And Repeat

I seem to go round and round in circles. For a while things seem to have settled down, weeks, maybe a month. But it always comes back to this. The way my brain works is fundamentally negative. Sometimes I can ignore the negativity, put on a brave face and keep going. But it keeps building up and building up, and eventually I give in to it: All of the negative stuff is true and then I become paranoid, sad, insecure and self-hating. Again.

You would’ve thought by now I would come to expect this to happen. But every time it’s a surprise. Every time, I’m sad again, ruminating in my own negativity. What is this? Some kind of a cruel joke, trying to crush the happiness I’m working so hard to find?

And it all leads to more stuff. One small thing, one look or one comment can suddenly mean that I am a failure in life and no one loves me. It’s irrational and I know it. And somehow that makes it worse. I think This is irrational, I will ignore this stuff. But it comes right back with a painful blow: You’re irrational, out of control. You don’t deserve anything. All you do is mess things up.

And S tries to help, he always does. But it hurts him when I tell him I think he’s going to leave me, when I tell him I’m not good enough and he shouldn’t be with me. Sometimes I think I should just run away, escape from it because if I leave it can’t hurt me (right?) I’m so scared, petrified of being hurt again, being used and left again. But when I’m not in this mindset, when I have my rational brain in gear, I know this is stupid. He makes me happier than I’ve been in such a long time, he cares about me and he’s always there for me and he’s the only one I want to talk to when something happens (good or bad.) I know I don’t want to leave really, but sometimes I think it would be safer. Love isn’t safe, you let someone get so close to you and you know they could hurt you, really hurt you if they chose to. And that’s scary.

So let’s get this negativity out. Maybe if I see it written it will make more sense, maybe…

S was watching a film with a friend, he said that I don’t like the films he likes. It’s true, I’m not a massive fan of action films. But my brain twisted it:

He wants me to be different

I am boring

I’m not good enough

He’s going to leave me

I’ll be all alone

I’m unlovable

No one cares about me

Why should they? I’m disgusting.

I’m too fat, too ugly.

He is only with me because he feels sorry for me

I don’t deserve him

I don’t deserve to be treated right

The ex was right about me

I’m nothing.

And so you see, the thoughts spiral. This is the whole “don’t get on the train” thing from CBT, except I got on the train. Again. And I end up feeling worse and worse. And I get paranoid, because good things don’t happen to horrible people like me so that means something is going to go wrong.

S said there’s only one thing he doesn’t like about me, that I’m so negative all the time. But it’s not a choice. I try so hard to keep going even when I feel bad, I try to be positive but these thoughts, these negative thoughts fill up my mind and I can’t get them out. I’m stuck. I told him I’m still ill and I feel like he thinks I should be over it by now, he said he doesn’t think that. I can’t get it out of my head that the ex always said I’m seeking attention and (my) depression isn’t real. So maybe S thinks that too…

And every time this happens, I speak to S. He calms me down. He tells me he’s not going anywhere and that he loves me. And then some time later, it all repeats…

Mammoth

MammothToday I was feeling pretty low. I have been feeling a bit funny physically for the last few days – lots of migraines/headaches, feeling a bit faint/light headed, feeling really really hot… that kind of thing. And a combination of feeling bad physically and mentally is never good.

So S said he would come over after work for a bit to see me and give me some cuddles to cheer me up. And he did.

We ate some strawberries and ice cream and had some cuddles and talked and it was really nice. It sounds pathetic but it’s the small things that mean the most. I love the fact that  S can just come round and he gets on with my family and it is relaxed and I don’t have to be on edge (like I was with the ex and my family).

And as you can see from the picture at the top of this post, I am now in possession of a new elephant (or more accurately – a mammoth!) S brought me it from work to cheer me up (as he knows how much I love elephants!) It is a little fluffy cuddly toy mammoth and I think he’s really cute! Only problem now is that I can’t think of a name (but I’ve decided it is a him), so feel free to give any name suggestions! 🙂

While we were cuddling and talking I said “Maybe you do actually love me”, because I’m finally starting to think maybe it’s true. Maybe not everyone will be like the ex, and maybe I’m not unlovable – maybe it wasn’t even my fault. And he laughed and said “At least it’s a maybe now.” I know it’s stupid that I am so scared of getting hurt and that I really find it so hard to believe that anyone could love and care about ME, but these are thoughts which have been programmed into my mind for a long time – with the ex, and even before that with the teasing/bullying (?)

I am feeling more determined than ever that I am going to get through this stuff, and I am not going to let the ex win or ruin any more of my life. I can and I will get through these problems. I can and I will succeed and be happy. I know I need to deal with the anger I still feel about everything that happened, but maybe I can use it positively, and use it as motivation and incentive to keep going and stay determined. I can and I will.**

I am so happy being with S, he makes me feel safe and loved and happy. And I love him, I really do and our relationship is so much better (now that I’ve finally allowed myself to feel that way instead of being too scared to get close.) I think my depression/anxiety/general craziness* definitely does affect our relationship but he copes pretty well, and he is very understanding and helping me get through my issues.

Time for bed now, but tonight I am going to bed feeling happy and safe, instead of anxious and scared and paranoid (like last night).

Good night,
Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

P.S. Here is another picture of my (nameless) mammoth!

Mammoth toy

* I hope this doesn’t offend anyone – here I am referring to my irrational thoughts and behaviours, which could definitely be called crazy rather than the mental health side of things.

** This is one of the mantras from my list, and this one often comes to mind. When I’m feeling low or like I can’t do something, I think to myself ‘I can and I will’ and I feel more in control, more determined and more positive.

Get off that train

**trigger warning – self harm thoughts**

The thought train/negative spiral, whatever you want to call it… It tends to run away with itself, until suddenly you’ve made a mountain out of a molehill, and paranoid thoughts become the absolute truth (in your mind)

Last night the situation arose (again), but this time it was a bit different. Instead of staying on that train, going down the track of paranoia, self doubt and anger, I stopped the train.

I argue for the sake of arguing, because if S gets angry or says something horrible, it proves that I’m right, that he doesn’t really love me, that I’m worth nothing… And I’m paranoid, if he wants to see his friends, its not because he actually wants to see them, its because he doesn’t want to see me, he is just trying to avoid seeing me. This stupid paranoid thought spirals. And when he said he is going to the pub with Sheep, (and didn’t invite me) my immediate thought was that I’m not invited, they don’t want to see me… he wants her not me. Even though they haven’t really made proper plans, just said that they will go on Wednesday, and we always go to the pub, the 3 of us, why wouldn’t I be invited? My brain is incredibly irrational.

But yesterday I didn’t get to my usual point, I didn’t get to the point of “well why are you even with me then, you should just leave me” (because I’m not worth anyone’s love.)

So even though it still went further than it should. The paranoid thoughts are still there, so is the self doubt and thoughts that I’m not good enough. But these are just thoughts, not reality. And I noticed that, and stopped it earlier than I have in the past. Little steps.
So now I just have to realise it before the arguments begin, but for now I’m taking little steps to make this better.

It’s strange. When I get these thoughts, I feel so angry and so low. My mood just drops in an instant, and I wish I was dead, I want to cut myself and the urges are so strong. And I feel so so angry, like I just want to scream and shout, and I hate him at that moment. All of these emotions are so strong, I guess that’s why I get carried away into the negative spiral. But then just as quick as it comes, the anger is gone. And I’m sorry, so sorry for being so stupid. And I don’t hate him, I love him.

I have so little control over my emotions, its scary. They are all just so strong, so quick to surface. Why am I like this?

Come here – Go away

**Trigger warning – self harm thoughts**

A lovely blogger, Zoe, has been writing posts on the topic of boundaries this week, and having read them, I realised I have a lot of issues around this area.

One of the posts was on the difference between healthy and defensive boundaries. The bit that seems to be most relevant to me (at the moment anyway) is Split off boundaries. In particular, this bit:

  • Relationships are threatening both abandonment and invasion wise

  • It manifests as ‘come here, go away,’ indicating both a need for distance and closeness.

I realised that this is a MASSIVE problem for me. My boyfriend, S, has to put up with this all the time and it must be difficult for him (and confusing.) I seem to be sending mixed messages all the time – come here and go away. I’m so scared of being left/abandoned and I want him to be there for me (that’s the “come here” part) and at the same time I’m scared to be close because I don’t like relying on him (because he could leave me) so when I get scared I end up pushing him away (“go away” part.)

It’s very strange, but these things happen very naturally and I feel like I don’t have much control. For example I am terrified, and I mean TERRIFIED, that he’s going to find someone else and cheat on me/leave me for someone else (like the ex did.) I know it’s irrational, I know he wouldn’t hurt me like that. And more embarrassingly, I am terrified that he’s going to realise that one of our mutual friends (Sheep) is effectively a better version of me. We are very similar in personality, except she doesn’t have all of these “issues”, and she’s thinner than me… They went to the pub together last night and S didn’t bother to text me after work. He always rings me after work, but yesterday not even a text. And I’m so paranoid and jealous, and I don’t know why. Sheep is one of my best friends and I know that (even if S turned out to be a cheating idiot) she wouldn’t do that to me. And yet I worked myself up about it.

And so when I spoke to S last night (after I had had a couple of cocktails – probably a bad move) I was upset that he didn’t bother to text me. We ended up arguing about it, and as usual I created a massive negative spiral… You didn’t text me, that means you don’t care, you don’t love me, you’d rather be with Sheep anyway… I’m not good enough, you’re going to leave me… and on and on. And I told him I don’t want to be with him anymore. That’s not true, I just got scared. I wanted to leave before he left me, I can’t go through being left like that again.

It’s scary being with someone, letting them in. Because S could tear my world apart (if he wanted to.) He knows pretty much everything about me. I rely on him a lot too much and I hate myself for it. I feel like I need him. And I need constant reassurance because I don’t think I’m good enough. I don’t think I deserve to be loved. And it’s all scary because I could get hurt again. And I don’t think I could go through it all again.

Things have definitely gone downhill in the last few weeks. I think since around my birthday, I’ve become really scared, paranoid, jealous, clingy… everything I don’t want to be. And I can’t seem to stop. Even if I don’t say these things I go mad in my head thinking about them. Last night I had such a massive urge to hurt myself. And when I was walking home I thought about if someone came and killed me, it would be so much easier, and then it wouldn’t be my fault. I didn’t do anything but the thoughts were there, and they were strong. I haven’t been thinking like that recently so I definitely think this is a sign of things getting worse.

I don’t know how to control all of this. Come here, go away. I love you, I hate you. I want to be with you, I don’t want to be with you… It’s all a mess. And sooner or later he is actually going to get sick of it, and then I will be on my own.

Why can’t you get this into your thick skull Ellie?? He loves you that’s why he’s with you. That’s why he’s still there after nearly a year and a half. And he always tries to help, even when you’re acting irrationally. Why do you have to push away someone that really cares? Why can’t you be rational? Why can’t you be happy, you have everything.

You may have noticed my head is a bit all over the place at the moment. I don’t quite know why. But I’m going home today, just until Monday. S is meeting me at the station and I know I need to talk to him. I just don’t know what to say anymore, I’m so broken. I just want to feel safe.

I love you through sparks and shining dragons, I do

For some reason I keep getting this song in my head at the moment.

My favourite line is

I love you through sparks and shining dragons, I do

Not sure why, maybe because it doesn’t really make sense. I think it’s nice imagery.

And it has a happy ending, which is always nice 🙂

You got me off the sofa
Just sprang out of the air
The best things come from nowhere
I can’t believe you care

Yes, I believe you
Yes, I believe you
Yes, I believe you

The right thing for the wrong reason

Today’s Daily prompt (Green-eyed monster) reminded me of something that happened nearly 2 years ago now. I’ve probably written a bit about it before, but nevermind.

This time 2 years ago, the ex had just broken up with me and got into a new relationship straight away. I was jealous, crazily jealous of her. What did she have that I didn’t? Who was she to take him away from me? Why did he choose her over me?

He carried on using me, sleeping with me while he was with her. For a while I was under the delusion that he was going to change his mind, that she was nothing serious, that he would come back to me. That didn’t happen*. While he was with her I would purposefully text him in the hope that she would read his texts and find out he was cheating on her.

I became like a woman girl possessed – I became obsessed with breaking them up, with showing him that she wasn’t worth it. I do not like that side of me, and it is a side of me I have never seen before this and hope never to see again. I was so jealous that she had his attention and I didn’t. He (appeared to) treat her so much better than he did me. I wanted his love, his attention, his care and she had it all. I told her that he was cheating on her, and he told her I was crazy. I was his crazy, jealous ex. And that’s exactly true (except that I was telling her the truth.)

And then I got angry.

I came to my senses, I realised that HE was the evil one (not her). I realised that he was using me, that he had been controlling and using me for a long time and I had been too blind to see it. And then I started doing the right thing for the right reason. Once I wasn’t jealous anymore I just wanted to warn her. I didn’t like her, but she’s still  a person with feelings. She still didn’t deserve to be treated badly by him.

And this one has a happy ending actually. Quite a while after she still wouldn’t believe me and I had given up on trying, I got a message from her. It said they had broken up, and that I was right and she apologised for not believing me.

And so in the end,jealousy aside, the right thing happened. But it showed me the dangerous side of human nature. It showed me how calculating and horrible I could be. And I never want to see it again.

I had never realised before how connected jealousy is to anger. The jealousy was fuelled by anger, and the anger was fuelled by jealousy. With some tainted love and error of judgement thrown in there, the whole thing was a recipe for disaster. (I am very glad this is over.)

*thank God! 

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.

Arms

I never thought that you would be the one to hold my heart
But you came around and you knocked me off the ground from the start

You put your arms around me
And I believe that it’s easier for you to let me go
You put your arms around me and I’m home

How many times will you let me change my mind and turn around?
I can’t decide if I’ll let you save my life or if I’ll drown

I hope that you see right through my walls
I hope that you catch me ’cause I’m already falling
I’ll never let a love get so close
You put your arms around me and I’m home

The world is coming down on me and I can’t find a reason to be loved
I never wanna leave you but I can’t make you bleed if I’m alone

You put your arms around me
And I believe that it’s easier for you to let me go…

I hope that you see right through my walls
I hope that you catch me, ’cause I’m already falling
I’ll never let a love get so close
You put your arms around me and I’m home

I tried my best to never let you in to see the truth
And I’ve never opened up
I’ve never truly loved ’til you put your arms around me
And I believe that it’s easier for you to let me go

I hope that you see right through my walls
I hope that you catch me, ’cause I’m already falling
I’ll never let a love get so close
You put your arms around me and I’m home

You put your arms around me and I’m home

(Arms by Christina Perri)

————————————————————

This is such a beautiful song.

It’s just like me, I don’t want to get too close to him but I don’t want him to go, and when I’m with him it’s the safest feeling in the world.

Strange happenings & arguments

It seems like every time I post something on my blog, something strange happens!

One time, I wrote about the ex, and the next day I received a message from him (despite not having heard from him for months before that!)

Yesterday, I wrote a cheerful post about things being a lot better… And then last night got very upset and ended up arguing with S, and today I’ve spent most of the day in bed and feeling down. 

It’s all very strange.

I know it’s not because I’ve written it. But it does seem that everytime I write that things are feeling a bit better, I end up feeling worse afterwards. 

Last night’s argument made me realise I still have a very long way to go before I’m “better”. I am insecure, scared and worry about everything. I read far too deeply into situations and I expect S to understand how I feel all the time, when of course he can’t. I struggle to keep up with it myself!

During this argument, it came to light that there are lots of underlying issues. And they are not issues with our relationship, but more about me (because of the ex). I am ridiculously insecure, and trust is very difficult. Even though S has never given me a reason not to trust him, I always imagine these “what if” scenarios, and I expect him to find someone else (like the ex did). 

He went out with his friends while I was away, and it was something he was planning to do when everyone was home, but he did it while I was away. I can’t help but see it as him not wanting me to be there. No matter how much he tells me that’s not true. Then it comes down to me thinking he’s embarrassed and ashamed to be with me, and that’s why he doesn’t want me there. The more I think about this, the more it snowballs until I’ve convinced myself that S is just going to hurt me (just like the ex did). 

They are not the same. They are completely different people. I need to remember that.

Not everyone treats people the way the ex did.

I find it very difficult not to blame myself for everything, and not to over-analyse every detail of everything. 

Recently S has said things that he hasn’t said before. Nice things, about wanting a future for us, and being in love with me. But for some reason it scares me. Because you can say the right words but it doesn’t make things work. The ex said all the right things, and treated me like crap. He made me feel like I was nothing, like I was lucky that he put up with me, and now that’s how I feel about myself. 

In my previous relationship, sex was a given. I guess I thought I had to, that it was his (the ex’s) right in a way. And sex was something I could give him, to make up for all the crap he had to put up with by being with me. Sex was how I learned to show love (that’s what my relationship with the ex taught me, anyway). But he didn’t love me. He said all the right things, but he hurt me and he used me. He made me into this mess, and I’m still trying to pick up the pieces, even though we split up nearly 2 years ago now…

S still says sex is not important, that it doesn’t matter and he doesn’t mind that I’m not ready. I just see it as me letting him down again and again. I am ashamed of myself for not being able to give him that, the one thing that he could get out of being with me (the way I see it anyway). 

I hate arguing with S. It makes me so sad. It hurts too much. We don’t argue much, but when we do it’s because of me being insecure, me over-thinking everything, me over-reacting. I want to stop. I want to be “normal”, whatever that is.

I wish I could have a normal relationship, where past memories don’t affect the present, where I’m not scared of being left behind, and where S doesn’t have to make all these allowances for me. He never complains, ever. He just takes it, he just puts up with all the crazy ways I react.

I know he loves me, I know I’m lucky to have him. He makes me happy, or happier than I’ve been in a long time anyway. So why don’t I let myself trust him? Why don’t I let myself believe the things he says? Why do I question his motives all the time? I just wish I could get over the past, then maybe I could live in the present.