A night feeling “normal”

I went out at the weekend. I drank cocktails and shots. I danced and sang (*ahem* shouted) and got home at 3:30 in the morning. The club was packed and I knew I should feel anxious, but I didn’t (thank you alcohol).

It was weird because that night (until the very end when I got a bit upset and overwhelmed once the alcohol started wearing off), I felt like a “normal” person. For so long I have avoided situations like that, or have tried but have been overcome by anxiety or fatigue. It was nice to be able to do something that most people probably don’t think twice about, but I usually do.

It’s now Wednesday and admittedly I am probably still feeling the effects (because it takes days for my energy levels to recover from things like this. Things I used to take for granted) but it was worth it. It was a good night and I won’t even let the end of it ruin that memory.

On another happy note, I mentioned that I was planning on writing a happy memory about each day to put in a jar, and I am proud to say that’s still going strong. Month one, done, in the jar. I also bought a pretty jar to use (although now that I’ve got it home and put 31 pieces of paper in, I’m pretty sure 365 won’t fit but oh well!)

Jar of memories

Love,

Ellie xx

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Shattered

Migraine, sleep and tablets. It goes away but leaves me aching and tired.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Three days in a row plus Work plus CBT and I’m absolutely knackered. Ready to go to bed and it’s 8pm.

I want to write about my physio and my cbt, but today it’s just a quick one to say I’m bloody knackered!

Zzzzzz

This chronic fatigue and chronic migraine thing is no fun! It messes up my plans. Plans of being productive, plans of going out for dinner with a friend, plans of getting my 10,000 steps in! I’ll just try again tomorrow!

Love,

Ellie xx

Finding a hobby

After everything that happened last year (in brief: diagnosis, breakup, bereavement) I am on a mission to make 2018 a good one. What I need, I decided, is a new hobby.

I thought about taking up dance – maybe ballet or tap which I did when I was younger, or going back to rock climbing which I did a lot at uni, but given that I’m being treated for fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome (they don’t seem to know which as both have been written in letters but they seem to have the same treatments anyway) I thought it best not to go for something physically demanding at present. I don’t think my physio would be too impressed if I started up climbing again while I’m doing my graded exercise therapy which currently consists of walking, stretches and yoga (will write a post about that at some point!)

So anyway, exercise based hobbies were out… I considered joining a choir because I’d love to be able to sing, but the thing is… I can’t sing! Art was another good one, and I decided to pursue that, emailed someone about doing their art class, but it was full. Another dead end (for now)

Then I was scrolling through Facebook as you do, and saw a video of a friend performing one of his poems. Then it hit me – writing. I didn’t need a new hobby, I needed an old one. So I’m going to start writing more again. More blogging, but also creative writing. I used to write poems and stories all the time but stopped that a long time ago.

I think writing can be so therapeutic, and it is something I really enjoy so why not?! So I’m now looking for creative writing courses or workshops or groups, and I will try and dedicate some time each week to writing.

Today I wrote my first poem in a long time. I actually thought of it on my way to work and then wrote it down when I got there.

You can expect to see more posts hopefully and maybe some creative writing appearing on this blog!

I’d also love to hear about your hobbies. What do you do that’s just for you? And what hobbies do you have that help your wellbeing?

Love,

Ellie xx

Things that help: my dog

Animals are so clever, my dog definitely knows when I’m sad. When I got home and sat on the sofa this afternoon, he jumped straight up and sat on my lap. He curls up and he thinks he’s still a puppy. He’s actually pretty heavy but I don’t mind. He’s my hot-water-dog, and I find cuddling him very soothing.

He reminds me the world isn’t all bad. He reminds me I’m not all alone. People always say pets can be therapeutic. I didn’t really get it until we got our dog, but now I do and I totally agree.

Not only that, but having a dog means I walk more. He gives me a reason to leave the house even when I don’t feel like it. He’s so inquisitive, imagine being as curious about the world as a dog… we would be much more mindful and really take in our surroundings instead of being on autopilot. He makes me notice the small things.

As you may be able to guess from this post, I’m feeling pretty crappy at the moment. I’ve been coping quite well but today is a bad day, no particular reason for it.

Now, back to cuddling my dog!

Love,

Ellie

I don’t want to be rescued

I have spoken to my counsellor a lot about how both the ex and S* rescued me in a way. Before the ex, I was going through a low patch and I wanted to be rescued, enter the ex. After the ex, I was in a much worse place, enter S, ready to rescue me and me wanting to be rescued.

But this time I don’t want to be rescued. When S and I first split up, I wanted nothing more than him to rescue me. When I felt suicidal, I wanted to tell him and for him to make me feel better, to rescue me again. But actually, that is not what I need anymore.

I want to rescue myself. What a revelation!

I don’t need a knight on a white horse or any of that bullshit. I need to learn to look after myself, not become reliant on anyone else. I’m not saying I don’t need friends and family because I do, but I don’t need someone to rescue me. I don’t need to be a victim forever. I am not passive in my life, I should have the main role in my own life.

So this is me, on a mission to rescue myself. And do you know what? I’m going to be ok.

Love,

Ellie xx

* now this is confusing as both are exes but let’s be very clear – my relationship with “the ex” was toxic and horrible, my relationship with s was happy and safe… It makes me sad to draw parallels between the ex and S, as the relationships were so so different, and yet I am realising there are definite similarities in some ways which I had never noticed before.

100 days of mindfulness!

I reached 100 days of mindfulness in a row. I’m really proud of that, especially given how hard the last couple of months have been. It has become part of my daily routine – every morning my alarm goes off, and then I open the app on my phone and put on a short meditation. My favourite morning one is ‘welcoming the day’ on the app I use – Stop, Breathe & Think.

I would like to increase the time I do my mindfulness each day, but 5 minutes every day is a good start! I know that mindfulness is a really good tool in managing anxiety, so ideally I would use the skills when I am in a moment of panic! One of my favourite meditations (called ‘relax, ground and clear’) talks about being on top of a mountain and I really love that imagery, it puts me in a more relaxed state and it’s easier to tackle the day.

Another time that I find the app really useful is if I am struggling to get to sleep. When you are lying in bed trying to sleep and all of those niggling thoughts pop into your mind – did I send that email at work? I must remember to buy more milk. Etc. Or worse, the negative thoughts set in – “I’m useless”, “no one will ever love me” and so on… To clear my mind, I can put one of the mindfulness meditations on (often ‘falling asleep’ or ‘sound bed’) and then my mind focuses on my breath and I am much more relaxed so sleep comes more easily.

I know I’ve written a few posts about mindfulness and this app in particular, but I am a massive fan and I feel it could help others too! Plus, the logo is a really cute cloud with a face!

Love,

Ellie xx

Safety net

Scared of being alone,

Missing the way you smile

And how you touched my hair

Wanting to be in your arms,

To be in my safe place with you.

Safety has gone now, I miss him. (I just re-read that sentence, when I wrote ‘him’, I meant S, but saying I miss safety and that S was safety to me is just as true.) I am doing ok most of the time but sometimes I get an overwhelming wave of sadness. Today it was while I drove home from work, tears streamed down my face. No trigger, just the feeling of loneliness, emptiness. I know that it is for the best, I would never have ‘grown up’ and taken responsibility for my own wellbeing if he didn’t leave me.

I am trying to take control of my life now; I made a bucket list for 2018, I have started my CBT for fatigue (will write a post on that soon), I am focusing on the amazing friends and family I do have and even reconnecting with some old friends. I am really trying my best but it’s hard because I am terrified that I will always be on my own.

I miss S and our stupid in-jokes and the stupid names we called each other. I miss lying in bed cuddling while we watched a film and feeling safer than I have ever felt. I can’t imagine getting that feeling again.

I am 24 and I know that is young and there’s time to meet someone, I know it doesn’t mean I will be on my own for the rest of my life, but I didn’t plan for this – I couldn’t have planned for this. My plans and expectations for the next few years down the drain – hopes of moving out and buying a property *flush*, hopes of marriage and children *flush* hopes of safety and love *flush*

Seeing other people with long term relationships is hard, I have hit the age where people are starting to move in together/buy a place together or get engaged/married. It just reminds me what I’ve lost and makes me panic that it’s going to be too late for me. I know it’s silly but that’s how my brain goes.

He was my safety net in so many ways, and now he’s not there, free-fall is a terrifying prospect. But what if I don’t fall? What if I can fly instead?

Love,

Ellie xx

Memory jar

One of my clients told me about this idea and I thought it was really cute so I used it myself…

Every day you write one happy/positive memory or thing from that day on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in a jar. Then on New Year’s Eve you will have 365 happy memories* to read to bring you into a positive new year.

I thought that was lovely so I’m trying it myself. As you can see, it’s (day 1) 1st January so there’s one piece of paper so far, and I hope many more happy memories to come! I kind of wanted a prettier jar so I may change it part way through, but for now it will do! 😊

Love,

Ellie xx

*you could start this at any point in the year but I think it will be cool to do a full year and have 365!