I don't really know how to start this or what I'm hoping for, maybe just that writing everything down might help clear my head a little.
Been feeling really horribly low lately, crying often, for no apparent reason. I went through what was in hindsight a pretty bad period of depression, lasting around 3 years on and off when I was at uni and for a period after. At the time I had no concept of being in the grip of an illness, I just felt I was drowning in misery. Felt useless, lonely, like a total outsider amongst my circle of friends – I was doing a performance course and everyone else was so confident and bubbly, the life and soul of the party. I meanwhile would be on a night out, wishing the ground would swallow me up but determined to be there in an attempt to feel "normal". I was hugely dependent on my best friend and became irrationally jealous and possessive of her, to the point where I risked ruining what has proved to be the most important friendship in my life. It was as much as I could do to get out of bed in the morning – normal conversation seemed an impossible mountain to climb, I felt like I was sleepwalking through the days, everything blurred into one. The urge to get at whatever it was in my head that was causing me such pain was physical, I had visions of smashing my skull with a hammer to stop the voice that constantly told me how worthless I was. I began self harming, not badly and not frequently, but whenever I felt overwhelmed by misery I found it helped to give the pain a physical outlet; to take it out of my head and turn it into something I could see and understand. It got to the point where I took a load of paracetamol one night, more in an attempt to sleep and not have to think anymore than to kill myself, I literally felt I would go insane if the voices in my head didn't stop. That seemed to mark a turning point of sorts; I finally acknowledged that I had a real problem and I guess the cloud ever so slowly began to lift. I met a wonderful guy who was a huge help, just feeling loved for who I was, having someone believe I wasn't a freak gave me back some confidence and self esteem. We split up after 2 years, but I'm forever grateful to him for giving me my life back and seeing me through some very difficult times after uni.
As I said, in hindsight I should probably have sought professional help but I thought it was just the way I was, not realising I had an illness that might be treated. And since then when I've started feeling low again I've always been able to remind myself that I've gotten through it before and can do again.
I'm writing now because I feel it starting to take over again; creeps up so slowly and quietly doesn't it? And suddenly you're crying again, constantly anxious, feeling you should have done more, you should BE more by now. I'm coming to the end of my contract at work, terrified of having to find a new job (I'm an actress – jobs are hard to come by) I've felt unhappy in my current job for a long time, which is frightening considering it's what I supposedly want from my career. Starting to question how much I want to continue in such a precarious industry, the stress of it is overwhelming sometimes. But I often feel I'm defined by my work – it took over my life from a pretty young age and I have absolutely no idea what I'd do work-wise if not this. More to the point, I have no idea who I'd be without it. I feel desperately lonely, I'm not good at being single and would give anything to be in a loving relationship, but find it difficult to believe someone might want to be with me, my confidence is pretty much zero right now. I'm unhappy in my flat, my housemates are not particularly considerate and I miss living with people I'm close to. Basically, I'm scared. I can feel myself starting to lose my grip and slip backwards, and it scares me. I'm not close enough to my family to feel I could talk about any of this with them; I think they might suspect I get low, but I doubt they have any idea how bad it's gotten in the past. And I feel like a burden to my friends sometimes – I know they don't see it that way, but I don't want to worry people, don't want them to know I'm not coping, don't want them to feel they have to treat me differently or look after me. Thought maybe advice from someone impartial might help.
If anyone has got to the bottom of that epic post – thanks. Any advice would be appreciated. Seeing it in black and white does help, a little.