Busy, busy, busy

Only 3 days until we fly out to Brisbane! This weekend has flown by as Dave and I have both been busy. 

I really enjoyed going for lunch with my parents and sister on Friday. It was nice getting to spend time with them. My hair is now even shorter. My hairdresser was laughing that I keep getting more of the length taken off each time. I now have a graduated bob which is the shortest I have had my hair in a good few years. It is much more manageable and will hopefully mean that I will be cooler in Australia. 

On Saturday was my godson’s 2nd birthday party. We had a good time. I was anxious in the car when driving to our friend’s but I was able to work through it by talking to Dave about it. I am still convinced my godson is autistic. He is really into cars at the moment. There was a lot of repetitive behaviours – moving the cars in a particular way, in a particular order etc. Also, he would lie on the floor and move the cars close to his eyes. He seemed fascinated with watching the car wheels turn. My godson does not talk and there was no imaginative element to his play. Other red flags were that we wouldn’t be singing happy birthday or putting candles on his cake as he is scared of candles and he was scared to open his presents unless you opened it to a point that he knew what the present was. I have thought for a few months now that my godson has autism. But I know it is not my place to broach the subject with my friend. Regardless, Dave and I love my godson. He means a lot to both of us. 

We started packing for Australia when we got back from the birthday party. It was comically to see how much more I am taking then Dave! I normally really hate packing for holidays but it helped me feel more organised and excited. 

Yesterday Dave did overtime at work. I went the gym in the morning. In the afternoon I started cleaning and tidying the house. It’s the first time in a few months I have done a proper clean. It sounds vile I know but I had zero motivation to do housework. It was taking all my energy to even get out of bed on particularly bad days. I feel so much better for doing it, even when I knocked the hoover and its contents spilled over the hall carpet! I managed to not get worked up about it which is a big thing for me. 

I am going the gym tonight. My friend is going to be doing some of my favourite tracks during combat. It was suggested that I make some requests as it is my last Monday at the gym for a good few weeks. 

Tomorrow my brother is off work. He is going to come round to mine and we are going to go out for lunch. Wednesday I am at the gym in the morning and I have Dom in the evening. 

This is potentially my last post before going away. I don’t have any concrete plans to post when I am in Australia. I do plan on taking a lot of photos which I will post at some point. 

Thanks again for taking the time to read, comment and like my posts. It means a lot. Until next time! 

Depression and the British media

The British media has acted really irresponsibly in their reporting of the French Alps plane crash. As more information has become available, the stigma surrounding mental health in particular depression has been fuelled. 

I feel that it is extremely unhelpful that the media think it is their role to apportion blame. It has made for uncomfortable reading. Maybe I shouldn’t have read the comments on news articles regarding this truly awful event over the past few days. 

As someone who has struggled to come to terms with depression, I am incredibly reluctant to talk about it with anyone who doesn’t currently know more than ever. I dread to think what others are going through who are currently not accessing any support through their local health services. It takes a huge amount of courage to make an appointment with your GP let alone talk to them about how you are struggling. To have the added worry that you might be perceived as a danger to others is wrong. Why would someone want to admit they may have depression if they are going to be stigmatized by those around them?

Please do not mistake this as me supporting the co pilot that decided to senselessly murder 149 people. I don’t. Not one bit. I was horrified when I found out that the crash was a deliberate act. Apparently there were screams from passengers when they realised what was about to happen. I can’t even begin to imagine how the families and friends of the victims are feeling. It’s an incomprehensible tragedy. 

Having depression does not make someone a thoughtless monster. I am married and I have been with my husband for nearly 10 years. I am extremely close to my family and friends. I am a personal assistant to a 12 year old boy who has autism and ADHD and have been for nearly four years. There are millions of people around the world living with depression who are from all walks of life and in a wide range of professions. Depression does not mean an intent to hurt others. If anything, I feel that those with depression are highly sensitive in regard to the people they care about. I wouldn’t wish depression on anyone including those who I no longer have in my life as a result of their horrible actions towards me. Its impact can be truly devastating and something only those who have experienced can ever fully understand. So why would I or anyone else with depression behave in a way that would knowingly cause harm to others?

Lightbulb moment and laughs

This morning I had a lightbulb moment during my NHS counselling session. I was filled with anxiety and dread about going. Maybe that played a part in my struggle to fall asleep last night (I was asleep when Dave got home from work around 11pm apparently).

I have realised that my weight loss started when I was being bullied at work. It was only when the counsellor asked me for a timeline of sorts that it clicked. It’s something we are going to explore during my next sessions which will be from the beginning of May. The counsellor made me feel at ease. I did most of the talking during the session but I think it was necessary for the counsellor to get a clear picture of me, my circumstances, my feelings etc. 

The gym was great this morning. I really enjoyed combat, pump and pilates. It was only during pilates that I saw just how far I have come regarding my core strength. My friend who runs the classes came round when we were doing pilates situps to make sure we were all doing them correctly. She commented on how much stronger my core was compared to a few months ago. It is something I have felt I have always struggled with but clearly the hard work is paying off. 

My GP appointment went well. The doctor I see is so lovely. She actually understands mental health and seems to genuinely care. We ended up talking about travelling and holidays for ages! My ears have felt blocked and itchy this past week. When the GP looked in them she said both ears are impacted with earwax more so my left ear. Apparently, you can only have your ears syringed after using olive oil eardrops for 7 – 10 days….not helpful when I am getting on a plane in 8 days. I have some olive oil drops to use 2 – 3 times a day between now and next week. I plan on buying boiled sweets for the plane and I have already told Dave that I am using the beats headphones we have. There’s got to be a perk to having blocked ears 😛

Dominic was a delight tonight. Although I was subjected to watching Frozen at my house. I really don’t like Frozen. Quite possibly one of the most overrated and annoying films. But Dominic loved it and has already suggested about bringing another of his DVDs round to mine (even though Dave and I have loads of DVDs and Netflix). Next Wednesday will be the last time I take him out before Australia. I am going to take him to pick an easter egg from Dave and I which he is excited about. He has such a sweet tooth. 

Today has been a busy but good day. I think it is important I acknowledge in some way when I do have a good day. I have actually managed to come up with six positives from today. It was a struggle to come up with one positive a few days ago. I have laughed all day particularly at the gym and with Dominic. Depression and anxiety didn’t have such a tight grip on me today and I am grateful. 

Tired but awake

It is so frustrating how tired I am yet I can’t sleep. The past few nights I haven’t had enough sleep. I made a conscious effort to unwind and relax tonight. I had a bath and read in bed. I took a sleeping tablet two hours ago yet I am still awake! The annoying thing is I have to be up early as I finally have an NHS counselling appointment at 8.30am. I only have two CBT sessions left so I am going to make sure that the NHS counselling will continue in May. 

So I thought I should use my time awake positively and do a post. 

After a bad few days, my CBT helped massively this afternoon. I experienced this massive wave of anxiety which came from nowhere before going the gym last night. I need to work on ‘pressing my pause button’ and to acknowledge that it is ok to be anxious. My current strategy has been to fight it and not address it. By acknowledging it I can then identify what I need to do to help the anxiety pass. We also looked at the high levels of guilt I experience and negative self talk that I frequently do when I experience anxiety or when my mood drops. We focused on how much I worry and what things I am worried about and strategies to help me worry less. Currently my worries are

  • I will never recover from my current relapse
  • That when I get back from Australia I will have nothing to look forward to
  • Getting a job if I do recover

Only 9 days to go until we fly out to Brisbane! We are gonna pack at the weekend and I am going to do a huge clean of the house one day next week before we go. I want to come back to a tidy house as I think it will help.

I’m getting my hair cut on Friday so it looks nice for Australia. My hair grows ridiculously fast and my fringe is in eyes. I’m also going for lunch with my parents. 

It is my godson’s 2nd birthday tomorrow. He is having a birthday party on Saturday which I am looking forward to. We haven’t seen him for a few weeks as we’ve been so busy. 

10 positive things

I was reading through some recent posts of blogs that I follow. Bipolar Whispers has done a challenge and has asked others to do the same – to write 10 positive things about youself that have nothing to do with any of your mental health issues.

This is something I thought I would do. I focus on the negatives a lot. Funny that I saw this post this morning. I got up to find a notepad with a post it note on it from Dave – for the positive things. I am going to write at least one positive thing that has happened each day.

10 positive things about me that have nothing to do with depression or anxiety:

  1. I am a determined person. Once I set my mind to something I can be unstoppable. 
  2. I am a wife and love it. Dave proposed to me after being with me for 7 years and we got married after 9 and a half years together. Regardless of what others have said about the novelty wearing off, I still love being called Mrs and it hasn’t got old in the past (nearly!) 6 months
  3. I have a godson who is 2 on Wednesday. I have known him his entire life as his mum is one of my best friends. I love that I am known as Auntie Gemma to him. 
  4. I am passionate about the things I like and causes that are important to me. Examples of this are seeing my favourite bands live numerous times and having a jigsaw piece tattoo (autism awareness) on my ribs.
  5. I devour books. Ever since I can remember I have loved reading. I can easily sit and read for hours. 
  6. I am from Liverpool, England and very proud to be! Although I haven’t lived in Liverpool for a number of years I still have a scouse accent. 
  7. I am a gamer girl. I love nothing more than to sit and play on my xbox 360 particularly co op games with Dave. Our wedding cake was an xbox cake!
  8. I am a caring and loyal wife, daughter, sister, auntie and friend. My family and friends are extremely important to me and I love spending time with them. 
  9. I have climbed Snowdon and Scafell. I used this as an opportunity to raise money for Action for M.E. as my sister has M.E. I am hoping to climb Ben Nevis so that I can say I have climbed the three peaks in the UK. 
  10. I enjoy helping others, whether it is helping a friend out with a problem, helping someone in the gym who looks unsure or helping Dominic or other autistic children. I couldn’t imagine not being a helpful person. 

This was a really hard post to do. I have been attempting to think of 10 positive things about myself throughout the day. I am glad I did this though. It is something I can look at when I am struggling to think positively. 

It would be great if anyone else out there is willing to do this. Write 10 positive things about you that have nothing to do with any of your mental health issues.  Post them on your blog and share the link in the comments.  If you are not comfortable writing a blog post and linking it, you can write the 10 things in my comments section on this post.

A ray of sunshine

In an attempt to get out of this black hole that depression and anxiety have sucked me into right now, I thought I would do a post about the child I take out for respite once a week. 

Dominic is 12 years old. He has ASD and ADHD. I first met Dominic in June 2011. At the time, he was living mainly with his Mum but also spent time at his Dad’s. Dominic was 8 years old and his behaviour was becoming increasingly more difficult for his Mum to manage. As a result, it was decided that Dominic would live with his Dad for the majority of the time. This was not an easy decision for his parents to make. Through social care Dominic’s family were given direct payment hours and this is where I became involved. 

I can remember going round to meet Dominic and his family along with his social worker. Dominic was this little ball of energy who bombarded me with lots of questions. 

Dominic has come on so much in nearly four years. He is now able to order food in certain restaurants/fast food places, use a knife and fork and share his thoughts and feelings with me. Dominic has overcome some major fears including fireworks and dogs. 

Here are my ten favourite things about Dominic:

  1. Special interests – there have been a number of these over the past four years – Mr Men and Little Miss, space, fish, Toy Story, languages, birthdays, theme parks, water parks, Mr Bean and Horrid Henry. It still astounds me how much Dominic knows about the things he likes. For instance, during his Toy Story phase Dominic had a spell where he was teaching himself how to count, say hello and goodbye etc in a number of languages. He then started watching the Toy Story films in Spanish to help learn more Spanish!!! The pleasure and enjoyment he gets from his interests is amazing to see. 
  2. Honesty – Dominic says it like it is due to having autism. I always know where I stand with him. When Dominic says he looks forward to seeing me or he has had a good time, I know he means it. 
  3. Memory – Dominic has a fantastic ability to remember dates, birthdays and things that have happened. He can remember whole conversations from years ago!
  4. He doesn’t judge people – Dominic doesn’t judge people based on what they look like or the clothes they wear. He likes people based on whether they are a nice to him. 
  5. He is a positive person – Dominic finds the best in everything and everyone. He can always find something to smile or laugh about. He frequently tells me that if something is annoying him on school he will think about seeing me to help him feel better
  6. He is a thrill seeker – the opposite of me! Dominic loves going really high on swings in the park, rollercoasters and bouncing high on his trampoline. 
  7. He is caring – Dominic speaks highly of his friends from school. He helps them if they are upset or hurt themselves. 
  8. He loves meeting people – Dominic came to our wedding and was more than happy being around dozens of our friends and family. He likes nothing better then seeing Dave or my immediate family. 
  9. Sense of humour – Over the years Dominic has developed a wicked sense of humour. He initiates jokes more often now. 
  10. He is inquisitive – Dominic will ask questions about anything and everything. He loves finding out things. Currently, he loves finding out how tall people are!

I could list so many more things that make Dominic such an amazing person. He leaves such an impact on others when they meet him. His remarkable personality really draws people to him. My family and friends frequently ask about Dominic and truly care about him.

I am so protective of Dominic. I worry about him becoming a teenager (which will be later this year!) and eventually an adult. Every so often, Dominic will ask how long me and him will go out. I really hope that I will always be a part of his life. I am so proud of how far he has come in the four years I have known him. 

I have not missed this…

Last night I got upset over my CBT session which took place yesterday afternoon. We looked at the way I think about myself particularly in relation to the way I look, my appearance etc. I brought up my massive fear around putting on weight too. 

I’ve never talked in great deal to anyone about the bullying I was on the receiving end of throughout different parts of my school life. It is possible that my self loathing stems from this. My thoughts about myself are likely to be a result of being bullied. 

It now makes sense why I had a breakdown when I was bullied during 2013 at work. At the time, I received generic talking therapy. I wasn’t given the opportunity to look at my thought processes at the time. 

After my CBT session I felt my mood drop as the day went on. When Dave got home from work that night I became upset. It’s hard to explain how shit I felt.  Clearly I have tried to block out the bullying and now it is at the forefront of my mind. 

I didn’t sleep well last night. I went the gym this morning and then went for a coffee with my friend from the gym. My friend confided in me about something she is dealing with. She said she wanted my advice and we ended up talking for about three hours. We talked about a lot of other stuff to do. I find it weird how calm and rational I can be with other people’s situations yet I am the complete opposite with my current circumstances. The only reason we left when we did was due to the fact I needed to pick up my respite child. I had a good time with my friend and with my respite child. 

Since getting home nearly 3 hours ago, my mood is even lower then yesterday. I have been in tears. The frustrating thing is I can’t say exactly what is causing this. I just want to hide from the world. Right now, I feel like I have to put such a massive effort into doing things that other people take for granted. Getting out of bed, eating, showering and leaving the house are just some of the things I have to use a lot of energy to do. The mask I wear so much feels like it is slipping. 

The suicidal thoughts are back. There. I said it. I don’t feel able to talk to anyone about it. It will do nothing but cause upset and stress for those that know about my depression and anxiety. I don’t have another CBT session until Tuesday afternoon. I have an appointment with my GP a week today. 

I feel so fucking weak and pathetic. I have no reason to feel this shit. I am a fraud. I lie to so many people. My go to response when anyone asks how I am is, “I’m ok” regardless of how I actually feel. I don’t have the guts to tell people about being ill or the fact I don’t work. It’s just easier to say work is fine or to change the subject.