Tonight I am a prisoner of my emotions. I realise how melodramatic that sounds – it would be, considering how given I am to emotion and melodrama. I started off having another good day, but this evening I’m on some kind of comedown from the good times of the last few days. I can’t seem to get out of the pits of despair at the moment; I’m tired and lonely and rather angry.
First thing this morning I had training for a new voluntary role, as a telephone support worker with an LGBT charity in North London. I’d been looking forward to this new challenge for months; only a tiny bit of me was nervous as I walked to the charity offices in the unseasonal snow. The day was lovely. About ten of us were there for the training induction, which involved getting to know the offices and the job descriptions, as well as a few fun group activities. By the end of the afternoon I felt a comfortable part of a new group of friends, I really did. Even though I’ve been doing voluntary work all year for the other charity it seemed like a good idea to take on a new role, which would be even more related to my future dream job, counselling. Now that I’m starting this phone work I will be one step closer to that goal. I should be thrilled to have successfully got through the first day of training, to have spent the day with a new bunch of people without falling apart. My recovery really helped me today – without it I’m sure I wouldn’t have got through it.
Instead I’m sitting here miserable tonight, because the fun times are over. When I came back home this afternoon I knew I’d have a lot of work to do for University, as I’m meant to be handing the first draft of my dissertation to my supervisor tomorrow, and I hadn’t written anything for weeks. The statistical analysis I did the other day shows that my research found nothing significant – my hypothesis about alcohol consumption being linked to lack of control hasn’t been proved. I’m no nearer to knowing what causes alcohol dependence than I was a year ago. So I have a day to finish the report, and I have no idea what I’m going to talk about. I have to write about 2,000 words – I can’t possibly use up all those words describing how I could have done better research, even if I wanted to.
Everything will be OK in the end, I know it will. This black mood will pass, I know. I’ve heard all the reassurances so many times, I’m bored of them. Just now I managed to write a paragraph for the report, which is an achievement given my mood, but it’s not enough. It’s never enough. Once again I come back to the fear of failing, which to me would be getting any mark lower than 60%. If I get anything in the 50s I might as well fail the whole degree, because I already got a 2:2 in my last degree and I don’t want another one.
It’s all my stupid fault for leaving things to the last minute. I can’t believe I’ve done this again. Why did I leave it until tonight to start working? What did I do during the two long weeks of holiday that I’ve just had? I feel sick and disgusted at myself, mostly because I know I’ll never change. I’ll always be lazy and fearful of hard work. I’ll always be on the edge of underachievement, staring up at what I could be but will never manage to be because it’s too fucking hard.
Oh I’m being so hard on myself, and I can’t help it. I’m wired to be self pitying, resentful, fearful. It all comes back to this horrible black pit of anxiety. I thought the resentment had gone away, but tonight I’ve found that I can still get really angry if the circumstances are right. I’ve felt like smashing the computer in several times. My head feels completely out of sorts, I don’t even want to be writing right now, I want to be laying in bed in the dark. But I have to write, I have to keep this connection with the world and my higher power.
I’m trapped in my emotions tonight. I can’t see past the fog of anger and fear. I know exactly why I’m feeling this way, but it’s not helping me to get better. What makes it worse is that I was having such a nice weekend, until I came home from my new job. Everything that happened this week up until this evening has been wonderful. When I think about all the fun I had yesterday, going to see Bette Davis at the LGBT film festival and then going out dancing with P, I could cry.
Tonight the negativity is pulling me down, sucking me in like quicksand. I’m so sharply aware of it, and instead of giving up and setting me free, the illness is getting worse, it’s fighting. Every time the thought comes into my head ‘this is the illness making me feel this way’, another voice says things like ‘no, it’s not the illness it’s YOU’. And I know that’s the illness telling me that, to confuse me and keep me in its grip, but I still can’t ignore it, after all these months and all I’ve learnt.
I’m still struggling to detach myself from the negative feelings, to take their power away. So I’m still really in early days, and I hate it. Nights like tonight are getting less frequent, I admit, but they remain almost unbearable. My sponsor would probably tell me to pray, or write a gratitude list, until I’m feeling better, but I’m not prepared to do either of those things right now because they’d make me sick. I’m still too angry. As always, I just have to sit with these feelings and watch them pass. It’s not much consolation at the moment, but they will pass. I don’t have to do anything.