Learning to manage 

I know that chronic illnesses have ups and downs. I know that there will be times when my symptoms are unbearable and times when they are barely noticeable. 

But this weekend it feels like it’s getting worse. I feel like my body has no resilience. I am living weekend to weekend. Yesterday I went for lunch with a friend and we went to the theatre. It was nice. It didn’t involve much walking or physical activity at all, yet I was still knackered when I got home. Yesterday evening my pain got worse than it ever has before. As in the generalised all over achyness as opposed to a specific pain actually caused by something (anyone ever stepped on a plug? Ouch!) 

Today I took my scouts on a hike. It was 6 miles. I am tireddd! When I agreed to do this, it was at a time when my pain wasn’t too bad. Last night I was not sure if i would be able to do it today. Managed to sleep and felt a lot better this morning. Not good, but better than yesterday. 

So I did the hike. I am bloody knackered. I don’t think I’ll do it again next year if things are the same. I’m disappointed. The fear I had last night was this is the beginning of not being able to do things. This is the beginning of limiting my activities, of not being able to do activities that “normal” people can do. That’s scary. It makes me sad. 

So now that I’ve overdone it, it’s time for self care…

I have just been through half of my wardrobe and thrown a load of stuff out, I feel exhilarated. For some reason, despite feeling exhausted, it felt like what I wanted to do. So I did. I am watching some random stuff on YouTube while I did it, just chilling. 

I have put a face mask on and it has dried and now my face looks all funny and shiny. I will peal it off soon 😊 I am about to run a nice bubble bath listening to relaxing music and then I’ll put my pyjamas on. Lovely! 

Hope everyone is having a nice and restful weekend and not overdoing it! 

Love,

Ellie xx

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What if this is it

I’m afraid this is a bit of a negative one. Feeling sorry for myself this evening. The fear that things will always be this way is strong today. My physical symptoms are getting on top of me and being positive is too much today. 

Love Ellie xx
Like a vampire, avoiding light 

A slow and tired sloth 

There are a group of little creatures

Having a disco in my head. 

Their music thumping away. 

Someone has pumped my body full of lead

Limbs heavy 

Mind heavy 

A thought occurs to me, a whisper in my mind 

“This is the rest of my life”

Pain and tiredness

Feeling blue 

“What if this is it?”

Health 

Thought I would fill you in with my current health situation – I have some kind of fatigue problem. Also a lot of aching and pain. The doctors are investigating to try and find out what it is

Currently they are wondering if it is fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME). It’s all a bit scary because I know both are chronic so unlikely to get a full recovery. 

My mum has fibromyalgia and I see a lot of the same symptoms in me. It’s scary. I feel that I am too young, but that’s not how it works. It’s indiscriminate just like depression…

My appointment at the hospital is in August. I’m glad they are finally taking me seriously. It has taken a long time to get a referral. 

Part of me wants to know what’s wrong. Part of me is scared of what the diagnosis might be. 

Just a waiting game now

. I am also suffering from a lot of migraines but that’s a separate story. I am on the 18 month waiting list for the next treatment as none of the medications have helped. 

I feel like my body is against me. I am trying to get on with my life and work on my anxiety and depression, but when I am in pain it’s hard not to feel low. 

Love

Ellie xxx

New things

Too many new things can be overwhelming. I am visiting a friend at her uni this weekend. We went shopping and for lunch and it was really nice.

Then we went to one of her friends for drinks. They all knew each other (obviously) and I only knew my friend. This was a bit difficult, but I could cope and settled down a bit when I got talking with some of the others.

We played some card games. I realised I get irrationally stressed by these things… Maybe it’s like A says, I have this need to do everything perfectly – including playing card games apparently. We played a game called “cheat”, which involves putting down cards and saying what they are (you can either tell the truth or lie) and if someone thinks you are lying they say “cheat”, and if you are lying you take the cards, and if not they take the cards. It’s a fun game, but I find it difficult. I realised I feel genuinely guilty when I lie (even in this game) and so I struggle to do it. The other thing is that I’m terrible at lying – you can always tell if I’m lying. I look guilty.

After that we went back to my friends house where there was (is) a house party going on. There was loud music and lots of people (who I obviously didn’t know). They all seemed really nice and I had some good conversations but I felt pretty anxious and on edge for most of the evening. (Especially as the alcohol started wearing off).New people, new place, loud music… Not a good combo.

So now I’ve gone to bed and I hope my friend isn’t annoyed. I am tired but needed to get away.

I can hear my critical inner voice: “they all think you’re boring”, “monkey will be annoyed with you”, etc etc

Time for sleep, good night xxx

That letter I’ve been waiting for

In November (2012) I applied to be a language assistant in Germany for my year abroad. And today is the day that I finally got the letter I was waiting for!!* I knew the region I was going to already (Nordrhein – Westfalen (or North Rhine Westphalia in English)). I was hoping to go somewhere near Köln (Cologne) or Bonn, but that was not to be! I am instead off to the most northern town in Nordrhein Westfalen, Radhen (which is actually nowhere near Cologne and Bonn at all.)

A bit disappointed because it seems like it is a bit in the middle of nowhere… It’s at least an hour to the nearest big place and it looks like it’s a town in the countryside. But every cloud has a silver lining – I will probably learn more German there because the smaller the place, the less likely they are to speak English (apparently). 

Also, my research this afternoon seems to conclude that there is nowhere to go rock climbing nearby, which is disappointing (especially as there are so many rock climbing centres in that region, it just turns out most of them are in the centre/south and I am in the very north!) 

I am hoping that there will be good transport links and that it won’t be too expensive to travel, so then I can still go to see these bigger cities – Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Bremen… And even Northern cities like Hamburg and the far-away Berlin are on my list of places to go, which will be a bit easier to get to as I’m further north than I expected.

I don’t think I would’ve been happy wherever I was put though. Because this makes it real. There’s a real school in a real town where I’m really going to go and live for nearly a year. And it’s scary already. I think this made it feel more definite, and now there’s not really a way out. Before there was always going to be the chance that they email me and say “oh sorry there’s no place for you” and I would’ve had to stay in England and it wouldn’t have been my fault.   But I am going in September. I need to start planning and actually looking forward to it, at the moment I am just scared, I want to cry (who am I kidding? I am crying..)

I think it’s a bit of a shock really, as the wait has been so long, I wasn’t actually expecting the answer to come! 

And today also marked the end of “year abroad preparation week**”, so now with my brain full of information, I’m meant to be ready to go. But I’m not.

There’s still a couple of months but I’m scared. What if I can’t do it? What if I fail? What if I hate it there and become more depressed? No one is going to be there to help me then…

I know I should be excited, I should be grateful for having a place and for having this new information. But the fear is getting in the way of all of that, and the disappointment that I’m so far from where I hoped to be.

I’ll probably cheer up soon 😛

Lots of love,

From a very anxious and worried Ellie xxx

*Ok, so technically I don’t have it yet, but it arrived at home (London) and my mum has told me the details and has now posted it to here (Lancaster).

**which did not last a week (as one might expect) but 3 days!

Self destruct

I seem to have hit the self-destruct button recently. I don’t know why, I don’t know what’s wrong.

It’s like I’m trying to argue, I’m trying to get him to “prove” me right, that I’m not good enough, that I’m unlovable.

I know I am so lucky to have someone who is always there for me and isn’t scared away with my crazy irrational behaviour.

I’m on the train at the moment, will be into London in about 40 minutes. And I don’t really know what I’m feeling right now. I want to see him and at the same time I don’t. I want to tell him to leave me alone and find someone else, and at the same time I want him to hold me and love me.

Such is my fear of being abandoned/left that I am (again) thinking of running away from it. Maybe so I can be in control? Who knows what goes on in this bonkers brain of mine!

I don’t want us to split up, life would be incredibly rubbish without S. But I’m so scared and It’s making me strange. Hopefully it’ll feel better when I see him.

Hope everyone is having a lovely sunny Thursday!

Lots of love,
Ellie xxx

I miss him already

S left today, I waved and watched his train pull away, heading back to London.

I miss him already.

It’s sad but it’s true. That’s the problem with long distance relationships. I don’t see him for ages, and then I see him 24/7 for a few days, and then he’s gone again. There is no normal because it’s all or nothing. Of course I talk to him a lot and I am glad I’m with him but sometimes it’s so hard.

Especially after finding out about the ex on Thursday night. It opened up a whole new can of worms… the self-doubt, not feeling good enough, the shame, the guilt, the whys and what-ifs…

And I cried a lot while he was here. I got scared easily. I always do. It’s pathetic.

And then the spiders in the night. (See my previous post!)

So much anxiety. So much self-doubt. Self consciousness. Fear. Don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.

And now he’s gone again. And I’m scared. I don’t know why, I don’t know how to make this stop. 

We had such a nice few days together. Walks in the park, along the canal. We went climbing together and I managed to do the hardest route I’ve ever done. We went for a lovely meal and on my birthday we went out for drinks with lots of my friends. It was lovely and perfect and I wish it didn’t have to end.

I guess I realised this weekend how much I hate being away from him, how hard it is, how much I care.

And now I’m panicking.

I don’t even know what’s wrong.

I can hear all the criticisms in my mind: you’re pathetic, he only left today and you’re crying. How are you going to survive being in Germany when he’s still in England? You are weak, useless. He is going to leave you when he realises what you’re really like. No one could really love you.

I am going to try using my safe space and grounding techniques to calm me down before bed. Tomorrow I’ll write about this week’s CBT.

I’ll be ok.

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

I am lucky

I have been feeling low for a long time. Sometimes I feel better for a few hours, even a day or a week, but then I fall back to the depths of sadness and depression.

Recently I have been remembering things, memories which are very scary, memories which have been haunting me when I’m awake as flashbacks, and in my sleep as nightmares.

But sometimes these things help us realise why we are lucky. I am lucky because I am away from him now. I am lucky because I have this blog, and lots of lovely bloggy friends here to support me. I am lucky because I have a boyfriend who makes me feel safe.

Last night I decided I needed to tell S about the nightmares and the memories. I sent him my last blog post, the one about nightmares. I copy and pasted it, he still doesn’t know where my blog is. I know he could find it if he wanted to, but I just have to trust that he respects my privacy and decision not to let anyone from my “real life” read my blog. I couldn’t talk about it, but I felt like he should know. It explains some of my strange behaviour. It explains some of the pain. I was scared that he would judge me, or tell me that I’m a slut. He didn’t. Of course he didn’t. He said

I love you so much. You know that right. I would never do anything like that to you. I love you too much to ever hurt you at all. 

I told him that I feel bad that he has to wait (for sex) and that I feel like I’m not giving him what I’m supposed to. He said

You shouldn’t use that term. Supposed to. You aren’t supposed to do anything. You give me everything I want. A cuddle and a kiss.

It brings me to tears now as I’m typing this. Because he cares, unconditionally and really. He doesn’t want to hurt me and all he wants is for me to be happy. It is strange for me that someone can treat me like this without expecting anything in return. I know my view of relationships is messed up, but I am realising how lucky I am to have S, and how much happier I am with him than I ever was with the ex.

A lot of bad things come from depression, but sometimes good things too. Today I have realised that I am lucky and I have someone who really cares and wants to look after me. Through this depression, I have learned things I didn’t know about myself, I have made this blog and I feel safe writing here, knowing that I have wonderful friends who will support me, celebrate my victories with me, and remind me that things will get better when I feel like all hope is gone.

So I just want to say Thank you, to all of you for being there for me.

Nightmares

**trigger warning – abusive relationship and sexual stuff**

I suppose it was inevitable after the post I wrote last night that I was going to have nightmares. I was scared and on edge. I had memories haunting me.

I spoke to S on the phone before I went to sleep, and it made me feel a bit better. It made me feel safer, and after putting my phone on charge, I snuggled up in my duvet with my heffalump. (Yes I still sleep with a cuddly toy! *embarrassed face*)

For some reason a memory of things with the ex came into my mind last night. We had been arguing, I can’t remember what about. As usual I was apologising. He picked up the bread knife and started cutting his arm with it. I’m scared of blood, maybe this is why I’m even more scared of blood. He scratched him arm over and over with the knife so it was bleeding. He said that’s what I’ve done to him. I was scared.

I can feel myself dissociating as I’m typing this. Each memory seems to link to another. Him threatening to overdose on paracetamol. Me screaming and crying and begging him not to. It was all my fault he said.

I suppose this is what is going to happen. In CBT we are working through traumatic memories, and it’s bound to remind me of more. Of things that I had forgotten. This is why it’s going to get harder before it gets easier.

Last night apparently I screamed twice. About half an hour apart. I woke up scared, but couldn’t remember why, or what had caused it. I don’t remember screaming – like last time I was asleep.

Then I went back to sleep and had more nightmares. They seemed to follow me all night. I don’t feel rested. I feel exhausted and scared. It’s nearly 12pm and I’ve only just got up. I have to be somewhere at 1, I need to get ready, need to get going. I have to be ok.

I can’t remember all the details, I never do with nightmares. I can remember being with the ex. Him being with someone else and me begging him to come back to me. I told him he could do anything he wanted with me. He made me suck his penis, forcing me to go deeper so I was gagging. We had sex and as I was in pain, he carried on. I felt used, embarrassed, hurt. But I told him he could do what he wanted, and he did. So he didn’t do anything wrong, right?

And all this leads me back to my feelings of shame around sex. When I was with the ex I didn’t even seem to realise that I didn’t have to do sexual stuff whenever he wanted. It was like I thought it was his right. I used to use sex to solve arguments, anytime he was angry I’d “make it up to him”. And I didn’t know this wasn’t a normal relationship. I feel so stupid.

I just want to hide. I feel so sick, so ashamed, so scared.

I just want all of these thoughts and memories to stop.

Scared

I’m so scared of so many things.

I realised that S is the only one who makes me feel safe. When I am scared I just want him to hold me and I know it will be ok. But he’s in London and I’m in Lancaster so for now I just have to be ok by myself.

As time goes on and I start to come to terms with things that have happened, I am realising how fragile I am. I don’t feel safe. I notice I am always on guard, always on edge. Everytime I see a car like his*, I panic. Even though I’m in Lancaster and he isn’t. Even though I know he’s not here. Even though he probably doesn’t even know or care where I am or what I’m doing. I’m so scared that he’s going to come back and hurt me.

I’m going to bed to hide and hope that he won’t haunt me tonight in my dreams. Sometimes I dream of being with S, and wake up feeling safe. Sometimes I dream of being with the ex, and wake up scared. I wonder if that’s what I was dreaming of when I screamed in the night.

Good night,

Love from Ellie xxx

*the ex