Splitting myself in two.

I’m so friggin frustrated right now, I’m exhausted but not tired, sad but not depressed.

Firstly, I really want a drink. I want to curl up on the sofa with a glass of wine and watch a film. The problem being my partner is convinced I have an alcohol problem because I drink when I’ve had a crap day and it takes the edge off.
Granted, there have been a few occasions (….ok maybe more than a “few”) where I’ve been really high or low in mood and hit the bottle way too hard and ended up on top of the moon or just generally a drunk depressed riot. So I can see why there are concerns from him. But I’m definitely not the alcoholic he treats me like, and I can’t actually go buy the bottle now because he will give me “the look”. So I’ve had to make do with Pepsi in a wine glass, this makes me look and feel like a raving alcoholic about to fall off the wagon.

The second issue I’m having today is feeling like a constant fraud, as if I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. I walk through my day laughing smiling and cracking jokes, making small talk in the office about where I buy my groceries and where I’d like to go on holiday, what’s happened in the latest “Kardashian’s” episode, always being polite and just a generally happy normal person. Even at home, he knows I’m struggling but I feel like I still need to show I’m doing good, stopping the drink, interested in how his day has went etc.

Inside I ain’t the same, I want to turn round to my colleagues and tell them I don’t give a flying fuck where you buy bread and milk from and it’s none of your business where I want to holiday. I would rather pour acid in my eyes than watch the Kardashian’s. Oh and for fucks sake please normalise human emotions in this stupid building so that the next poor lass that is grumpy or starts crying isn’t bitched about or known as the “moody cow”. I want to come home carrying a gram of cocaine  and a litre bottle of vodka just to watch the look on the bastards face.

….but for today I’ll just finish drinking my Pepsi, smiling laughing and cracking jokes.

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Visiting old thoughts

I’ve just noticed that I am more likely to check this blog and write when I am feeling low, which has worked out quite positively as it has been 6 months since the last time – more than I thought.

*update from previous posts – I changed Doctors and am amazed that there are actually nice ones in the world!*

So I’ve been thinking about what has got me down and I am noticing a general pattern – working more often in a stressful environment, my partner was away on holiday and I ended up drinking a hell of a lot more than what I am used to which in turn led to me doing some stupid ass stuff and then that led to anxiety which ticked off my mood.

Current problems:
1) I get low when I can’t sleep… I get low when I sleep too much…. I get low when I can’t take mid morning\ afternoon \evening naps. Basically if I’m in a situation where I can’t go to bed when I need to my mood suffers and 50% of my thoughts turn into when I can go to bed or how tired I am.
2) Working in a new environment with new colleagues. This triggers me because -without saying what I actually do- I’m pretty much put in this situation every 3-6 months. I need to get used to new rules/people/normalities of different teams, on top of that I’m under close supervision which doesn’t sit well with my negative thoughts of being judged, doubted or disliked. Major trigger! When I became really unwell I was consumed with the idea that people were always judging me and talking about me, so having a job which requires me to be judged is pretty hard.
3) Alcohol is not my friend. No matter how many times it tells me it is, IT IS NOT.

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On the up side

1)  I haven’t had a drink for nearly 2 weeks…. The longest running total for about 5 years. I had a really crappy day today and my normal urge to buy alcohol wasn’t there…. Well… it whispered but didn’t shout! I’m going to bed sober.

2) Although working is stressful, I can’t live out my life at home close to my bed. So I’m hoping the fatigue is a phase and soon I will be able to cope better. I’m thinking of going back to my old gym and getting into a better routine, plus the exercise will boost energy levels and mood.

3) I met my new therapist last week and all anxiety around that has went away, I’m pretty confident I can talk safely and I don’t get any weird vibes!

Thanks for reading, comments welcome 🙂

Being brutally honest about visiting the Doctor, is it just me?

Last week I had a GP appointment, if you read my previous posts you will get how significant this appointment was. My therapist and friends told me I really should go, although I find it a pointless adventure from previous experience. I began believing that this would make me feel better, I had it all planned out on what I was going to say. I have felt previously that when I am ill I can get so consumed by it, that when I go to the GP I can completely miss the point I am trying to make.
I have been getting treatment on and off for years, but for the last year I have had a steady prescription for anti – depressants. I might aswel point out that it was not my local GP who prescribed these either, but he has just been issuing it on repeat. I was referred to psychiatric services, who told me there was no follow up because everything they would do I had already done myself. I attend short term counselling and am on a waiting list for longer term intervention- I have been on that waiting list since November ’14 and was told last week it would be another 2 months. The last time I attended the GP he suggested a referral to psych services and when I explained I had already been and the outcome, I was told there was nothing else he could do.

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So from my point of view, I have been on antiD’s for a year which are not working, I can cope so far until I spectacularly break down, and this past year has been the most stressful of my life.

9.10am my appointment is.

I arrive at 9am and am told my GP may be late as he is stuck in traffic.
Great, he won’t want me as his first patient today.

Just explain clearly how you are feeling.

9.10am I am called to his room.

“Hello Doctor, I came to speak to you about how I am feeling..”

“….Well I’ll just stop you there, what do you want me to do?.. because I see from your notes we offered a referral to psych and you refused.”

..stick to the point!.. The point!.. do not get sidetracked.

Well, actually I have been before… and they said there was no follow up… I am seeing a therapist.. but I’m increasingly getting more concerned about…”

What therapist are you seeing?!”

It has been arranged privately..”

You should of came to me, I would of got you seen quicker”

…”well the referral you made was in November ’14 and I’m still waiting.. anyway.. I’m really finding it difficult to cope and..”

Look, I don’t see anything we could do to help.. you are going to be depressed until you are not, and you will need counselling so I’m not changing any of your medication because it will be a pointless effort”

..right then… LEAVE NOW BEFORE YOU CRY!! He will just think you are putting it on, you are useless, LEAVE!!

*stands up and heads for door as he stares at computer screen*

Miss, I hope you get the help you need… after everything you have been through.. God!.. Have a nice day”

I am out that office by 9.15am.
……

Now is it just me being negative… or WTF?!!
I genuinely left with the thought of hunting down a dealer and getting some meds off the street, then I wrote a letter of complaint but couldn’t send it because I had images in my head of all the people who work there having a right old giggle at my expense… or talking about the annoyance of all the depressed patients.

Help…Argghhhh….

Moving on, the struggle.

This has been the focus of a lot of my worries recently. So many people have said either to myself or others “move on” or “let it go, it’s in the past”. Although I understand why these words may seem the appropriate response to someone dealing with trauma, it absolutely infuriates me hearing it.

Nobody can pack the bags of trauma into a suitcase and kick it out the door forever, it is not that simple. I’ve seen people respond in many ways, from acting like it never happened to replaying every detail on a loop. I don’t think either one of those is healthy, and I mean for me, if it has worked for you then well done!

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My problem, now that I am coming out the tail end of another depressive episode, is that I can cope with amazing strength with a lot of things – until I can’t. My purse was stolen yesterday for example, and I just got on with it, phoning the necessary lines to get my cards blocked and reporting it. If my purse had been stolen a month back, I probably would of had 3 panic attacks and a bout of self loathing with the bully in my head chanting “see, I told you, you are cursed”.
So I can roll with the punches with ease for a long time, but sometimes the negative thoughts get louder and more controlling, my self-esteem hits an all time low and before I know it I’m back in a rut, replaying on a loop the traumatic events that have happened to me. Waves of negative thoughts and feelings totally destroy the happy paradise I have tried so desperately to build, and I can’t see a way out. Although I have came out the other end many times now, each time I get dragged under is like a whole new experience. Then once I am out of the storm, the fear of being dragged back in to depression is sometimes crippling enough to keep me stranded for a month or so, scared to do anything worthwhile incase that too is destroyed.

So do not tell me that I can just simply “move on” – like holding some ritualistic burning of photos/painful memories is going to instantly solve all my worries. (Believe me I have tried).

I can look back now and see what coping mechanisms I have developed. My instant go to’s when I’m stuck in the swamp of depression, sometimes I feel like there is a kindness to my brain and it throws me a lifeline which I cling to.

The first being to have someone who can empathise, or knows you well enough to know what to say or not say. I have a close friend and my partner who both know not to say “move on”, but instead say “you are having a really crappy time right now, but you will get through this and I will be here to help”. Even knowing that someone understands I am struggling can give me comfort. If I take to bed my partner will often come lay with me and ask if I want to talk, sometimes I do and I can cry on him for hours, other times I don’t want to talk and he will just sit and hold me.
Now I’m not that naive to know that some people have nobody they can go to for that kind of support, there have been years where the only people in my life are more hindering to the depression. I truly know how blessed I am to finaly have someone in my life that can support me. In those times where I had no one  I found chatting on support forums helpful, nobody needs to know who you are but you have the chance to talk and let it all out.

Secondly having a mantra, I remember sitting in my room as a teenager after an extremely traumatic ordeal and an advert came on with Bob Marley – Dont worry be happy. In that moment my inner voice kicked in and said “life will go on after this, you are not dead and there is a future after this”. Now for whatever reason that stuck, and now when I am really struggling with life that thought pops in my head and allows me to cope. As long as I am still breathing I am surviving, and that is enough.

There are other things which I find helpful, they are more clichĂ© but they do still work. I attended a grief counselling session when my friend died and she said to break down time in to manageable chunks, like plan an hour ahead, or 2 hours etc. I find I still go to this when I’m really struggling, going for a shower and doing my hair will take an hour – I might cry the whole time but it still passes an hour. I have set activities which are manageable and I can asses how bad I am or good depending on what activities I manage. I also know it helps with the endorphins, planning an hour or two around cleaning the house or folding that pile of laundry can feel like I have accomplished Everest.

Also battling negative thoughts with positive ones, as clichĂ© as it sounds. When I am ruminating about traumatic events I try read a good book to take my mind off it. Sometimes that doesnt work however, for example, last time at work, I started thinking “I need to go home or else I am going to completely break down”, before I could get swallowed up I started telling myself a story about an amazing holiday where I was on a beach and had planned to go swimming, who was there etc.. then a colleague started talking to me and before I knew it I was finishing up the last of my jobs and it was home time.

This is just a short list, but those are the most helpful things for me. There are definitely times where I have read self-help books and thought “easy for you to say, hard for me to do”, and times I have felt I can’t get out of bed let alone plan an hour. I find the more coping mechanisms I build the easier it is to deal with the next time around, hopefully I will get to a point where I don’t have to think about the next time around! They also help keep me ticking over when I am not in a state of depression, my mind still wanders to traumatic events of the past every day, but I am able to dismiss them within 30 seconds when I am well.

That is the whole truth of moving on, you cannot just remove such a traumatic life from existence, it won’t just go away and not surface in your mind. What you can do is build around it, so that eventually you can hardly see the warpath that was, and be filled with the new and exciting views of where life takes you.

Everyone meet Marshius

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I don’t know why I’ve named him that, but this is how I feel about my demon.

He’s also naked… I just realised. Now lets all laugh at the naked demon with ridiculous name.

I block with humour a lot of the time, I think it’s how I have learned to cope. See me an hour ago crying my eyes out and wailing about the past and it is not so funny. An hour ago I could not imagine getting through the day, a whole day, feeling like this. I have serious issues with ruminating, I spend hours going over and over and over events (one in particular). It is bloody exhausting! Sometimes I think if I was not plagued with this I would be a genius, I would have hours of free time to do new things.

Wednesday morning I have a GP appointment. If I can just make it to Wednesday without the world exploding then we will be OK. Then I start worrying about the appointment, how on earth can I fit in how I’m feeling into 10 minutes?! It would be better if I had an appointment today, but emergency appointments are only 5 minutes. Impossible to fit a lifetime of abuse and fear, depression and anxiety plus everything in between into 5 minutes. So I will make it to Wednesday. I often find when it comes to appointments and I try to explain the problem I get sidetracked, the actual problem gets stuck in between a zillion other thoughts and worries, and I end up with a prescription for indigestion.

Then what comes after Wednesday?!

I’m stuck in two minds. On one hand I know I’m having a terrible time at the moment, that I should write a routine and follow coping techniques. Find distractions to keep me busy, talk to people, wash, eat, leave the house. I know that these things help, they really do help, help me to stop sitting for hours thinking. I should really plan out a few days of distractions. And write down 5 positive thoughts, urgh.
The other hand has its middle finger up to the world. Why should I follow these strategies of “coping” and why should I have to. Why do I have to plan my days in advance and waste my life living around avoiding negative thoughts and ruminating all because some other people are horrible humans who made me endure so much pain and suffering. Why bother?

I’m going to the supermarket to pick up stuff for dinner, I wonder if it is obvious when I’m walking around with a smile on my face, kindly saying hello and making silly faces at the babies. Is it obvious that my demon is clutching onto my back, sprawling his tendrils into my mind and making me wish I was never born.

The supermarket trip will take about an hour and a half, then I could watch a film and that will take me up to making dinner. Then I could go to the gym. Then catch up on emails, possibly watch a tv show or read a chapter of my book. Then I can try to sleep. Then repeat this tomorrow, but include work.

What is the alternative? Is this how boring life normally is without depression anyway? That kind of life is enough to make you depressed! Where is the fun?

Living with Channing Tatum

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OK, so obviously I don’t live with Channing (much to my dismay), my partner found his way of coping with what life dealt him through bodybuilding and the fitness lifestyle well before I met him. I was blessed with not only his caring, understanding and sensitive mind.. he has a body which the Gods would desire.

Now add in Shamu, and you get where I’m going with this..

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My way of coping with depression was binge eating. When I moved out of my mothers dungeon I found I could do what I wanted when I wanted, so I ate…. and ate… Before I knew it I had ballooned 50lbs in 6 months. Seven years later I was 100lbs overweight, countless failed “diets” and sported an unhealthy relationship with carbs. They hate me and I love them unconditionally… a bit like the relationship I have with the mother!

We are one of those couples my immature mind used to look at and think “how on earth did she get him”. I will never forget the day my partner and I were at the gym and a sultry fake boobed blonde came up and leaned over to ask if he was my physical trainer. I was MORTIFIED!!!

When I talk about losing weight he (bless him) is so supportive, all while making me feel loved and adored. I know that the only way is by doing it for myself, not because I think he will love me more – I don’t need that! Of course, my self-esteem demon taunts me with negative thoughts regularly. I can now give him the middle finger!

I dropped 25lbs at the start of this year before my partner moved in and have managed to maintain. For 5 months I’ve been so annoyed, going to the gym 4 days a week and not losing 1lb! It was then I realised what I had changed – my training. I had stopped the cardio and focused on weights, I love training with my partner and vice versa, however I was not training correctly to meet my goals. We changed gym recently, our new one is a warehouse setting built for more bodyweight training and has no weight machines. We are having so much fun! What’s more is I’ve dropped another 5lbs!

Now back to living with Channing, I have come to realise the lesson to be learnt is we are all human – plain and simple. Some people get on and others don’t, we all have our own stories and journeying to be done. It does not matter what you look like, or your measurements, these are simply masks of identity which invite judgement. At the real crux what matters is who we are.

Example
I read blogs and comments about weight and nutrition, it became an addiction really, I wanted to see what everyone else in the world was doing through their weight loss journey. Then it occurred to me that I live with one of the healthiest people that lived! He knows what’s in everything, that’s his thing. He is obsessed with chemicals and what we are eating, the latest being processed sugar. Also his field of work is the environment, so he makes it his mission to find out what companies are killing our world.

You may be sitting thinking I’m an idiot, I live with him and didn’t realise how useful picking his brain would be. I have no defence, yes it was stupid! I wasn’t interested in hearing his “eating healthy is the only way, it’s 90% diet”, I wanted him to say “here’s a magic shake/pill/diet it was easy piling the weight on it’s easier to get it off”.

He has recently been listening to podcasts about sugar and it is driving me nuts! I am happily in denial about calorie free soda and sweetex, come on, you have taken away pizza, alcohol and chocolate from family meal times (OMG BEN AND JERRY’S HOW MUCH I MISS YOU!) Give me something! He doesn’t understand how food can become an emotional blanket of fuzziness. He who is obsessed with cutting the crap out is met with me who is obsessed with what crap doesn’t count – if it says on the pack “less fat” then I’m game!

That and politics – I won’t even go there. Those are the two things which are taking us on separate journeys. You know what? I’m happy with that! More than happy!

I have made it through the day!

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I was having a tough morning/night. That is the first night in a lonnggg time I haven’t been able to sleep, my mind was so focussed on ruminating it did not give me a minutes peace!

I had to leave for work at 6.30am, and at 6.14am I was going around and around what my latest excuse for work sickness would be. I mean I do agree that stigmatisation of mental health has improved significantly… but we are nowhere near the day when I can call in and say “I can’t come in, my insomnia is back and I’m having a depressed day”. (Different blog for a different day!)

So I quickly typed into the search engine “how to stop ruminating” and had a quick look at what was on offer, I decided to jot down positive thoughts and keep it close by (inside my mobile phone case) for times when I felt I was going to lose it.

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I have a bright future ahead and I will get over this

I have people who love and like me – the rest do not matter

I AM going to enjoy work today, meet new people and show the world I am a good, honest and nice person.

I do not need to think about or play over the past – it will not change how I feel. I can learn from this and that will make me stronger

I will still have things to live for even if the worst outcome is met – I will still be alive, have the people that care about me, my home and future options

There are people feeling worse than me that have experienced worse and are still coping.

I can still live a life of peace and happiness.

I missed my bus, but what the heck! I went to work, did not think one single negative thought after jotting them positive ones down and did not need to look at the paper – just knowing it was there was enough. I am honestly astounded! Now I am home I made myself the best cup of coffee my body is craving and I am filled with a huge sense of pride! Yes I am absolutely exhausted and dragged my feet home yards behind me with one eye half shut and I am quite sure drool was coming out my mouth, yes I look frigging awful too because I have been up all night yanking my hair out ruminating about the worst times of my life. I just don’t care! I made it and I am proud!