Why?

I just don’t get it.

Things are good, really good.

I got my first for this year, against all the odds. I got my summer job back so I will have some money. I’ve booked my flight to Germany and got accommodation sorted for the first few weeks, and I’ve even met a girl who will be in the same town. I am going on holiday with S next week (although we still haven’t actually booked it!) and this morning I received an email saying that I won a prize for my work in German this year.

So why do I still feel low?

I have everything right now, and I’m still not happy…

Do I just want too much? Do I just expect everything to be perfect?

But there is nothing wrong, nothing at all. So why do I want to hide in my bed? Why do I feel like crying? Why do I still have this inexplicable feeling of sadness, emptiness, pain…?

I know I am a lot better than I was. But before things were hard, I had some reasons. I guess I still have some reasons, but a lot of them are gone now – living away from home, exam stress, coursework stress, the massive fear of not doing well enough in my uni work… All of that is gone and yet I don’t feel better. At least the anxiety should be lower.. but it’s not. I am on edge, and I’ve bitten all my nails off (again.) 

To be perfectly honest, even reading that I got a first didn’t properly cheer me up. I was happy, surprised for a few minutes. And then I was like “oh well”. What is that?! I have worked so hard all year for that, I have worried myself for months, I have waited anxiously for my results, and then all I can say is “oh well”?!

Nothing I ever do will ever be good enough (for myself.)

Maybe I’m doomed to always be disappointed because perfection doesn’t exist, no matter how much I or anyone else strives for it.

I just want to be “normal”… I want to react to things in a normal way. I should be celebrating my achievements, I should be excited and looking forward to the future, but instead I’m feeling numb.

And I still haven’t unpacked… I’ve been home over 2 weeks (oops.)

Someone explain all this?

 

Advertisements

I can and I did

Anyone reading my blog in April/May/June will already know that that was the dreaded exam season! Well yesterday was the (possibly even more dreaded) results day!

After this year, I don’t think it would be strange for me to expect to not have done that well on my exams. Although towards the end of the year and exams I was starting to feel better, it became clear during revision that my revision was in fact learning material (rather than revising it) and my concentration levels were just too low.

It’s no secret that I aim (too) high. I am a perfectionist, particularly with my academic work… so only a first would be “good enough” according to my brain.

But I did it. Despite all of the difficulties of the year, despite having exams that went quite badly (and results from these exams that aren’t great) there were also exams that I did very well in, bringing my aggregate score up to a first (just!)  – but still, a first is a first!

So I did it. I got to my goal for the year. As soon as I saw my results I felt so strong. I felt like it was a big “fuck you” (excuse the language) to all the people who didn’t think I could do it and who made things difficult for me. It made me feel like the ex was wrong about me – I am not weak. I got through it, and came out with the grade I wanted. 

So it seems that the mantra “I can and I will” was quite helpful, it kept me going. And now I can say “I can and I did!”

CBT – week ?*

This week’s CBT was on Monday. I filled in that horrible depression questionnaire (as I do before every session) and I realised how different it looked to when I started. A few months ago, every question would be answered with a 3 (nearly everyday) but now there are some 1s, some 2s and some 3s. It’s slow progress, but still progress and that’s what matters.

We discussed my exams and how they have gone. Some went ok, one went terribly and one went quite well. And I told her that I have accepted that I probably won’t get a 1st this year. And that’s ok**. I’m starting to look at things a little bit more rationally, and a little bit more “normally” but there’s still quite a way to go.

I told A that the ex and his new girlfriend are having a baby. We talked about it. About why it bothers me, about why it hurts and the thoughts it has brought up. I have to do some homework for my next session. I have to write a letter***. It’s going to be hard but it needs to be done.

I’m worried that I’m going to run out of sessions before everything is sorted in my head. And then what? Once I leave Lancaster for the summer that’s it. No more A, no more CBT, no more help. Once I go to Germany… who knows what happens if things go downhill again.

We sorted out my sessions for the rest of the term. It’s scary how little time there is left.

I don’t know what I’m going to do once the CBT finishes. There’s no point in thinking about that yet… but it is going to happen (and it’s going to happen quite soon!)

After my CBT session I went for a walk in the park with S. It was nice and sunny (for a change) and I really like that park. It’s probably one of my favourite places in Lancaster (or maybe anywhere?)

I feel like there was something else that I was going to write about, but I can’t remember now… That’s irritating.

* I have lost count of weeks, and I think I might not have written about some sessions… oh I don’t know!

**Kind of… The perfectionist side of my brain disagrees but I’m trying to be RATIONAL here!

***I will write about it/maybe even put the letter on here, but probably with a password.

One of those days

It’s been one of those days – unproductive, tiring and frustrating.

Today was a revision day. I have an exam on Tuesday and Wednesday. These 2 exams contain the most content out of all of my exams this year, and well done uni…they are on consecutive days.

This morning wasn’t too bad – got through a lot of statistics and I now have notes for all of that module – And better than that, I even understand most of it. The stats exam is on Wednesday. 

Then this afternoon it was onto social psychology. I find that module really interesting, and it was a lent term module so it wasn’t learned that long ago, I thought that would make revision ok, but I was wrong. Owl (friend from uni) came over and we were working together all afternoon and evening. She arrived at about 2:15 and didn’t leave until 9:15, we had about an hour break for dinner and were working solidly except that. But… we only got through one lecture. In 6 hours. So unproductive. My brain hurts, I don’t understand any of it and my concentration levels are shocking. 

Maybe I tried to do too much in one day. But that’s the only option. Today was one of those afternoons when you stop, put your hands up and say – right, it’s not working, I’ll write today off and try again tomorrow. But you can’t do that when the exam is the day after tomorrow. There is no more time. 

So now I’m stressed. STILL don’t know anything about social psychology and I have to learn the rest of the module tomorrow. Plus they want extra reading to include in the essay… are they crazy?! 

The stress is all building up and now I have a headache. I’m starting to panic and I don’t know any way round this. Tomorrow HAS to be a productive day, I have no choice. But the more pressure there is the more stressed I will be.

I need to calm down but I can’t. I really wanted to do well on this exam, I thought it was my best chance at a decent grade in these exams (except stats) and now I guess I’ll be lucky to scape a pass.

But to me there’s no point in passing a module if it’s not a 2:1 or first. A 2:2 or third is no good to me, so it may as well be a fail*.

I know I’m stressing myself out more by worrying, but that’s what Ellies do best – worry.

So I’m giving up for tonight. I want to give up entirely, but I can’t. I feel like in everything I do I have to do well, I have to prove I’m not a failure. I don’t know who I’m proving it to. Is it to the ex who made me feel like I’m not good enough? Is it to my parents who always push me to do well? Is it to S to prove I’m not nothing? Or is it to myself? because I see myself as a failure and all I’ve ever had to prove myself wrong on that is academic success.

Causal bit of self analysis there…

Anyway, I’m going to sleep and hoping to wake up with a bright and attentive brain, ready to learn all of the information in the world**.

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

*I know this is not actually true, blame my perfectionist tendencies. And what I really mean by this is that I can’t go into clinical psychology with less than a (high) 2:1.

**I feel this is only a minor exaggeration.

Things to look forward to

Tonight I’m feeling a bit down. I’m tired and fed up of revision. So I’m writing things to look forward to, because there are lots. I need to remember them when feeling down, instead of getting stuck in a negative loop.

  1. On Wednesday (after my exam) I am going climbing again with Owl*
  2. Next week is my birthday and S is coming to visit**
  3. Sometime in the next few weeks I should find out which Bundesland (region) of Germany I will be going to, and then soon(ish) after that I will find out which town!
  4.  On 28th May my exams will be over and I won’t have any proper exams for nearly 2 years.
  5. In June I’m going to visit Monkey at her uni.
  6. At the beginning of July I will be home and will get to see my friends from home.
  7. Sometime in the summer S and I are hopefully going to go somewhere for a holiday
  8. In August/September I will be moving to Germany for a year and starting a new adventure! (And I will have a disposable income because I will be getting paid for working!)
  9. In summer 2014 I am (hopefully) going to Namibia (and there are elephants – did I mention that? 😛 )
  10. In summer 2015 I will graduate.

There are many things to look forward to, some are big and some are small, but basically, there’s hope for the future, even if statistics revision seems to be the worst thing in the world*** right now.

* We went today as well, although it hurt I am determined to complete some of the routes I haven’t managed to do yet!

**I’ve barely thought about my birthday because of exams but I am SO EXCITED to see S, it will be nice to be able to spend time together without him having to go to work, or me having coursework to do.

***Clearly it isn’t, this is a MASSIVE over-exaggeration, but I’m in a “woe is me” mood so you’ll have to forgive me!

Quiet and alone

For the first time since I got back to uni after easter, tonight I am alone in the house. Mr Map and Shopaholic have both gone home (they’ve already finished exams!) and Footballer is out with her boyfriend. She did invite me but I didn’t fancy being the 5th wheel (they are meeting up with another couple) and I kind of wanted a quiet night in.

I planned to revise statistics. I’ve done a little bit, not a lot. I’ve caught up on blogs and done some thinking. It seems so quiet being alone… That sounds so obvious but I mean quiet in terms of feelings too.

I feel kind of dull but emotional at the same time. A video I saw on someone else’s blog brought me to tears earlier, and it’s not even a sad video – more happy! And earlier today I was waiting for S to call on his break at work and I missed it (my phone was on silent since the exam) and I just burst into tears. The emotions are close to the surface, or the tears are at least. I feel kind of empty, dull… like everything isn’t real.

I’m going to get an early night because I have to hit the stats revision hard tomorrow. It’s odd when you spend hours cramming all of this information into your brain, try to recall it in a logical manner for 2 and a half hours (in the exam) and then try to forget it so you can learn the next lot. That’s the problem with exams, they don’t really test your understanding, it’s more about your memory. Except the essay, but then you need extra reading, and you’ve got to remember that so it’s still memory.

This has turned into quite a ramble, but I think it’s time for bed now. 

This time next week it will be my birthday and S will be here. That is what is getting me through this week, this revision, these exams. I can’t believe how much I miss him, just want him to hold me so I can feel safe. That’s what I was going to write a post on earlier, a list of things to look forward to, there are a lot – some a few days away, others months or years, maybe tomorrow I’ll write it – something to read over when things feel bad. 

It’s kind of peaceful, maybe this was what I needed tonight.

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Guilt

I always feel guilty that I get extra time in exams.

I’ve only started getting the extra time this year (probably could’ve had it last year if I asked) but I feel like I’m cheating because I get 25% extra time on every exam.

I feel like I’m at an advantage and that’s not fair on other people. Today’s exam should’ve been 2 hours but I get 2 and a half. 

I know I’m allowed it. I know I probably needed it earlier in the year, when I was feeling really really low, but now I’m feeling a bit better (most of the time) I feel like I should no longer be entitled to the time.

The thing is, I needed it. Today I used 2 hours 25 minutes, and I was nowhere near done at 2 hours.

I wish I could stop feeling guilty because logically I know I wouldn’t have the extra time if I wasn’t entitled to it. And I definitely think people with depression and anxiety should be allowed extra time.

I guess I’m questioning whether I’m “depressed enough” anymore. 

But then I guess the part of me who questions that doesn’t remember that I spent the first 20 minutes of the exam staring out of the window trying to calm my racing thoughts and anxiety. And that I still get sad/cry a lot more than a “normal” person.

It’s like when things feel better I can’t remember (or maybe block out?) the bad times, and when I feel bad, I can’t remember the good things.

So ist das Leben!

(That’s life!)

Fried brain

My brain is frazzled. I’m trying to cram a lot of information in at once and it’s not going too well!

So here I am, blogging! Procrastination much? 

My exam is on Monday afternoon, so I have this afternoon and evening, the whole of tomorrow and then Monday morning to learn everything. I’ve written most of my notes, so will probably write them out again and read over them a lot to try to learn it all. And then fingers crossed for Monday! Please give me a question I can answer!!

In other news, remember when I disappeared for quite a while because I had too much coursework? I’ve got the results back, and got an A on my lab report and a B+ on my essay, very happy about that!! 

I am trying not to think too much about the exams. I have a major fear that I’m going to freeze, forget everything and write nothing. That cannot happen, so I’m trying not to think about it.

Well, this post was pretty boring – sorry about that.

I guess it’s back to revision for me!

But later I’m going climbing 😀

What if…

Today I’m having lots of “what if” thoughts. I think that’s called catastrophising, but whatever it is, it’s making me panic.

What if I can’t answer the question on my exam on Monday?

What if I fail the exam?

What if I fail my degree?

What if I can’t go into clinical psychology because my grades aren’t good enough?

What if I’m not strong enough to go into clinical psychology anyway?

What if I mess it all up?

What if I do all of this, and then I realise I don’t want to do it anymore?

What if I’m just useless and a failure?

What if…

What if…

The real answer is “then it happens”.

There’s nothing I can do about it now, and if it happens then I will have to deal with it.

It’s amazing how one little thought spirals out of control, until you’re questioning your entire being and the meaning of life!

Maybe I should spend less time panicking about “what if”s and more time revising… but that would be too sensible wouldn’t it? 😛

Back to the books I go…

CBT – week 10

After 4 weeks of no CBT, I went back to see A again on Monday morning.

We talked about my easter holidays, and I filled in the depression and anxiety questionnaires again. My scores were much lower, a big difference from the last time I saw A. Something is changing, and I still don’t know why, but I guess it doesn’t matter.

I am still having down periods, and with exams coming up the stress is starting to build up already.

I am trying to do regular exercise so hopefully that will help with the stress! I’ve managed to go to the gym 3 times already since I got back (last Thursday) and I’ve upgraded my gym membership to include the climbing wall – so I will be giving that a try on Saturday! 

We talked about how things are, and I said I feel a lot better. I am having a lot less thoughts about self harm/suicide, although they are still there sometimes. But it’s progress.

I feel like I am more able to be sociable, and although the anxiety is still high, I feel a lot more comfortable around people and less need to hide away. 

Next monday I won’t have a CBT session, instead I will have an exam! (Lucky me!) We have moved my CBT to Friday for next week, and we will be talking about the hardest issue, which I still can barely bring myself to talk about. Next week’s CBT session might be in a password protected post, we’ll see.

Last night I got upset before I went to bed. I had to call S in the end because I was really scared and I didn’t know what to do. He managed to calm me down and make me stop crying, and he wasn’t even angry that I woke him up. I am so lucky to have someone who is always there for me like that. I’m not sure why I was so scared or even what I was scared of, but I think maybe it was to do with thinking about what we are going to talk about next week.

Last night I think the ex was in my dream (nightmare?) I have a vague recollection of him saying he cheated on me all the time when we were together, but I can’t remember anything else. I’ll never know if he did or not, he’d never admit it and I don’t trust anything he says. It doesn’t even matter anymore.

Now I am off to bed; I’ve got a lot of revision to do tomorrow. And by that I mean I have to learn the material for the first time, because when we were learning this stuff the first time was when I was feeling awful, and I slept through lots of lectures. At least it’s something kind of interesting – my first exam is cognitive psychology, and tomorrow I’m making notes on Long Term Memory.

Good night,
Lots of love,

Ellie xxx