Memories in a jar

At the beginning of the year, I wrote that I was going to write a happy memory each day and put them all in a jar.

If I am being honest, I did not really think I would stick to it, but I have. I have barely missed a day, and have even taken squares of paper when I have been away from home so I can still write down a memory each day.

Sometimes it’s bloody hard to find something. Sometimes it’s really easy. There have been good days and bad days.

I filled up my first jar. Managed to cram in memories from January until June. I’ve bought another jar the same for the second half of the year. One jar is full of memories, another is empty – full of possibilities.

Love,

Ellie xx

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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

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

Friends matter!

I’m all smiles today. Tired, but happy. I’ve spent the weekend staying with my best friend, we had a lovely chilled time and it was so nice to catch up properly with no reason to rush around for once.

Friends are such an important part of wellbeing. In the 5 ways to wellbeing* (more info on this on the Mind website) connect is the first on the list. It has been proven that connections, social networks (in real life rather than Facebook!), friendships and relationships have a massive affect on wellbeing.

I am a very social person. I have a lot of friends and I like being around people. Sometimes Often I get socially anxious, especially when I’m around new people or new situations, and I definitely need my ‘me time’ too; socialising sometimes makes me very tired, but other times it energises me. I guess you could say I’m an extroverted introvert, or an ambivert?!

I know how lucky I am to have the friends and family that I have around me. When I am feeling low I start isolating myself, but I know this makes things worse. I have been reaching out a lot more lately, and have reconnected with some friends I had lost touch with. So please, reach out to friends and family, find ways to build connections in your life. Friends matter!

Love,

Ellie

*will probably do another post on the rest of the 5 ways to wellbeing

Progress

Progress is in the small things;

It’s getting through a whole CBT session without crying,

Going through a day without thoughts of self harm,

It’s feeling happy, even for a short while,

Remembering what it is like to feel proud of myself,

When the smile is real and there is hope for the future,

Making plans which I genuinely look forward to,

Little by little, step by step:

That’s progress.

Love,

Ellie xx

A night feeling “normal”

I went out at the weekend. I drank cocktails and shots. I danced and sang (*ahem* shouted) and got home at 3:30 in the morning. The club was packed and I knew I should feel anxious, but I didn’t (thank you alcohol).

It was weird because that night (until the very end when I got a bit upset and overwhelmed once the alcohol started wearing off), I felt like a “normal” person. For so long I have avoided situations like that, or have tried but have been overcome by anxiety or fatigue. It was nice to be able to do something that most people probably don’t think twice about, but I usually do.

It’s now Wednesday and admittedly I am probably still feeling the effects (because it takes days for my energy levels to recover from things like this. Things I used to take for granted) but it was worth it. It was a good night and I won’t even let the end of it ruin that memory.

On another happy note, I mentioned that I was planning on writing a happy memory about each day to put in a jar, and I am proud to say that’s still going strong. Month one, done, in the jar. I also bought a pretty jar to use (although now that I’ve got it home and put 31 pieces of paper in, I’m pretty sure 365 won’t fit but oh well!)

Jar of memories

Love,

Ellie xx

I don’t want to be rescued

I have spoken to my counsellor a lot about how both the ex and S* rescued me in a way. Before the ex, I was going through a low patch and I wanted to be rescued, enter the ex. After the ex, I was in a much worse place, enter S, ready to rescue me and me wanting to be rescued.

But this time I don’t want to be rescued. When S and I first split up, I wanted nothing more than him to rescue me. When I felt suicidal, I wanted to tell him and for him to make me feel better, to rescue me again. But actually, that is not what I need anymore.

I want to rescue myself. What a revelation!

I don’t need a knight on a white horse or any of that bullshit. I need to learn to look after myself, not become reliant on anyone else. I’m not saying I don’t need friends and family because I do, but I don’t need someone to rescue me. I don’t need to be a victim forever. I am not passive in my life, I should have the main role in my own life.

So this is me, on a mission to rescue myself. And do you know what? I’m going to be ok.

Love,

Ellie xx

* now this is confusing as both are exes but let’s be very clear – my relationship with “the ex” was toxic and horrible, my relationship with s was happy and safe… It makes me sad to draw parallels between the ex and S, as the relationships were so so different, and yet I am realising there are definite similarities in some ways which I had never noticed before.

Memory jar

One of my clients told me about this idea and I thought it was really cute so I used it myself…

Every day you write one happy/positive memory or thing from that day on a piece of paper, fold it up and put it in a jar. Then on New Year’s Eve you will have 365 happy memories* to read to bring you into a positive new year.

I thought that was lovely so I’m trying it myself. As you can see, it’s (day 1) 1st January so there’s one piece of paper so far, and I hope many more happy memories to come! I kind of wanted a prettier jar so I may change it part way through, but for now it will do! 😊

Love,

Ellie xx

*you could start this at any point in the year but I think it will be cool to do a full year and have 365!

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

Mindfulness: update

If you’ve read my last post you will know things are pretty bad at the moment. They got worse actually, as my grandma is now in hospital.

I’m trying to focus on the positive and all that because moving around isn’t helping. I’ve been doing a lot of crying and getting dehydrated which leads to headaches so trying to drink more water!

Also, today I hit 50 days in a row of mindfulness! This is the longest streak I have ever done and I feel proud. I do it now because I want to, not just because I know it’s meant to be good for me.

I have a routine, every morning when I wake up, I press snooze on my sunrise alarm clock and then put a mindfulness meditation on. I usually only do about 5 minutes but I think it’s a good start to the day.

Sometimes I do another one in the evening, especially if my mind is full and won’t let me sleep. I also sometimes use it at other times if I am feeling particularly stressed or anxious, or having scary thoughts.

I’m pretty proud that despite the week I have had, I have still managed to keep up with my mindfulness. And for a few minutes I have peace and I don’t feel like the world has ended.

Take care everyone.

Love, Ellie xx