Life Is A Lemon (“Mega-rant”)

Life isn’t great at the moment and this whiny, self-pitying mega-rant has been building for quite some time now. You have been warned! My mind is all over the place at the moment and I’m having trouble expressing myself so I don’t know if any of this makes sense but here goes…

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but I’m not really functioning outside of working/ shopping for my family right now and I’m struggling to structure my thoughts into any kind of coherent order. I can’t tell if I’m mildly-moderately depressed right now or just reacting normally to both what’s going on in the present and everything that has happened in my past to make me the messed up and stunted person that I am today. Either way, I’m struggling to get much of anything done outside of work (even things I enjoy), and I cry/ feel tearful an awful lot. I’m not suicidal but I don’t want this existence anymore. My social anxiety has also gone up a gear thanks to my low mood and incredibly low self-esteem. Speaking of which, working at the supermarket again really hasn’t been great for my self-esteem. I get yelled at and treated like an idiot by one of the managers just for asking basic questions about the work. I know it’s almost definitely her rather than me, given that absolutely everyone in my department constantly mentions how moody she is and how horrible she sometimes is with other people. However, when you combine this with having to deal with a handful of rude, impatient and entitled customers on a daily basis, and then add in the fact that I seem incapable of having even a basic conversation with my colleagues (and don’t feel like I fit in with them at all or that anyone there likes me), I’m sure you can see how this would grind down any belief in myself. I have some serious concerns about my ability to function in any job due to how poor my social skills are and due to my non-existent self-confidence. I feel incompetent in just about everything I do and I feel sometimes that I lack common sense/ initiative.

I don’t think I have ever been so angry at society/ people/ life in general as I have been over the last couple of months. You only need to read/ watch the news or overhear some conversations between other people to realise what a racist, homophobic, transphobic, classist, ableist and ignorant society we live in. I can’t believe it’s 2020 and this is still the world that we’re living in. I was already quite the misanthrope before the coronavirus lockdown started and before I started working at the supermarket again, but both of those things have made me so much worse than I was before. I’ve been such an angry and miserable person recently and I feel as if I’m turning into a grumpy and bitter old woman already!

Yesterday at work, I overheard a conversation between three of my colleagues. From what was being said, it sounded very much like one colleague’s young relative (who is 6 or 7 years old) suffers from selective mutism. She was saying that he doesn’t talk at all at school and barely even makes a sound at all there. One of the others did at one point suggest that “it sounds like he might need counselling or something”, but mostly they were talking about how strange that is and whether they should use tough love to snap him out of it or shock him out of it. The implication seemed to be that he should grow up and get over it. I was shaking with anger and I wanted to say something but didn’t. They were also talking about other people who are really quiet, including someone on checkouts who speaks really quietly. Apparently one of my colleagues has mentioned to her a couple of times that she speaks too quietly, as have several customers. They said that she shouldn’t have taken a job that involves talking to people a lot if she’s quiet and not very talkative. I just sat there, wanting to say to them: 1. Capitalism exists, and 2. Which job/s DON’T involve having to talk to other people? There are very, very few. I was just so angered by their ignorance and their complete lack of empathy for people who struggle with social anxiety. I don’t think I will ever understand how some people can be so lacking in empathy. I was so angry at the time that they didn’t seem to realise or care just how difficult getting through life can be with crippling social anxiety. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Even now, I still struggle constantly with my anxiety and with interacting with other people. I wonder what it’s like to have had mostly positive social experiences in your life. I can’t imagine that. I’m becoming more and more angry and bitter about the ignorance of society towards mental illness. In saying that, I’m not sure I would have achieved much by just getting angry at them and pointing out how ignorant they were being. Perhaps if I ever get the courage to say anything in future, I’m better off just encouraging people to put themselves in other peoples’ shoes and explaining how mental illness can make life so difficult.

I feel as if my life and my future have completely gone down the toilet. Even without a global pandemic, getting a job in ecology/ conservation is extremely difficult, even with a relevant degree/s and experience. I knew that even in better circumstances, getting a longer-term contract might take a few years, but now it just feels as if the future I’ve worked so, so hard for (probably harder than most due to having to cope with severe anxiety and depression throughout much of my time at university) has gone up in flames. I keep hearing about people in ecology/ conservation losing their jobs. And I worry that I’ll be lucky just to be stuck working for low pay in a job I hate for the rest of my life at this rate. Everything seems so hopeless. I don’t know that there’s even one aspect of my life that I feel hopeful about right now. I was supposed to be moving in with my boyfriend this summer but lockdown threw a spanner in that and also put a bit of a strain on our relationship. If we do end up moving in together at a later date, I’m very worried about how I’m going to pay the bills as it seems I have no chance of a permanent job in anything any time soon. I’ve almost completely given up on making close friends too. I can’t seem to trust other people enough to let them get close to me, and even if I could, I have no idea if it’s even possible to make close friends post-university. Obviously, it looks like it’ll be a long time yet before I’m able to go along to social groups. I feel unbearably lonely so much of the time.

I feel so immature and stuck behind everyone too. I’m 26 years old and I don’t think I have the life experience even of the average 18 year old. I am so, so socially stunted and socially incompetent. Maybe I just filter myself too much but I never seem to know what to say to people or how to keep a conversation going. I am actively considering another autism assessment but it looks like I’ll be waiting quite a while for that too. I could really do with counselling right now (even though it’s only been slightly helpful) but I don’t have the privacy for online/ phone sessions at home, and the only alternative is driving my car somewhere and having phone sessions. Though in that case, I’d have to make up some kind of excuse as to where I was going to my family.

I find myself being irrationally angry at things much of the time. My job definitely isn’t helping and I’m probably a bit of a miserable person to be around right now as I constantly tell my family how much I hate my working situation at the moment. I know I’m fairly lucky in that my mum and stepdad are allowing me to live with them and that I’m not struggling for money. It could be an awful lot worse, I know. But I’m still miserable and angry. I even find myself getting irrationally angry when customers order lots of really expensive/ luxury items (like £70 worth of wine) when there are people literally starving right now due to the pandemic. I find myself assuming the worst of everyone. I feel angry to an extent that only now are people starting to realise how big of an impact social isolation can have on your mental health. I would hope that’s a good thing for mental health awareness in the long run, but I do wonder how many people will realise that this applies to some people all or most of the time, not just when they can’t physically be around people. Certainly I think there’s been an increased awareness of how it impacts on young people. But at least teenagers who can’t see their friends due to the pandemic can message, call and video call their friends, and they know it’s temporary. Many of us with chronic mental health problems didn’t have that when we were younger/ ever and there was no understanding or awareness whatsoever.

On a somewhat more positive note, I finally grew a pair of ovaries the other week and put a particularly rude customer in his place. Two of my colleagues and I were in an aisle together, collecting customers’ items and putting them in our trolleys. This customer was behind us and angrily asked us “How are we supposed to social distance with you lot in way?!?” I decided to just ignore him at this point as I was so angry and fed up (with rude customers and with life in general) that I don’t think I could’ve given him an answer that wasn’t deeply sarcastic. One of my colleagues replied to him “Well I suppose you’re just going to have to be patient and wait until we’ve moved away from the shelf”. He then lost it with her and shouted “Well MOVE then!”, and stormed up the aisle. My anger actually overtook my SA and I managed to firmly tell him that we were just doing our jobs (helping to get shopping to customers who may be shielding or otherwise unable to come into the store to shop) and that his behaviour was completely unacceptable. He continued to storm off, though his poor wife (who seemed very embarrassed) was extremely apologetic to my colleague for his behaviour. I felt bad for my colleague, though I think she was glad that I’d also said something to the customer. I wish I could do more of this – not being aggressive but being assertive and standing up for myself/ others rather than letting people treat me like crap. And yes, these are the kind of people that I have to deal with on a daily basis right now. I also seem to have at least one customer coughing almost in my face every few days, so this is a great game of Russian roulette I’m playing! Management at my store are also still doing absolutely nothing to enforce the one-way system or to stop customers from coming far too close to us, and we get absolutely no sick pay if we end up contracting the virus and/ or having to self-isolate. If a customer or colleague did have COVID-19, I’m sure it would spread like wildfire in there, despite them now having had months to put better measures in place. I suppose we just have to be prepared to risk our lives for the company. A certain Banksy piece comes to mind…

Anyway, I’ve ranted long enough now. I hope to start blogging a bit more frequently in an attempt to (somewhat) maintain my sanity, so expect more word vomit soon. The lyrics to this song sum up my feelings at the moment.

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12 Responses to Life Is A Lemon (“Mega-rant”)

  1. ashleyleia says:

    I’m not sure it’s even possible anymore to avoid becoming a grumpy and bitter old woman…

  2. Stefanie Straßheim says:

    I just wanted to say you are not alone in this. I totally feel you. You put into words what I think and feel too. I am diagnosed with double depression and avoidant personality disorder and it sucks. It took me six years to finish my bachelors degree. I know how hard even normal everyday stuff can be. I am even anxious to comment at all and feel like I can’t properly express myself. (English isn’t my first language). I really like your blog and what you write.
    Did you ever consider going inpatient? I did this and it was one of the best decisions i could make. It really helped with my depression and my social anxiety even if it was also one of the hardest times and i was overwhelmed most of the time and had some nervous breakdowns.

    Sending you hugs from Germany.

    • Gemma says:

      Hi Stefanie. Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry that you suffer too. When you say going inpatient do you mean being admitted to a psychiatric hospital or just going to counselling/ CBT? Personally, I wouldn’t ever want to end up in a psychiatric hospital and wouldn’t ever go voluntarily unless the alternative was being sectioned. Though I really hope things never get so bad again that I’m at risk of that happening. I understand that some people are really helped by it though. In terms of doing counselling/ CBT, I was receiving counselling before the COVID-19 lockdown and hope to go back to it afterwards. I can’t say it’s made a huge difference but it has helped a little bit. I’ve had CBT in the past but didn’t find it that helpful (probably because the psychologist I saw had very little understanding of social anxiety disorder). I’ve made more progress with the CBT I’ve done using self-help books, and I’m on the waiting list for CBT with a local mental health charity. I’m glad you were able to improve with your anxiety and depression. I hope things are better for you now. And don’t worry at all about your English. I wish I could speak another language.

      • stefaniestrassheim says:

        Yeah I meant a psychiatric ward.
        I see. I think the german mental health system is quite different than the british one (Thank god, i suppose).
        Wish you luck with your next therapist. The right one can make such a difference. Hope things get a little better for you.

  3. klodo says:

    I do feel for you in that job. A least in a warehouse I did not have to deal with customers(apart from on the phone occasionally and that was bad enough). Just shopping for 10 minutes twice a week makes me think half of the people in my Tesco are rude or mad. Mind you that could be just Leicester!

    • Raven says:

      Haha, I think it was bad enough before lockdown but so many people just don’t seem to have any patience or manners with the restrictions being in place. I usually don’t want any more social interaction at all once my shift is over! Talking to customers on the phone must have been difficult. I think I would find that more difficult in some ways than speaking to them in person.

      • klodo says:

        Thankfully we only got calls when the main department was busy. I hate to say it but the worst call I ever got was from a Scotsman! He sounded Glaswegian and I could barely tell a word he said which just got him even madder!

      • Raven says:

        Haha, nothing scarier than an angry Glaswegian! To be fair, even other Scots sometimes struggle to understand a really thick Glasgow accent, especially if the person’s speech is quite fast.

        The first time I went travelling by myself, one of the other people I got to know was a Glaswegian woman. I had to translate most of what she said into plain English because no one else there could understand what she was saying (especially the people who didn’t speak English as their first language). I found it quite funny because it was really clear to me what she was saying. I thought my accent would be almost as difficult to understand but no one had any problems understanding me for some reason. I do tend to drop my local dialect when travelling though.

      • klodo says:

        Yes, I think a thick Glaswegian accent is almost like its from another language. Some people when angry can sound like groundskeeper Willie from The Simpsons! I think the Edinburgh accent is probably easier to understand. I may listen to some on Youtube now to see if there is that much difference.

  4. dreamandvapor says:

    Have you ever considered if you have a personality disorder – perhaps Avoidant or Schizoid?

  5. Thomas says:

    This wasn’t word vomit, this was a really well-put and interesting rant! Your life situation sounds really difficult right now. I hope it changes for the better soon. Many kudos for standing up to that a**hole in the supermarket! I feel like you have a lot of insightful things to say and I can’t wait for more content from you. Stay strong.

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