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.

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!

X

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.

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.