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

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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

Shattered

Migraine, sleep and tablets. It goes away but leaves me aching and tired.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Three days in a row plus Work plus CBT and I’m absolutely knackered. Ready to go to bed and it’s 8pm.

I want to write about my physio and my cbt, but today it’s just a quick one to say I’m bloody knackered!

Zzzzzz

This chronic fatigue and chronic migraine thing is no fun! It messes up my plans. Plans of being productive, plans of going out for dinner with a friend, plans of getting my 10,000 steps in! I’ll just try again tomorrow!

Love,

Ellie xx

Back to reality

I went away for a few days with my best friend. We had a nice time and it took my mind off things. But now I’m back to reality… it’s horrible.

I feel lost and lonely and so tired. I am back to work today and it’s the last thing I want to do. Sigh.

People keep telling me things will get better but at the moment it’s all so new and raw. I don’t like reality. I want to stick my head in the sand like an ostrich. Only problem is, I’d have to come up for air eventually…

Love,

Ellie xx

In denial? 

Since diagnosis in August, I’ve gone through a whole range of emotions about fibromyalgia… disappointment, anger, depression… but today I want to talk about denial. 

Let me start by saying this is just how I am feeling and does not reflect the situation anyone else is in. I am not in any way saying that people who (like me) are able to function quite well do not have fibro, but I just wanted to write about my concerns about myself. 

I know that I get pain. I know that’s not normal. I know the level of tiredness I experience isn’t normal either. 

But 

(And there’s always a but)

I sometimes feel like (and today is one of those days) I am able to do too much for someone with fibromyalgia. I work full time (and have been working over fulltime since April – left my 2nd job yesterday to go ‘down’ to fulltime) and I manage to do a lot of things like being a scout leader and dog walking. 

Shouldn’t I be stuck at home if I have fibromyalgia? It can’t be “that bad” if I am able to do these things. 

What if it isn’t fibromyalgia and I’m just making a big fuss. 

Everyone else I have come across with fibro has it much worse than me, so what if mine isn’t real? 

I know I have a diagnosis now but today I feel like it’s not valid. 

Tomorrow I have a hospital appointment with the pain and fatigue CBT team, I am interested to see how that goes. 

Feeling a bit funny at the moment. I think part of me wants the diagnosis to be wrong, and part of me just doesn’t feel like my experience is valid enough for the diagnosis… maybe I’m just in denial?

Love,

Ellie xx

In denial? 

Since diagnosis in August, I’ve gone through a whole range of emotions about fibromyalgia… disappointment, anger, depression… but today I want to talk about denial. 

Let me start by saying this is just how I am feeling and does not reflect the situation anyone else is in. I am not in any way saying that people who (like me) are able to function quite well do not have fibro, but I just wanted to write about my concerns about myself. 

I know that I get pain. I know that’s not normal. I know the level of tiredness I experience isn’t normal either. 

But 

(And there’s always a but)

I sometimes feel like (and today is one of those days) I am able to do too much for someone with fibromyalgia. I work full time (and have been working over fulltime since April – left my 2nd job yesterday to go ‘down’ to fulltime) and I manage to do a lot of things like being a scout leader and dog walking. 

Shouldn’t I be stuck at home if I have fibromyalgia? It can’t be “that bad” if I am able to do these things. 

What if it isn’t fibromyalgia and I’m just making a big fuss. 

Everyone else I have come across with fibro has it much worse than me, so what if mine isn’t real? 

I know I have a diagnosis now but today I feel like it’s not valid. 

Tomorrow I have a hospital appointment with the pain and fatigue CBT team, I am interested to see how that goes. 

Feeling a bit funny at the moment. I think part of me wants the diagnosis to be wrong, and part of me just doesn’t feel like my experience is valid enough for the diagnosis… maybe I’m just in denial?

Love,

Ellie xx

Learning to manage 

I know that chronic illnesses have ups and downs. I know that there will be times when my symptoms are unbearable and times when they are barely noticeable. 

But this weekend it feels like it’s getting worse. I feel like my body has no resilience. I am living weekend to weekend. Yesterday I went for lunch with a friend and we went to the theatre. It was nice. It didn’t involve much walking or physical activity at all, yet I was still knackered when I got home. Yesterday evening my pain got worse than it ever has before. As in the generalised all over achyness as opposed to a specific pain actually caused by something (anyone ever stepped on a plug? Ouch!) 

Today I took my scouts on a hike. It was 6 miles. I am tireddd! When I agreed to do this, it was at a time when my pain wasn’t too bad. Last night I was not sure if i would be able to do it today. Managed to sleep and felt a lot better this morning. Not good, but better than yesterday. 

So I did the hike. I am bloody knackered. I don’t think I’ll do it again next year if things are the same. I’m disappointed. The fear I had last night was this is the beginning of not being able to do things. This is the beginning of limiting my activities, of not being able to do activities that “normal” people can do. That’s scary. It makes me sad. 

So now that I’ve overdone it, it’s time for self care…

I have just been through half of my wardrobe and thrown a load of stuff out, I feel exhilarated. For some reason, despite feeling exhausted, it felt like what I wanted to do. So I did. I am watching some random stuff on YouTube while I did it, just chilling. 

I have put a face mask on and it has dried and now my face looks all funny and shiny. I will peal it off soon 😊 I am about to run a nice bubble bath listening to relaxing music and then I’ll put my pyjamas on. Lovely! 

Hope everyone is having a nice and restful weekend and not overdoing it! 

Love,

Ellie xx

Hospital season 

On Monday is my next hospital appointment. I am in the strange situation of having 5 hospital appointments before Christmas. I find that embarrassing, ridiculous. I guess this is the life of someone with multiple long term conditions. This one is the psychiatry appointment. 5 different appointments with 5 different departments of the same hospital! 

My anxiety is pretty bad at the moment. Finding myself avoiding things more than before. Mainly social things. I am considering asking to try another medication. We will see. Is it worth the Side effects? I’ve already tried at least 6 antidepressants, but there are still more options. 

Time for bed said zebedee! 

Love,

Ellie xx

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

Stepping out of my comfort zone

Today my boyfriend had a day off, which is very unusual for a Saturday. We went for a walk this morning and then did a bit of shopping, went for dinner and then met up with his work friends. Let me first say, his friends are lovely and they always make me welcome. 

But I feel very anxious about being around lots of people, especially when I don’t know them very well. So we were going to a pub in central london on a Saturday evening, I knew it would be busy. 

Yesterday I said I might not go to the drinks in the evening. Today I decided I’d see how I felt and then decide. When we arrived at the drinks I said I would leave after about an hour. 

I actually stayed for over two hours. And I had a nice time. Yes I felt a bit anxious at first and I am bloody knackered from all the walking I’ve done today, but I enjoyed the evening and I’m glad I went. 

I guess the point of this post is to say I am trying to push my comfort zones. And it’s a good thing to do. I always put in my safety mechanisms, for example I took my car home before we went into london so that I could leave the drinks earlier than my boyfriend if I wanted to (I did and he’ll probably be out most of the night) and that helps with anxiety. I find if there’s no way out, that’s when I struggle. Like with the hike, I was more anxious because I knew that if I dropped out the whole group had to stop (minimum group numbers). It’s also important not to push yourself too hard (where is the line? You’ll have to judge that for yourself!) because sometimes you feel like you go backwards that way, but usually if you are taking small steps, a step out of your comfort zone is a step in the right direction. 

So go on, push your boundaries and do something that’s a bit difficult, you might surprise yourself! 

Love,

Ellie xx