A Day in the Life of catfan

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Get up with the alarm clock at 7.  I’m doing voluntary work today, as I have every Wednesday for the last few weeks.

I’ve been feeling down recently and have a cold. Took it easy yesterday so I’d hopefully be OK for the journey and work today. My frequent, charming thoughts ‘I’m worthless,’ start up.

Worry I won’t get ready in time, but decide to get a slightly later train than usual if I need to. It’s often hard to convey to others I’m not good at getting to things too early. I fear (and think it’s sometimes the case) they’ll think I’m just not used to hard work and must stay up half the night.

Get ready just in time. I’m glad the rain has stopped so I can walk into town. Seeing the red berries on a rowan tree cheers me up a bit.

I use the ticket machine as staff at the station have been sarcastic, glared at and laughed at me while I’ve bought tickets in the past, including recently. A staff member once asked if I was the passenger asking where Samaritans was (I wasn’t), so wonder if I’m seen as someone with mental health problems and therefore an easy target, or whether it’s because I’m a nervous looking woman travelling alone. I know discrimination on both these contravenes the 2010 Equality Act but haven’t got round to complaining. If I complained about unpleasant treatment every time it happened I’d never do anything else. I just want to get on with my day.

The train’s busy as usual. Some people are friendly, look at each other, smile and seem to want to chat. Feel claustrophobic and irritable, happier when I get a seat on my own.

Keep trying to work out why I’m so down at the moment. I’ve not been able to do some things I’d been planning, mainly because I couldn’t cope with being with other people much. I’ve also been snapped at by several people recently. Another organisation I’ve been offered voluntary work with (and told about my mental health problems) suddenly stopped communicating with me. Things like this leave me feeling I’m not seen as worth bothering with or treating with respect.

Feel less tired than usual and think I’ll be able to work better because I’ve set off a bit later. I’m always relieved when employers (for paid/voluntary work) let me do this without a fuss.

Even so, find it hard going into a crowded office. I’m worried people won’t like me and scared to ask when I’m not sure about something, even though people there have told me to and seem nice. Keep forgetting what people have explained several times and am convinced they must be exasperated and think I’m stupid. By lunchtime, think I’ll have to explain I have mental health difficulties, but am worried in case of a negative reaction, so decide to eat first. Buy a coffee and eat my packed lunch in a quiet part of a café. On the way back from the toilet, I hold a door for a man carrying a child. He says ‘thank you’ and I feel quite gallant!

Reassure myself I’ve only got an hour and a half more in the office. After a while, I pass a note to my supervisor apologising for how long it’s taking me to pick things up and explaining I have a long term anxiety disorder which affects my concentration. He gives me the note back and is reassuring, telling me everyone takes a while to learn these tasks and I’d doing fine. I stay for 2 hours.

After I leave, I buy a birthday present for a relative and go for a coffee. The thought ‘I wish I was dead’ keeps running through my head, so I decide to just humour it. I’ve been reading books on mindfulness for a while, but can’t concentrate much on the calming exercises that might stop all this rumination at the moment.

The train home’s crowded again, but at least I get a seat. I feel a bit better from the day having gone OK.