Stress

Hi everyone,

I haven’t written anything for a while but I’ve still been reading other blogs. I have been pretty busy and pretty tired. I couldn’t find the words I wanted to write. There is a lot of change is underway at the moment. And it’s stressful. Anxiety is up, mood is down. Yuck!

Following my diagnosis of fibromyalgia, I decided that doing 2 part time jobs adding up to more than full time probably wasn’t a great thing to continue to do. I have been feeling for some time that it is not sustainable and I am heading for burnout. So the diagnosis was the kick up the butt I needed. That and the fact that extra hours came up at one job to allow me to go full time there. Is it a coincidence? Is it fate? I don’t know, but I made the decision to go “down” to full time. 

Leaving is going to be very hard. I have been at that work place for 2 years although I have had different roles in that time. I am stressed at the moment about the job, doing handovers, telling clients I am leaving. That is the worst. Almost enough to make me stay. 

But this time I said no. This time I put myself first, I put my health first. I am hoping this will help me manage better. Less hours and hopefully less stress can’t be a bad thing! I am also trying to be less busy generally and make more time for self care. More time for blogging too hopefully!

So take a leaf out of my book and do something for yourself. Look after yourself and your health! 

Love,

Ellie xxx

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Stress

Feeling very stressed and like I’m not coping at the moment. This is not how you are meant to feel after a holiday… 

I can tell I am not very well mentally at the moment because I am struggling to manage my stress, even at work. Usually at work I can separate it from everything and just do my job and worry about everything else later. This week I felt like I got in a flap about things I would normally deal with fine. 

My anxiety is pretty high and my sleep isn’t good (a crying doggo with a poorly tummy at 4am doesn’t help! – not that it’s his fault!) 

I want to be positive but right now it’s hard. I have a few plans over the weekend and that is stressing me out. I wanted a weekend to do nothing but I have too much to do. All nice things but somehow it doesn’t feel nice, it feels like pressure. 

Off to bed, TGIF tomorrow!

Love, Ellie xx

Dependent

I hate being dependent on other people. Especially S.

Because he could leave (like the ex did.) That’s why you should never let anyone be everything to you. But it’s hard not to rely on him.

I hate how my happiness relies on him. When I’m with S I am generally much happier. It’s when I’m on my own I feel down. And I overanalyse every little thing. Why do I do it to myself? I’m torturing myself over things I can’t change. Things that are said and done, it’s too late to change them.

And things that he doesn’t even care about but I do. I feel fat, and I hate it. But I’m scared of starting exercise again like before because it’s addictive, like not eating – addictive and not good. 

I haven’t been blogging that much recently. Too busy. Life just gets in the way. But I still need time for myself. I’m going to try and set aside some time each day for myself. To reflect on how things are, to write my blog, to do some mindfulness stuff (because I haven’t done any of it in ages, and it was helping I think.)

Sometimes I think I do too much and I don’t allow myself enough time to just be. On Monday I had a day to do nothing. I slept until about 1, then pottered around doing not much – reading blogs, watching TV. But it was nice, just sometimes it’s nice to do nothing. Nothing that matters anyway. I’m always in such a rush all the time, maybe I should take a step back and try to relax a bit.

This post got a bit more reflective than I expected. Just a quick one before bed. To get some thoughts out of my mind. This one is like a mental stream (MMS you should be proud!)

I just want to stop for a bit. I wish I could pause the world, like in Bernard’s watch (did anyone watch that?) And then I could just take some time, with nothing going on. Wouldn’t it be nice?

But relaxing has always been difficult for me, that’s something I need to learn to do. A was right – I can’t give 100% all the time, it’s too exhausting. I need to relax too, and take some time for me – not to work or volunteer or even socialise, just to unwind.

Hopefully my holiday will help me relax a bit. On Monday I am off to Amsterdam (not Prague as originally planned) so I’m sure I will have an Amsterdam-related post at the end of next week!

As you might be able to tell, my mind is a bit of a jumble at the moment, if you managed to follow this post and its changing topics – well done!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

Why?

I just don’t get it.

Things are good, really good.

I got my first for this year, against all the odds. I got my summer job back so I will have some money. I’ve booked my flight to Germany and got accommodation sorted for the first few weeks, and I’ve even met a girl who will be in the same town. I am going on holiday with S next week (although we still haven’t actually booked it!) and this morning I received an email saying that I won a prize for my work in German this year.

So why do I still feel low?

I have everything right now, and I’m still not happy…

Do I just want too much? Do I just expect everything to be perfect?

But there is nothing wrong, nothing at all. So why do I want to hide in my bed? Why do I feel like crying? Why do I still have this inexplicable feeling of sadness, emptiness, pain…?

I know I am a lot better than I was. But before things were hard, I had some reasons. I guess I still have some reasons, but a lot of them are gone now – living away from home, exam stress, coursework stress, the massive fear of not doing well enough in my uni work… All of that is gone and yet I don’t feel better. At least the anxiety should be lower.. but it’s not. I am on edge, and I’ve bitten all my nails off (again.) 

To be perfectly honest, even reading that I got a first didn’t properly cheer me up. I was happy, surprised for a few minutes. And then I was like “oh well”. What is that?! I have worked so hard all year for that, I have worried myself for months, I have waited anxiously for my results, and then all I can say is “oh well”?!

Nothing I ever do will ever be good enough (for myself.)

Maybe I’m doomed to always be disappointed because perfection doesn’t exist, no matter how much I or anyone else strives for it.

I just want to be “normal”… I want to react to things in a normal way. I should be celebrating my achievements, I should be excited and looking forward to the future, but instead I’m feeling numb.

And I still haven’t unpacked… I’ve been home over 2 weeks (oops.)

Someone explain all this?

 

A good day

After last night’s minor melt down, today has been a much better day. Although this morning was still a bit wobbly*, and I was in a stress (couldn’t find things!)

I went into work and they have agreed to give me a few days off so I can go on holiday with S (Yay!) And we did some research, we are thinking of going to Prague! 🙂

Then I went climbing with S, and had my first attempt at lead climbing (where you climb up with the rope and clip it in as you go up rather than having a rope that comes down from the top) so that was exciting (and a little bit scary!) I definitely think climbing is good for trust in a relationship… you are putting your life (or at least your unbroken limbs!) in your partners hands!

I’ve also had further information about my arrival to Germany, so have started looking at flights… This is when it gets really real! I will be flying out there with one of my course mates, so at least I won’t be on my own!!

And my other bit of good news, which is probably quite boring to most people, is that I am (finally) back to the weight (very nearly anyway) that I was before the Mirtazapine! (6 months after stopping that medication!!)

Now it’s time for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner… yum!

*To borrow WeeGee’s word 😛

New things

Too many new things can be overwhelming. I am visiting a friend at her uni this weekend. We went shopping and for lunch and it was really nice.

Then we went to one of her friends for drinks. They all knew each other (obviously) and I only knew my friend. This was a bit difficult, but I could cope and settled down a bit when I got talking with some of the others.

We played some card games. I realised I get irrationally stressed by these things… Maybe it’s like A says, I have this need to do everything perfectly – including playing card games apparently. We played a game called “cheat”, which involves putting down cards and saying what they are (you can either tell the truth or lie) and if someone thinks you are lying they say “cheat”, and if you are lying you take the cards, and if not they take the cards. It’s a fun game, but I find it difficult. I realised I feel genuinely guilty when I lie (even in this game) and so I struggle to do it. The other thing is that I’m terrible at lying – you can always tell if I’m lying. I look guilty.

After that we went back to my friends house where there was (is) a house party going on. There was loud music and lots of people (who I obviously didn’t know). They all seemed really nice and I had some good conversations but I felt pretty anxious and on edge for most of the evening. (Especially as the alcohol started wearing off).New people, new place, loud music… Not a good combo.

So now I’ve gone to bed and I hope my friend isn’t annoyed. I am tired but needed to get away.

I can hear my critical inner voice: “they all think you’re boring”, “monkey will be annoyed with you”, etc etc

Time for sleep, good night xxx

Tear-free CBT

That’s right people, I got through a whole session of CBT without crying today! There were a couple of moments where tears weren’t far away but no crying today. Not that it’s a bad thing to cry in therapy, but it’s exhausting. Today was definitely easier than the last session, but I guess that’s because what we talked about wasn’t as painful today.

We spoke about how I have grown up, and why I have always felt this need to do everything perfectly.

My mum had to work and work to prove she was good enough. When she was at school she wanted to be a teacher, from the age of about 11. She did her O levels and A levels, and had to retake some, and she was told she’d never become a teacher. But she did it, she got her grades, went to college and became a P.E teacher. It’s so sad that the thing she wanted to do for so long became one of the things that made her ill. And now she lacks the confidence to teach again, doesn’t want to go back there. My dad is a very hard worker too. He always gives everything 100%. He is the person who gets into work early and leaves late. And so you see my parents have both been very successful and they want the same for my brother and I, and that’s why they always try to push us to do our best. Unfortunately in my case, with a mixture of family pressure and going to a school where everyone is very bright (like a grammar school), I ended up feeling that I will never ever be good enough.

And I also realised that maybe part of it is that I’m trying to prove that I’m good enough, trying to prove that going to college wasn’t a bad idea. I left my school at 16, much to the dismay of my parents, and went to a college to do my A levels instead of the school 6th form. But I did it, I got my grades. I went to uni, I finished my first year with a first… Maybe I feel like if I get a first I’m proving that college was a good thing, that I wouldn’t have been better off going to my school’s 6th form. But the thing is, it’s done now anyway. Maybe I would’ve done better at 6th form, maybe I would’ve done worse, or maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference. We can never find out.

We also talked about mindfulness. A says that I am getting much better at identifying the negative thoughts as they happen, but now we need to focus on the here and now – ignoring the past and future, so that I can react in a suitable way to these negative thoughts.

I explained the cycle I spoke about in my previous post. How S said something as a joke which made me paranoid, then the paranoia made me scared he was going to leave me, then I realised I was overreacting, so I was scared he was going to leave because I worry so much… And on and on and on.

As we are coming to the end of the CBT sessions, A said it would be good to do some work on mindfulness, and that is something I can use after my sessions have finished, to help me.

According to Wikipedia*, mindfulness is the focusing of attention and awareness, based of the concept of mindfulness in Buddhist meditation. It says mindfulness can be useful in the treatment of pain, stress, anxiety, depressive relapse, disordered eating and addiction.

It appears, from the definitions to involve bringing attention and awareness to the present moment where thoughts/feelings etc. are acknowledged and accepted.

A handed me a pen and asked me to look at it while she talked about it, asking questions (which aren’t to be answered.) What does it look like? Are there any marks on it? What about writing? Does the nib have any ink on it, or any marks?

At one point she asked me to hold the pen by my ear and listen to it when shaking it. At this point I thought “well, this is a bit weird!!” A said that is an example of when your mind wanders and thoughts go to other things rather than focusing on the pen (in this case).

This week’s homework is to do the “bodyscan” each day which is a guided mindfulness practise, involving listening to a CD (Kind of like meditation I think). I’ll be writing about that as I go along too!

So today’s session was quite helpful I think. I’ve made some realisations about my perfectionism and where it comes from. And I’m starting to accept that it’s ok not to do everything perfectly (because in most cases perfection doesn’t exist.) We also talked about my little experiment from last week – actively giving 80% (rather than 100%) to see what happened. You might remember, I did it when climbing. I decided that instead of pushing myself hard to finish the route, I would just come down and try another time, and the world didn’t end 😉 (In case you were wondering!) A said she thinks the key to all of the stuff with the ex is anger, and that when I am ready to access all of the feelings, I will be able to feel this anger that’s been locked away for so long. It also explains my anger outburts, which are almost always disproportionate to the thing I am actually angry about. (Like when I went completely crazy shouting at my housemates over the bins situation… but it wasn’t actually about the bins, it was about everything that has made me angry ever!) Anyway, progress is definitely a good thing, so I’ll let you all know how I get on with the mindfulness this week!

*obviously the source of all knowledge!

One of those days

It’s been one of those days – unproductive, tiring and frustrating.

Today was a revision day. I have an exam on Tuesday and Wednesday. These 2 exams contain the most content out of all of my exams this year, and well done uni…they are on consecutive days.

This morning wasn’t too bad – got through a lot of statistics and I now have notes for all of that module – And better than that, I even understand most of it. The stats exam is on Wednesday. 

Then this afternoon it was onto social psychology. I find that module really interesting, and it was a lent term module so it wasn’t learned that long ago, I thought that would make revision ok, but I was wrong. Owl (friend from uni) came over and we were working together all afternoon and evening. She arrived at about 2:15 and didn’t leave until 9:15, we had about an hour break for dinner and were working solidly except that. But… we only got through one lecture. In 6 hours. So unproductive. My brain hurts, I don’t understand any of it and my concentration levels are shocking. 

Maybe I tried to do too much in one day. But that’s the only option. Today was one of those afternoons when you stop, put your hands up and say – right, it’s not working, I’ll write today off and try again tomorrow. But you can’t do that when the exam is the day after tomorrow. There is no more time. 

So now I’m stressed. STILL don’t know anything about social psychology and I have to learn the rest of the module tomorrow. Plus they want extra reading to include in the essay… are they crazy?! 

The stress is all building up and now I have a headache. I’m starting to panic and I don’t know any way round this. Tomorrow HAS to be a productive day, I have no choice. But the more pressure there is the more stressed I will be.

I need to calm down but I can’t. I really wanted to do well on this exam, I thought it was my best chance at a decent grade in these exams (except stats) and now I guess I’ll be lucky to scape a pass.

But to me there’s no point in passing a module if it’s not a 2:1 or first. A 2:2 or third is no good to me, so it may as well be a fail*.

I know I’m stressing myself out more by worrying, but that’s what Ellies do best – worry.

So I’m giving up for tonight. I want to give up entirely, but I can’t. I feel like in everything I do I have to do well, I have to prove I’m not a failure. I don’t know who I’m proving it to. Is it to the ex who made me feel like I’m not good enough? Is it to my parents who always push me to do well? Is it to S to prove I’m not nothing? Or is it to myself? because I see myself as a failure and all I’ve ever had to prove myself wrong on that is academic success.

Causal bit of self analysis there…

Anyway, I’m going to sleep and hoping to wake up with a bright and attentive brain, ready to learn all of the information in the world**.

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

*I know this is not actually true, blame my perfectionist tendencies. And what I really mean by this is that I can’t go into clinical psychology with less than a (high) 2:1.

**I feel this is only a minor exaggeration.

Things to look forward to

Tonight I’m feeling a bit down. I’m tired and fed up of revision. So I’m writing things to look forward to, because there are lots. I need to remember them when feeling down, instead of getting stuck in a negative loop.

  1. On Wednesday (after my exam) I am going climbing again with Owl*
  2. Next week is my birthday and S is coming to visit**
  3. Sometime in the next few weeks I should find out which Bundesland (region) of Germany I will be going to, and then soon(ish) after that I will find out which town!
  4.  On 28th May my exams will be over and I won’t have any proper exams for nearly 2 years.
  5. In June I’m going to visit Monkey at her uni.
  6. At the beginning of July I will be home and will get to see my friends from home.
  7. Sometime in the summer S and I are hopefully going to go somewhere for a holiday
  8. In August/September I will be moving to Germany for a year and starting a new adventure! (And I will have a disposable income because I will be getting paid for working!)
  9. In summer 2014 I am (hopefully) going to Namibia (and there are elephants – did I mention that? 😛 )
  10. In summer 2015 I will graduate.

There are many things to look forward to, some are big and some are small, but basically, there’s hope for the future, even if statistics revision seems to be the worst thing in the world*** right now.

* We went today as well, although it hurt I am determined to complete some of the routes I haven’t managed to do yet!

**I’ve barely thought about my birthday because of exams but I am SO EXCITED to see S, it will be nice to be able to spend time together without him having to go to work, or me having coursework to do.

***Clearly it isn’t, this is a MASSIVE over-exaggeration, but I’m in a “woe is me” mood so you’ll have to forgive me!

Feeling more like me

These few weeks are stressful time – exam season, when all students realise they haven’t done enough work all year and try to make up for it over a couple of weeks. I have done two exams now – cognitive last week and my german speaking today. Two down, four to go.

But the thing is, as much as I am hating revision and stressing, I also came to the realisation that I feel a lot more like me than I have done for a very long time. As I’m revising, I’m remembering why I chose psychology and german, I’m remembering that I like to learn, and I’m wishing that I had enjoyed learning it at the time (then revision would be a much easier process!)

That’s not to say that I’m not still having my moments. Today about an hour before my speaking exam I felt incredibly sick and could feel the anxiety bubbling up. But some fresh air, some water, deep breaths and reassurance from a good friend later – I did it. And no, it didn’t go perfectly, and yes – it could’ve been better. But maybe (just maybe) I’m finally realising that that is ok. It doesn’t need to be perfect. I did the best I could today and that’s all I can ask of myself. I could go over and over it in my head, analysing what I said wrong and where I used the wrong case or gender… but that won’t change it, so what’s the point?

Today it has been sunny in Lancaster (a rare sight!) It’s been such a beautiful day and at one point I realised that I’m definitely on my way to becoming me. I don’t really know who that is anymore, at the stage in life where people become themselves, I was being controlled by the ex. I lost all sense of who I was (am?) and I didn’t know what to do without him. Since then I’ve been so lost in darkness that I haven’t really figured out who I am, but now the fog is clearing and I’m realising – I can be who I want to be now. It’s my life, my choice and I’m never going to let anyone take that away from me again.

Talking of which, in summer 2014 it looks like I might be on an exciting trip! (I definitely wouldn’t have been allowed when I was with the ex!) A trip to Namibia, and guess what’s in Namibia?? That’s right… elephants!! 😀

Maybe it’s the revision making me crazy, but today I don’t have too much to complain about. Anyway, back to stats revision I go… (can you think of a more thrilling Tuesday evening?)

Lots of love,

Ellie

xxx