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.

A positive post!

This is going to be a list of positive “mantras”, quotes and phrases:

A great quote from "A Cinderella Story"

A great quote from “A Cinderella Story”

I can do this.

I can and I will.

Doing my best is enough.

Keep calm and carry on.

This too shall pass.

I will accept the things I cannot change.

Be the best version of you.

Everything will be ok in the end, and if it’s not ok, it’s not the end.

Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.

When everything feels like an uphill struggle, think of the view from the top!

I am who I am.

Never give up.

winniethepoohquote

If anyone has any more to add, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list, with credit to you of course!

I hope you enjoy this list and can draw some positivity and motivation from it 🙂 (and if you fancy some more happy things, I’ve updated by Instant Happiness page!)

CBT: Get up and get out!

No don’t worry – these were not words said by my therapist to me (or vice versa.) Yesterday I was feeling pretty down and really didn’t feel like doing anything. But my appointment was at 2pm, so having finally dragged myself up at about 1, I called a taxi and went to my CBT session.

And I’m glad I did, I felt a bit better afterwards. And once you’re up and about, things normally feel a bit better. If I stay in bed hiding all day, what have I achieved? Nothing. But by getting up and out and going to CBT, I have (hopefully) helped myself a bit. So that’s the advice: Get up and get out! 

I was pretty tearful in my CBT session yesterday – the realisation that it’s coming to an end is scaring me. Then I have to cope by myself!! I have 2 more sessions left, then I’m back home in London until September, and then the big move to Germany – eek! The fact that I won’t have A to speak to anymore is a bit scary, especially because I think the CBT is helping, but there’s still a lot that hasn’t been dealt with.

A said there are some things I am still not ready to deal with. She said in the future I will be and then I can have some counselling/therapy to help me deal with it. She said when I get back to Lancaster I can get re-referred if I need to.

A gave me another CD with some guided mindfulness meditations on it. There is one called Mindful sitting practise and one called 3 minute breathing space. I’ll write about these sometime this week when I’ve done them a few times.

We talked about the way the mind works (according to CBT.) We have the situation or event and the emotion/feeling, but inbetween there is the thought which triggers the emotion. So I am working on spotting the thoughts and seeing – is this a fact or a thought? This is of course easier said than done, but it’s work in progress.

We talked about my insecurity and constant fear about S leaving me. This is rational to some extent because my previous experience (with the ex) has shown me that people can leave me. However, this does not mean everyone will leave me, and it does not mean I am not good enough (which is the thought that goes with the event: ex leaving me and the feeling: depressed/lonely/scared.)

A has asked me to write down how I am feeling each half day, and more importantly the negative thoughts that come with the feelings. Then I can look at them and say – fact or thought? Do I have any evidence of this? The chances are, probably not!

The other thing I am meant to look at this week are when I have these thoughts that S is going to leave me. We have established that seeking reassurance doesn’t really help… it may help for a brief moment, but soon afterwards, the thoughts will be back. And I know they must be irritating for S, to constantly reassure me that he’s not going anywhere, he’s not going to hurt me, and yes he does love me. So the aim here is to identify these thoughts and look at them without engaging with them. Using mindfulness, the idea is to see the thoughts as thoughts (and not facts), not engage with them, and ignore them. But baby steps – this week I’ve just got to identify them as early as possible.

A used the analogy of the “thought train”… so once the thought comes into mind, it starts a trail of destruction, with each thought encouraging the next, until I’m in a massive negative spiral and I truly believe that S is going to leave me because I’m just not good enough. So instead of this, I should try to identify the thoughts early and get off the thought train. Another analogy was “putting on the same DVD”, so once you have had the thought (put the DVD on), the same thing happens (the same DVD plays) and it results in the same behaviour and feelings each time. So instead of letting the same thing play out each time, it is better to catch the thought early, and throw away that DVD 😉

Anyway, enough about DVDs and trains… me thinks this is more progress.

Oh – and A said she thinks if I use the mindfulness stuff we are learning and use the book I have bought (The Mindful Way Through Depression), I will be ok in Germany without any therapy. I hope she’s right! But I have my blog too, which I think is therapy in itself!

Today is one of those days where hiding

Today is one of those days where hiding under my duvet seems like the most appealing thing to do. I am tired, aching (from climbing) and feeling pretty down. And I woke up with a migraine today (again), it’s gone now but they always leave me feeling exhausted.

My last exam is tomorrow and I don’t even have the motivation to revise. Even though this is potentially the most important exam – I need to know German because I’m about to move to Germany! 

I just feel really down and empty. I want to talk to S but I can’t because he’s at work. I can’t even call my parents because they are on holiday (in my favourite place ever, might I add!) 

I just don’t feel like doing anything at all, least of all revision.

There comes a point when I’m reading through my notes and thinking why the hell didn’t I try and learn this as I went along?! I think that’s a common thing for a student to think, we all do it every year, and every year we say “next year I’ll learn it as I go along”, and then next year comes along and we do the same thing again…

But with a language it’s important to learn as you go along. There’s no point in trying to learn a year’s worth of vocab and grammar now… that’s just not going to happen. All I can do now is hope that I know more than I think I know, and that somehow it will come back to me in the exam. It’s times like this that I question why the hell I am studying a language at university, and it’s times likes this when I realise how little work I did this year, and how terrible I felt for most of the year (which meant I did probably less than the bare minimum.)

Now I really must get back to revision, and cram some more information into my tired brain.

(Sorry about the repetitive moaning about revision – Tomorrow evening I will have finished exams so you won’t have to read my moaning about revision for quite a while!)

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx 

Painful hands and procrastination

My hands hurt, that is all I have to say really. I just got back from climbing with Owl, and although I enjoy climbing, today was not great!

I couldn’t do the route I was trying to do, my hands are in agony and I’m tired. But it was a pretty good workout. We spent a bit longer bouldering than usual, and tried some harder routes. That’s probably why I couldn’t do the route I was trying in top-roping (hands were already hurting after bouldering!), but it’s still frustrating. 

Today I haven’t managed to get much work done either. Did a bit of German grammar this morning (what could be more exciting?!) but I really need to get into proper revision mode… the exam is on Tuesday!! What am I doing going rockclimbing this close to an exam?!

Since S left I have been feeling pretty down and my concentration is worse again. A couple of days ago the anxiety really kicked in (again), I was hiding in my bed for most of the day and I was really freaked out (haven’t worked out why though) but that seems to have subsided (at least for now.) I keep putting myself down, and usually I feel a sense of accomplishment after climbing which helps with motivation, but today I didn’t manage to complete the route so I feel like a bit of a failure. (Even though I know it was a hard route, and it was only the 2nd time of trying a route of that grade!) 

In other news, I have come to the conclusion that nice nails do not go with climbing. I painted my nails on Friday before I went out. Owl bought me a magnetic nail varnish for my birthday that makes a cool pattern so I used that. Now (Sunday) after climbing they are ruined… It’s to be expected. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to do them again now… (More procrastination! Wait until after the exam!!)

Sorry for the boring update, but I don’t really have much else to say at present. (Just having a little moan really!) After Tuesday when I have finished my exam I will have to start focusing on my CBT stuff… I’m sure I’ll have plenty to blog about then!!

Talking of after exams, I’m going to have to start planning my dissertation! I am doing some research into how EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitation and Reprocessing – A type of therapy often used to treat PTSD) works. Has anyone tried EMDR? And if so, how did you find it? (Would be interested to know if anyone feels like they want to tell me about it)

Trying

I’ve written 294 words. It’s not a lot but it’s a start. I have all this coursework to do, so I had to start somewhere.

I’m translating the first 2 pages of Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen (AKA HP and the philospher’s stone) into English. 294 words so far, I’m about 1/4 of the way through the second page. That’s my aim before dinner, to finish the page.

I had an idea that I will translate pages 3 and 4 from English into German too. But I don’t have the English version of the book here, so my dad is going to scan it.

I always underestimate the brain power and amount of time needed for me to translate stuff. It’s not hard, Harry Potter, and especially the first one, is written for children. I should be able to translate 2 pages!

Hopefully my teacher will think this is a good idea when she comes to mark it. We have to do an independent learning portfolio, which basically means we have to do 6 pieces of work and evaluate it, and show how it has helped us progress with our German learning. I did 3 last term, so just have to make corrections on those, and I’m doing the Harry Potter translations, a film review (of a German film that I haven’t actually watched yet) and some kind of grammar exercise. I think.

Wow, this was a boring blog post – sorry! But it kind of helped to get it straight in my mind.

It’s taken me most of the day to get going with work. I stayed in bed until nearly 2, and didn’t do much once I got up. I spoke to S just before 4 and I hadn’t started yet. He told me to just try and do something. I know he’s right. I know he knows that I’m struggling, but sometimes it feels like people are thinking “just get over it”, even though I know he’d never say that. And I hope he doesn’t think it either. I am trying, really hard.

But even if this is all I get done today, it’s better than nothing – right?

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

P.S. I still find it so funny that one of the most common searches that leads to my blog is Despicable Me Minions! hehe

Where has my motivation gone?

I am generally a driven person. I have high expectations of myself and I want to succeed. I have goals in my life, goals which will be hard to achieve but I have always been determined to keep going until I reach them.

And yet now none of it seems to matter.

I have ridiculous amounts of coursework to do. I have exams coming up. And I’m doing nothing. I have no motivation to do my work. My concentration is through the floor, and my mood is down there with it. I sit and look at the list of things to do and it’s like a huge mountain. I know I should break it down into little mole hills, and then it will seem possible. But even that feels like too much effort.

I feel like I’m being lazy. Other people will think I am making a fuss over nothing. The closer the deadlines come, the less realistic the chance of me getting the work done. And yet I’m not panicking. Not yet. I don’t really care. None of it really matters.

But when I don’t get a first, then it will matter. Then I will feel like a failure. What am I saying? I already feel like a failure.

I should be able to do this. It’s not that I don’t have the intelligence, it can’t be that hard. Everyone else manages. And yet my head is all fuzzy and cloudy, with nothing making sense. My memory is terrible, I can’t concentrate at all, and most worryingly, I don’t even care about my work right now, even though it’s the things I wanted to study, and the subject that I am was passionate about.

I want the determination back, the motivation, the drive. Where has it all gone?

I’m running out of time.

Anyone know how to concentrate?

All motivation has abandoned ship

I woke up this morning feeling ill – I felt sick, had a headache and was aching all over. That combined with a bad night’s sleep made my decision for me – I would not be attending my 9am Statistics lecture today!

It is now 10 to 1(pm) and I am still at home, in my dressing gown. I was meant to meet my German class at 12 to practice speaking – I cancelled.

I have a seminar at 2, which I can’t really miss. So I’m aiming to make that one.

I have an exam tomorrow, and haven’t done any work for it at all. It’s not even one that you can bullshit your way through – it’s a German translation exam. Either you know it or you don’t. The weirdest thing is that I don’t care (yet). I just don’t have the motivation to do anything at all. I don’t want to do any work. I don’t want to do anything. Just hide in my bed all day.

I don’t have time to be ill at the moment!! And this cold is definitely not helping my motivation levels!

Right now I really just want some time off to relax and do absolutely nothing. But this is week 4 (of 10) so I’m not even half way through the term yet.

Where has yesterday’s sun gone? (It didn’t last long did it?) 😦

Another mixed day (which ended with hope!)

This morning I had my statistics exam. I was worried about it because last time I tried to take it, I had a panic attack and couldn’t do it.

I did it. It was hard, my mind kept going blank. Anxiety was going wild and I couldn’t concentrate. I don’t think I’ve done very well, but I’ve done it, and that’s the main thing.

After the exam was feeling pretty down and rubbish. There were things in the exam that I had practiced last night on SPSS… could I remember them in the exam? No I could not.

So I came back to the house, had some lunch and got ready to go and do my volunteer training at Help Direct.

I’m not sure if I’ve written about it before, but it is a service which aims to help people with mental health/wellbeing problems to change things and make things better. I met the team there before Christmas when I had my initial meeting where we checked that I wanted to do it, and that I was suitable for the role.

Today I got to watch a session, and then afterwards we sent out the relevant details in the post etc. It was really interesting, and it filled me with hope for the future. I was terrified that I was going to hate doing it, and then I wouldn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

But so far, it was really interesting and enjoyable. I like helping other people, and this role allows you to see the progress people make which is lovely. So for now at least, my goal is still to work in mental health.

Ironically, the reason I want to work in mental health is because of my own experiences. Having watched my mum go through depression a few years ago, I started to be interested in mental illness/mental health. Now, dealing with depression, anxiety and possible PTSD myself, I want to do it even more. I have seen second hand, and felt first hand, how difficult things become where mental illness is concerned. I have seen how hard it is to get help, and seen that sometimes the “help” you are given is not helpful at all. So I want to help, and I want to do it right. So now all I’ve got to do is get better, get my degree, a heap of work experience, a doctorate… and taa daa… I can do the job I want to do, and help people!

(Bloody hell, that’s going to take a while!)

But the good news best news is that I have hope for the future again. I have goals, and aspirations, and I’m on my way. It’s going to be a long journey, but now I have faith that eventually I will get there.

Yay for hope!! 🙂

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Gotta get up and try

Where there is a flame someone’s bound to get burned,

But just because it burns doesn’t mean you’re gonna die,

You gotta get up and try and try and try

Wise words. Got to keep going.

(Even when we don’t feel like it.)

Lots of love, Ellie xx