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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Enjoying nature

I’m away in Germany for a few days, and I’m having a really nice relaxed time catching up with friends.

The weather is absolutely beautiful, and so I’ve spent most of the weekend outside. Apparently here, swimming in lakes is a big thing, and we went to a lake yesterday, and another one today, and lay out in the sun reading and then went for a swim.

It was bliss. (Once I got over the initial feeling of cold water!!) I am not a strong swimmer, so I didn’t go very far, but it was really nice and refreshing.

Picture of a beautiful lake and a bright blue sky

Nature at its finest – sehr schön

I’ve heard that swimming in cold water is meant to be good for anxiety. I can believe that as I felt very calm – It felt so nice, like a weight had been lifted. I also felt like it helped me relax my body, so the achy-ness calmed down. I was in the moment, and enjoyed the moment. For that short time I wasn’t worrying about anything, I was just enjoying the feeling of being in water, and the sun’s warmth.

I know there’s a lake quite near me at home where you can go swimming, so maybe I’ll give it a go…

Last weekend I was camping with scouts, and this weekend I’ve been outside a lot too. It’s reminded me how beautiful nature is and that it gives me a chance to relax and breathe some fresh air. The lovely weather definitely helps though – it makes nature sparkle! It makes me happy, and anything which makes me happy is good in my book, especially if it’s actually healthy!!

So that’s my new goal for the rest of this year – go outside more. Go to the countryside. Go to the park. Enjoy nature and allow myself time to really relax, because I never really stop, but maybe I should sometimes.

I hope you can enjoy nature too!

Love,

Ellie xx

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

Reflecting on CBT

I had my last session of CBT for fatigue this week. We were only allowed 8 sessions, but they have been quite spread out.

I found it really useful in some ways, but in others I am still dubious about using CBT to manage fatigue.

I am definitely more aware of how my fatigue, pain and mood are linked together. I have known for a long time that pain and fatigue cause my mood to be lower, but I came to the realisation that also my mood affects my pain and fatigue.

We looked at the “boom and bust” cycle, which is evident from my activity diaries. This is how it goes: I feel ok, so I make lots of plans and make myself busy (boom) but then it becomes too much, and I feel like I can’t cope, so I stop everything (bust). Then when I start to feel better, I start over committing to things to make up for my (perceived) failure, and so on and so forth…

Being aware of that cycle actually really helps. Even though that’s simple and anyone could see it, now I really understand it. It helps me understand my fatigue and also understand my needs. So now, when I’m feeling good and like I want to make LOADS of plans, I try to be more balanced. So, if I know I have a busy week, I try to leave the weekend relatively empty, or if I have a busy weekend, I make sure I have some weekends without plans. The ideal seems to be having plans on one day at the weekend and not the other, but that’s not always possible.

I think I feel more in control of my life than I did before. Now I am more aware of how certain things will affect me, I can sometimes control some of those things. I know that I will still make the same mistakes sometimes (hard to unlearn a life of constant busy-ness!) but I feel more in control and that makes me feel more positive about things.

The CBT helped me to change the way I think about things, and reminded me of the skills I learned before when I had CBT. I still find the thought traps really useful, I’m a big offender where they are concerned. It’s funny (in a weird way) that I have all these issues with anxiety and depression, because I spend a hell of a lot of time giving my clients advice and support for the very same issues I have myself.

Has anyone else had CBT for fatigue? (Or anything else actually?) How did you find it?

I’m planning to write several more posts on more specific things we covered in my sessions. I am feeling in a writing mood at the moment so I have lots of ideas for posts, just need to write them!

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

CBT – core beliefs

I mentioned a while ago that I was going to be having CBT as treatment for my chronic fatigue syndrome/fibromyalgia, and as I am now half way through the treatment, I thought I’d give a bit of an update on it.

At the beginning, we did a pie chart of my problems. Highly featuring were depression and fatigue, and others were migraines, pain and anxiety. It was interesting to get a view of how much each issue was affecting me, and how they all link together.

We have been looking at my core beliefs and rules for living, and have identified my negative core beliefs – “I am not good enough”, “I am unlovable”, and as a result, one of my rules for living is “if I please everyone, it means I am good enough and people will like me”

But the thing is, I can’t please everyone. It’s not physically possible. I know that this is a deep rooted thing, it was probably already there when I met the ex all those years ago. I always had the need to please my parents, hence my preoccupation with getting a first in my degree!

During my relationship with the ex, that rule kept me safe. I knew that not keeping him happy would have consequences so it was important to do so. But then I was with S, and I had the overwhelming need to please him, it made me anxious and it didn’t work. It just ended up with him frustrated that I couldn’t make decisions, and me exhausted from trying to guess what would please him. That rule is not useful to me anymore, now it’s unhelpful and keeps me anxious and stuck.

Being able to identify this kind of thing is really important. I think the CBT has been useful so far, but there’s still a long way to go and only 4 more sessions to do it in.

I plan to write more posts about different aspects of my CBT as I go along. For today, I’m going to get an early night as therapy can be quite tiring. Every time I walk into the room suddenly I can’t stop crying which is exhausting!

Love,

Ellie xx

Safety net

Scared of being alone,

Missing the way you smile

And how you touched my hair

Wanting to be in your arms,

To be in my safe place with you.

Safety has gone now, I miss him. (I just re-read that sentence, when I wrote ‘him’, I meant S, but saying I miss safety and that S was safety to me is just as true.) I am doing ok most of the time but sometimes I get an overwhelming wave of sadness. Today it was while I drove home from work, tears streamed down my face. No trigger, just the feeling of loneliness, emptiness. I know that it is for the best, I would never have ‘grown up’ and taken responsibility for my own wellbeing if he didn’t leave me.

I am trying to take control of my life now; I made a bucket list for 2018, I have started my CBT for fatigue (will write a post on that soon), I am focusing on the amazing friends and family I do have and even reconnecting with some old friends. I am really trying my best but it’s hard because I am terrified that I will always be on my own.

I miss S and our stupid in-jokes and the stupid names we called each other. I miss lying in bed cuddling while we watched a film and feeling safer than I have ever felt. I can’t imagine getting that feeling again.

I am 24 and I know that is young and there’s time to meet someone, I know it doesn’t mean I will be on my own for the rest of my life, but I didn’t plan for this – I couldn’t have planned for this. My plans and expectations for the next few years down the drain – hopes of moving out and buying a property *flush*, hopes of marriage and children *flush* hopes of safety and love *flush*

Seeing other people with long term relationships is hard, I have hit the age where people are starting to move in together/buy a place together or get engaged/married. It just reminds me what I’ve lost and makes me panic that it’s going to be too late for me. I know it’s silly but that’s how my brain goes.

He was my safety net in so many ways, and now he’s not there, free-fall is a terrifying prospect. But what if I don’t fall? What if I can fly instead?

Love,

Ellie xx

Still trying

I don’t feel positive at all but I’m trying to be. I’m remembering how low my lows can be and it’s not good.

Somehow through it all I am getting stuff done. I see my friends, go to family events, turn up to work every day. Each evening is hard as I tend to feel worse then, more time to think.

I’m doing my ‘must keep busy so there’s no time to think’ thing and I know I will burn out eventually but right now I don’t see an alternative. I have a whole week off work over Christmas so will try to take it easy. I just need to make sure the thoughts don’t take over.

Let me end this post with a lovely quote. I read it in a book recently, it was a crappy chick lit book (I must confess I like them!) and I can’t even remember the name, but I remember the quote –

“The darker the storm, the brighter the rainbow”

Love,

Ellie xx

Dark place

Trigger warning: suicidal thoughts + self harm

I find myself in a very dark place. Everything that has happened these last few months has taken its toll. The work related stress, the fibro diagnosis, the break up, my grandma passing away… And even before any of that, my mood was creeping lower, after the 6 month period of being relatively stable. I feel guilty that the main thing on my mind is the break up. I desperately miss S, he is ignoring all contact with me, it hurts.

I don’t know what to do with myself. I can mostly put on a front when I’m out, when with friends or at work. At home the barriers are down, which to me indicate things are even worse… I am bursting into tears frequently. I told my parents I can’t cope. I’m a mess.

Although I’ve had thoughts of self-harm and suicide on and off for years, for the first time in years, I took a knife to my skin a couple of weeks ago and again today. It’s quite blunt so it doesn’t cut properly, more of a scratch, to make it sting. No danger, no drama.

The suicidal thoughts are scaring me now. They are getting more and more frequent and I find myself starting to make plans. If there was a way that I could do it without hurting others, I’d be gone. But there isn’t. That’s what I have to remind myself.

I’m in a dark place and I don’t know how to get out. I just need to try and stay safe for now, that’s the best I can do.

Love,

Ellie xx