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, 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.

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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Blog, Sharing

A Quick One

Trying to make this blog run in any order or make total sense, I’m afraid, is currently impossible. I find my mind flitting from one thing to the next, totally uncontrollably. Bear with me!

I find my counselling sessions are just as frustrating. Things are taken from my shoulders be being shared with my counsellor, but often I start on one subject and then it seems to seamlessly change to another 6 subjects, without fully exploring the first thing. If this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone!

My mum described this to me last week, and ever since, I’ve felt better about it:

The issues you have and are sharing with your counsellor is like a knotted ball of string (or fairy lights – lord knows how annoying that is to untangle!). You untangle one knot, and then you’ll find you can untangle another knot at another end of the string. They are not near each other and it’s annoying that you are trying to make the end straight and work along in order. But you can’t.

Each knot you untangle is a tiny bit of straight string. They are all over the place but nevertheless, the bits of straight are becoming larger. Eventually they will meet.

The counselling sessions work in a similar way. It won’t all make sense immediately but eventually it will (hopefully!) fall into place and it’ll make sense.

Do you ever feel like you’re going through the motions of a life but not feeling it?

I am definitely at the stage in my life where I have to change it up.

My counsellor asked me today what me being ‘happy’ looked like. I explained.

Should I be worried that the happy me was slim, well dressed and happy at work but there was no mention of family or friends? At the moment I worry about the meaning of everything I have and haven’t said…

My counsellor then asked me when I was last really happy.

I said I don’t know.

I’ve had happy times in my life and had happy things happen, but I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been 100% happy. All through my life I’ve been horrifically self conscious for many reasons and had drama going on with family which is upsetting at the best of times.

I can’t believe I’ve never been totally content and happy. Although I can’t say I’ve ever been in bliss. How have I not realised this before?!

Blog, Sharing

The moment of realisation.

The moment your brain actually decides to evaluate all of your symptoms and realise that 2 + 2 = depression is a glorious moment. Not only do you realise that no, you didn’t actually turn into a mad man, but you are also able to be cured and not end up in a mental hospital.

For a long while I was suffering with a long list of physical and emotional symptoms and it was getting me seriously down in the dumps. I’m not usually ill in general and for all of my ailments to point to no cure was so frustrating and also worrying. So (eventually) I wrote lists.

The first list was showing all of the things that were on my mind long term, or that were affecting me (mainly making me nervous, stressed or anxious).

  • Loss of Nan
  • Worry for my Grandad now alone
  • Loss of my aunt
  • Worry for my Grandad, Mum and all of that side of the family for the losses of Nan and aunt
  • Fertility worries
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome problems
  • Trying to lose weight
  • Can’t sleep
  • Trying to help cousin with new business
  • Guilt and sadness for another aunt on the same side of the family who’d been recently hospitalised
  • Mum is exhausted and I’m extremely worried she wouldn’t be ok
  • Dad works too much and is too tired and very sad.
  • Work stresses – ridiculous work load, pressure to study, pressure to progress, client visits and events, not any/much support. Work approx 10 hours overtime a week for which I don’t get any overtime pay. Scared of having claims made against me for mistakes or not actioning something that a client has sent, if I’ve missed it.
  • Friends putting pressure on me to meet up and spend money.
  • Flat – just moved out and have loads less money than before
  • Just bought a house – contractors, money, bills, labour that I have to do
  • Living in my overdraft
  • No money to actually enjoy myself.

The second list was a list of every physical symptom I was feeling.

  • Headaches
  • Grinding teeth day and night
  • Bad dreams – loss, death, rejection
  • Exhaustion
  • Dizziness
  • Talking – forgetting words, slurring, mind going blank mid sentence.
  • Sensitive (emotionally)
  • Chest pain – sharp stabbing pain sometimes and makes it painful to breathe
  • The feeling that my head will implode
  • Everything in my head is moving too fast for me to process
  • Sex drive very low
  • Reluctance to get out of bed
  • Just want to be alone, asleep, unconscious
  • Always panicking about dying
  • Ulcers in my mouth sometimes
  • Dippy belly a lot of the time or totally constipated
  • Biting my nails
  • Not worth making an effort with appearance
  • Extremely distracted
  • Clumsy / accident prone
  • Often sweaty even when cold
  • Anxiety

Both lists were pretty long to be honest!

Realising what was wrong and getting the help was like getting to the petrol station with an empty tank. Like I’d been running on empty for so long, hoping to survive, and then finally getting to a pit stop with help at hand.

Listen to your body! It tells you when things are wrong and it’s us that choose to ignore these signs!

I can already say that counselling is absolutely changing my life. I can also say that going on antidepressants was the best thing I could have done too. I was diagnosed with depression in March but thought I’d get through it, and have only just started on Sertraline. I wish I’d started them in April!

If you’re going through hard times, talk to someone trusted about it. Go and see your doctor. Write down how you’re feeling. Get help. Turn it around 🙂

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