Crying again

I’m so emotional at the moment. I seem to cry at everything. Happy or sad. All of the emotions are just very strong at the moment.

Ever since the night before my birthday, finding out that the ex is having a baby with his new girlfriend, I’ve been really unsettled.

And then there was more revision and an exam to do, my concentration was terrible again and I felt like a lot of the progress had just disappeared.

This week’s CBT was really hard and involved a lot of crying.

And then today I don’t know why but I got so upset. I started thinking I don’t want to go to Germany, that I can’t do it, that I’m not good enough. How am I going to stand up in front of a class and teach when I can’t talk in front of people, and my German is terrible. I’m just so worried.

I’m really doubting myself again at the moment and hating myself (again). I am getting paranoid about S leaving me, even though I have no reason to. I’m questioning everything and I just don’t feel strong enough to deal with everything that’s going on. I would quite like to hibernate for a while until I feel strong again, but life doesn’t have time for that.

It’s horrible when things have been so much better recently and then things feel worse again.

Well at least tomorrow should be a good day. I am going to Manchester to shop with footballer and another friend. I am feeling a bit anxious though, because it will probably be busy. And there’s a load of upset in the house because of next year’s housing situation which got all complicated so I hope that won’t ruin the day. Footballer thinks she doesn’t have any friends here and no one cares about her but that’s just not true. I wish she could see that. (Yes, I know… massive hypocrite!)

But to end this post on a happier note, I would like to show you the most recent thing to make me cry. And yes, I’ll admit that I’m pathetic crying at Britain’s got talent, but for some reason I found this video very moving! (If you watch to the end you might see what I mean!)

I’m quite interested to see what they are going to do tomorrow in the semi-final!

Painful hands and procrastination

My hands hurt, that is all I have to say really. I just got back from climbing with Owl, and although I enjoy climbing, today was not great!

I couldn’t do the route I was trying to do, my hands are in agony and I’m tired. But it was a pretty good workout. We spent a bit longer bouldering than usual, and tried some harder routes. That’s probably why I couldn’t do the route I was trying in top-roping (hands were already hurting after bouldering!), but it’s still frustrating. 

Today I haven’t managed to get much work done either. Did a bit of German grammar this morning (what could be more exciting?!) but I really need to get into proper revision mode… the exam is on Tuesday!! What am I doing going rockclimbing this close to an exam?!

Since S left I have been feeling pretty down and my concentration is worse again. A couple of days ago the anxiety really kicked in (again), I was hiding in my bed for most of the day and I was really freaked out (haven’t worked out why though) but that seems to have subsided (at least for now.) I keep putting myself down, and usually I feel a sense of accomplishment after climbing which helps with motivation, but today I didn’t manage to complete the route so I feel like a bit of a failure. (Even though I know it was a hard route, and it was only the 2nd time of trying a route of that grade!) 

In other news, I have come to the conclusion that nice nails do not go with climbing. I painted my nails on Friday before I went out. Owl bought me a magnetic nail varnish for my birthday that makes a cool pattern so I used that. Now (Sunday) after climbing they are ruined… It’s to be expected. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to do them again now… (More procrastination! Wait until after the exam!!)

Sorry for the boring update, but I don’t really have much else to say at present. (Just having a little moan really!) After Tuesday when I have finished my exam I will have to start focusing on my CBT stuff… I’m sure I’ll have plenty to blog about then!!

Talking of after exams, I’m going to have to start planning my dissertation! I am doing some research into how EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitation and Reprocessing – A type of therapy often used to treat PTSD) works. Has anyone tried EMDR? And if so, how did you find it? (Would be interested to know if anyone feels like they want to tell me about it)

Fragments of who I am

I’m sick of being the weak one.

I always was. I still am.

I was that kid that always cried in school. The one that was over-sensitive. I learned that I was worth nothing and that was reinforced over and over. I’ll never be good enough for any of you will I?

And they wonder why I have no self-esteem, they wonder why I doubt myself so much.

I wonder whether I was depressed as a child. I can remember going to help out in reception at lunchtime sometimes, because I wanted to get away from the ones who always teased me. But it’s just teasing right?

And people always choose other people over me. I’m sick of being second best. Not even second best, the last alternative.

Feeling pretty low today. Because sitting here and moaning is really going to help me pass my German exam… 

Failure. Disappointment. Lonely. Lost. Scared. Pathetic. Hurt. Anxious. Sad. Broken. Weak. Useless. Fake. Nothing. That’s me.

(Sorry about the fragmented post. It doesn’t make sense)

Freedom!!/ Happy days!

Today I did my last psychology exam of the year – statistics!! And I actually think it went pretty well, so here’s hoping!! 

And I also got out of my exam, checked my emails and found that I have finally been allocated to a bundesland (region) in Germany for my year abroad!! I am off to Nordrhein Westfalen (Or North Rhine – Westphalia in English), but I don’t know where exactly yet! It’s all exciting though, and found out that one of my coursemates is in the same region which is great! 🙂

So today has been a good day!

I feel a sense of freedom now my exams are over (for now). But I actually have one more exam – my written German exam, at the end of May. But that’s a different sort of revision, and it feels less pointless because I can actually use what I learn rather than trying to cram a bunch of psychologists names into my brain and then forget them before learning another bunch for the next exam!

Today was the last psychology exam that I will do until after my year abroad… that’s nearly 2 years exam free!! 🙂

So now I am off to have some dinner, and later I’m going climbing with Owl, and I don’t have to feel guilty about not revising tonight because there’s no exam anytime soon!

Shall be back properly now and will probably have more to write about because my CBT sessions are starting up again on Monday!

Hope everyone had a happy Wednesday!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Feeling more like me

These few weeks are stressful time – exam season, when all students realise they haven’t done enough work all year and try to make up for it over a couple of weeks. I have done two exams now – cognitive last week and my german speaking today. Two down, four to go.

But the thing is, as much as I am hating revision and stressing, I also came to the realisation that I feel a lot more like me than I have done for a very long time. As I’m revising, I’m remembering why I chose psychology and german, I’m remembering that I like to learn, and I’m wishing that I had enjoyed learning it at the time (then revision would be a much easier process!)

That’s not to say that I’m not still having my moments. Today about an hour before my speaking exam I felt incredibly sick and could feel the anxiety bubbling up. But some fresh air, some water, deep breaths and reassurance from a good friend later – I did it. And no, it didn’t go perfectly, and yes – it could’ve been better. But maybe (just maybe) I’m finally realising that that is ok. It doesn’t need to be perfect. I did the best I could today and that’s all I can ask of myself. I could go over and over it in my head, analysing what I said wrong and where I used the wrong case or gender… but that won’t change it, so what’s the point?

Today it has been sunny in Lancaster (a rare sight!) It’s been such a beautiful day and at one point I realised that I’m definitely on my way to becoming me. I don’t really know who that is anymore, at the stage in life where people become themselves, I was being controlled by the ex. I lost all sense of who I was (am?) and I didn’t know what to do without him. Since then I’ve been so lost in darkness that I haven’t really figured out who I am, but now the fog is clearing and I’m realising – I can be who I want to be now. It’s my life, my choice and I’m never going to let anyone take that away from me again.

Talking of which, in summer 2014 it looks like I might be on an exciting trip! (I definitely wouldn’t have been allowed when I was with the ex!) A trip to Namibia, and guess what’s in Namibia?? That’s right… elephants!! 😀

Maybe it’s the revision making me crazy, but today I don’t have too much to complain about. Anyway, back to stats revision I go… (can you think of a more thrilling Tuesday evening?)

Lots of love,

Ellie

xxx

CBT – Week 11

Today I had my CBT session, on a Friday for a change as I had an exam on Monday. It was still 9am though – an early walk up a hill!

We planned to tackle a difficult issue today. One I really struggle to talk about. I was meant to write about it for “homework”, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even bring myself to think about it properly. I just cried and felt awful. 

We are leaving it until after exams. Maybe I will feel stronger then, once the stress of revision and exams is over. I know it needs to be dealt with, but I can’t handle any more at the moment.

We decided not to have our next session until after most of my exams, the next one will be 20th May. A said she thought it was best because it adds more stress and I need to be able to concentrate as much as possible on exams. I will still have the rest of May and the whole of June so hopefully we will have time to sort things out.

We talked about perfectionism today.

I never realised before how much I have spent my whole life trying to please other people, trying not to disappoint anyone, trying to be “perfect” all the time, but of course it doesn’t exist. And that means that I am always striving to do better, no matter how well I do it will never be good enough (in my eyes) because I am not good enough, I am not perfect.

I knew I felt like that about academic work. I have always been pushed to do my best. From year 2 until now I have had exams every year. At the age of 10 I took entrance exams for secondary schools and I got into one of them (only on the waiting list though). At that school they pushed us to get the highest grades. It is one of the few places where getting an A would result in being told “that’s a shame, hopefully you’ll do better next time.” At this school I was surrounded by people who constantly achieved academic excellence, where As and A*s were the norm. I thought that was how the world was, that everyone achieved all the time and so I pushed myself harder to keep up, I didn’t want to be average, I wanted people to be proud of me, I needed to do well. It came to GCSEs and I got good grades, but in comparison to my friends from my school I felt like I had done badly.

I did my A levels, I got into uni, but I didn’t get all As, I didn’t get A*s. Must do better. And then I got to uni, started Psychology and German, and I convinced myself that I needed to get a first. I know it is not essential, and I would never think that a 2:1 was a bad mark if anyone else got it, but when it’s me I have much harsher standards. It’s a massive fear of failure, but my perception of failure is actually not being perfect.

If I do well it’s because the test is easy, it’s because I was lucky, or it’s because I get extra time*. But if I do badly it’s all my fault. I should’ve done better, I could’ve worked harder, I am a failure. It’s internal and external attribution, something I wrote an essay about recently actually. I recognised myself in a lot of the research I was doing, about how people with depression give internal explanations for bad things (it’s my fault) and external explanations for good things (I was lucky). 

I crave reassurance that I am doing well. I constantly get people to check that what I am doing is right and I never trust my own judgement. When I write in German, I tend to look most words up in the dictionary, even when I know them, because I doubt my knowledge and I don’t want to be wrong.

I realised today, I have never failed anything (academically) and yet I am never satisfied with how I do. 

I am indecisive too. I can’t make simple decisions. I don’t want to make a mistake, ever. It’s ok for other people to make mistakes, but not me. I have to be perfect (but of course I’m not). Big decisions are hard of course; they are for everyone. “What if”s are abundant in my mind and I am constantly worried about making the wrong choice. A said sometimes there isn’t only one right choice, sometimes decisions take you on a new path that’s different, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. And then it comes to small decisions, like what to have for tea** and I am anxious. It can take me a ridiculous amount of time to make the most simple of decisions. And does it really matter? No, of course it doesn’t. When decisions involve other people it’s even worse – where to meet for lunch or what film to watch… What if the other person doesn’t like my decision, what if it’s wrong, it will be all my fault if we don’t have a good time. I avoid decisions as much as possible. The phrases “I don’t know” and “I don’t mind” are very common in my vocabulary. I go along with what other people want. I’m a people pleaser.

My whole life I have done what I have been told – by my parents, by the ex. As I was able to start making my own decisions (approaching the age of 16) the ex was there, controlling me, manipulating all my decisions so that it made it look like my choice, but really I was doing whatever he wanted me to do. Looking back I am ashamed that I let someone control me in this way, but I couldn’t see it at the time.

And then we come to the issue of looks. I think I am ugly. Fat and ugly. S says my view of myself is distorted, that I don’t see what he sees. I say he is crazy, that there is no way he can find me attractive. There are so many things I wish I could change about myself. And since I put on weight from the mirtazapine, I’ve felt even worse. Some of the weight has come off since I changed medication but not all of it. Half of my clothes still don’t fit and it makes me feel terrible about myself. I don’t like trying on clothes while shopping now because I just end up feeling bad about myself. I am disgusted with me and my many flaws. I crave perfection and again it doesn’t exist. I will never be good enough in my own eyes.

I need to accept that S loves me for who I am and I don’t need to be perfect to be loved. It’s difficult though. I walked on eggshells for so long with the ex. The slightest mistake and I’d never hear the end of it, I had to be perfect to keep him happy. Late out of work and I’m in trouble, even though it’s out of my control…

Today I gained a lot of insight into my own mind. I knew that I can be a perfectionist, and I knew that it affected how I think about myself, but not quite how much. I think that counts as a good session, somehow I just need to change these behaviours now.

As a closing note, I will leave you with what A said I should do:

Aim for 75%, because you don’t need to be perfect (100%)***.

*which is another thing. I am entitled to extra time in exams because of depression/anxiety, but I always feel that I don’t deserve it. As if I am a fraud and I am at an advantage having this extra time that I don’t deserve.

**Or dinner (I’m picking up Northern words now!)

***Of course I said if I get 75% in my degree then I’ll be very happy – it’s a first. But that wasn’t what she meant. She meant I don’t have to aim for perfection because then I will always fail (in my eyes) but 75% is more than good enough.

One down

One exam is done (yesterday) now there’s 5 to go until freedom for a year and a half!! It’s strange to think I won’t be taking any exams this time next year, as I’ll be on my year abroad!!

Revision is not going too well, but hopefully the information will get in my head and find its way onto my exam paper at the appropriate time!

In other news, I went climbing on Saturday with Owl and we did a short course so we are now registered to go climbing when we want without supervision which is nice 🙂 

We went climbing again today and managed to get through it without any falling off!

I have caught up with everyone’s posts from the last few days too, and have probably spent too long procrastinating from revision over here today! (oops!)

Shall be back soon,

Lots of love

Ellie xxx

One week to go

Thought I’d check in as I haven’t been blogging so much recently, like I said, too much work!

Hope everyone is doing ok here, and once I am done with my work I will catch up on all the posts I’ve missed.

There is 1 week left of term. This time next week, I should have: handed in 4 pieces of coursework, done a german presentation, done a statistics exam and finished all lectures/seminars for 2nd year…

It’s going to be a close call and I don’t know if I will get all of that done. But I’m going to give it a damn good try. I decided I’m sick of not being able to do my work, so I’m ploughing through anyway. I probably won’t get as good grades as I am hoping for, but I’m doing my best, and right now, my best isn’t fantastic but that’s the best I can do.

I am saying this cautiously, as I don’t want to jinx things, but things seem to be looking up. I am still having lows, but also having days that are ok, good even, this week. The psychiatrist said that once I start feeling better it will be gradual, there will gradually become more good days and less bad days until ta da – you’re better!

There is definitely a long way to go before I feel better, but progress is being made. I don’t know if it’s the CBT, or the medication, a mixture of the two, or that this week has randomly been a bit better, but the point is there is hope, and things will change.

I’ll be back soon!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Post of stuff

I’m back in Lancaster after a weekend at home, and now I can write this post of the things that I’ve been meaning to write about! So here goes!

First one, lent. I meant to write about this earlier in the week but I didn’t because I was too busy, so it can go into my post of stuff! This year for lent I have decided to give up alcohol. I’m not really sure why I do lent – it’s probably a bit hypocritical to be honest. I’m not very religious and I don’t go to church often. I don’t quite know what I believe, although I do want to believe in God… But anyway, I normally give something up for lent because “I should”, and probably for the wrong reasons, but anyway. Not only does this mean that I don’t have to deal with 40 days of chocolate cravings (like when I gave up chocolate one year) but also it is probably beneficial for my health not to drink. The doctor always reminds me that alcohol and depression don’t mix, and alcohol and antidepressants definitely don’t mix, but I normally just say that I don’t drink often.* So I am giving it a chance, especially after my recent drunken behaviour!

Next – the exam. I had my German listening exam on Friday, and I’m not too sure how it went, but I did it and I understood most of what they said. So hopefully it’ll be ok. I really need to work on my perception of “doing ok” too – my perfectionism is ridiculous. I looked on my transcript, and I’m on a 66% average at the moment, which is a decent 2:1, but my brain does not find this acceptable, and won’t find it acceptable unless it’s above 70% (which is a 1st). This is one of the major things that I need to work on with A.

And now I can move onto talking about the weekend. Once I managed to catch the train (which I nearly missed because of my indecisiveness) I was on my way home! I tend to go home once a term for a weekend, just to get away from Lancaster for a bit. I love Lancaster, and my friends there, but sometimes you just want your own bed and a nice roast dinner cooked by mum! On Friday I had a yummy chinese take away, on Saturday I went to the pub with some of my friends from where I used to work, and today (Sunday) I met my cousin in a cake shop for a chat and then my mum made a lovely roast dinner and I ate too much! The weekend went far too quickly, but it was a nice one. And for once, I feel reasonably relaxed on a Sunday evening,

But this post of stuff wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the main thing that has happened recently in Ellie land.

On Saturday I met S** for coffee***, and it was a bit weird. I felt really detached, and it was kind of awkward. It was the first time we had seen each other properly since we split up. We have still been talking a lot – on the phone, by text etc, but seeing each other was a bit strange. In a way, things hadn’t really changed when we split up – we still talked everyday, and I still missed him a lot. After the coffee*** we went for a walk and then back to my car to talk. I got upset because things felt weird, and it felt like neither of us had anything to say. He held me as I was crying, and we ended up kissing each other. (This was probably my fault.) We talked about the problems – the distance, the way things didn’t feel right, the pain, and we couldn’t decide what to do. Eventually we left it as “we’ll just see what happens” and decided we wouldn’t see anyone else, but wouldn’t make any decisions further than that.

Then he had to go and meet another friend, so I went home. In the evening we went to the pub, and afterwards I drove people home. I dropped him off last, and we ended up talking for ages, and eventually decided that we would give us another try. Even though the distance is hard, we decided it was still hard even when we weren’t together, and we both missed each other a lot so it is probably worth another try. Obviously things aren’t perfect – I’m still a mess and I know that hurts him, but he said it hurts him whether we are together or not, and he wants to be there for me and make me happy.

As usual, I did a lot of crying, but I think this is the right decision. It might not work, but at least we will be able to say we tried. We agreed that we will be more open with each other and talk to each other about any problems which arise in the relationship, instead of pretending everything is ok like last time. We also realised that we need to put more effort into the relationship. Before, we just expected it to work and we didn’t make enough time just for us, or put the effort in to make things right. I hope that now we will be better at communicating, and will make sure we take time just for us which will help things work better.

I realised that I feel safe with S. Completely. I don’t think he would ever hurt me in any way, and I know that he will always do his best to look after me. I know I’m a complete nightmare a lot of the time, but somehow he loves me anyway. I am so lucky to have him, and I hope one day that I will be able to let myself trust him. I love him more than as a friend, but I don’t think I’m in love with him. I don’t know if it matters, but I also think it might be because I won’t let myself because of what happened with the ex. If you don’t let yourself fall for someone, they can’t hurt you – right?

So basically, a lot has been going on, and things have changed (again) in Ellie land!

In terms of how I’m feeling – I don’t really know. I feel more hopeful for the future, and even though I’m incredibly worried about the amount of work and stuff that I need to do this term, I think things are going to get better. In fact, I am determined to get better. I’ve had quite enough of this being defeated thing!

If you’ve read this whole long, rambling post – thank you! I’m sorry it’s ended up so long! Just had a mini heartattack – Accidentally deleted the whole post! But luckily found the undo button! 😉

*Which is true-ish. I only drink when I go out, and I normally go out less than once a week. But still – better than drinking everyday right?

**S being my exboyfriend (but not “The Ex”) who is still my best friend

***Ok so neither of us had (or like) coffee, but we went to a coffee shop. I had a mango and passionfruit fruit smoothie, but that’s not really relevant.

Jumble of nothingness

I don’t feel good at all.

My mind is a swirling mess. Not a single thought that makes sense. Just a big jumble of nothingness.

I have an exam tomorrow. I have work to do. Why can’t I concentrate? Why aren’t I worried? Why don’t I care?

I don’t even want to go. I just want to stay in bed all day.

My brain hurts. My heart hurts. I don’t know how to deal with this anymore.

Give me a break. Just a night where I can sleep and wake up not feeling tired in the morning. I am so tired. I’ve been so tired for so long. Someone asked me a while ago when the last time was that I wasn’t tired. I said I don’t know; maybe a few years ago. That’s ridiculous.