J’ai un crocodile

So I came across this video a few days ago:

It’s a very good metaphor for what having social anxiety disorder is like. The difference being that overcoming SA is not as simple as just telling ourselves not to worry. I wish it was. Though I think we do have to accept it as part of ourselves and be gentle with ourselves in order to progress. What I like about the video is that it shows SA as something tangible, which may help other people understand it.

In other news, I tried to talk to my mum last weekend, which didn’t go very well. She says she doesn’t understand why I don’t give things (i.e going along to groups and interacting with people) a chance. I explained to her that I went along to loads of meet ups with the old SA group, and I’m now going to start going along to a new one (I also went along to another meet up yesterday but I’ll mention more about that in my next post). How is that not “giving things a chance”? She then said that she meant more to do with giving myself a chance and not beating myself up about things. I explained that I’m trying to work on that through CBT but it’s definitely not something that’s going to change overnight. Neither of us really said much after that because mum went to bed, and I needed to go to bed anyway. I haven’t tried to speak to her about my SA/ depression since then. Sometimes I wonder if there’s even any point in trying to get her or any of my other family members to understand. Maybe I should just forget about it and only talk to people who do understand what it’s like. My family’s lack of understanding about mental health issues means that I feel extremely alone and isolated from them when I’m going through depression, or when my SA prevents me from doing things. To be fair to my mum, she did try to comfort me this week when I got upset over uni coursework. And she did try to comfort me a couple of times when I mentioned that I felt really depressed. She understands that I’m finding coursework very difficult because of how I’m feeling at the moment.

Depression has been kicking my ass over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been massively stressing out over coursework but have gotten barely anything done yet, even though I’ve been sat at my laptop almost all weekend. University is the bane of my life right now. I find reading quite difficult some days. My mind is a bit hazy at the moment. I don’t know how I’m going to get through this semester. I don’t think I’m even cut out for uni; it’s just getting me down. I have no motivation whatsoever. Even doing quite simple things is becoming difficult. On bad days, I just want to lie in bed and waste my life away. I don’t want to do anything. Sleeping is currently my favourite activity. I just want to hibernate. Getting out of bed on time is becoming almost impossible, and I often sleep 45 minutes to an hour longer than I was supposed to, even with multiple alarms set. This means that I’m often rushing around like a headless chicken to get to uni on time, which only increases my anxiety. I can’t deal with life very well at the moment. Some days I can’t deal with it at all. At least I don’t feel actively suicidal or like hurting myself at the moment. But I feel miserable and useless. I am getting a little bit better at self-compassion though. I haven’t been able to use my lamp as much (the family car is getting scrapped because there’s so much wrong with it and my parents don’t want to waste any more of their money getting it repaired, so we have no car at the moment. The lamp is too large to take with me on the bus to my grandparents’, along with a suitcase and rucksack). I just ordered omega 3 capsules with a high EPA and DHA content (both are thought to help with depression, particularly seasonal depression) earlier today, so I’ll see if those have any effect on my mood, cognition or motivation.

Also, I’ve just found out that I’ll have to withdraw my application for working at the mail sorting office because I have an exam during the first couple of hours of my first shift, which I’m really pissed off about because (what with driving lessons, paying for my phone, and buying my family Christmas presents) I’ll soon have no money left. My uni could have arranged any other date for the exam, or even made it later or earlier that day, but nope, it had to be during the only TWO HOURS of the entire 2 week contract that I absolutely could not miss. Nice one, uni.

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6 Responses to J’ai un crocodile

  1. I’m sorry. I know what it’s like. Depression and anxiety have been kicking my ass lately too. I remind myself of what’s good about me and life and try look at progress. In your case, not having the impulse to self harm or feeling suicidal is tremendous. Be kind to yourself, kinder than seems natural. You so deserve to be comfortable in your own skin and I have confidence that one day you will.

    • Gemma says:

      Hi J. I’m really sorry to hear that you’re suffering as well. It’s good that you’re still able to remind yourself of your accomplishments and the positive things about yourself. Thank you.

  2. Maximus says:

    Throw a quality vitamin D3 supplement in there also. Despite common-sense nutritional wisdom, milk is not a great source of vitamin D, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’re not getting enough sun exposure to meet your daily requirement via biosynthesis.

    “Recommended dosage for Vitamin D is between 2000-6000 IU/day. Fortified milk has roughly 100 IU/8oz (a glass of milk). Unless one is drinking 20+ glasses of milk a day, supplementation will be required.”

    “The body produces vitamin D from cholesterol, provided there is an adequate amount of UV light from sun exposure. There is only a sufficient amount of UV light coming from the sun when the UV index is 3 or higher, which only occurs year-round near the equator, between the 37th parallels. Most people are not deficient in vitamin D, but they do not have an optimal level of vitamin D either. Due to the many health benefits of vitamin D, supplementation is encouraged if optimal levels are not present in the body.”

    “This 400IU target intake, as well as the actual overall intake of Vitamin D3, is commonly seen as deficient in adults[11] as 400IU cannot ideally sustain circulating levels between 50-75nmol/L, which is seen as ideal.[12][13]”

    “A inverse correlation between vitamin D and depression (lower vitamin D status being related to more depressive symptoms) was first reported in 1979[112] and associations have resurfaced in those at risk for cardiovacular incidents,[113] fibromyalgia,[114] and in women during the winter.[115]”

    “One study noting a correlation between insufficient vitamin D (35-50nmol/L) and depressive symptoms in 54 adolescents also noted an attenuation of symptoms following supplementation of 4000IU for one month and 2000IU for the next two months, where serum vitamin D was increased to 90-91nmol/L (high range of sufficient); a 42% reduction as assessed by WHO-5 rating scale was seen, and improvements seemed universal.[116] Improvements in depressive symptoms have been noted elsewhere in a small pilot study of women with low ( While some correlational evidences suggests that there may be a link between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms, the evidence that vitamin D supplementation can help with such symptoms is mixed, and the positive results tend to be in populations with low vitamin D to begin with.”

    “”The recommended daily allowance for Vitamin D is currently set at 400-800IU/day, but this is too low for adults. The safe upper limit in the United States is 2,000IU/day, while in Canada it is 4,000UI/day. Research suggests that the true safe upper limit is 10,000IU/day. For moderate supplementation, a 1,000-2,000IU dose of vitamin D3 is sufficient to meet the needs of most of the population. This is the lowest effective dose range. Higher doses, based on body weight, are in the range of 20-80IU/kg daily.”

    http://examine.com/supplements/Vitamin+D/

    I’m not a doctor, nor am I suggesting that this is the magic bullet to cure your depression, but being that vitamin D supplementation is relatively cheap, generally well-tolerated, and has several research-supported benefits it certainly wouldn’t hurt. Just don’t take the “more is better” approach; even vitamins can be toxic in large amounts:

    http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/vitamin-d-toxicity/faq-20058108

    Have a great day, friend. Make it special in some small way 🙂

    • Roberta says:

      I loved your metaphor video. It’s true. I think half the battle with SA is accepting we have it. I’m 32, and have had SA since I was a teenager, developing from being shy as a child. Honestly, I think I’ve openly talked about my SA with two people in my life. One being my boyfriend. I’ve never discussed it with my parents, so go you for being so open with your mum. I’ve also never discussed it with either of my two oldest friends. I go to great lengths to conceal it. I feel ashamed, but I think the way to move forward is to get over the shame and talk about with as many people as you can. Stop hiding it. I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever fully get over, so maybe embracing parts of, is as helpful to my mental health than feeling I have to change or conform.
      Through your diary, you seem to be someone who has a lot of inner strength and character. I think you’re on the right track and I’m sure you’ll make the most of your future. Also well done on getting such high marks on your uni assessments. Thanks again for your posts.

      • Gemma says:

        To Roberta: Thank you for the kind comments. I understand the feelings of shame that surround the disorder. I think that going along to an SA meet up group and/ or joining an SA forum or online group could help in allowing you to move past those feelings and open up about it. I find that non-sufferers can find it very difficult to understand SA but my family have gradually become more understanding over the years. I hope that your boyfriend is understanding of it and doesn’t try to push you into social situations that you’re uncomfortable with. Hopefully your friends will be understanding and supportive if you do chose to open up to them about it.

    • Gemma says:

      To Maximus: Thank you. I started taking vitamin D3 supplements a couple of weeks ago and I think they’ve helped with my mood.

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