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.

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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!)

When Footballer came to stay//Excited Ellie

This could be two posts really, but I’ll put it in one as that makes sense if I’m posting them on the same day anyway!

When Footballer came to stay.

My best friend from uni (Footballer) came to stay for a few days this week. It was lovely to see her and have a big catch up. We get on really well and are very similar in many ways. We went shopping, watched lots of films, ate rubbishy food, went around London a bit and it was fun. It made me realise how much I’m going to miss uni this year and made me hope (more than ever) that my friends from uni will stay in touch even though I won’t be there (because I’ll be in Germany.)

We met Mr Maps for the day on Monday and we went to Greenwich to the planetarium and then sat in the sun looking at the views. It was great being with them both, all three of us lived together this year at uni (plus shopaholic.) 

And on Tuesday we met Mr Maps again in the evening for dinner (as he’s working in London at the moment) and S came after he finished work. He makes me smile so much, and I realised that things are really good at the moment.

It was sad when Footballer had to go back home, it’s always hard to say goodbye. But this time I don’t know when the next time I’ll see her is. She said she’ll visit in Germany, and I’m planning to go to Lancaster at some point in the next year to visit, but who knows when that will be or if it will happen.

Excited Ellie

It has happened. Yep – I’m actually excited about Germany. The fear, worry, what-ifs etc. are all still there, but there’s also a large part of me that is looking forward to it. It will be an opportunity to do something completely different.

I won’t have to study for a whole year. No exams for a whole year! I will be teaching my language to students, and at the same time trying to learn their language, and if all goes to plan I will be pretty much fluent by the time I get back. This is all exciting stuff, and even though it’s really daunting and sometimes I think it was the wrong decision and I wish I could stay here instead, I am glad I’m going and I think it’s going to be a good year.

I know it will be hard. Probably very hard at times, but I can get through it. And hopefully I’ll come out the other side with considerable German language skills, more confidence, more independence and happier. 

It’s difficult because I know that the depression and anxiety aren’t “gone”, maybe they never will be completely. I’m a lot better than I was though, and I’m going to make sure I look after myself and won’t allow myself to slip down the slippery slope again. Life is too short to waste these opportunities!

So it’s less than 3 weeks now! I’ve booked my flight, emailed my mentor teacher and my host family, ordered an international student card, got my passport, etc. etc. I’ve been a busy little Ellie-bee and most of the preparations are done. Now is just the small problem of trying to fit everything I need into one 20kg suitcase… I don’t tend to travel lightly, and when I came home from uni this summer, my stuff filled up the whole of my mum’s people-carrier car so this is going to be a tough one!!

And even though I know I am really going to miss S while I’m away, we’ll be ok. We’ve been long distance since we got together, and even though this time we’re in different countries, it’s basically going to be the same. It’s hard at times, and it takes a lot of effort to make a relationship to work, but that’s ok because we both want to do it. Somehow my constant worrying and fears that he’s going to leave me are fading, and I think we will be ok. 

I think everything will be ok 🙂

 

Just a little post

Hi everyone,

I am back from my trip to Amsterdam which was lovely (more details to come soon in a dedicated post!)
Unfortunately my laptop is currently away being repaired so I can only get to wordpress from my iPad. I don’t mind reading blogs on here but I prefer writing my posts on a laptop really (not sure why) so this is just a short catch up post! My laptop should be back at the end of next week so then I can get back to my regular posts! But this week there might be a couple of posts if I can deal with using the iPad for it (the app does seem to have improved recently actually!)

Things are a bit wobbly over here… I’m fine but have been feeling very low for the last few days, with no real explanation. I think part of it is nerves about Germany, and then there is the “normal” ups and downs of depression anyway. I am going to see the doctor on Thursday but I doubt she can do anything – no time for therapy before Germany and I think I’m already on the max dosage of my medication… Hopefully my mood will lift soon. I was fine/good while I was away, and my mood always seems better when S is around (as pathetic as that is!) but everyone has ups and downs, so hopefully things will feel better soon.

This started off as a short post but now I’ve started I suddenly have lots to say!
The last few days I have spent most of the days in bed (not good!) but I managed to go climbing on Sunday which was fun (even if I’m still aching now, more than 2 days later!) Today after a morning in bed, I actually got a few things done – applied for my new passport and started the massive task of unpacking/tidying/clearing out my room… (Despite the fact I’ve been home for a month now, I had been putting it off!) it’s looking a lot better already and I know I will feel better with a tidy room!

There’s lots to do in the next few weeks before I leave for Germany… All very exciting and scary but I am really hoping this year is going to be good for me. S says he thinks it will help me as I will have to be more independent and I will see that I can do stuff by myself. A year off from exams will be lovely too!

Anyway that’s enough of my rambles I think… I feel as if I should change the title now as its a bit of a lie… But never mind.

Good night world,
Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Dependent

I hate being dependent on other people. Especially S.

Because he could leave (like the ex did.) That’s why you should never let anyone be everything to you. But it’s hard not to rely on him.

I hate how my happiness relies on him. When I’m with S I am generally much happier. It’s when I’m on my own I feel down. And I overanalyse every little thing. Why do I do it to myself? I’m torturing myself over things I can’t change. Things that are said and done, it’s too late to change them.

And things that he doesn’t even care about but I do. I feel fat, and I hate it. But I’m scared of starting exercise again like before because it’s addictive, like not eating – addictive and not good. 

I haven’t been blogging that much recently. Too busy. Life just gets in the way. But I still need time for myself. I’m going to try and set aside some time each day for myself. To reflect on how things are, to write my blog, to do some mindfulness stuff (because I haven’t done any of it in ages, and it was helping I think.)

Sometimes I think I do too much and I don’t allow myself enough time to just be. On Monday I had a day to do nothing. I slept until about 1, then pottered around doing not much – reading blogs, watching TV. But it was nice, just sometimes it’s nice to do nothing. Nothing that matters anyway. I’m always in such a rush all the time, maybe I should take a step back and try to relax a bit.

This post got a bit more reflective than I expected. Just a quick one before bed. To get some thoughts out of my mind. This one is like a mental stream (MMS you should be proud!)

I just want to stop for a bit. I wish I could pause the world, like in Bernard’s watch (did anyone watch that?) And then I could just take some time, with nothing going on. Wouldn’t it be nice?

But relaxing has always been difficult for me, that’s something I need to learn to do. A was right – I can’t give 100% all the time, it’s too exhausting. I need to relax too, and take some time for me – not to work or volunteer or even socialise, just to unwind.

Hopefully my holiday will help me relax a bit. On Monday I am off to Amsterdam (not Prague as originally planned) so I’m sure I will have an Amsterdam-related post at the end of next week!

As you might be able to tell, my mind is a bit of a jumble at the moment, if you managed to follow this post and its changing topics – well done!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Ellie’s little think (and ramble)

Today I went to the doctors. It seems like I haven’t been in ages! Last term I was going every week (not an exageration) but I think this was only the 2nd or maybe 3rd time I’ve been this term (and the term is nearly over now!) That’s progress in itself, I haven’t felt the need to go because things have been improving.

Over the last month or so I have felt a bit worse again and had a few wobbles. But I’m still a lot better than I was, so maybe recovery isn’t a straight line all at one gradient, it seems like it has its ups and downs, and times when things seem to stay the same for a while. But looking back, things are SO much better than they were, and I’ve come a long way this year.

I also got a copy of the letter from the psychiatrist (that I saw in February) to give to my GP in London when I get home. So obviously I had to read it… (Ever tried having a letter that is about you and not reading it? No thank you!) I thought it might upset me a bit, it is the reality of how things are (were?) in 4 pages. Written without compassion or explanation, just the bare bones of it really… And it was difficult to read. I had a little cry.

And then I had a little think, because these kind of things do make you think. One thing about this letter was that it had an actual diagnosis. It says depression and anxiety with post traumatic symptoms. And in that one sentence, it brings validity to what I am feeling. Someone else’s words shouldn’t be worth more than my own experience and emotions, but somehow it is. Sometimes I still think that maybe it isn’t that bad, or I’ve been overreacting to normal emotions. Sometimes I still doubt that it’s all real. But this man knows his stuff, and he is saying it’s real.

But since February things started to improve, little by little. Sometimes there were big changes, sometimes tiny, almost insignificant changes. And still now, I have my wobbles, and I have my little victories, but most important of all I have hope again. Hope that things can change and get better, hope that I can do this!

Well this is all sounding a bit positive and progressive isn’t it?! Time to add some worrying (because otherwise this wouldn’t be an Ellie post!)

I got an email back from the school I am going to in Germany today. I emailed them yesterday, in German. My “Betreuungslehrerin” (mentor teacher) emailed me back today, in English. So now I’m stuck; a decision that probably wouldn’t phase most people, but somehow any decision gets me into a flap! I’m just not good with decisions. So do I reply in English? Do I reply in German? Do I do half and half? (No Ellie, that is ridiculous!)

And what about living arrangements. She mentioned that in the past sometimes the assistant has found a flat in the town, sometimes lived in the nearest city (about an hour away) or she said I could live with one of the other teachers… Too much choice, too many decisions! I’ve decided not to reply today, but I’ll think about it and try and get out of this anxious worrying. Because really, whatever decisions I make – English or German, town or city, alone or with people, it’s not that important. And living arrangements can be changed if it doesn’t work out when I get there…

So time for Elllie to take a deep breath, and CALM DOWN.

Talking of breathing, I must do my meditation for today! And that’s another thing I want to blog about.

I’ve also been trying to plan my dissertation. As I’m doing psychology, we have to do an experiment so need ethics approval. I’ve been working on my ethics proposal today, but have been stopped in my tracks as there is a large flaw in my experimental plans… I have a PC and not a Mac. I have never seen this as an issue before, but apparently the software that I was planning to use for testing in my dissertation which measure reaction time does not exist on PCs!! (I mean seriously, come on!!) So there has been a lot of rushing around, panicking, and emailing my supervisor… hopefully we will sort this out soon! The problem is that next week is the last week of term, and I’m leaving Lancaster then so won’t be able to organise these things once I’m gone!

(Once again, breathing may be useful here!)

So little time, so much to do! In just over a week I will be leaving Lancaster until after my year abroad! Scary stuff!

Edit: I have just seen that I have passed the 200 mark on followers! Wow!! 🙂

Experimenting on Ellie

Today (yesterday now) was the last time that all of my housemates were together so we decided to go out to our student club in Lancaster for one last night. I have to say I was not massively looking forward to it, but as last night was quite good, and it was a chance to see everyone again, I decided to go (and having pre-bought a ticket was also encouragement to go!)

It just so happened that tonight was the night that we had guest DJs in our club – which doesn’t happen very often. It was Rudimental, and the tickets sold out way before the actual day. Obviously this was a recipe for disaster for me: loud music + smoke and flashing lights + LOADS of people = my idea of hell.

But I went, and hoped it somehow wouldn’t be too busy.

It was busy. Immensely busy! Everyone was crammed in like sardines in a tin, and it was boiling hot. But as I was there, I thought hey, let’s do an Ellie experiment here.

So I tried some mindfulness techniques – I tried to be aware of the present moment, I looked around at the exact situation I was in. I tried to identify escape routes, and decided that wasn’t really an option – something even worse than being squished would be being squished and lost! And I allowed myself to become aware of the panic I was feeling – the dissociation I was feeling, the fast heart beat, the increased breathing… and accepted this.

I told myself: I am safe, there is nothing that is going to hurt me here, and I can do this. And as time went on I accepted the current situation – I was surrounded by a lot of people, it was quite tightly packed, it was very hot and there was loud music, flashing lights and smoke… but none of this is actually dangerous. Especially as I was very fortunate to have my lovely housemate (Mr Maps) to try and keep a bit of space around me so I didn’t get too squashed!

And once I had done this, I wasn’t so scared anymore. And as time went on, I started to relax, and maybe became a bit desensitised to it all, and even started to enjoy it. 

I was very proud of myself for staying in there, I have run away in much less busy and calmer situations before, but not today. I stayed, I experimented, it paid off and I quite enjoyed it. It was a night where instead of constantly checking my phone to see if it was an acceptable time to leave, I was not the one to suggest leaving. And I stayed until 2:20, which may not be that late to most people, but considering there have been many times that I have left before 1:30, or even 1, I think it was a pretty successful night! 

So sometimes when you have the right people, the motivation to experiment, and more importantly, the right shoes*, things can turn out much better than expected, and you can do things you didn’t realise you could do.

So today turned into a pretty nice day. I also went to Morecambe with Mr Maps and Footballer earlier in the day. We went to the seaside, which was incredibly windy! And then we went bowling, (where I decided not to pursue a career in bowling) followed by a game of pool (where I decided definitely not to pursue a career in pool!) It was a really nice day, followed by a great evening with great people. I will really miss those two when I’m away in Germany… unfortunately my other housemate decided she had more important things to do and people to see to spend the day or evening with us, but we weren’t going to let her ruin this!

And now it is 3:45, I am sober and about to go to bed, and I just ate some yummy cake (that Footballer made for me as a leaving cake – it says “miss you” on it!) So now I am feeling pretty good, and I’ve decided that some people are worth the effort and some aren’t – and that’s ok.

Now time for lots of hours of sleep! – I definitely won’t be getting up early in the morning!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

*Tonight I decided to wear heels – my most comfortable ones. It was definitely a good move tonight because those extra 4 or 5 inches really helped me not to get too squashed in the crowd, and being only 4 feet and 11 and 3/4 inches tall at my natural height, I need all the help I can get!! Although, that aside – my feet are killing me now!

Oh dear…

Today I started trying to make a revision timetable (I’m not sure why I’m bothering, I’ll never stick to it anyway!) 

I guess it’s good to have a plan though.

But it’s made me realise how much there is to learn – way too much!

For 1 exam, I can get away with learning 2 out of 3 topics, which is by no means easy but not quite so bad as learning the entire syllabus, but for others I have to learn EVERYTHING. There is an essay question (pick 1 out of 4) and short answer questions (pick 3 out of 4) meaning you can’t do targeted revision… damn!

I’ve made a list of the topics I’ve got to learn and it’s a bit daunting to say the least! And now I’m procrastinating by blogging instead of revising… oops!

At least most of my exams are quite spread out, so I guess I’m lucky there! 

And just think, come the 28th May I will be free from exams for over a year (because of my year abroad!) 

I am very thankful at this moment that I am feeling much better than I have been for most of this academic year. Although the amount of work seems daunting and scary, and my motivation levels are not as high as they should be, I am in a much better position now than I was a couple of months ago, and I think I can do this.

I may not be able to do as well as I want to, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’ve had enough of letting depression beat me, and I feel like I can fight it. I’m so glad I’ve got my CBT as it really seems to be helpful (even if it does result in A LOT of crying!) so hopefully by the end of my CBT I will be feeling much better.

I know there is still a long way to go. For example last night I walked home from my friend’s house (owl) and got genuinely scared by a car park ticket machine! I jumped and gasped, thinking it was a person! The rest of the walk home I was hyper-aware of everything, and anxiety levels were high, who knows why! I felt pretty silly after, it (obviously) didn’t even move and it made me jump!! 

But overall things are pretty alright at the moment. And I’m back to blogging which is nice – I’ve really missed it!

I’ve caught up on a lot of reading but I don’t have the time to read over a month’s worth of blogs unfortunately, so there are some bits I’ve missed, but now I’m up to date, hopefully I’ll be able to keep up better now!!

Anyway, enough Ellie rambles for now… back to do some work I think!! 

Lots of love,
Ellie xxx

Busy being busy!

I still haven’t got back into my blogging routine yet as everything seems to be go go go all the time at the moment!

I currently have a friend staying with me for a few days, and then I’m off back to Lancaster for the summer term! I’m hoping then I will get into a routine and will be able to catch up with all of your blogs and start writing regularly again.

I suppose it’s a good thing that I’ve been busy. Busy doing some good things, and actually enjoying some things too! Things are definitely on the up, and I can’t believe how much better I feel than I did a few months ago (although there’s still a long way to go).

I had the nicest evening with the boyfriend the other day. We went out for dinner and then came home and watched lots of videos of funny animals (because we are that cool) and it was nice to just spend time together and chat and just be happy.

Today I have been showing my friend the sights of London – big Ben, Whitehall, Trafalgar square, Covent Garden, and of course – Oxford Street! And I managed to refrain from buying anything on our shopping trip! 

I’ve been putting off all the important things I should be doing at the moment, like CBT stuff and revision because they remind me that things are not all lovely and happy. Thinking about depression stuff kind of makes me sad because I remember that actually I’m quite a long way away from being “normal”/”happy” because I’m still massively affected by flash backs, nightmares, low self-esteem etc. but I know I need to confront these issues rather than hide from them which has been my method of choice for a long time – and clearly it hasn’t been helpful!

Just thought I’d do a little update. Very disappointed in myself for being so inconsistent with my blogging! I want to get back into the routine of reading everyone’s blogs each evening and writing everyday (or close to it) but sometimes life gets in the way!!

I’ll be back soon!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

I bloody hate essays.

The title says it all!

Still haven’t been back here, there’s too much going on – sorry!

I have to write this essay and then I really will be back! 

Thank you all so much for your support recently – it really helps me keep going! And a special thank you to the lovely one who emailed to check how I’m doing – much appreciated! 🙂 

In other news – next week Ellie is off to Germany! I’m quite excited to see where my friend is living on her year abroad, and to try out my slightly dodgy German skills! I will write properly before I go though, once I’ve finished this horrible essay!

Lots of love,

Ellie

P.S. Really missing blogging… need more hours in the day!