Living with a Generalised Anxiety Disorder I am never far from one form of intense suffering or another. I saw the lockdown coming from a way off. A looming growing surreal threat that I could feel viscerally would be coming to the UK. At first, an overwhelming sense that life will never be the same again and some relief that I was being told to isolate. I’ve spent a great deal of my life peering at life from the glove compartment through a periscope. Being alone holds few fears for me. I am very self-contained. As a child, I had no friends as an effeminate, awkward child in deep and unresolved grief at the constant bullying and death of my parents when I was young. I know the brutality of life. I know that all may not end well. My nervous system constantly takes me to terror and despite years of therapy and medication, I am stuck with Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety, and Generalised Anxiety. Sometimes the worry feels like it can almost pre-empt the next wave of unbearable things that life is throwing at me.
At first, I made lists for things to achieve in the day and ticking them off no matter how small the achievement felt like a forward going process. Two saints of the LGBT+ community did shopping for me and they were my only human live contact. A brief, distanced meeting at the door step…
Facebook has been my saviour and tormentor. It gives attention when I need it least and floods me with likes when I feel self-contained, content and solid. I’m cynical enough to assume that some grotesque algorithm is playing out some AI programme to be used in the future when we are subjects of the six people who own the world and they need these insights to control the unwashed masses.
In some ways, my life is very similar to how it was… except for many weeks, I did not venture outside the flat. The first day I did it felt like a voyage into the surreal. The streets mostly deserted. A peace and freshness and timelessness drenched the streets. The frenzy had gone. This was something disturbing. The nightmare beneath the surface felt tangible. The aftermath of the mothballing of capitalism. This of course will be felt most by the poor.
What with Climate change, a government that seems to have enchanted people into believing its constant gaslighting, I long ago gave up the belief that the crowd is wise. I have always felt opposition to anything that is believed en-masse…
The descent of the UK into the jaws of Brexit has exhausted me. From hope, to disbelief to now a weary anger turning to ennui.
I have been doing a lot of self-harm. Addictive compelling skin picking. Ripping bits of flesh and scar from various parts of my body. A digging routing psychological ridding myself of the imperfection of scars. They must be ripped off. Only to appear again. There is a silent ecstasy in the pain. A release, a control, compulsive compelled and constant…
I had great plans to achieve poetry, art, creativity. Great ideas fall into thre vacuem of my inactivity and lack of motivation. My home is not a haven (noise and neighbour issues). So to be here is also a heavy energied immersion in different levels of the unbearable.
YouTube has been a lifesaver, hour after hour learning about Co-Dependency which describes and explains a great deal of my experience in life. Also, the gradual understanding of narcissism. Co-Dependants are lunch for Narcissists. I have been consumed many times in my life. Giving and giving and giving of my life force right down to my core. Deconstructed, consumed, rejected and in the cycle of hell that these connections always bring. I didn’t learn the simple rules of interaction in my childhood and an irascible and volcanic father made the centre of my being and happiness outside myself. An appeaser and studier of other people’s happiness first, I cannot contain my own self-esteem. It is reflected back to me… Happiness in the hands of others is precarious and doomed to failure…
Some days I have dreamed of not being. Stopping. Ceasing. Stopping feeling. Stopping being. I have never been able to communicate to people the agony I feel to be outside this flat and in company. To the casual observer, I can appear as a larger than life raconteur and at times in my drinking life a bon viveour… Faces on faces on the sad faces on the deep suffering that sit on the reality of my authentic self.
I feel differently at present. Have been meeting friends outside with social distancing. The future really worries me. The fall out of all of this feels like a heavy burden that is slowly unraveling. I have limited resources, financially and personally … and the fight is dying in me. Perhaps that is the emerging entrance into old age. The redefinition from obviously sexual being to what remains when that fading charm totally falls away.
I can’t really join in with this society. I am about to be 57. I dream of a flat high up from the streets. Far away from neighbours. Far away from enforced social interaction. I dream of worlds and lives that can never be. A cottage in a field with a moat, a large dog and a placid horse and someone to do all the unbearable yet simple things. I can dream…
Today I am too frightened to go out. I feel a deep grief come over me. Another day of getting older. Perhaps I am lonely. I haven’t had physical contact with my gentlemen caller for months. Unless a herd immunity happens, unless infection gives immunity. Or an inoculation is effective. I can’t think how this is going to end satisfactorily.
The sun just came out and that makes me feel isolated. Life seems very easy for so many (I’m sure it isn’t really) and I feel very forgotten. Forgotten to myself. Forgotten by a Gay Community that I have been becoming more and more distant from. I stopped drinking about 2 years ago. Drink oiled the machinery of my social life.
I can be outspoken, odd, awkward and vocal. I feel isolated from the decisions of the community I am allegedly a member of. Part of my Co dependency is to throw my self-worth out into the hands of others and that seldom has a happy conclusion.
I am getting some telephone support. This causes me as much anxiety as it allays and the support feels perfunctory and impersonal. I have piled on the pounds. Done a lot of family history research. Sat in the chaos of my flat exhausted by the simplest thing. Paralyzed. I do the simple things which give immediate feedback. Eating, posting endless nonsense on Face Book.. Being, watching time pass and life pass. Lots of thinking and contemplating the nature of existence. Quite often wishing to disappear from consciousness and fade away. Never to have to feel anything again.
I miss my voluntary job with a mental health walk. I miss the people. I miss a drop in I used to attend. I heard they have online meetings. I wasn’t invited to be part of that. That makes me sad. It is possible to completely fall through every net. Some seem to be caught by them all. I have always fallen through nets.
A text message exchange has occured. I am meeting a friend tomorrow. The world feels brighter. I can’t get out today. The fear is too much. Yesterday I got frantic to get home. The panic built and built and snowballed and I stampede peddled up Park Street sweating profusely and unable to calm down until I turned the key in the door and the familiar half-light of my subterranean flat. Neighbours clomping around me as I sat behind the closed curtain and another lockdown day passed into grateful and medication-induced deep sleep.