Anxiety Girl

This weekend has shown that this is so me. The situation at work was blown out of proportion on a momentous scale. I convinced myself that I would have to give up work. As a result, I felt utterly exhausted. I slept for 12 hours straight on Sunday night. Even then, I was still drained when I woke up. 

Everything at work is resolved. Yesterday it was like nothing happened, which was exactly what I wanted. 

So tomorrow I am seeing my GP. It’s for a combination of mental and physical health issues. My anxiety and depression is so severe that Dave felt I was as bad as I was when I was under the crisis team last year. It was scary. I have really had to push myself to leave the house and to spend time with people. My chest is still not good. I managed to go to BodyCombat on Monday night. But my chest hurt the entire time. I struggled so much. I have this barking cough that makes an appearance whenever I physically exert myself and the chest pain radiates to my back. At times, I have constant chest pains. On Sunday I am doing Rough Runner so I have no choice but to completely rest until then. 

On a more positive note, today is mine and Dave’s 2nd wedding anniversary. We are both off work all day. We are going to take Walter to dog playtime and go for a meal. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful, amazing and supportive husband.

Defying Shadows

Things have picked up for me as the week has gone on. It feels as if this week has gone really quickly, which has helped me get back into my usual routine. 

I have managed to go the gym again since Monday night. I did an abs class on Tuesday, Body Sculpt on Thursday and Boxing on Friday. As I was the only person booked on to the Fight Club class, I did a 1:1 boxing session for half an hour. It was thoroughly enjoyable! I did some punching on a punch bag for the first time. I’m tempted to invest in some boxing gloves now for the days when I want to exercise but don’t want to go to a class at the gym. 

I had an appointment with my GP on Thursday morning. It went well. My GP said that I looked a lot better compared to my last few appointments. I have the option of increasing my dosage if I feel it necessary. At the moment, I feel that my medication is helping to keep me on an even level the majority of the time. I don’t need to change it or increase the dosage. 

We took Walter to the vets this morning. His behaviour has changed over Christmas. Normally, he loves seeing other dogs when out on walks. Lately, he has been reluctant to do so and at times actively trying to get away from other dogs. Walter went over to the dogs he saw at the vets and seemed his usual self. The vet was happy with him. She cleaned his ears and checked his weight. It could have been the lack of his usual routine over Christmas that caused the change in his behaviour. Dave and I are going to take him for a big walk tomorrow. We haven’t been able to take him out today. It’s rained virtually all day. 

I am pleased to announce that I am now part of the team that blogs at Defying Shadows. I am looking forward to the opportunity to share my experiences, thoughts and ideas as a member of the Defying Shadows team. 

Still struggling

You know things are bad when your doctor asks you to come back in again in two weeks. 

My doctor was really sympathetic yesterday. I didn’t want to be at the doctors. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I still don’t. My medication has been increased to 40mg a day. I am being referred for CBT on the NHS. The NHS counselling is really not helping. Talking isn’t helping. I need more than just talking. I told my GP this. 

Normally I am asked to come back in every four weeks when I am struggling. I was told to come back in two weeks. Maybe because I was honest and said that I am suicidal. 

Trying to articulate what is going on in my head is a struggle. So I always come home after a GP appointment feeling quite emotional. Walter was in a funny mood when I got home from the doctors. He wouldn’t stop barking regardless of what I tried. I was at my wits end and ended up in tears. Pathetic huh? 

Depression likes to tell me that I am shit at everything. The latest thing it likes to tell me is that Walter hates me and I’m shit with him. 

I’m at the point I was at the beginning of the year. I don’t want to leave the house or do anything. I am still going the gym as much as my head tells me not to. I’m not getting much enjoyment out of it. 

I’ve just got to keep going and believe that things will get better. Even if depression and anxiety like to tell me otherwise. 

The darkness is winning

Thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to comment on my post from last night. I was overwhelmed with the messages of support. 

As much as I am trying to fight this, the darkness has overtaken my head. I feel like it is kicking my arse. I ended up messaging my friend from the gym last night. She has said to get in touch if I need to. We had a lengthy conversation via whatsapp. She told me I am one of the bravest women she knows and a lot of other nice things. Shame I don’t believe a word of it. 

I have an appointment with my GP on Monday. I will only see two of the doctors at my surgery. The lack of understanding I have had from a few other doctors has put me off seeing anyone else. I would have preferred to have an appointment much sooner but this was the earliest appointment the doctors had. I feel that my anti depressants aren’t helping. Possibly my body has become used to the current dosage I am on. I fought against the internal battle in my head and went to combat this morning. I sat on the couch with Walter crying before I left the house. It was difficult to stop. Initially combat helped take the edge off things. But as today went on, I felt like the endorphins were wearing off. The darkness has come back at full force. 

My parents and sister popped in for a bit this afternoon. They were nearby to where I live. I cried so much after they left. I don’t even know why. I then had to get into some sort of mindset so that I could take Dom out. 

I found it so difficult being out with Dom tonight. I had to use every ounce of energy to not let my current mental state impact on him. This has nothing to do with him. This has shown me how unwell I am right now. Dom is someone who helps when I am low. I couldn’t wait to drop him off so I could get home. 

I’m finding it difficult to relax. I feel that I am all cried out but have had these random spells of uncontrollable crying throughout today. I have been having suicidal thoughts all day. It’s like my mind cannot think of anything else but ways to punish myself. When driving to the gym I thought how easy it would be to purposefully crash my car. To end all this once and for all. 

Please don’t take this as me saying I am going to kill myself. I’m just trying to make sense of all the thoughts swirling round in my head. I fucking hate depression and anxiety. 

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. 

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. 

I’ve got 99 followers and another lovely note

I started this blog just over two months as a way to help aid my recovery. There was no expectation on my part that others would even read my posts let alone follow my blog. So to have 99 followers from all over the world is incredible. Thank you all for taking time out of your day to read my posts. 

Dave left me this note on our full length mirror:



This note has made me realise how much my eating and poor body image are having an impact on me. 

Initially when I became ill and had issues with medication I experienced a poor appetite. This was a genuine side effect of the anti depressants I was taking. As my depression and anxiety has raged on my self esteem is now at its lowest. 

I have mentioned before that I lost a lot of weight (4 stone) during 2013. This was done in the right way – changed my diet and exercised regularly. When I am thinking rationally I know that right now I am not eating enough. Yet a part of me has this overwhelming fear of putting back on all the weight I have lost. I wear UK size 10 clothes. I even own some size 8 tops. But this does not stop the recurring thoughts I have. Just some of these thoughts:

“I am not in proportion”

“My thighs are too chunky”

“My stomach isn’t flat enough”

“My arms aren’t toned enough”

As a result I look in the mirror a lot. Even more so when I am leaving the house. I sound vain don’t I? But I honestly think that I do not see myself as everyone else sees me. Dave tells me all the time how fantastic I look. And do you know what I do? I dismiss the comments. I argue with Dave. I totally disagree with him. 

During CBT sessions so far we have briefly touched on this. By disagreeing with Dave I am making out that his opinions do not matter. I am currently trying to just say thank you to people whenever they give me a compliment. 

A part of me knows I am putting my body at risk. I try to eat as little as possible yet I am still doing a lot of high intensity classes at the gym. I feel like my attitude to food is spiralling out of control. I don’t make proper meals. I get so angry with myself if I eat certain things. The guilt I feel when I eat is truly awful. 

I decided to tell Dave that food is now becoming a huge issue for me. I have been trying to hide it from him. He doesn’t need anything else to worry about. I am going to bring it up during my next CBT session and at my GP appointment in two weeks time. Dave has said he does not know what to do about it. He had noticed my weight has been dropping each week recently. He now just makes me food or gives me a choice of what food he will make for me. I think he picked up on the fact that when he was asking if I wanted something to eat I would always so no. 

Sometimes it feels like one thing after another. Other times it feels like I have so many issues at play at the same time. 

Insomnia

Getting a good night’s sleep has been something I have struggled with for a number of months now. Initially, the issue I had was falling asleep. I couldn’t tell you the last time that I was able to fall asleep as soon as I got into bed even when I have felt like I was dropping on my feet. After hours of tossing and turning I would eventually fall asleep but wake up tired. 

Since switching to Citalopram my insomnia has become noticeably worse. As well as the struggle to fall asleep, I now wake up frequently throughout the night and I am waking up much earlier in the morning. Before taking Citalopram, I wouldn’t even know Dave had got up for work. At present, I am waking up when Dave is getting ready for work. Once I am awake I can’t fall back asleep. Even at weekends when Dave and I have a lie in at least one morning, I am waking up at around 7.30am. 

I only made the link between Citalopram and insomnia when I was driving home from the gym last night. I was being overly harsh on myself as I found the classes at the gym really hard. Yesterday afternoon I felt overwhelmingly tired. I made a conscious effort to eat enough and drink enough water. I ended up with a tired headache. This did go after I had a snack before the gym. Even before bodycombat, my favourite class, I felt spaced out and not totally with it. As the class went on I kept making mistakes that I don’t normally make. 

I have an appointment with my GP tomorrow. I say my GP, but I am yet again seeing a random GP as the one I actually like isn’t working this week. This is the third time since being diagnosed that I have had to see a random GP. It is not helpful as I am already worried about what this doctor will be like. I have seen some extremely unsympathetic doctors. I am tired of going over the same things with different doctors. I am definitely mentioning the insomnia. I am open to suggestions as I am trying everything. I do not eat really late at night and I have tried getting baths at night. But, I am reluctant to start on sleeping tablets. 

My anxiety is bad at the moment which I think is linked to lack of sleep. The gym was busy at times last night. I felt on the verge of a panic attack as more people came into the studio. It felt like the walls were coming in on me. Dave and I have been invited to a 30th birthday party for someone from Dave’s work on Saturday. I have met the girl who’s party it is but I have told Dave that I am getting too worked up about it and don’t think it is a good idea that I go. I have told Dave that he should go without me but he is insisting he would rather spend time with me. 

Dave and I had a good time round at our friends on Saturday. We had a lovely Indian takeaway and watched the Lego Movie in 3D which we love. We had intended to watch Gravity as well but we were all too busy talking and catching up. Unfortunately when we got home I got upset. I have noticed that I feel extremely guilty whenever I have a good time. It’s like a part of me feels that I don’t deserve to have positive experiences. I didn’t let this guilt spill over into Sunday. I have recently started watching Pretty Little Liars and I continued with this on Sunday as well as playing some of The Wolf Among Us on the xbox.

This weekend Dave and I are planning on blitzing season 3 of House of Cards which comes out on Netflix. We are still making sure that we see our friends but we’ve agreed that this needs to be one set of friends per weekend. I am still finding it draining if we do too much. 

My story so far…

It would probably come as a shock to a lot of my friends that I have depression and anxiety. It was only after being told this in December by my GP that particular times of my life now make sense. 

Other people see me as outgoing, confident, self assured and sociable. But on and off since I was a teenager I have struggled to keep up this front. I was bullied in primary and secondary school. As a result, I was quiet and kept myself to myself, hating to be the centre of attention. 

When I started university I met like minded people who shared similar interests to me. I came out of my shell during university. It was like I found myself. I was training to be a primary teacher. My first year placement was amazing. The school were supportive and I really felt I was meant to be a teacher. My second year placement was awful. The school I ended up in was a last minute change. They clearly didn’t want me there. Luckily, a friend was also on placement there. We were told on our first day that we were not allowed to go in the staff room. I was miserable during the entire placement. A friend who was also on my course managed to convince me to stick the placement out. My final year placement was a complete nightmare. I had a child with behavioural problems in the class I was in. I had no experience of this. The class teacher was the SENCO. I asked her for help in how to deal with this child. I was spending hours every night planning and sorting my lessons only for this child to totally disrupt my lessons. I was told to get on with it. 

Looking back, I had a breakdown of sorts during this time. I would cry for hours on end, would hardly eat and had trouble sleeping. I ended up dropping teaching. 

After graduating from university, I continued working as a playleader for disabled children which I did throughout university, until I got a job as a teaching assistant in an autistic school. I ended up working there for 4 years. I got a great deal from this job. I then got a job for an outreach service offering advice for autistic children in mainstream schools. Initially, I loved this job. It was extremely rewarding and I developed even further professionally. I even did autism awareness training for 60 police officers after being recommended by a police officer at a high school I frequently went into. However, the team manager was not strong minded.  When a certain member of our team found out that myself and a colleague I done this training she went out of her way to undermine me – turning up to meetings when she hadn’t been invited, telling me last minute I would be delivering training to making comments about me in the office. I went into my manager’s office really upset. I was at breaking point. I got really upset and said that I felt that I was being bullied. She did nothing. I managed to get a doctors appointment for after work. Initially, I was signed off work with stress for two weeks. I ended up signed off work for 3 months with anxiety disorder, taking antidepressants and seeing a counsellor. 

I stayed in this job until August 2014. I started my new job in an independent autistic in September 2014. My friend told me about this job and as it was around 35 miles away from where I live she said I could stay at her house. I couldn’t wait to leave the job I was bullied in. I shouldn’t have taken it. It was extremely stressful and I was exhausted. I would regularly spend my Sundays in tears dreading the week ahead. 

On top of all this, my husband and I got married in October 2014! I think that wedding planning was a distraction from my fragile mental state. My husband and I had an amazing wedding day and minimoon. By November I was physically ill. I had a really bad chest infection, something I haven’t had since loosing all the weight. I was on antibiotics and steroids for weeks and was signed off work. I became really depressed. I didn’t leave the house for days at a time and even getting out of bed in the morning was a battle. At the beginning of December 2014 I broke down in front of my GP and told him everything. I was then diagnosed with moderate depression and anxiety. I made the decision after talking to my husband and family that I couldn’t go back to work. 

I am now in the process of recovering. I don’t know what the future holds for me and that scares me. Depression and anxiety have robbed me of any confidence and self belief I have. I feel like a failure as a person. I experience huge amounts of guilt for not working and for being like this. I feel like a burden and often have suicidal thoughts. I genuinely feel that my family and friends would be better off without me. I find it hard to see how I will recover from all of this. But I am really trying not to let depression and anxiety have such a control over my life. I feel that when I was signed off work in my old job I never got to the root of my issues. Hopefully, without the pressure of work I can get some clarity and perspective which will help my recovery. I am tired of being like this. I don’t want to feel sick at the thought of leaving my house. I want to be able to have a decent night’s sleep. I don’t want to feel the utter despair I feel pretty much all the time. 

I want to be the best I can possibly be. I won’t let depression and anxiety beat me.