A girl with too many thoughts...

Monday, 31 October 2016

Struggling

It can be difficult to admit that you're struggling - not only to yourself, but to those around you too. We like to give out the impression that we are doing just fine and don't need any help, but this isn't always the case. Admitting that you're struggling doesn't make you weak. Everybody struggles at certain times in their life and are in need of a little support, even if they don't make it obvious.

Mental health conditions by their very nature tend to fluctuate in severity. Sometimes, everything seems to be fine and we feel in control of our illness. Other times, however, we don't feel so great. Either way: it's okay.

I'm writing this because I'm struggling a little more than usual at the moment. A lot of things are causing me stress and I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm trying desperately to keep on top of everything (washing, cleaning, food shopping, uni work, going to lectures, socialising, my mental health, my physical health, appointments etc. etc.) but I'm finding it all too difficult right now. If I could curl up into a ball and hibernate in bed, I would. Unfortunately though, I can't.

Although we'd all probably prefer to ignore it, it's so important that we are able to recognise when we are going through a particularly rough time. I know that I'm struggling at the moment because of several things: I'm feeling teary and irritable the majority of the time. I'm constantly exhausted and unmotivated. I can't concentrate or focus on anything. My other mental health conditions, such as my eating disorder, are getting louder and my suicidal thoughts have returned.

Therefore, I wanted to write this post to anybody who, like me, is struggling right now. I want to remind you that it's okay, it's not a weakness and it's nothing to be ashamed of. You are more than worthy of help so please, please reach out to somebody if you feel you need to.
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Thursday, 27 October 2016

I'm Sorry

Sometimes I have no words left to say apart from 'I'm sorry'. I spend a lot of my time feeling guilty (I believe this is a common symptom amongst many mental health conditions) because there are a lot of things I feel I need to apologise for...

I'm sorry to my friends for having to put up with me. I'm more than aware that I'm annoying all of the bloody time. I know that I'm irrational, indecisive and irritable. I wish I wasn't but I can't help it. I'm sorry that I'm constantly tired and never seem to have the energy to do anything. I'm frustrated with myself for it so goodness knows why you bother maintaining our friendship.

I'm sorry that I have to use up time and money within health services because I'm incapable of pulling myself together and dealing with life by myself. I know that there's people out there who need and deserve it more than me.

I'm sorry to the people who are really suffering from things beyond their control. I know that I have the 'perfect life' and have no real reason to be this way.

Most of all though, I'm sorry to my parents for turning out like this. They say parents like to see their children grow up to be happy and successful, and I don't seem to be either of these things. I'm sorry that you still have to pay for my entire life because I can't function enough to hold down a job. I'm sorry that I probably seem like a spoilt brat because I'm snappy and rude often. I really do appreciate everything you do for me even though I don't deserve any of it.

I want to change. I don't want to be like this. I want to be a better person and I'm sorry that I'm not.
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Saturday, 15 October 2016

Life Update: Eating, Feeling Low & Exhaustion

So it feels like tons has happened over the past month or so. I started uni, I almost dropped out of uni, I decided to stay at uni, I made friends, I started having a good time, I was happy for about a week, everything was going great. Then things got a little wobbly.

The past week and a half has been...challenging. My mood is really low and I'm not sure why. I'm absolutely exhausted all of the time, so I doubt that's really helping. I just think all of the anxiety and stress of starting uni is starting to catch up with me and now that I've relaxed a bit, I feel like I've been hit by a truck.

I don't even know how to explain how tired I am. It's not the kind of tired that sleeping makes better. It's like my entire body feels heavy and I just have no energy to run off what so ever. Most of the time I feel like I'm floating around in a bit of a daze and just dragging myself from one place to another - I'm never quite 'with it'.

It's really frustrating because I'm supposed to be a student having a great time. Instead, I feel like I'm about 80 years old and would be more suited to living in a retirement home than student accommodation. 

I mean, it's not like I don't know why I'm feeling so physically drained. I've spent over a year now depriving my body of adequate amounts of food and forcing myself to become an unhealthy weight. It's funny though because when I was restricting I didn't feel this worn out, but now that I've started to increase my food intake I feel like I have less energy than ever (surely it's supposed to have the opposite effect?).

Everything feels impossible at the moment and what's worse is that my new uni friends don't really get it. They comment on how I'm tired all of the time and walk slower than them and blah blah blah, but when I try to explain that it's because my body isn't in the healthiest state right now because of my eating disorder, I think they think I'm just making a fuss. 

But then, how can I expect them to understand? They weren't there earlier this year when I was really unwell because of my weight and couldn't get up stairs without getting out of breath (I've been starting to feel like that again recently to be honest).

I just need some advice from somebody who's been there. If anybody at all reading has recovered/is recovering from an eating disorder, did you feel worse when you initially starting eating a healthy amount again? How long did it last? Did it effect your mood? DOES IT GET BETTER?!
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Saturday, 8 October 2016

Not Identifying With People Your Age

Yesterday I went to the cinema with two of my University friends, and although it was really nice and I had a great time, I realised something. I realised that I'm not like other people my age. A similar sense of humour, shared interests and similar personality traits; these are all things that help us identify with other people our age and feel connected to our peers - something that I struggle to do.

The thing is, I feel like I'm so wrapped up in my own mind and thoughts, I can't even work out what's me and what's my disorders anymore. So, is it just that the real me isn't similar to people my age, or is it that my mental health conditions are stopping me from doing the things that people my own age do? Perhaps if I didn't have these 'issues', then I would in fact enjoy the same things as them. Or maybe, even if I wasn't caught up in irrational fears and thoughts, I would still struggle to find similar interests with others my age. Who knows?

This may not make much sense, so I'm going to try and explain it in context. When I'm in a group of people my age and they all laugh at something, I often don't find it funny. I find myself feeling bored when 'hanging out' in a group of people, like I'd be much happier just going home. When they are talking about how much they love this TV show or that movie, I couldn't really care less. When they speak about how they 'wanna go for a night out' or they 'can't wait to get behind the wheel' and start driving, it's usually the last thing I want to be doing.

To be honest, that just makes me sound like a really arrogant person who only cares about themselves (and maybe I am?). That's the thing, I don't know if I am or not. I don't know if it's just my personality that makes me a boring and self-centred individual, or whether it's the disorders talking.

Maybe if it wasn't for the anxiety, I would want to learn to drive and go on nights out with all of my friends. Or maybe if I didn't feel so down a lot of the time, then I would find things funny and care about TV shows. Perhaps if I wasn't so tired and lacking in energy, then I would be more outgoing and 'up for things' like everybody else my age. Or maybe, even if these problems didn't exist, I would still find all of these things boring and unappealing - I really don't know.

I want to find things fun and I want to enjoy the things that my friend enjoy, I really do. But I just don't know how to or why I don't in the first place.
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Thursday, 6 October 2016

Things DO Get Easier

I have now completed 3 full weeks at University (let's ignore the 4 days that I spent at home refusing to go back in between that). I certainly never thought that I'd be sitting here typing that a few weeks ago, when I was crying down the phone to several unfortunate family members about how I 'couldn't face going to the lectures' and how 'I felt like I was going to be sick all of the time'.

Nonetheless, I'm still here. And I've learnt an awful low over the past few weeks...

First and foremost, I've learnt that things do get easier. That thing that you think you can't do? You can. When you think things will never get better? They will. When things seem impossible. They aren't.

I don't know if you've ever heard of this technique that's supposed to treat anxiety disorders such as phobias, but they call it 'flooding'. This, from the 'Simply Psychology' website, explains it a little better than I can...

"Flooding (also known as implosion therapy) works by exposing the patient directly to their worst fears. (S)he is thrown in at the deep end. For example a claustrophobic will be locked in a closet for 4 hours or an individual with a fear of flying will be sent up in a light aircraft"
So, how is this relevant to anything?!?!

Basically, I feel like I have undergone 'flooding' therapy (if that's how you put it??). I can say with the upmost confidence that I was definitely 'thrown in at the deep end';

Somebody with social anxiety, who knows absolutely nobody and is forced to not only be surrounded by, but speak to, numerous strangers on a daily basis? 

Somebody with contamination OCD, completely responsible for preparing their own food and having to use 'dangerous' chemicals to clean their own kitchen? 

Somebody with an eating disorder, who no longer has people watching over her 24/7 and dictating every single little morsel of food she eats? 

All of those exposures, ALL AT ONCE?! How ever was I expected to cope?

But, the moral of the story is, I did cope. And even better? I don't feel like I'm just 'coping' anymore, I'm actually starting to enjoy aspects of University life. I've made friends (yes, me - this self-conscious, shy and socially incapable human has made real-life FRIENDS). I've been to an entire week of lectures and workshops. I go up to reception desks to speak to the receptionist. I go to doctor's appointments on my own. I even go into the library and sit at a computer, whilst only feeling mildly self-conscious (a step up, believe me).

All of these things, that seem so easy to the majority of people, are a massive challenge for me. They are challenges that I never thought I'd overcome (let alone all at once in such a short space of time). And even though at times it felt absolutely impossible, and I was adamant that I needed to defer a year (or five) before I could even contemplate facing these things, I'm still here! (go me!)

Brains can lie to you. They can make trivial things seem like a massive hurdle that you are certain you will never be able to overcome - but don't always listen to this doubt. You are so much more capable than you could ever believe at doing the things that you never thought you would. It's never easy, but you CAN do it. And I can promise you that once you've done it (whatever it is), you will feel incredible and it WILL get easier.
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