at the same time or not), I am constantly looking around me for potential places to sit down quickly if I need to. My leg pains also restrict what I can do these days. Family occasions and days out for example, are a waste of time for me, because I know I will only hinder whoever I am with, probably prevent someone else from having a good time, and I’d only antagonise my aches and pains.

When I’m in pain when I’m walking, Douglas Bader (the famous WWII pilot who had two artificial tin legs) springs to mind, which makes me think I shouldn’t complain about my legs and pushes me to do my best to keep going. But MY legs feel like they have lead wrapped round them, or I suppose it could be compared to trudging through deep snow. Very heavy going, and very painful. Every step is like jumping to the ground from a ten foot high wall. Jolts in other words, not steps. To the very last moments of the last job I worked at, I was often close to tears whilst walking to the employees car park, but I would tell myself, “Keep going, keep going... nearly there, don’t think about it, just press on... one foot in front of the other,” and I knew then I had to do something about it. I couldn’t live like that any more. I’m 100% certain that there’s not many people on the planet who could tolerate the pain I sometimes walked (and worked) through.

But not only walking causes me pain. Even when I am sitting in comfortable, relaxed surroundings or moving around doing something, I know that my legs (and/or back) beginning to hurt is inevitable, and knowing that really pulls me down in spirit. It makes it hard to enjoy anything I do, and also makes me nasty tempered. In a good seating position with my legs supported (on a coffee table), I can sometimes be pain free for awhile, and it's like someone injected me with morphine... absolute, luxurious, pain-free bliss. Yet soon after, I have to alter my position again because the pains return, even though I WAS comfortable. So I will sit in a normal sitting position (feet on the floor, back against the seat, which is a well-known good posture to prevent or restrict backaches) and I am fine again... for a while.

I’ve also discovered that if I lay flat on my back on a hard floor with my bum tight into a chair and my legs and feet on the cushion of the chair (like being in a sitting position but laid on my back), it can calm down some pain in about half an hour. That is how my days go. I have to think about what's to be done that day, work out whether I can do it or not, where I can sit when I start hurting, how I can do the least walking or standing possible, and whether or not I'll need help to do it. I get angry about it all at times, which just makes me more down-in-the-dumps and leads to me snapping at people for what seems like no apparent reason (to them).

I WAS a person who enjoyed D.I.Y. most of my adult life, and though I can still do some things, there’s a lot I can’t do anymore due to my pain issues. Sometimes I can handle it when I’m doing something (I think I block it out because I’m concentrating on what I’m doing), but sometimes, it’s just too much. The pains shut me down and I have to give up for the day, but not everyone understands that or tries to. It’s annoying to ME that I’ve had to admit defeat for the day, annoying that people don’t try to understand WHY I’ve had to quit something part-way through, it’s painful, frustrating, and self confidence crushing.

As an example of how the smallest of effort affects me, I’ll tell you how I once spent a day washing and waxing my car. BIG mistake. Not a strenuous task by any stretch of the imagination, but it caused pain while I was doing it due to a bit of bending up and down to clean and shine the bottoms of the doors I suppose, but it’s hardly like "a day’s work," is it? But that wash and wax day completely wiped me out. It caused me shitloads of pain later that evening and forced me to go to bed early. I actually felt "ill" in a way I couldn’t put my finger on. I didn’t want to discuss it with anyone, and I couldn’t concentrate on anything to take my mind off it (i.e. TV). Just a horrible feeling of being "not right," and the ill feeling, the pain, and the stiffness stayed with me all of the next day.

Speaking of hitting the sack, I assume that going to bed is something most people look forward to, or at least enjoy once they get there. Yeah? I don’t. (a) I don’t often get a full night’s (undisturbed) sleep, if I get any at all, and (b) if I do get anything resembling a "normal" sleep, if my sleep gets broken, I will go downstairs and often don’t go back to bed. I feel wide awake when I get downstairs, which is odd because when I wake up at a typical waking-up time like 6, 7, or 8AM, it takes me an hour or so to feel human. I don’t like conversation, I don’t like noise, and I like to wake up gradually whilst drinking a coffee.

The other side to me going to bed is, when I do, I go upstairs with my body level with the angle of the stairs, and I have to use my hands on each step as well as my feet. It helps keep the pains in my back and legs down a bit. I have no idea why, but I just don’t have the "power" in my legs to walk up stairs properly anymore. I come downstairs by having one shoulder on the wall (which I keep in sliding-contact with the wall all the way to the bottom) and take one step at a time, as gently as I can, because like I’ve mentioned already, every step is a painful jolt if I don’t.

My wife says we should try to get a bungalow, but to be honest, I don’t mind the way I get up and down the stairs; it’s slow, but it works for me, it keeps pain to a minimum, and I like the house we have. It’s just another thing I’ve gotten used to as part and parcel of how things are for me. I suppose some would describe it as a "struggle," but it doesn’t bother me that much.

Once I DO get into bed, nine times out of ten my calf muscles begin twitching like mad, and aching. At the same time, my feet often ache or cramp up on me, especially if I’m not absolutely "shattered" and able to go to sleep quickly. If my feet start cramping, I have to get out of bed and put my feet flat on the floor to make the cramps calm down, and once I’ve laid down in my bed, getting out again quickly isn’t easy. But I recently learned that a lack of magnesium in the body can cause muscle twitching and maybe some kind of magnesium supplement would help me where that’s concerned? I think I will experiment by adding magnesium to my body somehow. It’s said to play a big part in muscle relaxation, so a lack of it can cause unintended muscle movement. Bad headaches (which I also suffer from) can also be caused by a lack of magnesium, so I’m definitely going to look into it more. The thing is, I’ve always believed that laying down in bed was the most relaxing position possible, but it seems that’s not always the case.

At one point I even wondered if my twitching muscles and cramps were somehow connected to diabetes (another of my malfunctioning body’s defects), but I have regular blood tests for diabetes and no bad results have ever come back. I’ve also had various tests to take my pulse at my ankles to check for circulation problems, but nothing out of the ordinary has ever been revealed. To be honest, I think my doctor has run out of ideas for what could be wrong with me besides my back troubles, but believe me, he’s not half as baffled as I am, I can assure you. I just know whatever it is, iy makes my life a misery.

Another odd thing about my sleeping time which I've never understood is that no matter how much (or little) sleep I get, I never, and I mean NEVER, wake up feeling refreshed. Each morning I wake up is like waking up with a hangover; I have the most evil headache. How can that happen? After a good night's sleep, how can you wake up with a headache? If it’s not connected to a lack of magnesium, why does it happen? I’ve been asleep in a normal "laid-down" position (the most relaxing position for the human body), and sleep allegedly rests the mind, so why does waking up feel that way to me? It can also take up to an hour for me to reach "ready-for-the-day" and sociable mode, but even then I’m quite often still drowsy and in a mood like a bear with a thorn in it’s paw. Basically, I wake up enough to get moving for the day, but feel like a zombie in a Michael Jackson video. The smallest of noises also irritates me beyond belief when I’ve just gotten up, especially if they’re repetitive. I feel an instant, unnatural anger towards any source of noise I hear. Absolutely hate it.

But to elaborate on my strange methods of getting to and from my bed, they obviously only happen when I CAN go to bed, and by that I mean when my mind calms down enough to let me feel tired, because I also suffer with bipolar disorder, and it causes me a lot of overthinking (as some call it).

There have often been times when our household has reached its "tiredness wall" and gone to bed, and I can still feel wide awake, but I have to add, I admit that I do enjoy the quietness of nighttimes. Nobody around, no conversations to get entangled in, no dramas to hear of or be part of, nothing to explain to anyone. For those reasons it is a time when I think a lot. It’s a time during which I reflect on the problems of the galaxy (joke) the time I try to fathom things out (but never do), thinking of things I want to say, see, do, plan for, or even things that’ve happened that day, so I often have a million and one things swirling ‘round in my head, and I have no chance of sleeping when I’m like that. I don’t really have any option but to stay awake 'til I feel I’m becoming drowsy, and as often as not, mess around on my computer to pass time.

Why won't other people (my wife in particular) try to understand these things? They aren’t things I decide for myself, they just happen. Who would CHOOSE to be awake till three, four, or even five in the morning when they have a comfortable bed they could be in? Common sense should make EVERYONE understand it’s not a choice. It makes me fuming angry when ANYONE asks, "Why do you sit up half the night?"

When I eventually begin to feel like my thoughts ARE calming down, and head for bed at around 3AM (onwards), I think to myself, "At last, I’m tired," but if I do get to sleep once in bed, it obviously means I will probably sleep 'til late that morning. These times of being awake 'til the early hours and then sleeping in 'til mid-morning aren't what could be called frequent, but nobody, including my wife, understands THAT when it happens either. It seems to be viewed like I’ve stayed awake on purpose throughout the night for whatever imagined reason.

The flip side of the coin is, at any time of day (or evening), I can also nod off while sitting up in a chair, a sofa, a car (anywhere in fact) without even being aware I was going to. No drowsy feeling at all, just instantly gone. These day or evening "instant naps’" aren’t always due to lack of sleep the night before either, because sometimes it happens even if I have had a good previous night's sleep.

I know that this bipolar curse also makes me (often unnecessarily) volatile as well as very open to falling into very deep depression. I can sometimes explode on someone with very little reason. When I do, I will say or do anything to the person who has upset me to upset THEM. This usually includes abusive insults and literally anything at all that comes to mind that will hurt or shock the person in question. Sometimes, during these rants I will say things that don't have anything to do with what’s riled me, and I’ve even (literally) stopped mid-sentence before and questioned myself, "What the hell are you talking about man, that’s not even anything to do with what’s going on here?” and I wonder where the thought came from. It’s not a nice feeling. It’s very weird and baffling to ME, never mind other people I’m saying it to.

Worst of all is the fact that the "off-subject" things I might say are often not even my own real feelings or thoughts about the subject I’m rambling about. It’s also not uncommon for me to have pieces of what has been said (or done) during one of my rants missing. I always recall some of it, sometimes even what caused it, but when there are pieces I can’t fill in, it feels really weird, and I wonder why I have gaps. People have even told me things I’ve said or done at a later time or day and it feels like they’re talking about someone else. I find it really hard to accept what they are telling me was said or done by me. "If I said or did what you say I did, I’m SURE I would remember THAT,” is my instinctive reaction, and I often don’t believe them and feel they are playing with my mind, which is actually downright cruel in my book if that's the truth.

When people discuss bipolar disorder, I often hear the word "triggers" mentioned.

If I have grasped what they mean by triggers properly, I can tell you that what "triggers" ME into bipolar "episodes" can be something as minor as sarcasm aimed at me, repetitive noise (especially when I have just woken up), anything that could be perceived as aggression aimed at me, a challenge, a threat, an insult, rudeness, ordering me to do something rather than ASKING me to do it, and trying to make me appear foolish or unintelligent will all cause a bad reaction, which I’m really not in control of. Nobody seems to believe that, but it's the truth. Once I am into a bipolar rant (as I call them), it's very hard to get out of. Other people just don’t get that. There are even times when I've known someone was deliberately trying to goad me into reacting, but I can’t NOT react, and I go into one of my rants despite knowing I've been purposely launched.

It’s cost me dearly over the years, leading to me having no friends at all today. Literally. I have people I speak to via social media, but no friends or anyone I could say I hang out with. Some purposely stay away from me because they either don’t understand my strange moods and outbursts or because they have no desire to understand any of it, and some because they have been on the receiving end of some of my abuse and simply don’t want to put up with it.

Being Billy-no-mates has lead to me to: (1) not going out anymore at nights or weekends at all, (2) almost completely stopping drinking alcohol drinks, (3) barely seeing anyone other than my own family, (4) having nothing to do with things that were important or enjoyable to me before, (5) not receiving phone calls from anyone, nor phoning anyone myself, (6) not speaking on a phone at all, (7) not going in shops, (8) having no desire for holidays, (9) having no desire to travel anymore, and (10) not trusting anyone. So I mostly stay at home, I rarely go out anywhere, and I feel pretty much okay in my own surroundings with no "visitors."

Bipolar disorder also affects my marriage, my relationship with my adult kids, people I might work with, and everyone else around me, and I feel that people think they have to walk on eggshells when I’m around. That in itself upsets me in my heart and in my head and then leads to the "overthinking" and depression side of bipolar disorder. A deep, dark and lonely hole to be in, believe me. I've always thought of it like being stuck in a very deep well with no ladders and no hope of anyone throwing me a rope.

I don’t like the idea of people feeling they have to be careful of what they say to me because they don’t want to "set-me-off." It makes me feel like some evil ogre or something, and people having to be wary of what mood I’m in at any given time is something that pulls me down. It’s a horrible and lonely feeling.

To explain the connection to whatever work I do, I need to explain that when these bipolar "episodes" happen, it’s not really a good idea for me to be around other people... ANY people (another reason I prefer not to attend family gatherings), because my tolerance of people generally is tiny these days, but particularly for anyone I think is being sarcastic, hostile, ridiculous or just plain stupid towards me. I know that I can be extremely nasty when provoked, so it’s best that I always work alone when I AM working.

General hustle and bustle is another "trigger" that annoys me beyond the point of no return. I don’t know why, I just don’t like crowds, shops, marketplaces, or even being in cities for example. Everything seems to be hurry hurry quick quick in a city environment or even just when there’s a lot of people about. Tense, and (to me) unnecessary frenzied dashing about, bumping shoulders with people, heavy traffic, exhaust fumes, careless drivers to avoid, honking horns... it all drives me nuts.

I used to be what they call a "people person," and I had many friends & acquaintances (probably more than most people I’d say). I enjoyed parties, chatting and having a few beers, getting drunk and having a laugh, and traveling around on my motorcycles, but all those things are gone now. All those things, and my previous lifestyle, deliberately banished from my life (by me). But the truth of it all is I’ve got used to the quiet life, and I don’t want any friends. I don't want to have to decide whether to trust someone or not. I’ve actually grown to prefer to be alone (despite the odd twinges of lonely feelings it causes) because I know I can’t upset anyone, and nobody can upset me and send me into one of my crazy rants. It’s a calmer uncomplicated quieter life.

I suppose some would say I’ve become a bit of a hermit, but I don’t see it that way. I feel I’m kind of staying at home alone in other people’s best interests as much as my own. Besides, I like being at home. When I don’t socialise with others, I can last a long time with no bipolar "incidents" at all, and therefore, I can have a quiet and peaceful life. I call it “if you don’t rattle my cage, I’ll be just fine” time. Being at home and seeing only my own family is what makes me feel good nowadays, and I don’t want that to change now.

Another strange thing I’ve noticed that happens to me is I suffer dizziness for some reason now and then. I don’t know if it’s related to my back problem or if it is something that is typical of bipolar disorder or even my age, but losing my balance when taking simple steps over some (often minor) obstacle or standing up quickly is another thing that’s an almost everyday curse for me. I have no warning it’s going to happen and have ended up on the floor or ground a few times because of it, and usually (as my luck goes) when nobody is there to help me up. That’s the way things go for me these days. I’ve even fallen and crashed into a load of things in my garage before and had to lay there a minute to get my bearings, so to speak, before I can get to my feet again. I don’t feel unstable during normal standing sitting or walking, it only happens when I have to step over something awkwardly. Again, it’s another thing I’ve come to accept that just makes me concentrate more when I have to do it.

My only real worry about the dizziness malarky (apart from the possibility of dying the same way my Dad did) is that it’s something MS sufferers cope with, and my younger sister was diagnosed with MS a LONG time ago. If it’s hereditary, could that be the root of a lot of my physical problems? Here’s an extract I copied from an MS article when I was looking for info about dizziness that makes me wonder:

"There’s a few MS symptoms that can affect balance and increase the risk of falling. These include muscle stiffness (spasticity, spasms, twitching), weakness and or numbness, tremor, pains, visual problems, and fatigue. MS can also cause dizziness and vertigo, which can make it difficult to remain upright unsupported.

Around one in five people have reported balance problems as one of their first symptoms of MS. Studies have found that seven out of ten people experience balance problems at some time during the course of their condition."

Having my enthusiasm for something coming and going is another thing I realised that happens to me, and when I looked into it, I found out that losing interest in something you’ve always been into is a trait of bipolar disorder? In my case, I can be mega-enthusiastic about something, some D.I.Y. job I have to do or just something I enjoy, like messing around on my computer, remodeling the interior of my motorhome, whatever, and then my enthusiasm just vanishes as quickly as it came. I can be obsessed with something 110% for a few days, even longer, but I wake up one morning and whatever I was into for the past few days is suddenly less important to me (which I don’t realise has happened to me at the time) and it’s gone from my mind. I don’t want another day of what I was doing, and I think to myself, "What I was doing will wait 'til another day when I can get back into it." But right there and then, that day, I’ve lost interest. I often go back to finish things days or weeks later (sometimes months), but never soon enough for my wife. But I suppose the "dumping" of friends can also be tied in with this vanishing enthusiasm thing.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, knows or wants to know, or tries to understand, all that kind of "behind the scenes in my mind" shit. I just get slagged-off for not finishing things the same time/day/week/month that I started doing them.

When I’m in a deep depression, I hate being in a situation where there are a bunch of people. I’ll always try to avoid it, but if it has to happen, then chances are, I didn’t want to be there in the first place, and even more than two people are too much for me. It’s too "busy."

I also hate pointless chit-chat and any nearby noise has the same effect on me, such as as someone pulling a fork from their mouth whilst gripping it with their teeth or fingernails scratching down a blackboard. The chitter-chatter feels like I’m sitting in a chicken coop with every single chicken clucking. When I get up and leave, people must think I’m being antisocial, but it’s really nothing to do with them personally, I just feel I can’t cope with it. I bear it for as long as possible, more to be polite than anything, but when I reach that point, I have to leave, and have no option. It’s ridiculous and pathetic I know, but that’s how things are for me.

People comment things like, "You’re lazy," "You should get a job," "Man-up," "You look fine to me,""All our financial problems are caused by you," "It’s your fault we have to scrimp and scrape," "Sort yourself out," and "Grow a pair," and when I hear shit like that directed at me, I actually feel sorry for the person saying it. If only they’d at least TRY to understand the shambles in my head and the constant pains I have every day, then they might realise why I am the way that I am, why I’m a bit odd at times, why I’m withdrawn at times, why I appear to be miserable (even when I’m not), and why I get suddenly nasty over some petty thing that they wouldn’t get nasty about.

Just living a day to day life takes tons of self discipline, effort, determination, and concentration for me, and holding my temper, and keeping my mouth shut at the right times is an achievement in itself.

To sum up how life is for me these days is, I believe that constant pain and bipolar disorder somehow feed each other. Pain makes me short-tempered, nasty, or at the least down in the dumps and depressed, and being down in the dumps is in the realms of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder also makes me angry, abusive, act out of character, and generally behave like a nutcase.

Here’s a few lines from a note I made once just after I stopped working:

"It’s exhausting trying to get through a bad day. I CAN get some things done, but I often can’t do my best. It takes much longer to accomplish things. There’s a lot of staring off into space, trying to regain control of my mind. What American soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War used to call 'the thousand-yard stare.'"

Sometimes, I couldn’t do anything at all. I could be in a long, drawn-out blank daze all day, or it would take all day to do hardly anything. That just dragged me down into a deeper place and darker depression.

I used to manage to force myself to go to work, but there’d be times when just the thought of being there would be pull me down so much that I’d walk back to my van in the car park and stand there for five minutes, deciding whether to go back home or stay. I'd usually go back on site to do my job, but eventually, the time came when I couldn’t.

I’d sometimes even feel disappointed that I'd woken up that morning, and I would wish I could sleep forever to escape the mess inside my head.

I’ve even cried without knowing WHY I’m crying. What the hell’s that about? Who the hell does THAT? Everything just seems so hopeless at times.

Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
See all posts by ukconfederate