Ways I’m trying to combat the holiday blues

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To stop me moping, to stop the phrase ‘a week ago I was in such and such place’ and in all my efforts to stay positive, I’ve written a list for myself to beat the holiday blues. And oh wow they’re hitting me all over at the moment. They’ve got boxing gloves on and aren’t playing fair.

I’ve never really got them before, in the past I was always excited to come home to something. I always missed something. My last two week holiday was without my boyfriend so I missed him and didn’t get the blues when I did return. This time? Nothing, except I missed my little brother and my comfort blanket. I could have kept on going. No offence to any friends or family reading this (and also yes, I have a comfort blanket and I’m not ashamed to say it) (I wouldn’t have missed it if I remembered to pack it, I forgot, I wasn’t being an ‘adult’ and left it behind like my Mum thought.)

I’ve been back less than a week and I am irritable, restless and oh dear my first shift back at work was difficult. I just kept thinking ‘but I just don’t want to do this’ and then another voice in my head was saying ‘but you know you have to’, and the reply was ‘yeah, but I don’t think you understand. I really don’t want to’. Oh, and I am very stubborn, side note. I just know travelling is for me and once you get a taste like I did it’s so difficult to not want more. It’s like an addiction. Like, I’m okay and happy, but if I get a thought about travelling something in my body changes and I get restless sitting at my desk job. Now’s not the time to ponder jobs though.

I’m allowing myself to bask in missing holiday in a positive way. In a way that makes me want to save up for my next one. But for someone who dabbles in depression, I say like it’s enjoyable, I want to help nip this negative feeling in the bud. I also want to prevent going off into my own la la land, day dreaming about my last trip or future trips. I want to snap back to the present.

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Here’s what I’ve been trying/planning to do;

  • continue to style and tidy my bedroom. Woah, well that sounds like the most boring thing a 25 year old could do. Nah, I love being creative with my surroundings.
  • blogging. I need to make sure that when I get an interesting thought I write it down and try to expand on it. I did this for the whole two weeks while I was travelling, which is the most consistent I’ve ever been with this blog, and it felt fucking amazing.
  • listen to music. Really listen. It’s a good way to keep you in the present in general, and it’s uplifting. My mind likes to do something where a thought pops up, let’s say its negative about being back, and rather accept the thought for what it is and move on with my life, I stop… and stare into space… while the feeling and thought consumes me… and I haven’t even realised it.
  • but if the thought’s too strong I have to write it down. No matter what I’m originally doing. Let them go, you know.
  • gym! Exercise! I think a big thing about the holiday blues is that you feel like you’re in limbo. Before the trip it was like everything in your life is building up to that holiday and that’s your focus. You come back with that achieved but with no direction. The thing with regularly exercising is that it puts that stability back. You feel like there’s a goal even though there isn’t a specific goal. So while I’m straightening my brain and looking for my next focus, exercise can pretend to be it.
  • be singular. Be selfish. To a certain extent. I don’t mean be a bitch, fob everyone off, sit in bed and eat chocolate. More like.. You’re feeling low, be careful with yourself. Be best friends with yourself and treat yourself good. And eat chocolate.
  • be social and chill with pals.
  • remember there’s still things to do with the past trip! You haven’t printed the photos yet and I’m sure there’s so many thoughts to come from it. I love a ponder and thought. It’s not completely over.

This is what I’ve figured out so far. Mainly create!! Even if it’s from a negative feeling, like right now with this post. I’ve been doing my bedroom, blogging and listening to music. Haven’t exercised yet but I’m pretty tempted to put my running shoes on right now actually. I just finished work though, and I wake up at 4:15am on work days. I know I’m definitely going to the gym in the week at least. Let’s be realistic now, I just opened a Easter egg.

I’m getting there. I’m hopeful.

 

 

 

Thoughts After Therapy #11 The Final One

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 7/4/17

Today feels like a celebration. I don’t feel like I have anything negative to write because it literally feels like I’ve just finished school – in a good way, not like ‘yay, no more school!’ more like a ‘yay, I got through it but isn’t it sad it’s over!’ way. The elation right now, surely I’ve felt this for things other than finishing school but I can’t think what.

Today was simply a recap, like preparing me for the future – wait, did I actually just finish school?! I feel like I learnt more important things than school. Oh snap, Mr Harrison just got burnt! See? Totally on a high about it. I’m at a party in my mind. Anyway.. we spoke about ways to prevent relapse. I have to check in on myself, see how I feel and if anything is wrong nip it in the bud with the tools I’ve learnt. I had to write down a summary for myself of things I’ve learnt and stick it up somewhere as a little reminder. There is fear about the future, I’m apprehensive therapy is over, it’s scary being thrown back into the big bad world and it’s up to you to make sure you stay okay. I don’t like pressure, that’s probably it, and now I have to do things on my own and look after myself.

Oh my God, now this is going to sound crazy (well, I did just have therapy.. ) but this whole time I’ve been singing a song in my head. Just realised it’s The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles. My brain is being dramatic without my say.

Anyway, therapy, lets chat about therapy as a whole as this is the last post. Not the techniques but the impact. It has helped me in ways I didn’t even think it would (I’m listening to that song while writing this now, I recommend you do it). She asked me if I got what I wanted from it and I said I got so much more. I hoped that my health anxiety would get better, I hoped to be able to control my worrying and panic attacks but I didn’t think everyday Emily would feel this different. That may be where the being compassionate to myself part comes into play. I’m so much more comfortable and confident. I think it’s put me on a journey, it’s given me a nudge and I’ve had many revelations and questions pop up, unrelated to therapy, but has brought more joy to my life. I am an ideas person, I make stuff, and it has pulled that need in me out even more. A need to do exactly what I want to do. Little things have happened too like I’ve realised I’m definitely an outdoors person, I get more joy from being outside, or being more accepting of people. I’ve learnt the importance in not concentration too much on myself and how I feel, but concentrate on my life, not other peoples life. Also to not place your happiness onto other others. Now, I’m practising what I’ve always preached.

It’s hard to write things like this without the cheese oozing out but I genuinely mean it. I am so glad and I am so proud of myself.

It’s actually strange to think of how I was. In the beginning God created Heaven and the Earth, and then my health anxiety. I would go to bed thinking I was dying, convinced I was dying. I was so mad at myself being that way. I was so sad. But now when my health anxiety pops up? I accept that my thoughts are going a little bit crazy, I ride out the panic with a neutral, unenthusiastic ‘oh, okay, this is happening,’ then when it’s finished, it’s over. There’s highs and lows but it’s okay. I watch my thoughts pass by, where as I would let them consume my body before. It’s gone from my thoughts being piranhas to clouds in the sky. Sure there’s thunder and lightening but I’m not standing there with an umbrella, under a big tree on top of a hill.

The experience is different for all I’m sure. I do think a huge part is just being open to it. It sounds impossible, absurd and foreign. Talking about feelings is not an ‘English thing’, friends and family don’t even like to hear how you’re doing in therapy in detail. I’m quite an open minded person and I had therapy before so I just wanted it to work, there wasn’t much in me that didn’t think it wouldn’t. I know lots of people that have tried therapy and wrote it off early on. Obviously it depends on the therapist and I think I lucked out, she’s cool.

Today was good. When you feel good, things fit together. Bad things will happen in my life, that’s guaranteed, but all I can do is keep working on myself because it’s important. Then when a bad thing happens I deal with it in a healthy way, be ‘human sad’ as I call it, not ‘depression sad’. Before, when God made the Heaven and Earth etc, I knew there wasn’t any point to worrying about the bad things but couldn’t get out of the cycles I was spiralling in. I’m getting out of the spiral now and I’m not so dizzy and I’ve been smiling more.

Plus my boyfriend got me a bigger bag of lemon bonbons to celebrate. Not even joking, they’re going to last me a life time.

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Thoughts After Therapy #10

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 31/3/17

For the first time after therapy there is no initial thought on the session. I usually have a thought process, which may have nothing to do with what we spoke about but it’s led me there and so I run with it. I give my brain free rein and let it go down whatever path it wants. I suppose this time the whole ‘subject matter’ is that there isn’t one.

Usual things: therapy was okay but hard. Usual advise: hard is necessary. The first half of my week was spent in a daze and feeling broken, then the next half was me feeling stronger being myself. Perfect example why hard is necessary. I do feel a lot more confident.

There not being much thought may mean that we have come to the end now. Next week is my last one but that’s not what I meant. Just that she’s given me all the tools and I need and her job is done. Every day feels better being myself, of course the ups and downs still feel terrible but like she’s said before (and I’ve said on here before) we are meant to feel all our emotions, that’s why they’re there, it’s what we are built for. What more is that I’m having the right thoughts now. ‘Right’ in the sense of what I consider the ‘real me’. I’m doing stuff I like and living the life I want. Still a struggle telling myself that it’s okay but I feel okay.

Positive

I’ve been better this week at being compassionate towards myself. I understand that everything I’ve learnt is something I have to keep practising.

Negative

There wasn’t a lot to talk about this week but like I said its probably because we are naturally coming to an end.

Closing Thoughts

I don’t have any. I don’t have many. I think it’s more of a ‘I’m being present at this moment’ kind of thing. I don’t really have lots of negative feeling in me, and when you feel okay or even happy you don’t often dwell on it do you? It’s like when you try and write a poem and it’s much easier to write a sad one, maybe an unrelatable example. You don’t really see people smiling in paintings? A more relatable one? My point is that sadness has more depth, when it comes to feelings. I don’t actually feel sad right now.

Thoughts After Therapy #9

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 24/3/17

There’s a break in me. I’ve had the strange experience of thinking of things I’ve never thought about before, which is understandable because who in their spare time thinks of their own ‘rules’ of life? I actually love to analyse and I’m pretty aware of the reasons I am the way I am when it comes to mental health problems but I just assumed I was more free flowing. It doesn’t make sense that I would be that free, obviously everyone’s brains try to understand the world around them and therefore make decisions and rules. I understood the concept when it was explained to me in past sessions but I suppose it’s finally hit the nail on the head this time and in a loss of words; it’s broken a part of me. I hate control so maybe it’s the realisation that we are controlled by our environment. That I’m part of the system.

This is all negative thinking, which obviously goes in hand with what I’m feeling but it’s not all negative. My inner monologue isn’t moaning, she’s neutral. (This may actually be me being nicer to myself, which is something I’m practising) It’s more like I’ve lived in a room and believed I’m free then found out there was a secret door in the wall. A bit like the film ‘Divergent’ I suppose. And probably many other films. ‘Truman Show’. I’m tired right now.

Walking to work at 6am last week I had a bit of a revelation with my ‘rules’. I wrote it all down on my phone and we discussed it in therapy. I won’t go into much detail because there’s just no need, but it hit home how this rules cause conflict in my life. I have high standards. There I said it. These high standards form such a strong structure around me and restrict so much. This is where my guilt comes from, this is why I don’t try, there’s too much pressure for me to do good, so I just don’t. I give up. Unless it’s something separate from other people – I have secret hobbies that are untarnished from this rule. But these high standards can be anything from success to how people should live, and at the end of the day I’m the one feeling a pain when these standards aren’t met. My logic doesn’t really believe them but they still exist and control me. So at 6am I realised ‘I need to change my rules’.

It’s an unfamiliar feeling and slightly crushing but it also feels necessary. We tried to write out my rules in a full sentence but I couldn’t work it out, my brain went into over drive. It was just something that hadn’t crossed my mind, it feels like we are all brainwashed no matter what. Anyway, we got there and we worked out a more flexible rule to replace it with which shouldn’t cause as much distress if it was broken. I have to fill out the rest of the form before next session.

Positive

Like I said, it’s like a rock has loosened from my cave wall and suddenly there’s light. It’s interesting.

Negative

I came out feeling crap. Not be to too dramatic but I thought I was one thing but maybe I’m not? My brain keeps playing old memories to when I was confused at who I was as a child, and it’s making me question who I am now. This being said, I’ve met myself with no conflict before. I know Emily, I can’t use 6 year old Emily memories as a reference but I’m a bit disconnected at the moment.

Closing Thoughts

I need to continue the usual tools, which seem to be going okay. I’m also dealing with this negativity okay, I’m not freaking out. I’m just more quiet and contemplative.

Only problem is that next week should be my last session, but she has requested for a few more. Even if it is the last one, I’ve learnt a lot. It’s been so helpful.

Thoughts After Therapy #8

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 17/3/17

Two weeks apart from my therapist and in that time my health anxiety didn’t go over board too much and other than feeling really low at points, I am pretty damn good. Like, my pretty damn good meant I did house work for the first time in (lets be honest here, no point lying) years. Years I’ve neglected doing anything remotely mature and responsible, but suddenly I understand cleaning. I even understand why some people like it. Well, now I sound like an expert cleaner and my surroundings are spotless. No. I’m still lazy. I’m still in a routine of not doing it, a horrible habit, but I’m starting and I’m training myself.

I discovered a lot in those two weeks that I hadn’t thought about before. I also almost came to a clarity of acceptance of things that cause me conflict. I don’t really want to go into it.

I think pretty low of myself, as became apparent when the therapist told me I’m important and I started to well up. Could that be any more dramatic? Oh well, I know the importance of being happy in myself and self love. That is actually one thing I keep thinking about recently, the importance in not placing your happiness onto other people and relying on them for joy. It was something I wasn’t aware of doing but now I am It Sucks, it’s not what I preach at all.

We spoke about my ‘rules’ and maybe they are too ridged. For instance I hate lying, I think everyone should be honest and live an open lifestyle. She asked if that’s a high standard for others and I said I don’t know because I do it naturally. Obviously others weren’t brought up like me and people are different anyway, so we are going to work on giving my rules some flexibility. I’ve always been a stubborn fuck.

I have a self compassion diary to do this week. I have to start with just being neutral (because being nice is too hard straight away) with myself, just in general. For example; I painted one wall in my room dark green and I know my parents are going to hate it, and it fills me with guilt. But it’s okay, I’m being myself and that’s okay. I’m being neutral. One day I’ll be like ‘I painted it green and I’m amazing!’ That’s what she meant right? Right?!

This actually got tested straight away, as I got out the car from therapy I dropped my phone and broke it. I cried for ages, I was so angry at myself. Perfect timing. I don’t break anything, but that’s always been one of my rules and one I’ve grown up with. Don’t break things. Take care of your belongings. I have such a strong memory of when I was really young, probably like 7, and I was really angry so I snapped a pencil in half. Then I was so upset because I couldn’t believe I broke something and I felt so bad and guilty and tried to stick it back together with cello tap. It was an accident though (the phone, not the pencil), obviously I didn’t want it broken, and it’s only a phone. I need to work on being neutral.

Positive

Therapy was on my wave length of thinking this week. Is most weeks to be honest, or every week, but it’s like seeing the clarity in the foggy thoughts.

Negative

I only have two sessions left.

Closing Thoughts

I really want to think more positively about myself. The thing is I really like myself, I do, so why do I think so low of myself? The guilt of being who I am is overwhelming sometimes but I gotta keep on keeping on.

Thoughts After Therapy #7

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 3/3/17

I helped a friend with stripping their walls, I also tidied my bedroom a little bit more. That was my week. Like a rock star. I’m doing that ‘try to be busy all the time’ thing, except when it’s not realistic and my brain is like ‘NO! I don’t wanna!’, but that’s going fine. Why can’t people say ‘fine’ without it sounding like a tantrum. It was fine, it was okay. I’m pretty neutral most of the time at the moment – and I prefer that to being overly happy or sad. I checked for reassurance that I wasn’t ill a few times, then after realised and told myself off. BIG side note from this weeks therapy: don’t tell yourself off. Be kind to yourself.

I wrote down some of my random positive and negative thoughts this week, to analyse them and find out why some effect me negatively. I mean apart from it almost being an impossibly task so hard to judge, it would appear that my general life ponderings don’t harm me, but the ones focused on myself stab me in my mind and trigger low mood. An example, without giving an actual example, would be like about how I don’t remember anything from school and you’re always told school dictates the rest of your life – although I don’t believe it, others do, so does that make it true..?

We worked out the cycles my brain go in with thinking I’m a failure, which is why I feel hopeless and like it’s never ending. She then asked me what I deem as successful and failure. I have conflict with this, because I feel like society thinks failing is when you have a shitty job, live at home etc, but I think it’s when you have no dreams, no ambitions and no plans – so these two things argue all the time. Same with success, I think it is when you try, you don’t give up, you follow your ideas, but ‘normal’ success is having a good job in London, getting married etc. I find this conflict very confusing, and she just explained that it’s what we are taught vs what you believe. Phew, I assumed this but it’s nice when a professional confirms it.

We didn’t have time to go through the tools which will help me, so till next therapy I just have to be more kind to myself (and all the other things I’ve been taught). Like people have bitchy thoughts about others, mine are generally aimed at myself. It was good though this week. I do believe I say that every week. I always find it fascinating, plus it’s helping me.

Positive

She said something this week that really resonated with me – she may have said it before to be honest. It was something along the lines of all humans have positive and negative emotions in us, we were made that way. You have to feel them, our bodies wouldn’t be doing its correct job otherwise.

Negative

I’m a bit apprehensive for the next session in two weeks. Only because I haven’t analysed this part of myself much, only recently, so I don’t know everything. It’s not like there is one big thing that triggered it and it just snowballed from there, it seems to be lots of little bits from everywhere and we will be piecing it together. I suppose like I said in past posts, I think this part of me makes me vulnerable, more so than my health anxiety.

Closing Thoughts

Although I’m worried, I have no need to be. Anxious thoughts, I’ll write it all out like I’m meant to for my hypothetical worries. It’s a good feeling still, knowing I’m going in the right direction and I wouldn’t have been able to get here without therapy. I feel very passionate at the moment in not making mental health a taboo subject – people just don’t want to talk about it. So many people hesitate in going to therapy and it makes me sad and even frustrated. My life is already so much better, so much so that other people are noticing. I know it’s hard to just do it, I hesitated, but just think that with these tools my life will be so much better! I could have been the same for years otherwise, maybe forever. Like I said, I would not have gotten here by myself and I wish others saw themselves as important enough to make that step.

Thoughts After Therapy #6

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 24/2/17

When one thing is seemly cured and another thing rears its ugly head. That’ll be the title of my biography.. nah, I’m being dramatic. For a start I’m not cured obviously – even though after every session my boyfriend asks ‘cured?’, and every time I lol. Like a broken record, like a dad joke, and I love it. I feel good that my health anxiety is getting better even if other anxieties or whatever are coming out. It’s confusing I suppose, but I see it as one thing is being dealt with so lets look at this problem now, and it’s better if all these shit storms come out now rather than when therapy is ended and I feel like a lost puppy unable to deal with the rottweiler of the world.

The therapist has said she will teach me how to deal with any problems myself for when I finish CBT altogether, which is really good to know.

Although I primarily write these for me, I am aware of the difficulty in not wanting to share too much of my current problems in my blog. It’s quite interesting really, because it shows what I deem personal or what makes me feel vulnerable. I’d happily talk about my health anxiety like there’s no tomorrow. You can know that I convince myself I’ve got cancer (the norovirus, having a heart attack, an unheard of rare disease etc) every day but the truth about me being a failure..? Hmm, it’s something I can’t easily discuss. Maybe in the future.

To analyse myself more, its probably because there is no evidence I have cancer, and my logic knows I don’t have it even if I’m having a panic attack, but there’s no evidence of me not being a failure. Everything currently in my brain points in that direction. Anyway, you can get the gist with out me needing to go that far into it.

So this week there were tears again. Almost like going back to the beginning when I felt hopeless and confused. I said to the lady that because my anxiety is getting better I’m more myself again (from what I wear to how I am currently decorating my bedroom), and I think that’s why this ‘failure’ thing is coming out. Feeling like I shouldn’t be myself, it’s not good enough. I so want to delete those last lines. I do have different opinions/style/ideas than those around me, and I’m aware that’s okay, but there’s a repression that I need to push though – and that I most likely put on myself.

She explained that growing up we learn rules of life, and when things oppose those rules we get confused – her example, you could be taught to always be nice to people and then someone is horrible to you and you feel bad, but that person could have been taught something different to you. I can’t remember how she worded it exactly, but I took it as we are told how to live by our environment and parents/family, and when you grow up you realise your rules/morals/how to live might not be the same as anyone else’s, not even your families. I assume everyone goes through this so I’ll be interested to know how I can stop this effecting me negatively.

Positive

My health anxiety is doing fantastic. I didn’t google any symptoms for two weeks, and I don’t think I asked for reassurance. My score sheets are getting lower. High five me. People have noticed how much happier I am too.

Negative

I didn’t get tools for this latest blip, but I’m really clutching at straws here trying to find a negative – I know you need more time to learn tools to deal with your shit, 50 minutes won’t do. The truth is I really like therapy.

Closing thoughts

After a somewhat negative word vomit, therapy is going well. It’s made me sort my room out (and now I’m reading The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying by Marie Kondo, and thrown out so much stuff – this is massive for me). I did voice my concerns that I’m worried that once my room is finished my health anxiety will get worse again because I’m not so busy, but she simply pointed out that I want to do lots of stuff so I’ll be doing that next. Like dur, right?! I was scared that I’ll have to keep busy for the rest of my life just to keep my anxiety at bay, but after she said that I realised is that such a bad thing?