A positive thought 

Amongst all the terrible things that are going on lately, and the depression I am experiencing right now, there are still good people, glimmers of hope… 

While I was driving home today I saw two ladies, one elderly and one much younger (maybe her daughter?) walking in the pouring rain. The older lady was pushing a walker to keep her balance. The younger lady held an umbrella over the older lady to keep her dry as they walked. Not over both of them, just over the older lady. The younger lady was drenched but didn’t seem to mind, focused on keeping the older lady dry. 

‘That’s love’ I thought, as I saw this moment, I smiled as I drove on. Little things like this give me hope. There are still some good people, there are still things to smile about. 

Just thought I’d share some positivity!

Love 

Ellie xx

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 🙂

 

A good day

Today has been a long day, but also a good day. Today is Thursday, which is the day I do some volunteering at a day centre for people with mental illnesses. I also agreed to work this evening in the supermarket where I work so it was going to be a long day! Started at 9:30 this morning and didn’t finish until 9 this evening (other than a couple of hours between in which I had a nap!)

The volunteering went well, today we went for a picnic in the park and the ladies seemed to enjoy it (and so did I.) I am really enjoying my work there, gaining greater insight into how different mental illnesses affect different people, and just chatting to lots of different people. They are such a lovely group of ladies, and even though they all have their own stories and have been through various difficult things, they are all kind, friendly and full of life. It makes me really happy to see how they support each other and it also makes me realise I need to take a more positive approach to things sometimes.

After a lovely afternoon in the sun with sandwiches and games, I popped home for a bit for a nap and to get changed for work. Then it was off to the supermarket where I seem to spend so many hours of my life. Tonight I was on tills which I usually hate, but it wasn’t too bad. I had lots of nice customers and not many rude customers and the time went by reasonably quickly – this is the sort of shift I need more of!

I realised again today that I am feeling much more like me at the moment, like I said the other day. I have come so far from where I was, and even though things can still be hard at times, I am determined that I am not going to let things get bad again, I’m fighting this with everything I have. I’m feeling quite motivated at the moment, especially because my volunteering has reassured me about my future career hopes – I want to work in mental health, as a clinical psychologist eventually. I know it will be a long journey and it’ll be hard, and I know I need to get myself fully well before I can do it, but I am determined that I will do it! – I can and I will!

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

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!

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

CBT – week 8

I managed to oversleep this morning, and woke up at about 8:20 (should have left my house at 8:15) so I had to get a taxi (again) – oops!

But I made it on time so it was ok.

A asked how my week was and I said not good. I have been feeling really hopeless and hadn’t managed to get any work done.

We talked about the work and how I am expecting perfection from myself when I am actually ill. I am pushing myself too hard and that is actually holding me back. I think that I can’t do all of it to the standard I want, therefore it seems hopeless and pointless to even try, so I don’t do it, and end up feeling like a failure anyway.

If I could accept that my best at the moment isn’t perfect, maybe I’d get further.

We talked about how I am a perfectionist, and will feel like anything less than a 1st is failure. A asked me: If you get a 2:1, will you have failed? And I thought about it. And no, of course that is not failing. I know that. And yet, I know I’d be very disappointed if I don’t manage it. A said maybe the perfectionism is me trying to make up for my past mistakes. And if that’s the case, then even getting a 1st won’t help – it won’t change what happened, it can’t change the past.

Then A asked if I had been feeling worse after doing the retelling last week about the strangling memory. I actually haven’t been though. I haven’t been having nightmares, screaming in my sleep or having flashbacks this week *touch wood*. So I guess that’s progress in itself. I felt kind of relieved after the last session because I had been able to talk about it, and nothing bad happened. A said something at the time that made a lot of sense – What is the worst thing that could happen? (and I said nothing really, it would just be scary) and Will it be as bad as it actually was? (No). And somehow after all this time trying to repress it, it turned out talking about it was actually kind of helpful, even if tiring.

We will be coming back to that I am sure, as I haven’t really finished dealing with it. But today we talked about the thing that I think is the root to my depression/anxiety/PTSD.

I’ve written about it here only once. And I ended up making it into a password protected post. I was paranoid and terrified that somehow someone I know would find my blog and read it. I might try and write about it again soon, because it might help and because I am trying to deal with it (finally) but I may end up with password protected posts again…we’ll see.

As next week is the last week before the holidays, we have decided that we won’t look at that next week because it will be 4 or 5 weeks until I see A again, and she doesn’t want me to end up feeling worse if we end up opening up the memories without having time to deal with them. I think that’s a good idea, but in a strange way I am looking forward to starting sessions again after the holidays, because I feel like once I can deal with this, I’ll be a long way on the way to recovery. (If that even makes sense).

So instead, next week we are looking at thoughts again. Thoughts that cause worry chains, but they are just thoughts and they don’t have to come true. Like about A crashing her car – it didn’t happen (of course).

So this week I am trying to take note of the thoughts that cause these worry chains.

So I’m going to be having a good long think about all this, and I’ll let you all know what I come up with. And today I feel like there is actually hope (again).

Sometimes having therapy on a Monday morning seems like a bad start to the week, but I do find that generally after my sessions I feel more hopeful. So maybe it’s a good start to the week.

Maybe everything’s going to be ok after all? I just need to give it (even more) time.

I have now had 7 sessions out of a possible 20. In a way it doesn’t feel like I’ve got very far, but in another way it feels like every week I’m getting a bit further, and all of these little steps will add up. It seems like now I have got to trust A a bit, and she is getting to know more about me, we are making more and more progress each week.

And the moral of the story is, give it a try. It might help (even if you were convinced it wouldn’t.)

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

P.S. I’m starting to notice a trend in my blogging/thoughts – the beginning of the week (following therapy) I am hopeful and things seem to be on the up, and then as the week goes on I seem to feel worse… Hopefully in time this will lessen and everyday will become a hopeful day!

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.

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.

CBT – Week 4

Today was another hour spent mostly crying.

We talked too of course.

Today we started looking at trauma memories from my relationship with the ex. It was hard, and scary thinking about it all again, but hopefully in the long run this will be helpful.

I used my safe space and grounding techniques to calm me down, and A made sure I was back in the room and ok before I left.

For homework I’ve got to write down as much as I can remember about a certain memory. It is a horrible, triggering memory. I think it’s the worst one; the one that haunts me most. I thought I was going to die.

I’ll probably write a post on that memory when I write it for my “homework”.

No session next week – mixed feelings about that. On one hand it’s a shame because I want to get on with this so it will help asap! On the other hand, maybe it’s good not to take it too fast, and at least I will get a lie in next Monday for once!

On the next session we will look at retelling and rescripting the memory.

I hope that this will help, and maybe one day soon I might be able to feel safe.

Today we also talked about the last week. I told her about Saturday night, and how I’ve been feeling really low this week. I also explained how irritable and angry I am. Everything winds me up. Everything makes me angry. It’s not fair – life is not fair. It makes me angry when I see people complaining when they have nothing to complain about. It makes me angry when my housemate can’t be bothered to go to uni, puts no effort in, and then comes out with good grades. I wonder what most people would do if they felt like I do. Then they would understand, what an effort it is for me to do the everyday things that they can’t be bothered to do. Or maybe all of this is just an excuse, and I’m just lazy?