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Anxiety Depression Mental Illness Studying at University with Disabilities

Learning

It may be a cliché, but it’s true: you do learn something new everyday. With every new day I’m learning more and more about myself. I’m learning that thought things may be difficult, I can find a way to work through them. I am learning that I am resilient if I give myself the right conditions. I am learning to try and accept the things I cannot change; I’m not being pessimistic, but realistic. I am giving myself time, and this is something I’ve always struggled with.

Part of my problem living with both my physical conditions and my mental illnesses is I don’t cut myself any slack. Though I know I’m technically ill – and that I can’t necessarily help it – I’m always beating myself up about things. I’m always wishing that I could do more, that I should push myself  and just deal with the consequences later. I know this isn’t productive as it’s a really destructive habit but it’s hard to accept that sometimes you need to do things a little differently to get by.

But, I think things are starting to change ever so slowly.

Yesterday was one of ‘those’ days. The night before I barely slept (perhaps slept for four hours in total) and my anxiety was running wild. I kept convincing myself that the shadows on the wall were people/scary things (yes, I know it’s totally irrational) and the usual narrative of ‘nobody likes you, you’ll get nowhere, you’re worth nothing, everything is terrible and you deserve it’ was circling around my head. It  was just a terrible, teary, ridiculous night. And as is usual after a night like that these feelings continued into the morning. I woke up feeling pretty low, but this sadness descended into complete emptiness and before I knew it I was crying uncontrollably on the floor.

I know. It really was quite a scene.

I was due in a seminar in the morning and the thought of missing it made me feel horrendous. Yet I knew I was no use to anyone unless they wanted to witness someone crying for the whole three hours of course. Drew – being the lovely person he is – tried to calm me down and convinced me to stay at home. I felt so incredibly guilty about it, but for the first time, I didn’t really put up a fight. I knew I couldn’t go in – there was no point lying about it – and suddenly I realised it will all be okay.

It is all okay.

As I suspected, the department were completely and utterly lovely about it all. They’ve offered help and support to help me through the remainder of my MRes course and no, despite what my anxious-brain thinks, no one hates me. No one has bad feelings towards me. They understand and are there to help.

And sure enough, after my day off yesterday filled with guinea pig cuddles and animal crossing and cups of tea in bed, I am feeling a lot better today.

Living with mental illness is a constant battle with yourself. it’s a constant struggle with your emotions. It’s knowing you’re not well but desperately trying to fight it. It is a constant, uphill battle.

But I can work through this. And I will.

Today is a more positive day. I cleaned out the guinea pigs and fed them tomatoes and carrots and gave them cuddles. I’ve even washed up some crockery and tried to tidy up the living room which is something I couldn’t face yesterday. I’ve had a frothy coffee (my Tassimo coffee in the mornings is such a treat) and I’m planning to bake some banana muffins.

Today can be a good day if just cut yourself some slack. You’re human; you are no superhero (although of course you are always magical and wonderful).

I hope you’re having a happy Tuesday whatever you’re doing. If my banana muffins prove successful, I’ll try and get a recipe up for you all. Cross your fingers for me!

Take care of yourself,

Heather x

Categories
Mental Illness My Life Things Cerebral Palsy and Scheuermann's Related

I am feeling…

A little bit intimidated. Is this what your 20s are about? Do you just float around waiting for an opportunity to pass you by, praying one does and moaning when it actually happens? Are your 20s meant to be about panic and uncertainty and unadulterated fear???

Today all I can think about is what i’m going to do after study is over.

Okay so…what am I actually going to do?! What can I do that will make me feel okay and not in too much pain? How am I going to survive and all that jazz? I’m struggling to cope as it is. Being an adult is ridiculous.

I don’t even know what I need to do to get a job. I don’t even know what I want to do. (No. That’s a lie. I do want to win the lottery and pay for people to take me to hospital appointments and surround myself with fluffy cute animals and buy myself a house and put most of the remainder in the bank and live off the interest. That isn’t too much to ask, is it?? Surely not…)

Is it just me who is this confused? Will this pass? Will someone fix my body so I stop feeling scared about what’s going to happen to it? I do not want to adult today. It is not happening.

Categories
Anxiety Depression Mental Illness

It has been quiet…

…over this way and for that I apologise. It hasn’t been the easiest of weeks, and I’ve had a little bit of a blip in terms of anxiety and depression. This morning I didn’t even want to leave the house. I can’t work out whether it was too noisy or I’d overfaced myself with tasks (I’ve given myself a lot to do recently) but I hate having these little blips. I constantly forget I still HAVE anxiety and depression. I seem to think it should be completely gone and I should be over it and I should get on with my life but then it hits me and I feel like I’m back to square one. I’m exhausted (I think it’s related to the anxiety/depression) but I keep having to schedule naps in and I’m still tired afterwards. It sucks.

I guess I should give myself a break but I can’t help but think I should be getting on with my life now. Making myself feel bad isn’t helping, and I know that, but I feel like I’m stuck in a rut and I’m finding it difficult to get out.

Next week is my induction week for my MRes course I’m starting this month. I’m excited, but feeling very apprehensive as I have so many hospital appointments on the horizon and I don’t want my health to get in the way of my degree. I feel like I’ve had enough with that last year, and I’m currently on weekly appointments for pain, will be having mri scans, occupational therapy, physio and a meeting with an orthopaedic surgeon and orthotist. It’s getting to be a little intense, and it probably isn’t helping my anxiety.

Sometimes I’d just love to have a magic wand come and wave everything away; wave this constant pain away, wave the irrational thoughts away, the sadness and the guilt and the self-loathing away, the sleepless nights, the appointments…I guess all it boils down to is that I’m just not feeling my best currently. I’m hoping things will improve soon and that I’ll be able to stick to some sort of blogging routine. There’s so much I want to share with you all.

As always, thanks for reading, I’m sorry this hasn’t been the most cheery of posts.

I do hope you’re having a good Wednesday whatever you’re up to, and I hope to return soon with soon with something a little happier.

Heather x

tiredness associated with pain away, wave the Bad Thoughts aware, the irrational

Categories
Hull Bloggers Informative posts Mental Illness

New Starts

Hello, lovely reader. Sorry it has been a little quite over here, but I’m finally feeling ready to get blogging again. My summer job really took it out of me physically and I had to get emergency appointments for uncontrollable pain and a couple of days off which made me feel completely awful. However, I’m currently relaxing under a fluffy blanket and feel like I have the strength needed to write a little informative post. After what has been a challenging year, I’m beginning to think that this month has been a turning point, particularly with regards  my mental health. I’m sat in my flat (I only just moved into it a few days ago) surrounded by lovely, wonderful things,and everything feels so bright and colourful and fresh. I am on the ground floor which makes painful days so much easier and there’s a big garden i can look at through the living room window. There are a couple of cats that hang around in the garden, and right at the very end is a genuine ww2 air raid shelter, which is quite amazing. Drew is moving in fairly soon and I’m really looking forward to living together. It all feels very grown up but I’m really excited as we get on so well.  I have wonderful friends I’m looking forward to seeing soon at university and I can’t wait to start my postgraduate course. Finally things are just blissfully falling into place and I’ve been going to bed with a big smile on my face almost every night and I can’t remember the last time ice felt this good! My pain is still very much present but I’m in a good place mentally and feel that I can deal with it; I’m just feeling so positive. I’m really, REALLY glad that I made the decision to take medication for my anxiety/depression. It’s truly changed my life and I’m so grateful to get what feels like a second chance.

Yesterday I went to the Hull Bloggers summer meet, which was a truly wonderful day, filled with chat, nibbles, interesting brands and many goodies! Expect a post explaining the day soon with reviews of wonderful goodies to follow! I’m in a Good Place right now, and I’m sure it’ll only improve after my pain management appointment tomorrow

Im sending love and positive vibes; I hope youve had a wonderful Monday 🙂

Heather x

Categories
Mental Illness My Life

I am feeling…

…a little scared today. Haven’t managed to sleep properly and my body is annoyed with me. I’m also worried because I didn’t plan to arrange my anxiety/depression meds prescription and the only free time I can sort it out is when my meds have ran out. just want to stay under the duvet today with all my teddies and blankets and not leave. It’s a shame I have stuff to do.

Heather x

Categories
Anxiety Depression Mental Illness My Life

Getting through

I’m so tantalisingly close to finishing my work for my final undergraduate year. I’m so close but I just feel so defeated. I have lost faith in my abilities to construct a good piece of work. I have lost faith in my body because even when I try to push through – to try and push past the pain – the pain still exists. It hangs around, it takes hostage of my body, and does everything in its power to screw things up.
It’s taking all of my mental strength to keep this up.
Today I’m feeling depressed for the first time since my meds started working. Not like the hot, burning anxiety that is always somewhere in the background despite my meds, but that sinking, I-Have-Nothing-Good-To-Contribute-To-Anything/I’m-Shit-Compared-To-Everyone-Else feeling. It’s a swelling numbness that flows through my veins, it is slowly disabling me and I don’t know how to alleviate it.
My dissertation is in tomorrow. I still have to tidy it up and format it. I’m so, so incredibly worried that it’s just a whole pile of shit and not worth anything at all. It’s embarrassing me.
I’m embarrassing me.

I’m hoping I can compose myself soon. It’s going to be a long, long night.

Heather x

Categories
Anxiety Depression Informative posts Mental Illness My Life

Anxiety and Depression Toolkit

Hi guys, so sorry for the lack of posts recently. It’s been super hectic here since I’m coming to the end of my final year but I thought I’d just write a quick post documenting a few things that have helped me through the most difficult phases of my anxiety & depression. I like to call it my ‘toolkit’. Please bear in mind that though these things often work for me, they might not work for everyone. If you’ve been reading you might be aware I’ve recently started on regular medication to keep my anxiety and depression under control, but these things were somewhat helpful prior to starting my medication. I’m hoping it might give anyone out there who’s struggling at least a couple of ideas!

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Above are a few little herbal remedies. Now, I’m not one to say these seriously work. However, I gave them a go. And though I can’t say whether the herbal remedies themselves did anything, just carrying these things with me and using them from time to time made me feel as if I was at least slightly in control. My favourite is Bach’s Rescue Remedy. Just the act of spraying it on my tongue seemed to calm me down slightly. It’s got quite a bitter taste; it isn’t really pleasant, but it seemed to snap me out of anxiety attacks in particular. I didn’t have much luck with Kalms, though. In the little bag are my worry dolls. For someone who is quite logical and often extremely rational, it might sound a little weird that I’d carry these around. And again, it’s not like I seriously believe they work, but carrying my worry dolls with me made me feel at least slightly in control. When I have them with me, I always feel comforted. Think of them as a lucky charm.

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Above I have my little notebook. When I was having counselling, my counsellor suggested to carry around a little notebook to note down when I’d have anxiety attacks. As soon as I could write in my notebook, I did, and I’d list a) what is was that triggered my attack, b) how the attack made me feel, c) what I did to try and calm down and d) reflections on the situation and now I’d try to avoid a similar situation in the future. This tactic was really helpful for me as i learnt when things were more likely to trigger my anxiety in public. It also helped me to come to terms with the fact that some things do trigger an anxiety attack, but that once it’s over, I’ll be okay. I really recommend this technique. I bought this small notebook from TK Maxx and it was small enough to fit into my pocket. Even though my medication has helped me tremendously, I still like to carry my notebook around just in case I ever need to use it again.

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Above is my Aston Filofax in Orchid leather. I love my Filofax; I plan my life in it and it really helps to give me a sense of routine and structure. When I was at my lowest points, my filofax became very important for instilling structure and routine into my schedule. It was also helpful to make plans well in advance (spontaneity is not my strong point). I also find making to-do lists really helps to calm my nerves as I can cross off tasks when they’re completed. This Filofax was a Christmas present but I know they’re not cheap. However I’ve had it for years now and I honestly couldn’t live without it. My paper refills this year were from paperchase (and I think they’re rather gorgeous!).

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Reading is a great way to relax. Though I was initially reluctant to get one, (I’m a huge fan of paper books…they’re such a pleasure) my kindle is absolutely fantastic as it means I can carry literally hundreds of books with me at any time. I love my kindle and it has really helped me get through anxious days.

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Using candles with comforting scents is such a luxury, but it’s definitely something I appreciate when I’ve had a hard day. Yankee Candles are exceptional, with gorgeous scents and a great throw. The scents really fill the entire room. Fluffy Towels is a very comforting, fresh and clean scent. It smells like freshly washed laundry. It sounds odd, but I promise It is very relaxing.

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Finally, I like to remind myself that things will be okay, no matter how bad I’m feeling right now. If you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, just know you can get through it. I’ve achieved so much since starting my medication and I’m really proud of myself. You just need to find what works for you, but I promise you’ll get there. I hope these ideas are even just a tiny bit helpful.

Remember to look after yourself.
Heather x