Blog, Sharing, Uncategorized

COVID-19 is causing me the worst mood swings!

Well, I live alone. Thankfully with two cats. Thankful because if I felt truly alone, I can see how my mental health could be quite different right now.

Some days are good, feeling positive and happy and focusing on the things that I can get done and things that I can plan towards for the next few months. I know there is much I want to change in my life and this does seem a good opportunity to focus on those. I am getting decorating done, organising belongings, having a lot of time for me. Thinking time, relaxing time.

On the flip side, I can have days when I am completely defeated. I want to just sob in my bed and not leave the front door. I don’t have a garden, and so I don’t have the option to laze around in the sun, in privacy. The angle of my house means that I get minimal sunlight in it too, which does not include my bedroom or the lounge, unfortunately. I feel that affects my mood.

I feel for those who are lonely, those without pets or house mates. Those who’s mental health was not great before lockdown. They will undoubtedly be struggling at the moment. I hope they do get some help through charities or the NHS or family / friends who live locally. It’s a sobering and sickening thought that many will lose their lives from their own inflictions during these strange times.

I can’t imagine how things are in the hospitals. The psychological effect of this on health workers must be so immense. I hope that there is support given to them, with no cap. They are going to need to be supported from now until well into the future. It’s just not natural to see that many people die. Today on the news they confirmed that 1 in 2 cases in intensive care do not survive the coronavirus..

The general public do not see this every day scene at hospitals or care homes. I think this ignorance will be one reason that many people are flouting the rules of staying at their own homes and socially distancing themselves. They are blissfully ignorant. This is by no means an excuse of course, and it makes me furious to think they are putting my family and friends at risk by doing whatever they please. When people like me who are totally alone are playing by the rules, and then those living with their family and have company each day are going out of their way to see others, my blood boils.

I shall continue to make the most of the days that are good, and on the crap days I will remind myself that tomorrow may be better.

I send love to all of you continuing to do your part at this difficult time. I send love to those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19.

Fingers crossed when this virus goes, it does not surface again! And may we never have to live through these circumstances again.

 

Reflection, Sharing, Uncategorized

Podcasts, careers & skin picking

I must say, podcasts have changed my life. Specifically women such as Elizabeth Day with How To Fail, Fearne Cotton with Happy Place and Bryony Gordon with Mad World. When I was still living in London I listened to Maya Jama’s podcast, When Life Gives You Melons, which was amazing but unfortunately there haven’t been any new episodes since September 2018.

There is something very reassuring and comforting that there are others who can connect with you on a certain level. Even more so that this is possible with strangers. I love the fact that they are women who are supporting others whilst learning to make their own way through life. I love that this material is available for normal people like us to listen to. I love that their experiences are shared, just the same as their guests.

I’ve just been for a long walk and listened to the latest Happy Place episode, which has Fearne Cotton ‘interviewing’ Elizabeth Day. A truly wonderful episode. It’s left me feeling inspired yet again to work out some form of plan for my life or just work out the direction I would like it to go in so that I can form an idea of what to do next (first).

Since moving in with my boyfriend (long story there as well, probably will be something I write about in a coming post), I have had some more time to be able to sit. Time to identify things and reflect. Time to actually see how I am feeling. Having time to just do nothing is definitely a welcome change, although it’s a lot to get used to. I don’t feel bored by sitting on my own and thinking. I feel like there is absolutely not enough time in the world for it. No wonder so many of us dream about winning the jackpot on the lottery – if we had time to sit and think, ponder, dream, evaluate… and not have to work to have money… we could do so much for ourselves and others.

The absolute need here is definitely to do a job that you love. One that doesn’t feel a chore to do, and you can earn a sense of achievement from doing it.

How do so many of us get stuck in this trap of working to just earn some money to live? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why would we not strive harder to do a job we love and which brings us daily satisfaction? Is this me being lazy? Can’t be. It’s just making certain decisions. I work incredibly hard at my job, it’s not the easy way out. It’s just not the dream. I spend too much time and brain power at work; it stops me working on alternative things later on, the subjects I would love to focus on more and perhaps start a new career in.

The next thing I need to do is start to do things when I’m alone with no plans. Skin picking is still a problem which manifests itself in nail biting and picking at my face, but does involve picking my legs and bikini line, breasts and upper arms.  If I used this time to do more constructive things, it would (obviously) end up being rewarding when I get things done. Skin picking reduced a lot over the last few months, although I’d say in the last couple of weeks it’s reared it’s ugly head more often, and for longer stints.

Hopefully starting up on this blog again will help me with getting my ducks in a row. Find out what I need to focus my time on more, and help me figure out a plan. There is a certain feeling of needing to work towards something that my aunt Paula would be proud of. She’s made such a huge impact on my life, in positive ways, and since she changed my life so much I definitely want to bear her in mind when making my next steps.

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It’s been a while…

That point where you think everything is finally going your way… And then it vanishes.

This is me right now.

I wonder if the feeling of me falling into unsociable, silent, awkward, sensitive states is because I’m actually letting myself think about the things that are going on with me and how they are affecting me.

This is the weather today… And I feel basically the same.

Definitely need to work on reducing the things going on in my life and also looking after me.

If I’m not up to scratch, I’m no good for anyone else …

Blog, Body Dysmorphia Disorder, OCD, Reflection, Uncategorized

A problem shared …

I saw my counsellor on Thursday night and spoke for an hour about my discovery of dermatillomania. We went into when it had began, how badly I suffer with the condition and how far my problem goes. It was a hard session.

Instead of getting the tube, I walked. Past the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, through the tourists and traffic, through Green Park and past Buckingham Palace. Fourty five minutes stroll in the chill, instead of 4 minutes on the tube. It was lovely. Alone, quiet and peaceful.

My problem is severe and scarring is extensive, on numerous locations over my body. I’m so upset I’ve never looked into this morn before now. How can I have believed it was only me with this problem? I guess I didn’t realise other people have my particular issues either.

Although I’m mad and upset with myself, I’m feeling much better with myself for sharing the problem. My boyfriend (after three years!) knows why I disappear for long periods of time into another room and look shocked and awkward if he decides to walk into the bedroom when I haven’t heard him coming. And the fact I’ve been able to share it with my counsellor, not feeling judged or ‘weird’, is actually life changing. Without trying to sound cliche and ridiculous.

For the last two nights since counselling, I’ve actually picked a considerable amount less and felt slightly more in control. I’m not going to naive and think that all of a sudden it is going to slowly reduce into no problem, but it has made me feel less cornered by the problem being understood. Thank you to all of the women who’ve shared this problem and made me feel less alien!

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Blog, Body Dysmorphia Disorder, OCD, Reflection, Sharing

How did I not know?!

Dermatillomania … Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t until last night! 

Well I have been suffering with this for 16 years, getting progressively worse over time. And I had absolutely no idea that it was a ‘thing’. And right now I can’t actually believe it. 

Last night I was reading about OCD and ways that people with body dymorphia disorder pick at their skin, because I’ve always done this and never spoken to anybody about it. In more extreme cases it is about harming yourself as well as trying to rid your skin of imperfections. And this part definitely resonates with me. 

Numerous times I’ve thought about how it possibly could be named self harm because of the damage I’ve done and continue to inflict upon myself, but because it’s not the mainstream image of self harm (excuse my ignorance here, the only self harm I’ve ever known about are ways such as cutting skin on wrists and legs etc with blades and sharper objects) I’ve told myself to stop being dramatic. In turn that’s stopped me getting help. 

I just didn’t know. 

There is also the huge deal of actually asking for help. The thought of having to show my affected areas to people fills me with so much dread. From going swimming where I don’t know anyone, the gym and only having my shorter pants clean, to going abroad and having to wear shorter clothes and possibly even swimwear. Going for smear tests is a huge thing every time it’s due (I have to go every year too because of abnormal cells being found in my first test) and the doctors for general tests. Never mind getting naked in front of my partner and being totally visible.

Every single relationship I have ever had (and still have) in my life have all been affected by this problem. It’s literally ruled the way I live for over half of my life. And now I need help.

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Seasons Greetings

Christmas this year has been the most perfect and magical one for years. I’ve been craving family company and am absolutely loving being back at my Mum’s.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say a massive Happy New Year to all of you that may read this, and I truly hope this is a great moment to look back on everything you’ve achieved this year, and can look forward to see what’s possible next year. 

Sending lots of love, and looking forward to 2018 being a year of progression, recovery and happiness. 

X

Blog, Reflection, Sharing

New Years Epiphany

This next year, alcohol consumption is going to be limited per month to 8 drinks or something. Maybe even less. I can’t deal with feeling so rubbish all of the time, or the hangover stopping me from doing things I want/need to do. The tablets I take all say to avoid alcohol where possible and I haven’t been doing it. I don’t want that to hinder my recovery.

2017 has been a difficult year.

I bought my house in January for my Dad to live in, because he can’t get a mortgage. He’s still not moved in because the house hasn’t been finished. The most frustrating thing in my life is that it’s not finished and I’ve been paying the mortgage and bills for the house for one whole year now. Next month I will take a few days off work and have a solid week at the house and finish it. My dad can get the same week off and together we can get it sorted.

My Nan died in March after a sudden deterioration in her health, and that shook the family heavily. My Nan and Grandad are the head of our family and definitely are the centre of everything, especially for my mum and dad, sisters, brother and I. Still I struggle to process the news and it makes me feel awful that my grieving for her still hasn’t happened.

On the 2nd July our family found out that my brother was expecting a baby boy.  The first grandchild of the family. The pregnancy had been kept from us (as far as I’m aware) because of family issues on his girlfriend’s side and partially because they had only just become an item and so were nervous about us not loving the news. Of course they were wrong! It turns out they had their first scan the day after my Nan’s funeral. My poor brother, having that the day before such a special experience.

On 7th July my aunt passed away. Two deaths in the second family, a mother and daughter. My Grandad was broken and my mum found it so hard. For the last few weeks of her life, my aunt had been in hospital – her cancer had spread and she wasn’t in a good way. At the time I didn’t know the extent of it, but it turns out the disease was not only in her spine, but her pelvis, kidneys, hips, lungs, heart, neck and brain. News that I couldn’t process. Again, news that I still haven’t managed to deal with. I helped care for my aunt for the last 2 years of her life and in that time she became part of my life in a big way. The gap she left is like a hole in the head.

There have been ups and downs in my relationship. Mostly up, I’m happy to report. My depression has definitely impacted the relationship and so getting around that and trying to get better for the sake of us is very important to me.

Having gone though so much this year and living so far from my family has highlighted how much I need them in my life. Perhaps in the next two years it’s going to mean a move back up north somewhere. When it comes to owning a house and having more money to enjoy life, it certainly makes sense.

Counselling is going well and although I have a long way to go, it’s definitely been a leaving curve.  I have thought more about events in my life that have affected me, and also about how I feel.

The road to recovery is still stretched out long before me, but I know that I’ll tread that path this year, getting closer each week to the finishing line.

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Home?

This week is a killer for feeling lost. 

I feel like being closer to my home town could help, because my closer family live there and I crave their company regularly. On the other hand, I remind myself that leaving that place was my greatest achievement and how miserable I was living there. 

I love the independence of living nowhere near the family, especially when I live in London. But times like this make you want the love more really available. I can rely on my boyfriend for that most of the time, but what about when that’s not enough?

My other half has given our relationship a couple of bumps in the duration so far. Nothing I can’t forgive and nothing too terrible, but sometimes a week apart would be good so he can properly feel the effect of his actions. At the moment because we live together, it’s just not practical to opt for the silent treatment! And neither of us can afford to rent a room somewhere just for that luxury.

Growing up sure is difficult.

Last night I looked though old birthday cards and found one from my aunt who passed away in July this year. It was the last card I received from her. It shook me and I would never have expected such a small thing to get me in such a big way. I miss her all of the time and I really did love her a great deal. I hope she knew. 

Blog, Sharing

When it all gets a bit much

Reflecting on my life is becoming part of my every day life. It’s becoming second nature, thinking about how I actually feel about things and how different actions and events shape my life.

This morning I went to counselling with the feeling that every decision I’ve made in my life has been wrong. That everything I have now isn’t correct, and if only I could reverse my life 18 years, I might be able to save it. My career would be different, I’d react differently to situations and shape the person I am into something quite unrecognisable. Now I’m this far into my life, changing it all would impact many lives and be extremely difficult. Am I too late?

The truth of the matter is that I am 27. Surely that’s young enough to do anything?

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My counsellor spoke to me about how I’m feeling about work, and listened to how deflated I am feeling. Working so hard every day to make sure you do everything absolutely to the best of your ability, to feel like there is no acknowledgement. Rewards are out of the question… I’d like to at least feel the management of the business actually realise who you are and the value you bring to their company. She understood this, and then asked about the positives, and what I can focus on as the good in a bad situation. I ended up leaving the session feeling like there were many options for me going forward, and that this job may not be my dream but that it’s just how life works. In odd time and in odd order. No matter the order of things happening though, it’s important to remember you’ll still get to the end goal.

This morning I signed up for Spotify. There’s a deal on at the moment which is just £0.99 for 3 months, and then full price after that. It seemed to good to be true – I am missing music so much right now. It’s always been a large part of my life but in recent times my head has been silent – muted of music, but loud with the scream of my thoughts. I’ve discovered the playlists on Spotify and my god, they are genius. Right now whilst writing this I have The Stress Buster on, and it is beautiful. Definitely worth a go.

Time to lay, listen, breathe and appreciate.

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