Knitting the same thing for over 2 years

I could be cruel and post photos of me in sunny Morocco from a long two weeks ago, while it’s currently snowing outside, and that dark temptation played on my mind for a long while.

Instead I listened to the angel on my right shoulder and have decided to share my blanket I’ve been knitting for a few years.

Imagine your face being stroked by the soft material, seeing as it can’t be by the sun.

Maker:S,Date:2017-10-10,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

I am not a consistent knitter. It’s for me when my fingers are jittery but I don’t want a big project. Also, tends to be when I’m in a bit of a slump and am trying to comfort myself with creative things.

This blanket is like an old friend. I’m not consistent but the blanket is.

 

 

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Thoughts on how I’ve embraced positive quotes

I’ve been quite open and honest with my mental health on here in the past, and with everything else in my life, I just go through phases of how much I tell people. At the moment I’m pretty quiet, which I’m not sure is better because do people assume I’m ‘cured’ because I’m not showing it as much? Does that even matter?

Even so, I may be screaming on the inside, just like others are, but I don’t feel like doing that on the outside.

This may be in relation of whether I allow my depression and anxiety to consume me or whether I’m fighting it more. Fighting in the sense of accepting when I feel crap but surrounding myself in happy things.

I have never been one for quotes, and more specifically positive quotes, they just felt.. fake. I hate fake and it felt like I was lying if I were to have something like that around me. I do like words, however, so I would hold onto thoughts I’ve had or things which would help – like ‘I’m okay’ or ‘One Day At A Time’, which I drew at the beginning of this year after therapy. Telling yourself just one day at a time works wonders!

(Which, past Emily, is a positive quote!) (Don’t tell her, she’d be mortified!)

Background

I think what’s changed is that I’ve allowed positive quotes to help me.

I don’t need more bad energy surrounding me, I’ve got enough of that in my brain. So what if it’s cheesy?! So what if these positive quotes isn’t how any of us are feeling?! It doesn’t mean it’s fake, it means your trying.

It’s the difference in someone telling you to just give up, life is hard, or to help yourself because it’s worth it.

There’s just too many dark paths to go down, all I can do is stick to a route that’s genuine to me but try and have that torch, that light to guide me.

Hold onto a crystal, re-read your favourite book, pray, listen to an album on repeat, cover your bedroom in fairy lights, go for long walks, cuddle your favourite teddy

or

embrace positive quotes.

Because you’ve just got to.

Cosy nights

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In desperation, my partner bought me Sleepy from Lush in hopes I’ll settle better of an evening. I’m in an awful routine – which has spanned my 26 years – of getting anxious at night, getting what I call ‘restless leg’ (like growing pains in my legs) and being just a pain in the arse. Then, what makes it worse for my partner, the next morning I wake up and forget all about it and get on with my day.

‘What a lovely/horrible day I’ve had,’ I ignorantly say to myself, ‘it’s been very productive/lazy, oh look nights creeping in..’

and BAMB!

Hello friend, remember me now?!

Yes I do! Why didn’t I do anything to stop this?!

It’s a bit like 50 First Dates, or, a bit darker, like that Black Mirror episode where the lady lives the real life nightmare each day because she committed a crime.. I don’t remember committing a crime.. but neither did she……

So, inspired by my new product, which rather excites me more than I should admit, I had a day of tidying my bedroom and making it all relaxing and lovely. ‘How can it take all day to tidy?’ I hear you cry, well it was in a pretty bad state, with it also becoming a somewhat office/studio recently. So it’s not even finished now but I’m okay with that.

What did I do to help me chill?

Self care and doing things I love. Rule number one. (Well rule number one is always that you don’t talk about Sleep Club, even though I am right now) but taking time for yourself is so important that I felt like I needed a Fight Club reference to get it across. Did it work?

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Lit my new candle. I just can’t resist not smelling candles in shops. Same with trying on hats. Instantly Christmas hit me in the nostrils and it’s not even a Christmas candle, which is even more perfect really because it meant it was on sale. And oh, feeling Christmasy is the best feeling! I can just lay there and let that feeling consume me. But then again that’s not going to help me sleep – think relaxing, Emily, rellaaxxx

If you’re as obsessed and excited by autumn, winter and Christmas as I am, give it a smell and see if you agree. And also I now have relax, don’t do it.. stuck in my head. Oh, and there’s Zoolander in there too. Yep.

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Had my Sleepy lotion. I think I need to have a box of night time lotions and sprays next to my bed at all times. It’s actually getting ridiculous how much I struggle. I’ll start my collection now, Sleepy is the first one.

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Fairy lights. Atmosphere, it’s important. Not to my boyfriend. Nor probably a lot of people, but I think it’s another rule. Let’s recap;

Rule 1: Do not talk about Sleep Club
Rule 2: DO NOT TALK ABOUT SLEEP CLUB
Rule 3: Take good care of yourself and do things that bring you joy
Rule 4: Create a nice atmosphere

And other than clean bedding – besides detracting me from the smell of the sleepy lotion, everyone loves clean bedding – and as many comforting films as I could manage, and a read of Harry Potter, that was pretty much my evening.

BUT to top it all off, the next morning when I left for work at 6am, whilst still feeling all cosy and happy, these were the sights presented to me which sent my heart aflutter for the coming season…

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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 #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?

Thoughts After Therapy #5

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 10/2/17

I’ve had a strange week. Although the quick blip of convincing myself I have something called face blindness, my health anxiety had improved. I get thoughts and I try to be more present. Sometimes it helps and sometimes I forget to do it, but it’s all new so I just keep trying. I also distracted myself (like painting my room at long last!) which just changed the negativity to ‘you have to paint really slow now, because you’re stubborn and refused to use masking tape for the edges.’ Note to self: when negative thoughts creep up try and paint in a straight line.

I also made my own sort of diary so I could get practical worries done in a realistic way or time frame. That works well. It made me start painting my room, I may or may not have piles of washing wedged in a corner that I ignore so much so that I’ve started to wear complete outfits of my boyfriends clothes, but I can say with confidence I am painting.

Unfortunately though, but I assume rather naturally, as my health anxiety has got better my social anxiety took its place. I didn’t know how to deal with it, but as the therapist pointed out it’s exactly the same techniques. It’s hard to see things though, hence the therapy. So when I have a thought about not fitting in for example, or feeling like a weirdo, I have to concentrate on things outside my body and shift my attention.

I have two weeks till my next session and during that time I need to;

  1. continue with the panic diary and rationalise anxiety
  2. when anxious or negative thoughts come in concentrate on things outside of myself – mindfulness things
  3. when I have a practical worry tackle it by writing it into a diary
  4. when I have an hypothetical worry write it down and try to concentrate on other things and later go back to it for a read
  5. and the newest, stopping things that are a safety mechanism because it actually doesn’t help. So no googling symptoms, no checking for reassurance that I’m okay. I need to ride out the panic and eventually it’ll get less and less.

So a lot on my plate. It’s a full on roast dinner with seconds, but I’m up for it and it gets easier over time. Like your stomach expanding. Let’s stop this metaphor.

Positive

I felt comfortable. My brain over thinks and I don’t know how to act or what I should say, but this week was a needed conversation because I honestly had no idea how to handle my social anxiety. I felt okay saying what I said. It feels like we are working through my problems. Which yes, it should feel like that, but it’s a big deal that it actually feels like that.

Negative

Although I just said I was comfortable I was hyper aware that she is a therapist and judging my every move. So completely the opposite of the positive at exactly the same time. Ha, okay Emily. BUT I am aware that is an anxious thought, it is her job, and on the outside she’s not judgemental.

Closing thoughts

I’m enjoying it. I find it fascinating and it’s helping as long as I keep working on it. I do worry that I don’t stress my anxiety enough, because I often forget how bad I am till I’m bad again, and looking at those immediately around me and comparing, I am quite extreme. I’m obviously used to it, and it’s very English to play down how you are. I had a worrying thought that I’d have less sessions than I need because of this. But, you know, anxious thoughts and this music I’m playing is nice and I’m liking my grey walls…

 

 

Thoughts After Therapy #4

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Written after my CBT therapy

Thoughts 3/2/17

I feel very clear headed. Without wanting to sound so pretentious – but warning future Emily, it’s going to sound like it anyhow – I feel like I’m on the right path. I say this with confidence because a couple of years ago the same thing happened, I felt like this, and then The Power of Now worked its magic on me and I was cured! Hallelujah! Well, not quite so rose tinted and I’m not that naive. Otherwise I have further to fall. Ups and downs, yes, but there’s something different happening too.

I had been practising mindful techniques the last two weeks and although I’ve had a hard time in general sometimes it was almost like I was a normal sad. Like a human sad that will smile again. I also had my depressed and anxious moments, a lot of them, but despite that I still feel like the overall feeling was neutral or positive. I suppose I understand what I mean, you know how your body and mind is dealing with things even if the word vomit doesn’t translate that.

I have to continue with rationalising my panic attacks and also create a diary about my practical worries I have. That means worries that have solutions, like in my case my bedroom being a shit tip gets to me, solution; tidy it. Then that worry has gone. Obviously not as simple as that – for instance I don’t have a wardrobe at the moment, so where do I hang clothes? – hence creating a diary to fit it in (side note: actually bought a wardrobe today. I’m doing it, I’m doing it!). Then if I worry about my room, like right this instance, I can say to myself that I have fit in that on Sunday so no need to worry.

I also have to address my hypothetical worries, which shit fuck yeah, where do I start? I have to write them down when they arise , then focus on the moment and things outside of myself and imagine the worries passing by. I think she even said tell yourself you’ll look back at that later, then when you do you may not worry as much and notice it’s irrational.

It’s just new routines and practice.

Positive

I feel positive, and that’s a huge positive. I want to do stuff. I want to do Headspace and mindful stuff. I want to walk to clear my head. I want to even go outside of my comfort zone.

Negative

I can’t think of one. It was very much a conversation this week, felt like a collaboration.

Closing thoughts

I’m really trying and I’m really proud of myself. That is all.

Thoughts after therapy #1
Thoughts after therapy #2
Thoughts after therapy #3