Today has been odd. Come to think of it, so was yesterday, or was it the day before? No, it was the day before as I remember telling my wife how I felt.
In the morning I'd done some exercises relating to my illness; nothing major, just ten minutes being with myself. Eyes closed, sat up straight in the silence. Listening to my breathing, my surroundings, how the chair felt underneath me, how the floor felt beneath my feet. Just being aware and in tune with what I was feeling. Thing is, later in the day, I felt strange. Very calm but also sad. I explained to my wife that I may be sub-consciously sad as I'd been back home to York, seen my brother, sister in law and niece and nephew. Previous to this, I had a wonderful time with friends in Lancashire, seemingly without a care in the world. They are really great people and if you are reading this, thank you so much for making me feel welcome and for not judging me; I hope we remain friends for a long time. One of them said to me, after I'd explained about my depression, that when I met them on Alpe D'Huez during the Tour de France last year, that I was "so friendly and outgoing". You have no idea how much this meant to me. Thank you, Debs.
Unfortunately for me, hearing praise and encouraging words has been rare throughout my life, so hearing them makes me upset just as much as somebody hurting my feelings would. And my feelings are so easily hurt, as I am so sensitive and find it difficult not to take things to heart.
The following day (yesterday, on my birthday of all days) I had my scheduled therapy session and we were going to try a new technique. Known as EMDR, or Eye Movement Disensitisation and Reprocessing therapy; bit of a mouthful I know. If you want to read more about this, then please go here. Basically, it involves me recalling a memory and 'living' in it or observing it, whether that's through my own eyes or from an out of body perspective. The therapist taps alternately on my hands, which stimulates the left and right hemisphere's of the brain, in an attempt to desensitise the memory, thus making it less distressing for me. After each 'scenario' of my distressing memory (and believe me, it's distressing), I'm asked how I feel. The we repeat the process, seeing it in my head through different eyes, as it were.
Oddly, despite what happened to me being very distressing at the time, recalling the memory creates no distress at all. I feel absolutely nothing. I cannot explain this, only that perhaps the passing of time has dulled it or I have just become immune. Desensitised. To me 'it just happened', nothing more I feel. I wasn't sexually abused or anything like that, but I was abused during my time with foster parents.
So, it seems this has no effect on me these days. So now I am looking for answers. What has made me the way I am? Why do I get angry? Why do I suffer with intense guilt at times? Intense sadness at other times? Mix these three together and I become a boiling hot stew of frustration, that will burn anybody that touches me. I expect it's something we may investigate during my next session.
Which leads me on to my next thought.
I have been feeling as though I should apply for a job. Just something part time, little steps. But actually this has been a huge step for me. Today when I took the dog out, I actually felt happy. We walked happily around the quarry and I didn't get irritated by him once; it was a nice feeling to be getting on with him. He even chased a runner and his dog and I laughed for once! Now that is a big step for me, as normally I have very little tolerance for his behaviour.
Anyway, I had been looking at a job for a couple of days and wondering whether I should apply or not. So many things stop me. After all, I haven't worked since June 2013, out of choice as I wasn't mentally able; I resigned despite being given every opportunity to stay on, with their help. And despite being very good at the job. But I couldn't handle it.
Applying for the job tonight, all I could think of was how much it was stressing me out and making me sad; I hate all the questions - 'provide and example of this or that etc'. Then I'm asked about a criminal record, to which I answer yes. And then the penny drops. Readers who have read this blog from the start will know what that is, but for those who have just a fleeting interest: basically, I had a row with an ex and I hurt the thing nearest to her stone heart in anger, her car. I left a tiny scratch (half a thumbnail's width) on her car door. She called the police, and I was given a criminal record and £40 fine for something so damn petty. No doubt polished out with a bit of Turtle Wax.
But I had to add this on the application and it made me feel utterly depressed. I'm not a criminal, far from it. I hate crime and I hate criminals. But I became one in the eyes of the 'law'. And also as far as I'm concerned, in the eyes of an employer, even though it states on their website '...having a criminal record doesn't necessarily bar you from employment...'; I think that's just a caveat they use to cover themselves.
They see my conviction, and all they see is 'violent'. Humph. Sure I can get angry, but I'm about as violent as a fly. Try convincing an employer of that. Well, Natural Resources Wales employed me knowing this, so there's hope yet I guess. I'm being honest after all.
But it still makes me feel sick, as I pulled out my last CRB from the filing cabinet to check the date of it. It makes me sick that I have been branded such. For ten sodding years.
Well, I've applied and all I can do is wait. I've taken a big step, but I need to do this. And I should feel proud of myself for doing it.
But I don't.
I just feel sad.