Fatigue 1, Ellie 0

Can’t concentrate at work today. I feel tired and anxious. Pain is bad too so I came in late.

I don’t know what has brought this on. I feel the need to eat a load of crap. Last night I ate a load of chocolate. Then I always feel sick and hate myself more. I don’t know why I do it.

I have lots of ideas for blog posts but for some reason I’m struggling to get them written. I have nearly finished a post about my book challenge so far, as we have just passed the half way point of 2018! Actually, I have lots of ideas in general and things I need to get done, but I’m finding myself procrastinating instead.

The fatigue is hard today. My body feels heavy, tired and achy. I just want to crawl into bed. Only 3 hours left at work then I can go home to pyjamas, dinner and a pre-football nap!

Love,

Ellie

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Pain

I miss S so much it really hurts. He is all loved up with someone else, they are moving in together shortly. I’ve finally deleted him off social media, every time I clicked his profile was emotional self-harm; it always made me feel worse. So now the temptation has been taken away, I can’t see it anymore even if I wanted to. (And if I’m completely honest I already tried!)

I know that’s a good thing to take that temptation away. I know that in general I’m doing pretty well. But somehow that doesn’t change the pain and the ache of losing him, missing him.

I feel like after 6 months I shouldn’t still feel like this. I know there’s no time limits to put on grief, I know that’s not how it works. But it feels like I should be ok by now, I should be moving forward.

I hate myself for missing him. I hate myself for not being the person he loves anymore. I can’t help but feel very lost, very lonely. I don’t want to be on my own but I can’t imagine feeling safe again, being able to trust someone. I thought after the ex, and all of that pain, I had found someone that was good for me, but then S left me too and now I’ve realised nothing at all in life is certain.

I know I’m upset about them moving in together and that’s what has brought up all this pain again. I want it to go away, I want to be ok. I want to be strong and happy and confident, but tonight I am in pain. I feel like a lost child and everything feels too much.

My birthday has brought up feelings too – thoughts of where I “should” be in my life at this age, thoughts of where I thought I would be but I’m nowhere near. My birthday has been difficult for years, it acts as a marker of another year that I’m still struggling. This year it marks 6 months since me and S split up, and a reminder that the years keep going by and I’m still not ok.

All I really want in life is to be loved. I need to learn to love myself first. I know I’m up and down, I know some days are harder than others but I just wish things would be easier. I don’t have the energy for this right now.

I’ve just typed out my feelings because I needed to let them out. I’m ok, or I will be, but it all just hurts too much today. I think an early night is in order.

Love,

Ellie xx

Caterpillar cake

I have found birthdays hard for a long time, for a variety of reasons. This year I got a terrible migraine and found out that S is moving in with his new girlfriend, happy birthday to me.

I nearly stopped my mention of my birthday there, which isn’t really fair. It’s so much easier to focus on the negative and I know that I have a massive negative filter. Actually, my work friends organised a surprise birthday picnic which was super cute and lovely! We sat in the sun and ate lots of picnic food, and in the evening I went out for a lovely meal with my family. My birthday also featured a Colin the caterpillar cake, because what kind of a birthday would it be without one?!

I know I haven’t been writing much lately and I also know that I’ve been overdoing it, being too busy, trying to spin too many plates.

I want to get back into my good habits and routines. My sleep has been off the last few weeks, and I’ve eaten a lot of crap and I can feel that makes a difference to my energy levels and mood.

Next week I’m going on holiday so hoping to recharge my batteries and take some time to rest. I am completely exhausted again – physically and mentally. And so goes the boom and bust cycle…

Love,

Ellie xx

Back to therapy

I realise I still haven’t posted much about my CBT, and I do still plan to. Somehow everything seems to be busy all the time at the moment and I haven’t been making time to write, which is a shame because I enjoy writing!

Yesterday I went back to see my therapist, who I haven’t seen since before Christmas (because I started CBT in January and you can’t have two types of therapy at once!) It was really nice to see her and to talk things through. She said I seem to be in a different place and that’s true!

We talked about how things have been and how I have had lots of realisations about myself and the relationship with S in the last 6 months. She said I seem more like an adult, that I am taking responsibility for myself and I’m not waiting for someone else to fix things for me anymore. That was really nice to hear, and I actually agree. I think I’ve grown up more in the last 6 months than the last 6 years!

I’ve learned that I can deal with stuff myself. I’ve learned that sometimes I will feel really low and it will be awful, but I can still get through it. I’ve learned some level of distress tolerance, whereas before I had none – I always ran to S to make me feel better.

I feel much stronger and I’m owning my life now. Nothing changes by itself, no one is going to sweep in and save me. I don’t need saving actually anymore – I can save myself. And I’m building up my confidence bit by bit. Yes, I still have my lows, and I probably always will, but that’s ok because I know it will pass. And I know I have a hell of a lot of great people in my life to support me, but not to save me. I have better coping mechanisms now and I’m actually quite proud of myself. (Wow I never thought I’d feel proud of myself!)

Feeling pretty positive today, especially thinking back on yesterday’s session.

Lots of love,

Ellie xx

Friday night

Friday night, sat at home, on my own.

This is a familiar scene now. Somehow Friday evenings are the worst. That’s the time I feel lonely. I put a series on the tv and I’ve spent the evening half watching, half focusing on colouring.

Colouring is so therapeutic. Something to concentrate on. Watching TV helps too, it draws me in.

But then I get to the end of the last episode and it’s suddenly so quiet. Lonely. Alone.

Review: Jan-March

It’s the end of March which means we are already a quarter of the way through 2018. Where has the time gone?

I have been determined to make 2018 a better year, and I’ve been doing a little review each month in my bullet journal which is helping me notice changes, track goals etc.

I have noticed a lot of change in myself in these last few months. Even though I am definitely still having (quite a lot of) bad days, there are also the good days.

I wanted to do a quarterly review and look back at what I have done so far this year. So far in 2018 these are some key changes –

  • I am walking (at least) 10,000 steps pretty much every day now. This is huge for me as I was only doing about 3000 a day before I started working with the physio in November.
  • I am walking with my head up instead of looking at the floor all the time. I think this in itself helps with confidence, and is probably much better for my neck!
  • I am still keeping up with my mindfulness meditation. It has become part of my daily routine and I have done over 180 days in a row on my app. It is about more than maintaining my streak on the app now and I feel like I am able to take mindful moments in every day life.

I do a monthly review page in my bullet journal each month and I find that really useful to help me see my progress. I make a note of best moments, worst moments, favourite things and achievements from that month. This is definitely something I would recommend doing, as reviewing and reflecting is a good way to move forward and it reminds you of the positives rather than just focusing on the negatives.

I wondered about blogging my monthly favourites, so let me know if that is something you would be interested in reading!

Love,

Ellie xx

Hello anxiety

Today I had to go to a presentation evening because I achieved an award through scouts. I was dreading it. It turned out to be so much worse than I expected.

Even though I knew most of the people in the room, I felt so anxious. Knowing I had to stand up in front of people and answer questions was anxiety provoking. Waiting for that moment was agonising.

I got through it. I found the whole experience incredibly awkward and was literally shaking, but I got through it.

Then someone came up to me and started criticising the way I run my cub pack. Because of my already high levels of anxiety, it really got to me. Instead of being angry, I was quiet. When she had gone I basically had a melt down in a cupboard. Tears and panic. And then I couldn’t stop crying. It really got to me. Cupboards seem to be my new place for panic attacks. Oh dear!

Now that it’s over and several hours later I have stopped shaking and crying (although my eyes still feel like they’ve been crying – you know when they feel dry and sting a bit?) I am feeling quite angry about the situation. I don’t really know why this person was there, and I don’t know why they thought that an award presentation was the best place to make me feel like crap, but for some reason it happened.

It really pressed my “not good enough” buttons. I worry that I am not a good cub leader. I know that I don’t manage to do everything all the time, but that’s because I have a full time job and a life outside of scouts that I have to fit in too. Obviously the last few months has been bloody awful for me, and I’m very aware that I haven’t been on top form in organising things.

Anxiety levels were really high this evening. It’s really sad because I had been feeling better than I have for ages this weekend until that. My parents said not to let her ruin it, but it’s really tainted the evening.

I kind of forgot how physical and how consuming my anxiety can be. I sat throughout the presentations shaking and feeling really on edge. I was unbelievably warm (not helped by the heater directly behind me!) All I could think was “I can’t wait for this to be over”, so I didn’t really get to enjoy it at all. When I had to stand up and answer questions it was really hard. I struggled to answer questions and when asked to say a simple sentence in german (it was relevant honest!), I couldn’t even do that, embarrassing!

Take home message – anxiety is still definitely something I need to work on. And the whole “not good enough” fear comes up in more contexts than I had realised. At least I can reflect on this now, and this is definitely an example I will mention to my CBT therapist this week.

Time for bed now, and hopefully tomorrow will be a less anxious day!

Love,

Ellie xx

Society

I feel like the break up is a reflection on me. That I’m not good enough, that I’m unlovable, that I will always be alone. But why?

Because society teaches us that we need a relationship to be happy. It teaches women that their role is to be a wife, have children etc. It teaches us that that is what we want and need.

The scariest thing for me now is that I might always be alone. I might never meet someone to share my life with. I wonder if that is because I’m lonely, or if it’s because society says I can’t be happy without a man.

I want to be happy in myself, which seems a massive feat given that in my almost 25 years of life, I don’t think I’ve ever been happy with who I am.

There is the old saying “you can’t be happy with someone else until you are happy in yourself” and I was always trying to avoid that one. I thought that if I tried hard enough, I could be happy in a relationship even though I bloody hate myself. It caught me eventually though.I’m on a mission to work out who I really am and to learn to love myself, before I even think about trying to find someone else to love and to love me.

I’m really struggling at the moment. The realisation that I am not getting the “move in, get married, have a family” happily ever after story with S is tough. Realising that he is probably going to have that with his new girlfriend is absolutely crippling. I can’t help thinking THAT SHOULD BE ME. But it’s not, and for reasons I don’t understand, this must be the right way forward.

I would never have learned independence if S and I were still together, it feels like a big price to pay though.

Love,

Ellie xx

Fatigue

I’m half way through taking make up off, crying on the bathroom floor.

I am so fed up and angry about this fatigue. It takes over my life. I’m trying to make plans with university friends and I’ve discovered that because of engineering works, my 2 1/2 hour train journey is at least 4. I’m already worrying about how exhausted I will be. I am wondering about not going because of the energy it will take. I always thought sitting on a train doesn’t take much energy, but it’s the getting up early, getting the tube into london, getting the train that take more energy. And even though I’d be sitting there not doing much, it’s not rest, it’s still energy.

I feel so angry because if I wasn’t so tired I would probably still be in a relationship with the person I love. I would be able to do all the outdoorsy stuff he likes to do so I could’ve gone with him. I wouldn’t have to consider the impact of spending a weekend with friends on my energy levels for the next week.

I’m so fed up, so upset about it all. It feels so unfair. I know I am having a bad day because I’m feeling low and exhausted, but it is the reality that I have to consider what I do a lot more carefully.

As I typed a message to my friends I realised what a strain this is to me. I realised that where to others a slower train might be an annoyance, to me right now it feels like a deal breaker, a step too far.

I hate this fatigue. It is a nightmare and there’s no escape. Every morning I battle with myself to get out of bed because I am in pain and I am so unbelievably tired. I don’t know how to deal with this.

I don’t like being so negative but today this is how I feel so there’s no point in pretending to feel positive.

If anyone has any tips or ideas about managing fatigue, I’d be very grateful because right now I am not managing. I am on the path to burning myself out and that is not a good idea.

Love,

Ellie xx

Intrusive thoughts and distractions

Trigger warning: this post talks about vomiting, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

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This is a hard post to write because I haven’t said (or typed) this to anyone.

I think intrusive thoughts are quite common in many different mental health conditions, but lately I’ve been experiencing a new one.

Every time I eat, I can’t stop thinking about making myself throw up. I haven’t acted on the thoughts but it feels like it’s getting stronger. I know that it can quite easily become addictive, a form of self-harm I guess.

It seems like a strange thing to worry about because I haven’t actually done it but sometimes intrusive thoughts become so intrusive that you end up acting on them.

I am still experiencing quite strong urges to cut myself at times. I haven’t acted on those thoughts since NYE, but the scars on my leg remind me every day. Actually it’s probably the scars on my leg that have stopped me. I remember how fleeting the relief was, and how guilty and bad I felt afterwards, and then I do something, anything to distract myself.

That’s how I’m currently managing the thoughts about making myself sick. The problem is that every time I eat I feel sick at the moment. I am struggling to eat properly, and then sometimes I just eat a load of crap, and then afterwards I feel bad. A lot of distraction is needed.

The more I’m typing this the more I’m concerned about my current relationship with food. Things are particularly bad at the moment as I’m really struggling with managing my wellbeing; I am stressed at work and I am still feeling awful about S, he has a new girlfriend and that is really hard. Every instinct tells me to harm myself in some way, that I don’t deserve to be happy, that I am a bad person, that I am fat.

The intrusive suicidal thoughts are hard too. When I am experiencing that, everywhere I go I see potential methods of suicide. I fixate on how I could end my life, where, when, how. To bring myself down from those, I try to think about my friends and family, all the positives in my life. I say to myself “not today”, and that keeps me safe. Once I am out of that dark place, I can’t imagine how I thought that way, but I slip in and out of these thoughts quite easily.

In CBT last week, I had to fill in THAT BLOODY FORM (PHQ 9 and GAD 7 – measures of depression and anxiety). I put “several days” for the question on “thoughts that you would be better off dead or of harming yourself in some way”, so my therapist asked about it. I was honest and said I sometimes get thoughts about self-harm and Suicide but I don’t have plans to act on them. She looked back at my first form from before Christmas and I had put the same, “several days”, but in reality it should’ve been “nearly every day”. I wasn’t honest on the first one because I was worried I wouldn’t be allowed the CBT. I should probably tell her that next time.

I keep writing these long rambling posts which were not what I intended to write when I first started typing, but it’s probably good to get it out. Anyway, back to the topic – intrusive thoughts and distractions.

I have been managing to avoid the behaviours by distraction. I am getting better at texting friends if I am struggling (not necessarily about how I am feeling) or going downstairs to spend time with my family and dog, and that can help sometimes.

My other favourite distractions are YouTube videos, reading fiction, colouring, my bullet journal and my mindfulness meditation app (I’m up to 155 days in a row!) Another thing that can really help is writing – either in my journal or here on my blog. Sometimes letting it out is the most healing thing.

I hope my ideas might help others a bit. What distractions do you use when you are struggling with intrusive thoughts?

Love,

Ellie