A collection of things

A few things:

– One month, 31 (or 30) days… until I’m off to Germany!!

That is scary stuff, scary and exciting!

– And today I got my laptop back, so I will be back to posting more and hopefully will see everyone’s posts as I am not relying on the WP app anymore (which seems not to put all posts on the reader!)

– I am still feeling quite motivated and happy(!) at the moment, despite…

– Last night I slept really badly because I kept having nightmares. They are not the usual really horrible type of nightmares, I can’t remember most of them, and a lot of them are just strange! (Like a dream featuring my house being full of cats!) After one last night, which I can’t really remember what happened but I know my family and I were in danger, I woke up with a racing heart, panicky. I have to confess I turned the light on and slept with the light on for a while because I was feeling very distressed and anxious (although I don’t quite know why.)

– And now I’m off to work!

A good day

Today has been a long day, but also a good day. Today is Thursday, which is the day I do some volunteering at a day centre for people with mental illnesses. I also agreed to work this evening in the supermarket where I work so it was going to be a long day! Started at 9:30 this morning and didn’t finish until 9 this evening (other than a couple of hours between in which I had a nap!)

The volunteering went well, today we went for a picnic in the park and the ladies seemed to enjoy it (and so did I.) I am really enjoying my work there, gaining greater insight into how different mental illnesses affect different people, and just chatting to lots of different people. They are such a lovely group of ladies, and even though they all have their own stories and have been through various difficult things, they are all kind, friendly and full of life. It makes me really happy to see how they support each other and it also makes me realise I need to take a more positive approach to things sometimes.

After a lovely afternoon in the sun with sandwiches and games, I popped home for a bit for a nap and to get changed for work. Then it was off to the supermarket where I seem to spend so many hours of my life. Tonight I was on tills which I usually hate, but it wasn’t too bad. I had lots of nice customers and not many rude customers and the time went by reasonably quickly – this is the sort of shift I need more of!

I realised again today that I am feeling much more like me at the moment, like I said the other day. I have come so far from where I was, and even though things can still be hard at times, I am determined that I am not going to let things get bad again, I’m fighting this with everything I have. I’m feeling quite motivated at the moment, especially because my volunteering has reassured me about my future career hopes – I want to work in mental health, as a clinical psychologist eventually. I know it will be a long journey and it’ll be hard, and I know I need to get myself fully well before I can do it, but I am determined that I will do it! – I can and I will!

One of those days

Last night I went to bed early, really early. Why? Because I felt I’ll and because I was meant to be at work at 7am this morning.

So my alarm went off at 6 this morning, I got up, had breakfast bla bla bla… Drove to work. And my name was not on the rota. The guy who sorts out the rotas wasn’t there, so I drove home and went back to bed. Not a happy bunny (or elephant!) this is not the first time they’ve mucked up my hours. I was meant to be working Wednesday this week and they took that one off (but I knew in advance) and now they take away my other day of overtime, and don’t bother to tell me! So angry about this. And I could do with the money so it’s really not ideal.

One good thing is that I got to go back to bed for a few hours, still not feeling well today. I’ve brought out the lemsip max! But still very angry about this whole work thing, they keep messing around with my hours, and considering I was told the want me to work 30 hours a week, 8 or 16 just isn’t cutting it for me!

I’m working tomorrow and Sunday, but that’s it for this week. Highly irritating that there’s barely any overtime and there’s nothing I can do about it! Grr!

So to conclude: my immune system is crap and my manager at work (well one of them) is crap.

I got upset at work this morning. After getting up that early especially when I was feeling ill, it was all a bit much and I couldn’t stop the tears leaking out of my eyes. But I’m more angry than upset… I often cry when I’m angry. I cry when I’m sad too, but it’s annoying when I cry from anger because I look like I’m overreacting and being upset over nothing.

I’m off to see S this afternoon, maybe he will be able to cheer me up (and hopefully I won’t make him ill too!)

Lots of love,
Ellie xxx
P.s. the other day S said I’m an anxious little elephant… And he doesn’t know the name of my blog! Spooky or what!?

I did something for me

Today I was meant to be doing my volunteering and then working in the evening. This morning I woke up feeling completely exhausted and achy. I don’t know if it’s the weather or maybe I am just too run down and exhausted from doing too much… but I called in sick to my volunteering, and now I have until 5pm to sleep, relax and take time for myself. 

I feel guilty about it, as I physically could do the volunteering today. I feel bad for not going, like I’m letting people down. But to be honest, when I’m feeling like this I’m probably not much use to anyone anyway. Yes I’m tired and yes I’m achy but it’s not impossible to deal with. But something I’ve learned in the past is that if I keep going and going and going, eventually I burn out and that’s when things start to go really downhill. So today I am doing something for myself: nothing.

So now I’m going to watch the rest of Silver Linings Playbook (as recommended by MMS here!) and then I am going back to bed to catch up on sleep!

 

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 😛

Despicable Me 2

I went to see Despicable Me 2 with S yesterday. It was great! Very funny and cute, and heavily featuring the minions (which seems to attract so many views to my blog!) Here’s a lovely trailer for you!! – This is a must see!!

Now I’m off to bed, I was working today until 9:15 (pm) and will be back in work tomorrow at 8 (am)… yuck!! Good night!

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

When things go right & CBT

Things seem to be going right at the moment (not to jinx this!)

Today has been pretty productive:

For my psychology dissertation I am using a computer program to make the experiment (a dot that moves, pictures that come up, and it records reaction time etc.) So today’s first victory was making a dot move across a screen (no, I’m not joking!) It’s not quite right in terms of timing yet, but there’s a dot and it moves so I’m half way there with that bit!

I also had an email back today from my project supervisor, and he has only made a few suggestions for changes on my ethics proposal, meaning that with any luck I will be able to finish it and hand it in early next week (ahead of the deadline on Friday.)

I also had a response back from my old school about doing my research there, using the pupils as research participants, and they said yes!

I also rang work (I will be starting work again once I’m home for summer) and sorted out some hours, and they’ve said I can have a few days off in mid-July so it turns out I probably will get to go away with S afterall! 🙂

This week I have also heard back from my school in Germany and my mentor teacher seems lovely. And she’s sorted out somewhere for me to live for the first few weeks of my stay in Germany, so I will be able to find somewhere for the rest of the year when I get there!

More good news on the Germany front – apparently if you register at a university you can get a card that gives you free travel (bus, tram and train) around the region… this sounds amazing!!

And today was also my CBT. We talked about the progress I’ve made this week – about going out last Friday and Saturday and that I managed to think mindfully that I was safe, and in doing so actually enjoyed my nights! We also spoke about these negative thoughts, the next thing to do is to try and stop them when I identify them. At the moment I seem to have a negative thought (now I become aware of it) but then it turns into a negative spiral and I end up feeling really low, paranoid, sad, lonely (insert other negative emotions here!) SO as I become more aware of these thoughts, hopefully I will start to be able to look at the thought, accept it, but stop it (because it is a thought and not a fact!) and thus not “Put the same DVD on”/”Get on the negative thought train”/go into a massive negative spiral. It sounds so easy when it’s put like this, but in reality it really isn’t. BUT I am determined to continue to make progress even after my CBT is finished.* I have bought a book and CD about mindfulness, (but silly Ellie sent it to London instead of Lancaster so I don’t have it yet) so I will write about that when I get home and start using it. Apparently the book has a mindfulness program that you can follow (I think A said 8 weeks?) so that should be interesting (and hopefully helpful!)

On my way home from CBT, I bought a card and a box of maltesers for my friend (pres**) as it’s her birthday tonight, and I am going to her house later for predrinks (jelly shots? Yes please!) and then out to a bar/pub and our student club. BUT I am being nice to me (yes, really!) and I am saying that I will go to predrinks and the bar/pub but I might not go to the club if I don’t feel like it. I am very tired and have had a lot going on this week, so I will see how I feel later. Quite proud of this development – compromise: I am still not letting down my friend (because I do want to celebrate her birthday with her) but I am not forcing myself to go “out out” if I don’t feel like it later. 

Final good news for today was that I rang a Mental Health Centre where I am going to be doing some volunteering over the summer. Originally they had asked me to do Fridays (as it’s their busiest day) but unfortunately work said they can’t give me Fridays off (because it’s a busy day!) so I was worried about what they would say when I said I can’t do Fridays anymore. But the man (who I met in the easter holidays) was lovely, remembered me, and said it’s fine to do Thursdays. In fact he said Thursdays are the nicest day to be there, so that’s exciting! I will be volunteering at a mental health drop-in centre where people can come and chat, have some tea, do different activities etc., and Thursday is the women only drop-in.

Oh yes, and another good thing! Tomorrow I am off to Warwick to visit one of my best friends – Monkey. That will be great as I haven’t seen her since easter, and Leamington Spa is a really nice place as well!

So I probably won’t be back (on WP) until Monday as I’ll be in Warwick and socialising rather than blogging, but this afternoon’s plan involves a nap and catching up on reading blogs before I go out!

Lots of love,

(from a pretty positive) Ellie xxx

*Next week is the last session with A! Arghhh!

**Not sure if I have mentioned her before. She is called “Pres” as she is the new president of one of the societies at uni.

Oh dear…

Today I started trying to make a revision timetable (I’m not sure why I’m bothering, I’ll never stick to it anyway!) 

I guess it’s good to have a plan though.

But it’s made me realise how much there is to learn – way too much!

For 1 exam, I can get away with learning 2 out of 3 topics, which is by no means easy but not quite so bad as learning the entire syllabus, but for others I have to learn EVERYTHING. There is an essay question (pick 1 out of 4) and short answer questions (pick 3 out of 4) meaning you can’t do targeted revision… damn!

I’ve made a list of the topics I’ve got to learn and it’s a bit daunting to say the least! And now I’m procrastinating by blogging instead of revising… oops!

At least most of my exams are quite spread out, so I guess I’m lucky there! 

And just think, come the 28th May I will be free from exams for over a year (because of my year abroad!) 

I am very thankful at this moment that I am feeling much better than I have been for most of this academic year. Although the amount of work seems daunting and scary, and my motivation levels are not as high as they should be, I am in a much better position now than I was a couple of months ago, and I think I can do this.

I may not be able to do as well as I want to, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’ve had enough of letting depression beat me, and I feel like I can fight it. I’m so glad I’ve got my CBT as it really seems to be helpful (even if it does result in A LOT of crying!) so hopefully by the end of my CBT I will be feeling much better.

I know there is still a long way to go. For example last night I walked home from my friend’s house (owl) and got genuinely scared by a car park ticket machine! I jumped and gasped, thinking it was a person! The rest of the walk home I was hyper-aware of everything, and anxiety levels were high, who knows why! I felt pretty silly after, it (obviously) didn’t even move and it made me jump!! 

But overall things are pretty alright at the moment. And I’m back to blogging which is nice – I’ve really missed it!

I’ve caught up on a lot of reading but I don’t have the time to read over a month’s worth of blogs unfortunately, so there are some bits I’ve missed, but now I’m up to date, hopefully I’ll be able to keep up better now!!

Anyway, enough Ellie rambles for now… back to do some work I think!! 

Lots of love,
Ellie xxx

CBT – week 8

I managed to oversleep this morning, and woke up at about 8:20 (should have left my house at 8:15) so I had to get a taxi (again) – oops!

But I made it on time so it was ok.

A asked how my week was and I said not good. I have been feeling really hopeless and hadn’t managed to get any work done.

We talked about the work and how I am expecting perfection from myself when I am actually ill. I am pushing myself too hard and that is actually holding me back. I think that I can’t do all of it to the standard I want, therefore it seems hopeless and pointless to even try, so I don’t do it, and end up feeling like a failure anyway.

If I could accept that my best at the moment isn’t perfect, maybe I’d get further.

We talked about how I am a perfectionist, and will feel like anything less than a 1st is failure. A asked me: If you get a 2:1, will you have failed? And I thought about it. And no, of course that is not failing. I know that. And yet, I know I’d be very disappointed if I don’t manage it. A said maybe the perfectionism is me trying to make up for my past mistakes. And if that’s the case, then even getting a 1st won’t help – it won’t change what happened, it can’t change the past.

Then A asked if I had been feeling worse after doing the retelling last week about the strangling memory. I actually haven’t been though. I haven’t been having nightmares, screaming in my sleep or having flashbacks this week *touch wood*. So I guess that’s progress in itself. I felt kind of relieved after the last session because I had been able to talk about it, and nothing bad happened. A said something at the time that made a lot of sense – What is the worst thing that could happen? (and I said nothing really, it would just be scary) and Will it be as bad as it actually was? (No). And somehow after all this time trying to repress it, it turned out talking about it was actually kind of helpful, even if tiring.

We will be coming back to that I am sure, as I haven’t really finished dealing with it. But today we talked about the thing that I think is the root to my depression/anxiety/PTSD.

I’ve written about it here only once. And I ended up making it into a password protected post. I was paranoid and terrified that somehow someone I know would find my blog and read it. I might try and write about it again soon, because it might help and because I am trying to deal with it (finally) but I may end up with password protected posts again…we’ll see.

As next week is the last week before the holidays, we have decided that we won’t look at that next week because it will be 4 or 5 weeks until I see A again, and she doesn’t want me to end up feeling worse if we end up opening up the memories without having time to deal with them. I think that’s a good idea, but in a strange way I am looking forward to starting sessions again after the holidays, because I feel like once I can deal with this, I’ll be a long way on the way to recovery. (If that even makes sense).

So instead, next week we are looking at thoughts again. Thoughts that cause worry chains, but they are just thoughts and they don’t have to come true. Like about A crashing her car – it didn’t happen (of course).

So this week I am trying to take note of the thoughts that cause these worry chains.

So I’m going to be having a good long think about all this, and I’ll let you all know what I come up with. And today I feel like there is actually hope (again).

Sometimes having therapy on a Monday morning seems like a bad start to the week, but I do find that generally after my sessions I feel more hopeful. So maybe it’s a good start to the week.

Maybe everything’s going to be ok after all? I just need to give it (even more) time.

I have now had 7 sessions out of a possible 20. In a way it doesn’t feel like I’ve got very far, but in another way it feels like every week I’m getting a bit further, and all of these little steps will add up. It seems like now I have got to trust A a bit, and she is getting to know more about me, we are making more and more progress each week.

And the moral of the story is, give it a try. It might help (even if you were convinced it wouldn’t.)

Lots of love,

Ellie xxx

P.S. I’m starting to notice a trend in my blogging/thoughts – the beginning of the week (following therapy) I am hopeful and things seem to be on the up, and then as the week goes on I seem to feel worse… Hopefully in time this will lessen and everyday will become a hopeful day!

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?