Subdued emotions prevail in the undertow of my mind. I have noticed, more and more, that life is getting even more stressful than it already was before.

My previous psychologist suggested I could have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Whether or not this is true, I am unsure of, but there is no doubting that for at least 3 years now my mindset has been especially worse in the months approaching towards, and the duration of, winter.

With my continuous ordeal with work, family, Uni, guys, and trauma issues, I am absolutely depleted of energy.

To describe how I have been feeling: I desire for everything (within my power, at least) to be better. I have goals to move out; goals to get my license and a car; goals to get a better job or a decent amount of shifts at the job I do have; goals to get back into my astrology and Wicca again, and goals to be in a better way mentally by the time I start my bridging course again in July. And the sad thing? Despite all my good intentions and the effort I try to put in, I just feel like I’m being pushed 100 steps backwards whenever I try to do anything to somewhat enhance the quality of my life.

Work is adding a HUGE amount of stress to my life. All I want is to get more shifts so I am able to achieve my goals and support myself independently, as well as simply having something to motivate me to get out of bed in the morning; something to make me feel productive and feel like I have some sense of purpose. But this is not so. I’ve been getting one shift a week – or none at all – and I feel so, so helpless in my situation.

And I feel incredibly let down by this because I have been working there for 4 years, and despite not necessarily liking my job, I always trek an hour and a half via bus and train to turn up and put effort in to my work because I know I would rather be employed as opposed to the contrary. I am determined and I don’t give up easily, despite the fact that the working environment has increasingly become more and more unpleasant to work in. I put in tremendous effort to function normally and I feel like it is never recognised; I am made to feel like I’m not good enough.

And the reality? Life certainly isn’t fair and it is so difficult to get another job; and I am not one to crack a hissy fit and give up so easily. I persevere so I can support myself and achieve the goals I have set for myself, such as getting my license and moving out – both of which would certainly work to improve my mental health and general outlook on life.

What do you do, though, when you literally have no control over the shifts you may or may not get? What happens when you are literally doomed by the permanent casualisation of jobs, despite being 18 and only having one day a week of Uni commitments? What happens when you only get one 4 and a half hour shift a week at the very most? And what happens when the workplace/managers are hostile and uncompassionate? What happens when this is literally the best you can seem to get? What happens when by the time you finally leave work for the day you genuinely want to end it all? I just really don’t know what to do anymore.

Things have been really, really hard with the family aspect, too. Lately I haven’t been coping well with all the pressure and stresses in my life and I have been turning to substances to both: a) numb how I feel, but also, b) to simply feel alive. I am just so stressed about my whole situation and also discontent with how unsatisfactory it is that I try to block out/numb that stress in any way I can that doesn’t involve deliberately harming myself – so I use escapism as a means to cope.

The other week, actually, I watched “Requiem for a Dream” about 3 times. I’ve been obsessed not only with the artistic ways in which it’s been directed, but also the ways in which I can deeply resonate with the dark undertow of the film; that yearning for wanting better, and trying to achieve your dreams, but also the implicit contrast of the undesirable circumstances of the here and now and our ways of dealing with these cirumstances, all the while still maintaining a genuine desire for better things in the future. In the film, the dissonance between yearning for change and the desire to stay out of touch with reality to deal with – whilst also trying to better – life, causes personal conflicts, especially when the 4 respective protagonists each lose their mind, body, freedom, and soul through their addictions and their hopes for a better future. I can relate to that feeling of being helpless, but desperately longing for change. I know all too well that feeling of needing to escape reality for the meantime – that has been something I have really been affected by lately. And something I realise is that I am incredibly self-aware – almost too much – and I can always see the negative, and am thus highly prone to stressing out easily. Using a form of escape just gives me a chance to dull that worry out for a while and for a few hours life feels somewhat bearable.

This is something my family doesn’t understand, though, and instead of being supportive or compassionate, they have taken a very rigid approach to the matter. I know they love me and are worried about me, but their approach isn’t helping, and underlying that approach is a failure to comprehend the true intent behind my actions. I just want them to stay out of this part of my life. I know they’re only trying to help me but their way of “helping” only makes things worse. As well as this, it is so hard to actually make plans with friends because my family try to stop me from going out etc.

I’m sick of it, this lack of freedom. All I really want is for everyone to just get off my case and let me show them I can work things out for myself. The way I view it, now that I’m eighteen, I am pretty much responsible for myself now and the only thing that can really stop me now is the law. I’m not applying myself at Uni because I’m going through a rough time right now? It’s not their problem to be concerned with. The same applies towards my health, my whereabouts, etc. I am trying so hard to become increasingly more independent and the more they try to interfere, the less practise I have for the outside world.

It is also extremely irritating that I get patronised just because I am unwell and on medication.

Many people (including my therapist) have told me that I am incredibly insightful, aware, and intelligent. I know what I’m doing and all I want is to exercise my own autonomy. All the interfering on my Dad’s side is incredibly hard to deal with. It makes me feel like for whatever reason I can’t be trusted for once just to make my own decisions (and possibly my own mistakes, too, so be it) and this just adds even more stress and pressure than I already have. I just want to be left be to figure things out for myself. Lately I have been trying to get out more to see friends, my mum etc. so I can be away from home because it is such a hostile environment to be in.

My therapist has said that living at home is definitely a trigger for me, and conflict causes me to want to stay in my room and just escape from it all. All I know is I need out of this kind of environment, especially when it’s not making it any easier to cut down on my habit.

My theory is that because of the trauma I have been through, I have focused on becoming very independent from others. I’ve never really felt properly cared for or loved by either of my parents so I have just taken it upon myself from a younger age to take care of and tend to myself. I don’t think anybody really gets that.

That aspect aside, I am really disillusioned by the concept of relationships. After my last attempt at something I thought could potentially be fulfilling, I am just done with it all. I’m sick of seedy randoms adding me on Facebook etc, I just hate the feeling of only being wanted for one thing.

I don’t know how I feel about myself. On one hand, I know I definitely have substance to my personality and I certainly venture deeper than most people. I figure I must have some sort of inherent value. All I really want is someone that can notice that in me and deeply appreciate it. Someone who can appreciate me for me. I don’t want to be somebody’s ‘one night stand’; I need something more fulfilling and purposeful. And my last few experiences have left me pretty hurt and jaded in all honesty.

Namely, on one hand I come across the elusive, dismissive guys who don’t really care or understand (and I’m left utterly disappointed when I thought they WOULD definitely be the type of person to understand). Alternatively I seem to come across the occasional guy that is flat out obsessed within just meeting me and, due to my previous experience, I can already see a red flag right there.

The thing with me is that I’m not actively on a quest to find someone that will be the idealised ‘love of my life’. I just go with the flow and see how things eventuate if I feel like I can really ‘vibe’ with a person. And so those kinds of guys just overwhelm me, despite their seemingly good intentions contrasting with the former. I am left feeling out of place, never really finding what I need. So, while there is no concrete desire for a relationship, I am still human and would like to feel appreciated and genuinely loved.

On another note: the recent federal election. So many people my age did not want to vote, but as someone who studied Politics & Law ATAR I have a bit of an insight into how politics works, and it is truly sad that in a Liberal democracy where we are given the right to vote there are those that waste their votes/don’t show up.

I am disappointed with the results, and although politics will never be as good as it should be it is unfortunate that those who are now able to vote do not have enough understanding of how Australian politics works, as well as having a deep enough comprehension of party policies, to make informed choices on who to vote for, and most importantly, who to vote OUT. Hearing that the Liberal-National coalition AGAIN holds government for the next few years really scares me in terms of how it will affect myself and many other young people.

I don’t know if anybody else has been feeling stressed out lately with the Winter weather approaching, as well as the recent election results, or any other personal issues in their lives, but I certainly know I haven’t been in a good way for the last few months. Fortunately I have enough self-imposed structure and direction to know where I want to be and what I need to do. The posing question, though, is how do I get myself there? How do I overcome the hurdles that get in the way and make everything so much harder to achieve? How do I will myself to continue through this cycle of hope, gradually succumbing to self-doubt and stress over my fear of failure to succeed in my endeavours? Does anybody else find themselves in a similar rut like my own?

an array of broken up pieces to the tapestry of a memoir