A spark of motivation 

Working in the field of mental health, I spend 5 days a week trying to support clients with their mental health and suggesting goals – try mindfulness or write down three positive things everyday or make time for self care. I often find myself coming out with gems such as “you can’t pour from an empty cup” and “you are always focused on others, but what do YOU want?” 

Hypocrite. 

Yep, I am a massive hypocrite. 

But no more. I am going to try and take my own advice. I am going to try and be more positive, make time for self care, be selfish sometimes. 

Now I am not going to sit here and pretend that a bit of mindfulness here or goal setting there is going to cure anyone because that would be bullshit. You know that, I know that. But it’s about doing things that help, even a little bit. It’s about building confidence, helping someone develop their identity – things they do or don’t like, enabling people to get that sense of achievement when they meet a goal. It’s about small steps and sitting with that person and really listening (because so often people don’t listen) So now it’s time to support myself.  I’m going to work on being the best I can be, and to help myself be a little bit happier again. 

One of my lovely blogger friends is doing 100 happy days at the moment, I tried it once before and didn’t manage it all, but I’ve been inspired by my blogging friend so I’m going to try again but in my journal this time, a little more manageable. I’m on Day 3 so far, I am managing and I won’t worry if I don’t manage all 100 days in a row!

 I have started my mindfulness again lately (I did 25 days in a row but went away for the weekend and lost my streak – but I started it up again today). I have a bullet journal, I find it very therapeutic but for some reason I stopped*, I will get that going again. 

A little bit of motivation has surfaced today! 

I am going to do some blog posts on the things that help me such as mindfulness and bullet journaling. What helps you? Is there anything you would like me to write about? 

Love,

Ellie xx

*When I start feeling unwell I stop all of the things that actually helped before. It’s counterproductive but the motivation goes and before you know it, all the good things have been left behind and you’re wallowing even more! 

Doctors 

This morning I sat in front of a GP and told them how crap I feel. I told her I’m exhausted and I don’t know how to keep going. I told her I feel like I’m going to fall asleep all the time. I told her I feel suicidal again. 

She said “go to A&E if you feel suicidal”

I am so angry. What a load of crap. That is all you have for me? I work in mental health, I know how this goes. If I went to A&E (which I won’t), I would sit for hours, eventually see someone and say I feel suicidal, they would ask if I have acted on it, I would say no, and they’d send me home and we would both feel that our time has been wasted. 

Such bullshit. 

She talked about prescribing some antidepressants and I said I didn’t mind but wasn’t sure what to try as I’ve had so many. She said we would start again with the most common ones. What the hell? Oh I see this medication didn’t work for you last time so let’s try it again??? And then she didn’t even prescribe anything. 

I told her that I have been told I’m too unwell for IAPT and not unwell enough for the mental health team. Why is there this ridiculous gap? This is why I have to pay for private therapy. 

Not a happy Ellie today. I feel let down by our NHS. I felt rushed to get out of the door. She didn’t help, it made me feel worse. 

Rant over xx

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?”

Run Ellie run! 

I have taken up running. I haven’t done that much running as I have been knackered recently but went for a run today. It is humid and hot but I managed just over 5km (it was 3.3 miles according to my app).

My goal is to run a half marathon to fundraise for a scout thing I am doing. I have a long way to go but happy that I can run 5km without dying now, in about 30 mins. 

Running makes me feel alive. I need to remember that feeling the next time I feel too tired and achy to run. It really does make me feel better to run, at least at the time it does. Sometimes I get the pay back afterwards and I’m knackered for days, sometimes it seems to be ok (fingers crossed this is an ok day!) 

I want to get into regular exercise for a few reasons;

1. Exercise makes you happy. It boosts the endorphins and all that jazz. 

2. I want to lose weight/ feel better about my body. Also IF i do have fibro, it will help not to have extra weight hanging around making the pain worse

3. I want to be healthier. I am also working on my water intake and trying (and often failing) to eat more healthily. I just really love chocolate and everything that’s bad for you! 

4. A sense of achievement. When I run further or quicker, when I don’t feel quite as exhausted after spin, when I can do more press ups*, these are all achievements and it makes me feel good. 

Love 

(A very sweaty) Ellie xx

* I have to confess that I probably can’t do any currently. Last time I started exercising properly I managed to be able to do about 20 ‘girly’ press ups, which isn’t many, but when I started I fell on my face after 1! 

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

Fatigue 

Heavy limbs

Droopy eyes

Aching neck, shoulders, arms, legs, feet

Complete exhaustion

Disconnected

Pain 

Everything feels like lead, heavy and useless

So tired

Longing for glorious sleep 

But it doesn’t matter 

I wake up

One o’clock

Three o’clock

Four o’clock

And it goes on

And then I wake up and do it all again 

Struggling with my fatigue and aches at the moment. Really affecting my mood and ability to do things properly 

Let’s hope for better sleep tonight!

Love,

Ellie xx

Chasing dreams

I know what I want to do with my life. I know how to get there, but it’s going to be hard. And I don’t know if I can do it.

I want to be a clinical psychologist, which means once I graduate I need to get 1 – 2 years of relevant work experience, and then apply to do a doctorate in clinical psychology which takes 3 years. There are only about 500 places a year in the UK, one university alone (which has 24 places) had 650+ applications last year… And then if I make it onto the course, I’ve got to get through the course, which normally has 5 or 6 placements, plus a research project, and then obviously you have to pass everything.

But what if I can’t do it? What if I’m not good enough? Or what if I’m not strong enough? What if my own issues (depression, anxiety etc) get in the way? How many attempts do you give it before you give up and do something else?

I’ve been thinking recently maybe I should take an easier option. I’ve always thought about being a primary school teacher. It’s not really what I want to do, but I know I could do it – I guess I’ve seen it as a backup plan. I like working with kids and in a primary school there’s nothing too hard to teach, I can be creative, and primary school involves a lot of art/creative stuff. I’d quite like to be a primary school teacher I think, long holidays, working with kids, getting to make a difference to people’s lives. But it’s not the thing that I really want, it’s not where my passion really lies. But it would be easier. Because we always need more teachers, there’s always places going – especially as I’ll have a language, and psychology which involves a lot of knowledge about development of learning etc.

What would you do?

Strive for something you want but might never achieve, and might struggle with due to personal issues? Or go for something that would be ok, but easier?

I’m normally full of fight but lately I’m wondering if it’s really worth it. Only the best can make it into clinical psychology, and I’ve spent my whole life trying to be the best, but I’m not. Maybe it’s just setting me up for failure. Damn perfectionism. Of course I want the most competitive thing.

It’s strange. I’d like to go down both paths and see how they are, but of course I can’t. I’ll have to decide.

Just as a side note, I am in no way saying that a teacher’s job is easy or shouldn’t be valued. I think teachers are amazing, I’ve seen the work that goes into that job (my mum was a teacher) and I know that it wouldn’t be easy. But the entry route to teaching is easier, that’s all I mean by this post. I think maybe one day I’d like to be a teacher, but the thing I’m actually really really interested in is psychology, and especially mental health.

And another thing I’ve noticed… Although the careers of teachers and psychologists have a lot of differences, I have realised that there is a big thing in common – both aim to make a difference, to change people’s lives. And also, both would have the opportunity to work with children. I think I need a job where I’m helping people, I’m definitely the sort of person that will be in the job for the people rather than the money!

Why is it so hard to talk about?

Why is it so hard to talk about the “difficult things”?

I can write about them sometimes. I can plan what I’m going to say, I have the words in my mind but they don’t come to my lips. I can’t say them.

I’ve been having a lot of nightmares recently. Screaming in my sleep again while Footballer was staying. A week or two ago, S said I kept asking where I was, saying I want to be at home (in my sleep.)

A lot of the time I don’t remember the nightmares. Sometimes I wake up scared and don’t know why. Sometimes I just know I had a nightmare, and sometimes they are so vivid. I feel like I’m being haunted by these images. But it’s all too hard to talk about, the words just don’t come out.

The nightmares that week involved the ex. Raping me. And it all felt so vivid.

I was really really scared and anxious for days. I started writing this post not long after the nightmares but I couldn’t find the words time. I eventually managed to tell S that the nightmare involved the ex “making me do stuff.” But that’s as much as I could say, and even that took a long time.

So why can’t I say these difficult things? Like when I’m feeling suicidal, I can’t tell anyone, I just say “I feel low” or “I feel shit.” When in my head I’m screaming “I just want to die!” And when I’m talking about the ex, I can never explain what it was like. I can say he wasn’t nice to me, or that he treated me badly but it’s difficult for me to say more… it’s like I’m ashamed that I let it happen… How messed up is that? He treats me horribly and abuses me, and I’m the one that feels guilty and ashamed?

I try to tell S these difficult things sometimes. Often I just can’t say it, and he doesn’t understand why I’m crying or on edge or scared in the night. Sometimes I end up texting things because I couldn’t say it on the phone. The words stick in my throat and it’s like someone presses mute and I can’t speak anymore.

But I don’t want to be muted.

I have depression and anxiety and it’s hard. Most of the time I don’t look like anything is wrong with me but there is. I am very jumpy and I get scared and upset easily. And it’s not my fault. It is an illness and I don’t want to feel ashamed anymore. These things are just labels and they don’t make me who I am, but they do affect who I am and sometimes I can’t deal with everything that a “normal” person can. I think more needs to be done to raise awareness about mental illness because people don’t understand it – they can’t see it so they think it’s not there.

Since I’ve been writing this blog I have come across a lot of mental health bloggers, all telling their different stories. Sometimes they are difficult to read because people have suffered so greatly, but they are all strong people and we all have things in common so we can support one another. And all of this makes me even more sure that I want to work in mental health. I want to make a difference.

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!

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.