I have been trying to write a blog post about cutting for the last couple of days, I actually have it mostly completed but for some reason I haven’t published it yet. I get distracted a lot, and today I got distracted by my negative thoughts. Typical. This happens a lot when I’m in my very depressed state of mind, and it is something that people without depression don’t seem to understand. I might not be a typical case of depression either, every person suffers differently, but I have noticed how my mind has changed. I process words differently now and I act differently too.
I have started learning Hebrew, I will probably give up. My motivation is so that I can speak to my online friend in her first language. Just as a side note I wrote “I will probably give up” just as the words came out of my head, this is no trick based on the subject of my post. I do give up on things a lot more now that I’m depressed, I tend to think I’m not good enough, or I think whatever I am trying is going to fail anyway so there is no point in trying. Some might say that is low self-esteem or a pessimistic view on life, and it might be. However I didn’t think like this before I got depression, and if I ever get back to my non-depressed self I’m sure I wont be thinking like this. It is a part of depression.
Anyway, back onto what I was going to say. On the main website I use to communicate with my online friend you can see when someone has read your message, which for me is a horrible feature. It’s not because I read people’s messages without replying, it is because whenever someone does not reply to one of my messages I get really upset. I don’t mean upset as in I’ll be sad for a few minutes and then message someone else, I mean extremely upset. Within a few minutes I’ll start using myself as the reason they didn’t reply, and then a few minutes later I’ll start thinking that they hate me, which then leads onto thinking everyone hates me. At some point I’ll either start self-harming or I’ll think about suicide. This will sound extreme to anyone who doesn’t suffer from a mental illness, and many of you who do will also think it is extreme. To me this is a normal part of my life. My friend will sometimes only read the message and then they will come back on a few hours later to reply, either because I’ve sent them a really long message (English is not their first language so reading a long message and replying in English is not ideal for them) or because they have work, school or religious commitments. They do reply later but by that time I have gone through the whole “everyone hates me” cycle. I’ve drawn a nice flow chart to show my thoughts.
I’m sure I’m starting to sound crazy or emotional unstable. When I absolutely hate myself I will say I’m crazy, other times I will just call myself emotionally unstable. These events do not just apply to my online friend. I have another “friend” who was going to meet me a few weeks ago, and within 10 minutes of them cancelling I decided that everyone hates me. Fortunately I didn’t have anything to self-harm with at the time, but my college now knows I sometimes punch trees as a form of self-harm which means I can self-harm in more places. It’s not just friends, family is even worse. I cannot stand my family, and I am convinced they all hate me. That is a whole different story, and I’ve been told by my college counsellor that I have a credible reason for it. Other things that get me upset? My favourite football team losing, dropping objects… yeah, dropping objects is a crazy one, this doesn’t really trigger me a lot but it has in the past. Well, you can only blame yourself if you drop something (unless someone pushes you).
This mind-set does not apply to every case of depression, and it doesn’t only apply to depression. People of various different mental illnesses can have this mind-set. The problem is I don’t know how you could help a friend with this mind-set without changing your plans. My online friend could reply every time they read my message, but it could take them 5 minutes to read and reply to a long message which means they could run late for something (especially her religious Shabbat, she’s not allowed to send me messages during that time and she can’t exactly be late for it). Or she could just not read my message until she knows she has enough time to reply, but I also get upset when she comes online without reading my message. Maybe she shouldn’t come online? Then I’ll either get worried about her or I’ll think she hates me. Basically, there is nothing she can do about it to stop me getting upset.
We have argued in the past, before either of us realised that I had a mental illness. She even stopped talking to me when it got bad and I would constantly threaten to kill myself. Those arguments were bad because neither of us understood how my mind works, fortunately we do now. Occasionally I will send her messages like “Why do you hate me?”, “Stop ignoring me” or “Please talk to me”. She understands how my mind works now. She doesn’t always stay online and talk for hours when I say these things, but she knows I’m in this state of mind again and she’s talk me out of it. I’m very lucky to have a friend like her even if she is just an online friend. A lot of online friends, or even real friends, could just stop talking to me forever. When someone understands the illness they are more sympathetic. I don’t expect her to talk care of me, and if I did something really offensive I wouldn’t expect her to talk to me. When we have an understanding of each other, our friendship can work.
I guess this applies to every relationship you have in your life, if you don’t understand or get along with the other person then the relationship will fail. However I think this is particularly important to relationships with people suffering from mental illnesses, and you need to have some sort of education on the subject. I might always think that everyone hates me, and I might always get too emotional over small things. The best I can hope for is that the people around me understand what I’m going through, and I’m happy to settle for that.