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“It feels like we are back to where we were in April. I miss my parents in ways that I can’t comprehend, which leaves me unable to communicate with them because I feel like it creates too much internal pain”.

Sunitha‘s #MadCovidDiaries 4.01.2020

TW: Suicidal thoughts

Wow, I didn’t realise until I am writing now that I took such a long break from this. Last week was a complete disaster as apparently taking a break from everything was not the reset that I hoped for leading to strange sleeping schedules (5am – 5pm), no showering, no eating. That said, I am awake quite early (around 7am) writing this before I go to work, which I can say has not happened for a while. I can’t actually remember the last time I was last awake before 7am since lockdown started. Maybe sleeping all day for a week was exactly what my body needed even if I felt like I was in complete denial of this need. Admittedly, I like to hope that if I had another week off, I would have found a way to get to a point where I found a natural routine without the need for work to be the reason for that change but nothing feels right as things stand. I fell into the bad trap of reading the news, which for someone with an anxiety illness, isn’t really what you need. On top of that, I recognise that the whole of last year triggered my hypervigilance such that I have found it far more difficult to relax. I considered going to the GP but I also know that I would almost certainly leave with a prescription and a general feeling of pointlessness in the endeavour. It’s not to say that I don’t think medication works, I just think that different medication works well for different people and should be used in conjunction with some form of therapy where possible. I also know that from my prior experience, I am scarred and scared because it turned me from being very depressed to being very suicidal. Whilst I’ve had moments of suicidal thoughts in the past week, I worry that currently, I am not resilient enough to go through the process of trial and error to find something that works for me.

Although, how do I even know what works for me in the context of a global pandemic where it feels like we are back to where we were in April. I miss my parents in ways that I can’t comprehend, which leaves me unable to communicate with them because I feel like it creates too much internal pain. When my partner and I spoke about this, I was really conscious that he’s not seen his parents for nearly a year but he said, it’s not the same. I think we were both right in that my bond with my parents is different to his, which is a combination of our differences in culture and our personalities. He thinks he can survive without anyone whereas I recognise the emotional support my family and my friends provide me. For me, I feel that it goes beyond that as part of recovering from my last breakdown was recognising that I needed to open up with the willingness to ask for help and by doing this, I was ever so slowly able to find my feet. I think the converse happened for him in some ways in that when he rebuilt himself, he’s very much done it without needing anyone, including me to some extent. As I have discussed in previous posts, I know that I can’t make everything right with him however, I do realise that he’s changed in how he interacts with me.

When we first met, like with many couples, we were probably more codependent than was healthy but that’s what often happens at the start. I also drank far too much and ended up creating horrible situations, which I now know were because alcohol would spiral me into the darkest holes of my mind. I’m not excusing my behaviour, but when I made the conscious decision to stop drinking, it helped things in our relationship even if it created a vacuum inside me which meant that I had to deal with certain issues head on. In fact, a lot of the issues that I was dealing with six years ago no longer have importance in the same way now because I have found a way to work through them. Though I digress a little, when my partner and I spoke recently, my primary focus was about how I didn’t feel like he was able to show me love the way he had when we first met. I know part of this is because of medication that he has been on but I also know that his behaviour has been affected by trauma as well. He made the observation that we didn’t want to turn into our parents and him acknowledging that we were heading there, made me feel like he cared. I also recognise that I have issues around being unloved by those close to me and I worry that needing so much love from him is again falling back into those codependent patterns. Yet, we are in a pandemic and my options are limited given that he’s the only person that I am physically close to currently. In the past, it was easy to have a big hug from a friend and forget I even needed that love from him.

So love is a complicated feeling for me to ponder. I think I can understand it in the context of familial, friendship within limitations but romantic love elicits all sorts of confusing feelings. I know that I have had issues with knowing how to love and when I read old emails over the Christmas break, it really hit home that I only loved people who are emotionally unavailable or who loved me in a way that matched my intensity. I know with that comes unhealthy behaviours and patterns but I am also someone that loves conditionally but unapologetically. I have always wondered whether being attracted to everybody in theory made it easier for me to spend time assessing my attraction to people although I know that it has never been static – an initial attraction for someone would often develop into a deep friendship. Equally, I’ve had friendships that have developed into huge desires for particular people, sometimes out of the blue and sometimes gradually. The balance of wanting to be loved in the way that I want whilst also not feeding the negative traits that I have leads to all sorts of complications internally but I think that other people feel this way as well. In a time, where fewer deeper connections are possible theoretically, I have still managed to find supportive people that I can’t imagine my life without. Friends and soulmates who help me connect with my pain and feelings in a constructive way and recognise that I am battling to survive as someone living with mental health illness that affects many invisible aspects of my life.

For example, something that no one really sees is that I lie awake at night sometimes thinking about every tiny detail of possible things that might happen as well as every tiny mistake that I could possibly have made in my entire life. Often, I toss or fidget but then there are times where I am completely still but my brain has gone into this strange overdrive. A few nights ago, I switched from thinking about what was going to happen today at work to my grand plans for this campaign that I am involved in, to just random thoughts about people no longer in my life. If I tried to write all these things down, I know that it would take up a significant amount of time in my life and I am not sure if my stream of consciousness in written form actually has constructive value. I wonder what it must be like to be able to turn off the voice inside your head even for a moment and whilst sleep can sometimes be a temporary break from it, the rigmarole beforehand really doesn’t seem worth it. No wonder I wake up only to feel like I need another sleep. Audio books offer some respite as it allows my mind to be temporarily taken away somewhere although the risk is always that I am left in the silence with only my thoughts once the episode has ended.

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