Sometimes I find it hard to believe how much progress I have made over the years since being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I have two things that have happened over the past few days that I want to talk about.
Dave received a Facebook message from someone I have not been friends with for nearly 3 years a few evenings ago. I have spoken about this person. She was one of my bridesmaids when Dave and I got married. But when I was at my lowest, she made my life even worse. She made me feel guilty, didn't respect my boundaries and only cared about herself.
I made the decision that I did not want or need this person in my life. So I was surprised to find out this person messaged Dave acting as if nothing was wrong, asking how we were and congratulating us as she (somehow) knew I was pregnant.
Dave worried so much how I would react that he got in touch with my sister. She reassured Dave that I am stronger then a lot of people realise.
My first response when Dave told me was to laugh. I can honestly say that I have not once missed the friendship. I questioned the motives behind her getting in touch in the first place. Plus, the message acted if nothing had happened when it was quite the opposite.
Dave and I both agreed to ignore the message and that he would block her on Facebook. I am so happy with the people in my life. My family have always been amazing. I have the nicest and supportive friends. I didn't see the point in trying to be friends with someone who made me more ill and turned out to be an awful friend when I needed them the most.
I know for a fact that this message would have triggered my anxiety and depression when I was still struggling. I would not have been able to stop ruminating about it, quite possibly had a panic attack and it would have made my mood come crashing down. I would have brought it up continuously with Dave. It has been quite the opposite. We have not talked about it since Dave received the message.
Yesterday I went for afternoon tea for a friend's hen do. In the past, I would have automatically said no to something like this. I used to actively avoid situations like this; too many people, being with people I didn't know, a busy place etc. The only person I knew was the bride. But I went and had a good time. I chatted away to people I didn't know and they were all lovely.
To think there was a time that I was suicidal, struggled to leave the house and was constantly anxious and my mood was low is hard to believe right now. I am proud of how far I have come. I want to stress how it has not been easy to get to this point. There have been a lot of tears, pushing myself out of my comfort zone and being honest with myself and others when it is not always easy. I can recognise if I am starting to struggle and do things to help myself feel better.
If there was one thing I would tell anyone who has anxiety or depression it is the three words above.
I had such a good day with my friend yesterday. We shopped, we had coffee, we ate good food and we talked. Conversations were about everything and anything from the mundane to the serious. At one point I briefly mentioned how ill I have been; not working, struggling to get out of bed each morning, being under the crisis team etc.
My friend said she would never let me get to that point again. She used the phrase, “I would kick your arse if that happened again”. This is exactly what I need. A friend who won’t let me stay at rock bottom but instead will listen and encourage me to keep going.
It has taken me a long time to see the importance of letting people in. I was a firm believer in shutting myself off and not allowing others to know I was struggling. It was a sign of weakness to tell others that I wasn’t coping. But this doesn’t help. It just prolongs my mental suffering.
It’s important to know who you can let in. Mental illness can bring out the best and worst in those around you. I was convinced that I would never have good friends again. But I have some amazing friends. All because I opened up and let them in.
Thank you to all the supportive comments on my last post. They really helped. Dave is going to come with me to the assessment on Friday. He is going to wait outside so that I can speak freely and honestly.
I did a Bodycombat class earlier. I really didn’t want to. For starters, my stomach was really hurting which is a sure sign that my anxiety is high. I am still not sleeping properly which doesn’t help at all.
On Saturday I pulled some muscles in my chest. The pain was nothing I have ever experienced. Anything I did resulted in sharp pains in my chest – eating, lying down, picking Walter up. I ended up taking a co-codamol at night as however I lay in bed I was in agony. It eased up a lot when I got up on Sunday. I thought it was best to skip the gym on Monday night. But as usual I felt guilty for not coming. Looking back, I wonder if my anxiety was making my chest pains worse.
Dave and I took Walter for a walk to somewhere we have never taken him before on Saturday. I felt on edge most of the time. On Sunday I felt totally apathetic. I could have just stayed lying on the couch staring at the ceiling. Dave didn’t give me much choice and we took Walter for a quick walk.
I spoke to my therapist on Monday during my CBT about the mental health assessment. She could see how much I was struggling. I was on the verge of tears during the entire session. She thinks that my medication will be changed and that I might be under the home team. My therapist has referred me to a charity that can help with volunteering and vocational qualifications who have mental health issues. I think this would really help me.
On Monday afternoon I had my first CBT session through the NHS. It went well, better then I anticipated. My therapist is really nice and I felt comfortable talking to her. She said that my levels of self awareness are high. I filled in a questionnaire and scored severely depressed and anxious which didn’t shock me. I have my next session on Monday morning.
I had my hair cut again yesterday. My undercut is even shorter then when it was first put in. My hairdresser shaved it this time and I really like it. I have my hair even shorter than my last cut. I would post a photo but I am looking rough because I am not sleeping very well again.
My sleep pattern is really disturbed again. I am feeling tired during the day and by the time I go to bed at night I often have difficulty falling asleep. I am waking up during the night and so I don’t feel refreshed when I wake up in the mornings. If it continues I am going to have to see my GP.
It’s my 30th birthday in two weeks. As part of my presents, Dave has got me these Reebok Cardio Ultra trainers for the gym:
They were recommended by my gym trainer friend. She wears them and has noticed a massive difference in supporting her knees and back. I have been told they get some time to get used to. My friend suggested bringing my current nikes to switch into when needed. I am not at the gym now until Monday so I will have to wait until then to try them out.
Next Saturday I am going for a Chinese to celebrate mine and my brother’s birthday. Our birthdays are only a few days apart. Dave and I are going to see Halestorm on the Monday after. He is taking me to our favourite Mexican on my birthday.
I have some anxiety about the Halestorm gig. I think this stems from my experience during the last gig I went to. It was far from enjoyable and all I wanted to do was leave the venue. Dave has said that we can stand where I am comfortable which will probably near an exit of some kind.
I feel that my anxiety and depression are well managed at the moment. It seems like this has been a long time coming. I’m able to recognise quite quickly when I feel my mood dipping or my anxiety levels rising. Dave is also really good at picking up on my mood and anxiety. I talk to him as soon as I notice a change.
Others have also noticed that I seem to be in a good place. I feel more comfortable around my family and friends. Instead of feeling negative emotions about socialising, I am actually looking forward to it.
Phoning or even talking to most people on the phone was something that was anxiety provoking. Until recently, I was only really comfortable communicating via whatsapp or text messages. I phoned my parents house earlier tonight. I have not felt able to do this in months.
Dave came across a job that he thought would be good for me. At first I disregarded it. But after some discussion and encouragement I decided to bite the bullet and phone up to get more information. I was so pleased that I did. It gave me the motivation to apply.
So yesterday afternoon (with the help of Dave) I completed and submitted my application form. The closing date isn’t until a week on Wednesday. I am in the mindset that if this job is meant to be, it will be. For me to even apply for a job is a really big deal.
I know that I will always live with depression and anxiety. My medication is now on my repeat prescription at my doctors. I don’t see myself even contemplating coming off Citalopram any time soon. I don’t want to risk a relapse when I finally seem to be on the correct medication and dosage. As a result I feel like I am actually living my life. I’m getting more sleep and I don’t have difficulties with getting out of bed each morning.
I feel that I now have the tools to deal with my depression and anxiety more effectively when it is at its worst. CBT has played a massive part in this.
I hope all of this makes me a stronger, more determined person
So I decided to be more brave with my hair. This is a big deal for me. I normally would never have suggested an undercut to my hairdresser for fear of looking stupid, hating it etc. But after spending the week looking at different undercuts I decided to do it.
My hairdresser and I decided to go for a softer undercut which you can see on my left side. I love it. It looks different and I can always cover the undercut if I want by putting my hair over my ear. I am now contemplating getting some colour in it.
Yesterday I spent the day round at my parents. I had a lovely time. Walter loves my family. He had lots of fun running round in their garden and getting lots of cuddles.
This morning was Walter’s first session of his puppy classes. At first he didn’t know what to make of it. He is the smallest puppy there. A lot of the puppies are really lovely but hyper labradors. Today was a chance for the puppies to have a run round off the leads on the massive field where we will do the training and to get used to each other. By the end of today’s session Walter was a lot more settled and much more happier going up to the other puppies and vice versa. The real work starts next week. We picked up some really good treats for Walter after the session. Dave and I are really pleased with the puppy classes. Walter did really well and we are really looking forward to going again next week.
I felt pleased that I coped at the puppy session. I didn’t feel anxious. I was able to talk to the other puppy owners. Having Walter has made me be more sociable. We are constantly stopped on walks by people wanting to stroke him and ask questions. As such, I have to interact with people. One of the neighbours near ours always says hello to Walter now whenever he sees him 🙂
Walter is absolutely shattered after the puppy class. Our friends are coming round in a bit so he is having a much needed rest. This was him earlier in the week. He was sat with me on the couch. I leaned forward to get my drink from the coffee table and he stole my seat!
Thank you to all the people who have left some really lovely and encouraging comments on my last post. I wasn’t expecting them at all. I am quick to find the negative in situations and you all helped me see that I was strong and brave to stand up for myself when at times I feel quite the opposite.
I had my first CBT session last week. It went a lot better then I anticipated. I am not sure if I like the counsellor at the moment. At times she seemed sympathetic and at others she made me feel ridiculous and stupid for the way I think right now. I have three more sessions booked in before going to Australia.
On Saturday the weather was pleasant. You would think given the UK press that we were experiencing a heatwave. It wasn’t warm. It was sunny and I didn’t need to wear a coat outside. Dave and I took advantage of it and went for a walk around a dam that is about 10 minutes drive from our house:
The fresh air and sunshine on my face felt fantastic. I felt so much calmer. We then went and had a drink in Starbucks. Although it was busy I didn’t feel overly anxious.
Dave and I have been discussing the possibility of getting a dog when we come back from Australia. The benefits of me being outside were obvious after Saturday. I also think it will give me a sense of purpose having to look after a dog. We are not taking this decision lightly. We still need to discuss it in more detail. Plus currently Dave and I live in a rental property so we would need permission from our landlord. I’m hoping this wouldn’t be an issue with him as we have lived here for coming up to 4 years now and we are not looking to get a huge dog.
Dave and I went through all our clothes we are planning to take to Australia. I have mostly everything. I just need a few more pairs of shorts and another bikini. Dave needs some more shorts and tshirts. I was supposed to be going out for the day on Friday with a friend. She has had to cancel though so Dave and I are going to get all the clothes we need plus all the other stuff we need (I’ve made a list). I felt so much better when I could see that we don’t need to buy that much. Dave’s auntie has been messaging him about us climbing the Sydner Harbour Bridge today! We have our visas sorted, car park booked and Dave has emailed the airline we are flying with to let them know we are going to be on our honeymoon.
I went the gym on Saturday. A lot of people spoke to me about the incident with the woman pushing. They were all supportive of me. I found out from my friend that this woman has made someone else who comes to the classes so uncomfortable that she had stopped coming the gym! My friend is away from Wednesday for a few days so I am planning on mixing it up a bit at the gym. Normally I go to the gym on Wednesday mornings but I have decided to go to Insanity and Abs Blast tomorrow night instead. It is not worth the stress of potentially seeing this woman on Wednesday when my friend isn’t running the classes. I have been really up and down mood wise over the weekend so it really isn’t worth it.