The evolution of my depression

When I first got diagnosed with depression and anxiety, it was very much trauma related and I had flashbacks, nightmares, the whole shebang… (there were also mentions of PTSD from the Psych, which I am sure I did have). I was lost and depressed and I didn’t know who I was. My abusive relationship had taken my identity and confidence and buried them somewhere far far away. 

Fast forward over 6 years to today, I have dealt with a lot of the trauma. I still get triggered occasionally, but not multiple times a day like previously, and now I can walk down the street at home without being scared, and I can drive past the road sign that says the place name where he lived… all that “normal” stuff that used to be so hard and triggering for me. 

Now I have a different problem, my migraines and pain and fatigue have spiralled out of control. I wouldn’t say my depression ever completely went, but it was much more manageable, now I find a lot of my negative thoughts and depression and anxiety are around the pain/fatigue.

 I feel hopeless because I know that neither my migraines or fibro are curable (the consultants are aiming to help me reduce rather than cure the migraines, and to manage the pain and fatigue of fibro.)

Some days when the pain is bad or the migraines are bad and persistent, I find myself questioning the point of my life. Sometimes I feel like there’s no way I want to live like this for another 60+ years. 

My biggest fears are now that I won’t be able to do things. This week has been hard, it has taken everything I have to get to work and do my job, and it’s only Wednesday. It makes me wonder how long I will be able to work full time for? How long before I have to give up my dream of being a clinical psychologist (training, if I ever get into it, would be intense and fulltime – balancing placements, studies and research)? I am going on a really exciting trip next year with the scouts, and I am terrified that I won’t be able to actually go. The aim of the trip is to build a large structure so will involve a lot of physical activity and it is at altitude.

Clearly I am not feeling very positive today. Some days I do, most days I don’t. It is hard for me to accept the way that my conditions are affecting my life, and that they will always affect me. I always had the hope the one day I would overcome my anxiety and depression, but this is different, I know that this won’t go away. And actually even my psychiatrist said that we are working to manage my symptoms as I have chronic depression. Pretty crap.

Ok, negative post done. I am working on something more positive which I hope to post in early December – I am trying yoga this month. Also, I have a physio appointment tomorrow and they are going to give me an exercise plan for graded exercise therapy as treatment for fibro. I’m really hoping it will be helpful! Will probably write a post about it to keep you updated!

Love, 

Ellie xx

 

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The evolution of my depression

When I first got diagnosed with depression and anxiety, it was very much trauma related and I had flashbacks, nightmares, the whole shebang… (there were also mentions of PTSD from the Psych, which I am sure I did have). I was lost and depressed and I didn’t know who I was. My abusive relationship had taken my identity and confidence and buried them somewhere far far away. 

Fast forward over 6 years to today, I have dealt with a lot of the trauma. I still get triggered occasionally, but not multiple times a day like previously, and now I can walk down the street at home without being scared, and I can drive past the road sign that says the place name where he lived… all that “normal” stuff that used to be so hard and triggering for me. 

Now I have a different problem, my migraines and pain and fatigue have spiralled out of control. I wouldn’t say my depression ever completely went, but it was much more manageable, now I find a lot of my negative thoughts and depression and anxiety are around the pain/fatigue.

 I feel hopeless because I know that neither my migraines or fibro are curable (the consultants are aiming to help me reduce rather than cure the migraines, and to manage the pain and fatigue of fibro.)

Some days when the pain is bad or the migraines are bad and persistent, I find myself questioning the point of my life. Sometimes I feel like there’s no way I want to live like this for another 60+ years. 

My biggest fears are now that I won’t be able to do things. This week has been hard, it has taken everything I have to get to work and do my job, and it’s only Wednesday. It makes me wonder how long I will be able to work full time for? How long before I have to give up my dream of being a clinical psychologist (training, if I ever get into it, would be intense and fulltime – balancing placements, studies and research)? I am going on a really exciting trip next year with the scouts, and I am terrified that I won’t be able to actually go. The aim of the trip is to build a large structure so will involve a lot of physical activity and it is at altitude.

Clearly I am not feeling very positive today. Some days I do, most days I don’t. It is hard for me to accept the way that my conditions are affecting my life, and that they will always affect me. I always had the hope the one day I would overcome my anxiety and depression, but this is different, I know that this won’t go away. And actually even my psychiatrist said that we are working to manage my symptoms as I have chronic depression. Pretty crap.

Ok, negative post done. I am working on something more positive which I hope to post in early December – I am trying yoga this month. Also, I have a physio appointment tomorrow and they are going to give me an exercise plan for graded exercise therapy as treatment for fibro. I’m really hoping it will be helpful! Will probably write a post about it to keep you updated!

Love, 

Ellie xx

 

World mental health day

Today is world mental health day. It seemed wrong not to post today given that my blog is about mental health. I have been wondering for the last few days what to write today, but it’s getting late and no plans came to mind so I’ll just wing it –

It makes me incredibly sad that many people don’t seek help for their mental health because they are ashamed. It makes me sad that they don’t think their friends or family will support them (whether or not this belief is true – sadly it often is). You wouldn’t hesitate to go to the doctors about a physical condition, but for some reason it’s different if it’s psychological. Because people should just “man up”, “it’ll all be ok in the end, you’ll see” right? People should just “get over it” and “cheer up” right?

If only it were that simple. 

So if you’re reading this and you’re one of those people who is scared to speak out, I urge you to seek help. Getting treatment could lead to a much happier life and can prevent things getting worse, getting to crisis point. No matter how badly you think of yourself, you are worthy of help, you are great and you will get through this. And if you have some help to do it, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe it’s even brave to face up to our struggles, to ask for help!

And if you’re one of those people who thinks people should just “cheer up” and “get over it” then I urge you to do some research, find out about mental health. The research speaks for itself, mental health conditions do exist – they affect the brain chemistry, they have a massive impact on people’s lives and it’s not their fault. Try to understand what it must be like to struggle daily with mental health issues and then maybe you will see that we can’t just “cheer up”, it’s not that easy. 

Maybe you just don’t know what to say? That’s ok! Sometimes all that is needed is a listening ear, sometimes being here is enough. We don’t need all the answers, but we need to be taken seriously, we need someone to talk to, someone to do their best to understand. That is enough, there are experts for the rest of it, but you – the family member, the friend – YOU are who we need to support us when things are bad. 

And for those of you who are fighting your personal hell each day, keep going. Things can change, no matter how hard it seems. Seek help when you need it (whether professional or support from a friend/family). Take time to look after yourself, I am a big believer in self care. Sometimes you feel selfish and worthless, but you are not, you simply need to look after your mental health as you would your physical health. 

I challenge you all to do something to help… Raise awareness, post on Facebook or Twitter. Fight stigma by challenging people’s beliefs, by calling people out on jokes about mental health. Ask someone how they are (really mean it) and listen to their answer, be there as a listening ear instead of rushing off as usual. Text that friend that you haven’t heard from in a while, smile at the old lady you see at the bus stop. Do something nice because you can. The world needs more random acts of kindness. 

Together we will get through this, together we will fight stigma. 

Lots of love,

Ellie xx

Stress

Hi everyone,

I haven’t written anything for a while but I’ve still been reading other blogs. I have been pretty busy and pretty tired. I couldn’t find the words I wanted to write. There is a lot of change is underway at the moment. And it’s stressful. Anxiety is up, mood is down. Yuck!

Following my diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I decided that doing 2 part time jobs adding up to more than full time probably wasn’t a great thing to continue to do. I have been feeling for some time that it is not sustainable and I am heading for burnout. So the diagnosis was the kick up the butt I needed. That and the fact that extra hours came up at one job to allow me to go full time there. Is it a coincidence? Is it fate? I don’t know, but I made the decision to go “down” to full time. 

Leaving is going to be very hard. I have been at that work place for 2 years although I have had different roles in that time. I am stressed at the moment about the job, doing handovers, telling clients I am leaving. That is the worst. Almost enough to make me stay. 

But this time I said no. This time I put myself first, I put my health first. I am hoping this will help me manage better. Less hours and hopefully less stress can’t be a bad thing! I am also trying to be less busy generally and make more time for self care. More time for blogging too hopefully!

So take a leaf out of my book and do something for yourself. Look after yourself and your health! 

Love,

Ellie xxx

Therapy 

I had a therapy session yesterday, the first one for about 4 weeks because I was away and then she was away. Since I last saw her, a lot has happened – I got diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I went sky diving, my anxiety has got worse, my depression has got worse etc etc. 

It was good to talk. It was good to be completely honest and open instead of wondering and worrying about how she would react, what she would think of me. I’m glad and I know I’m lucky that I have reached this feeling of trust with my therapist. I don’t filter my words and thoughts in that room. There’s no expectation. I told her I’m feeling rubbish. I feel low, lonely, angry, disappointed, hopeless…. all of this negativity. And she doesn’t tell me I should be grateful for what I have or tell me it’s going to be ok. She sits with me in the shit and she’s just there, listening, understanding. 

After last nights session, I had the best sleep I’ve had in probably about a month (coincidence, I think not!) I felt a sense of relief, an ability to breathe properly when I left. I needed to get things out. 

I cried and it was hard. And I named difficult things which I didn’t used to be able to do. I used to clam up and not be able to talk when things were hard, but now I can say them even if it’s through tears. 

Without a doubt I know therapy has helped me massively, and it still is. I can see that I have made a lot of progress, and even though my mood has done a nosedive since May and is showing no signs of improving, it helps to talk about it, and I’m not in the dark place I once was. 

I am currently en route to the middle of nowhere for my hike, so won’t be writing for a few days. When I get back I’m going to write a series of blog posts on things that help. (One of them will be on bullet journals, I imagine I’ll write one on therapy at some point.) I’ve already started writing the posts so I’m excited to share my experiences with you, and hoping maybe some of the ideas will help others too. 

Love,

Ellie xx

A spark of motivation 

Working in the field of mental health, I spend 5 days a week trying to support clients with their mental health and suggesting goals – try mindfulness or write down three positive things everyday or make time for self care. I often find myself coming out with gems such as “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and “you are always focused on others, but what do YOU want?” 

Hypocrite. 

Yep, I am a massive hypocrite. 

But no more. I am going to try and take my own advice. I am going to try and be more positive, make time for self care, be selfish sometimes. 

Now I am not going to sit here and pretend that a bit of mindfulness here or goal setting there is going to cure anyone because that would be bullshit. You know that, I know that. But it’s about doing things that help, even a little bit. It’s about building confidence, helping someone develop their identity – things they do or don’t like, enabling people to get that sense of achievement when they meet a goal. It’s about small steps and sitting with that person and really listening (because so often people don’t listen) So now it’s time to support myself.  I’m going to work on being the best I can be, and to help myself be a little bit happier again. 

One of my lovely blogger friends is doing 100 happy days at the moment, I tried it once before and didn’t manage it all, but I’ve been inspired by my blogging friend so I’m going to try again but in my journal this time, a little more manageable. I’m on Day 3 so far, I am managing and I won’t worry if I don’t manage all 100 days in a row!

 I have started my mindfulness again lately (I did 25 days in a row but went away for the weekend and lost my streak – but I started it up again today). I have a bullet journal, I find it very therapeutic but for some reason I stopped*, I will get that going again. 

A little bit of motivation has surfaced today! 

I am going to do some blog posts on the things that help me such as mindfulness and bullet journaling. What helps you? Is there anything you would like me to write about? 

Love,

Ellie xx

*When I start feeling unwell I stop all of the things that actually helped before. It’s counterproductive but the motivation goes and before you know it, all the good things have been left behind and you’re wallowing even more! 

This Blog

I started this blog when things were bad, I was feeling low. I posted quite frequently, and built up a network of blogs which I read everyday. It helped me feel better when I felt low, and helped me get some perspective from people who really understood. But now I’m too busy to spend all these hours on WordPress. I still read the blogs that I follow, but sometimes it takes me a while to get to posts. Sometimes I don’t read every single post, sometimes I miss things. And I’m sorry about that, but I am still here, I’m still listening (reading.)

Now I don’t feel like writing that much. I feel like I don’t have a lot to say most of the time, which is to say I don’t have that much to complain about at the moment. It’s a good thing, but I don’t want to stop this blog. But it doesn’t really do anything anymore. I keep saying I’ll do this and I’ll do that, but I always procrastinate my way through things, so it takes a long time for any of it to happen.

So I’m just saying – I’m still here, but not as much. Just bare with me. I know there aren’t that many that read my blog anymore anyway, but for those who do, thank you for being there, it means a lot. Maybe when I have some time I’ll have more to say, maybe once I get on with this mindfulness (if I ever get round to it) then I’ll have more to say.

I don’t want to just disappear, but I don’t want to keep writing posts like this which just say that I don’t know what to say.

Finally caught up!

Ellie is finally back up to date with blog reading!! I managed to get nearly 2 weeks behind at some point and I didn’t want to miss any out, so what better to do on a Friday evening than read lots of blog posts? And then I thought I haven’t posted in a while either – I really want to sort this out!

I’m approaching 2 weeks since I arrived in Germany now and things are still going reasonably well. At times I miss home, S, friends etc. and at times all the new and different things can be overwhelming, particularly trying to understand and make myself understood in German, but all in all I’m ok, things are good.

But although I am a lot better than I was months ago, I know that I still need to look after myself. So tomorrow, I am finally going to start the mindfulness book which I bought a while ago. I plan to do it everyday (or as much as I can anyway) because I really do think the mindfulness helped me when I was doing it with A.

(Although actually, having said that, I’m going away from Monday – Friday so I won’t be able to write or do my mindfulness then!)

I feel like I don’t have much to say/write anymore and I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just tired from all of these early mornings, or maybe it’s because there’s so much in my head that it’s all jumbled up and I don’t know how to make sense of it all.

This is turning into a strange rambling post so it’s probably time to stop writing soon. Maybe I will try to do some creative writing over the weekend while I have time – maybe a poem or something.

I don’t like goodbyes

Goodbyes are inevitable over the next week, I’m going in just over a week.

But I hate goodbyes, they seem so final. And there’s so many people I’m going to miss.

Yesterday was my last day at my volunteering place, they got me a ‘thank you’ card which was really nice. Sunday is my last day of work, so that will be more goodbyes. Then comes Monday when I will see Owl for the first and last time this summer, and after that I’m meeting up with some of the girls from my old school, and then my scouty friends (busy busy Ellie!) On Tuesday I’m having lunch with another friend, and I’m also meant to be meeting up with my oldest friend (Twin) at some point next week. I’ve also got to fit in more goodbyes, packing and making sure everything is organised for my early morning flight on Monday! 

So I’m very busy, and it’s a bit overwhelming. My head is overflowing with too many thoughts and ideas, and I think all this stress is causing my migraines to flare up. I’m scared of things going wrong and I hardly seem to have time to actually be excited!

The worst goodbye will be saying goodbye to S. I have seen him a lot recently and I always rely on him when I’m feeling low. But I won’t be able to do that when I’m away. It was hard when I was in Lancaster, but from Germany I won’t be able to phone as often.

I guess I will have to learn to be more independent this year. It’s probably a good thing, but I’m worried about if I feel worse again, will I be able to look after myself? I think this will be a good year for me (to develop as a person) as long as I am well enough to look after myself and be strong. 

Well at least there is one goodbye I don’t have to say – I won’t be saying goodbye to you guys here on WordPress, I want to continue my blog while I’m abroad. My posting may be a bit sporadic (as if it wasn’t already!) at first because I will be busy busy busy (as usual!)