March 27th – 30th

Hey everyone, 

Apologies for the lack of writing from me, it’s been a tough few days to be honest. I haven’t wanted to really communicate with anyone, or write down how I was feeling either. I was in my survival mode and I had to ride it out in order to get through it. As I’ve said in a previous post, living with depression is like a game of snakes and ladders. The last few days have been mostly ‘snake’ days. However, yesterday (29th), and today have been a bit of both. So here I am. 

27th was my 4 year wedding anniversary; I can’t believe it’s been that long already since I married my best friend, my soul mate, my everything. We’ve been through some pretty tough times in those 4 years, this last year especially with all my mental health problems. But he’s been there for me throughout it all and I’d be totally lost without him. He really is my rock and supports me a million percent. Times are tough financially at the moment because I’ve not been able to work, but the most important thing is that we have each other; we can face the rest together and we’ll be okay. We’ve been through worse and somehow we’ll make it through this too. 

I’ve managed to get the forms filled in for the various things we can claim, and will be attempting to make the phone call tomorrow to get the ball rolling. Hopefully if all of that goes through it’ll ease things a little financially and take some of the stress away. I feel awful that it’s because of me that we’re in such a situation, but at the end of the day it’s something I couldn’t (and to be fair still can’t) control, so I need to try and not worry about it too much. In the grand scheme of things, there’s a lot worse that could happen. 

I’ve always been a worrier though; every little thing occupies my mind relentlessly and I can’t stop it. I’m not sure if it’s part of my OCD, or whether it’s just in my genetic make up to be a worrier. My mum is the same, so perhaps it’s the latter. I don’t think I’ll ever change on that front! 

I’m also really disappointed in myself too, as I’ve let my binging and bad food choices get out of control. Since achieving target with Slimming World in January, I’ve gained 11lbs (well, 10.5lbs, so may as well say 11!). I know that I can lose it again, that’s not the issue that’s getting me down. It’s more that I let it happen in the first place. I guess I got complacent and/or lazy when I was at target weight. and slowly bad habits crept in again. Convenience and processed foods started creeping in, as well as chocolate and other such naughties when I felt really low and succumbed to comfort eating again. As soon as I stepped on the scales this morning I felt so angry with myself and knew exactly where it had all come from. I’ve not been to group for 2 weeks as I felt I needed a break, so without the thought of weigh in to go to I let things spiral out of control, under the impression that it wouldn’t matter as I wasn’t getting weighed. Now I shall be returning to group on Thursday to face the music, draw a line and start again. In between now and then though I am making a conscious effort to try and not gain any more pounds! Perhaps I’ll even undo some of the damage between now and then too if I’m really good. I’m going to be watching my syns like a hawk, drinking water and green tea like it’s going out of fashion, and make sure I’m on plan 100% for the next 4 days. Fingers crossed! I’ve got my little pebble jars out again so I can track the pounds. 

This leads me on to another development to my daily routine… 

Running. 

I went out for a 3 mile walk/run yesterday, for the first time this year. It completely exhausted me, but in a good way. The endorphins were rushing through my system for a good couple of hours when I’d done it and I felt proud of myself that I’d gotten back out there. According to the app that I tracked it on, I ran 2 miles in 25 minutes; I may have overdone the distance, but it’s the best route I’ve got to get back out there. So I aim to run/walk every other day on that route, and slowly build up to running more of it than walking. The aim is to get back to Parkrun as well, which is 5k (3 miles). So it’s all good practise in the long run anyway. I was going to do the 30 day shred again, but as the weather was on my side I figured going for a run would be more beneficial. Will keep you posted how things pan out with that. The added incentive of losing weight again is helping motivate me to do it. I refuse to gain any more weight and go backwards on that side of things!! 

This coming week I have my 4th appointment with my Psychiatrist… hmm, that’s a rather apprehensive area. After the last 3 appointments I’ve developed a little bit of a ‘what’s the point?’ mentality about seeing her. However, I shall give her the benefit of the doubt for now and see where it goes. Now that the medication seems to have been sorted, hopefully she’ll move on to actually tackling the bigger picture of how I got to where I’m at in the first place. If she doesn’t I can see me kicking off to be honest. I do think that with the drops in my mood this past week, that the medication is right in terms of what I’m taking, but not quite there on dosage yet. So, that should take all of 5 minutes to resolve and then if she sends me on my way then I won’t be impressed! I still keep feeling like not showing up to the appointment at all, but I know that’ll help even less! So I shall go and see what happens. Keep your fingers crossed for me everyone?! 

CBT session 10 of 12 on Wednesday; Something that seems to actually be making sense to me now! It took a while but with everything else I was battling with it’s understandable I suppose. As I’ve said previously, I’m still hoping to pursue 1-1 CBT after the groups done. I think it’ll be then that the real hard work will begin to be honest, as I put the techniques into practise with my various problems. I suppose you could say that it’ll be when my actual journey to recovery will begin; as until now it’s all been a bit of a crazy rollercoaster of experiments with medication and verging on giving up altogether. I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, I just can’t really see it yet, but in time I will. As soon as I see it I’m aiming for it with everything I’ve got. I want my life back and I will do whatever it takes to get it. 

Today is day 43 self harm free; as each day passes it’s another little victory. I’ll admit some days it has been increasingly hard to not give in to the temptation, but the fact that I have managed to is something to be proud of too. 

Another thing that’s positive is that I’m still free of Benji in my head. It’s now been over a week, 9 days in fact, since I last heard him in my head. I do sometimes feel it’s only a matter of time before he’s back with a vengeance and screaming at me, like he’s just on holiday or something. I hope that he doesn’t, but I have to be prepared for it just in case. The more prepared that I am, the better I’ll cope with it, if/when it happens. I’ve come this far without him and to have him back would really set me back I think. I hate the unknown; it’s one of my biggest fears. There’s a lot of unknowns with mental illness though, as it’s something that you don’t really have full control over. 

I’m going to be a guest blogger again soon to, this time for The Black Dog Tribe; It’s an on-line community set up by Ruby Wax for anyone affected by mental illness and is run by a charity called SANE, who provide free, confidential support for those affected, including family, friends and carers. Please click on the links to BDT, SANE and Ruby Wax to find out more. Being a guest blogger really adds value to sharing my journey and I hope that I can help others by doing so too. 

I think that’s pretty much all I’ve got to write about for today; feeling a little ‘meh’ right now so going to relax and probably get an early night. The change to BST is great in the fact that it means summer is on it’s way, but losing an hour really sucks! 

Thanks for reading everyone… bye! 

 

 

March 26th

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Hey…
Not feeling so good tonight folks; this post is going to be brief as I’m so tired I can’t think what to say really.

I don’t want all these negative thoughts and bad urges in my head again; I feel like I just want to hide away for a while until it all goes away again.

I went to CBT today; it made sense at the time, but right now I couldn’t tell you what we discussed. I can’t be bothered to look in my folder either. Perhaps I’ll cover it tomorrow if/when I blog.

I think the above (and below) images say it all for me tonight. Have really sunk down and I don’t know why. I’m seriously restless, but so damn exhausted at the same time.

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That’s me done for tonight. Night world.

x Sara Phoenix x

March 25th

Evening folks,

It’s late and almost time for my medication, so I’ll probably keep this quite brief…. Maybe.

Today has mostly been a very low day and one which I just survived. I spent the day at home, under my duvet, hiding away from the world.
I felt it was the safest place for me to be and I just couldn’t face going out. I slept some of the morning, waking up just before my husband was due home for lunch.

The sleep helped lift my mood a little, but I still didn’t feel good. All afternoon I battled with myself about things and it wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I ended up talking some things over with one of the guys I go to CBT with. It really helped me to try and understand why certain things in my past have made me feel the way I do about myself. It’s quite long and complicated so I won’t go into that for now. It’s still a work in progress anyway.

During our chat he also gave me a great analogy of what living with depression is like; a game of snakes and ladders.
Some days you’re climbing the ladders and other days you’re sliding down the snakes.

Today for me, I definitely stepped on a snake when I got out of bed this morning. When I first woke up I didn’t feel particularly good, then it just went downhill from there. In a way it’s a disappointment after climbing so many ladders over the last few days. I did kind of see it coming though, as felt really exhausted last night and a little on the low side. I had hoped just taking my medication and some sleep would pick me up again and all would be well. But no such luck.

As I said above, it was a case of going into survival mode really. At least I was safe. Sometimes that’s the most important thing to ensure; self preservation.

I need to keep in mind that it won’t last forever and that I’ll grasp the bottom of a ladder again soon. It’s just a case of riding it out and waiting really.

Things did pick up a little in the afternoon, I think the chat with my CBT friend helped with that. I’d also been arguing with myself about going to Rock Choir tonight. I really had to push myself to go, but I did it. And it was fun, so I was glad I went. I knew deep down that if I didn’t I’d regret it. We now have most of April off for Easter holidays. I’m hoping by the time the summer term starts I’ll be in an even better place and wanting to go will come naturally again, like it used to.

I’m going to call it a night now as am shattered, need to get my meds taken and off to bed. CBT session 9 of 12 tomorrow. Fingers crossed it doesn’t drag me further down again…

Night all, thanks for reading. Sorry if it was rambling/didn’t make sense…

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x Sara Phoenix x

March 24th

Good evening folks!

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Today has been another good day; my bestie came to see me and we just chilled out, talked and went for a lovely walk in the spring sun. He also brought me this cute little teddy:

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It was nice to just relax and take some time out, as I’m really quite tired today. We sat by the river for a while and just listened to the birds; he needed the time out just as much I think. He’s been having a rough time of things lately himself, but despite that he’s been there for me 100%. It’s friends and family like him that have truly been my safety net lately. I know I can count on them for love and support. It means the world to me, I just hope they all realise it.

In other news with me, I had a review with my GP this afternoon; went very well. He noticed a difference in me as soon as I walked into his room! We agreed that it seems as if the new medication is agreeing with me and is becoming effective. Third time lucky indeed!!

He was proud of me for the way I’ve turned a corner since he last saw me and said he’d been concerned about me in between appointments due to the phone calls, letters and emails from my CBT therapist and psychiatrist. I said that it had definitely been a rough few weeks, but that I felt I was coming out the other side of it now. He praised my realistic approach of one day at a time and I shared with him my Facebook page status about refusing to sink. He agreed with me that inevitably there will be more dark days ahead that I’ll have to face, but he said that he feels I’m in a much stronger position and will hopefully be able to handle them better. The medication combined with the CBT being a big factor in that of course. I told him that last week CBT suddenly seemed to click with me and I finally feel like I’m starting to get it and see the benefits of it. I also told him that R had suggested I go on to 1-1 CBT after the group sessions end. He was very keen on that idea.

We discussed my concerns about my psychiatrist too; he told me to see how things play out now that the medication side of things seems resolved, and made a good point that I had semi thought of too. When I first started seeing the psychiatrist of course I was in a very dark place; which effectively meant that trying to delve in and figure out the root cause of it all would have been pointless. I wasn’t in the right headspace to start dealing with it and my barriers between her and I would of most certainly have gotten higher. In hindsight it makes a lot of sense and in a way I feel a bit guilty for being so judgemental of her approach to my care. But, we shall see how things go on the front! My GP did say that if I still felt there was no connection or that I wasn’t feeling as if she was helping me, after a few more sessions with her, then I’m within my rights to tell her and to ask her directly to see someone else and get a second opinion. At the end of the day my care plan needs to be of benefit to me in the long run, so I have to speak out if I don’t feel it is.

At the end of my appointment he said I had made his day and he is so happy to see me in a better place now. As he handed me my repeat prescription he said to keep going and stay in touch. Which I definitely will do. If it wasn’t for him taking the time to really get me the help I need, I don’t think I’d be sat here right now. I know that may sound quite drastic, but it’s true. Without the right care, mental illness can really be a life or death situation.

I’m pleased to report that B is still silent in my head. It still feels a little surreal, as I had gotten so used to his presence; my poison parrot as my employment advisor called him! It’s definitely a nice feeling though and I’m making the most of it, as I can’t be sure it’ll be this way permanently now (although I’d like it to be!). I suppose he’s likely to surface when those dark days occur; when I’m vulnerable and not so strong to fight/ignore him.

All of the unknowns in this journey are still a fear in the back of my mind; I suppose you could say I’m scared of the darkness consuming me again. Okay perhaps it won’t happen as bad as it has been, but even a small amount at the moment will be potentially tricky.
I just have to keep plodding on, day by day, and not give up.

I am determined to make it through this though. It’s safe to say I’ve not had any thoughts of suicide or self harm for about a week now. Which to me is a huge thing, as it was always a daily battle for me. But I can now walk up to a train track and instead of crossing without looking or hesitating in the middle, I check more than once that it’s safe to cross and almost run to the other side, firmly closing the gate behind me. Sometimes I don’t even take a breath whilst doing so either, so I think there’s a shred of fear in there somewhere too.

Even when I’ve been contemplating suicide, I’ve always been scared to die too. Mostly for how it’d affect those around me, more than the actual end of me. I know I have many people that love and care about me, and even when I don’t like myself still very much, I know a lot of people like me.

Whilst I’m on that topic actually, I just want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been there for me over the past few months. I can’t imagine how difficult I’ve been to deal with and I truly appreciate the support that I’ve received. Even those that at times I’ve tried to push away, ignored or been bitchy to, have still remained firmly by my side. It’s nice to know I have so many lovely people around me, who willingly give up their time to help and support me.
So thank you all! Every single one of you, even those I’ve never met.

Right, I shall leave it there as I’m fighting to focus as I’m so tired! Thank you (again!) for reading. Much love to all.

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x Sara Phoenix x

March 23rd

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Hey everyone!
Thought I’d be different and start with an image! Then throughout the post will be further images. All positive too.

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Today has been another good day, although I do now feel like I’ve ran out of steam! I do have the worry that perhaps I have done too much, but at the same time I feel accomplished and proud. That in itself is enough and worthy of a couple of days rest now! I’ve done way more this last week than I have in the last few months, so I know it’s possible to be that way again. I just need to take things a bit slower I think, as I don’t want to totally burn myself out again. It’s a reassuring feeling though that there is a bright horizon to aim for too.

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I’m still taking every day as it comes, and going with the following motto:

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And this one too…

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When I started this blog I had a long road ahead of me; and of course I still do, there’s no denying that. However, the miles I’ve travelled so far are a solid foundation and to get to where I am right now, is an achievement in itself. Of which I am proud of myself. I didn’t see myself as having a future at all before, but now I know one is possible. I don’t know where it’ll take me or when I’ll get there, but to know there is hope of one is enough.

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I’ve got to allow myself time to heal and be patient with myself. I’m slowly gaining strength to fight my demons and take back control over them.

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I’ve come so far and even I can’t deny that progress has been made.

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I will keep fighting with all I have; even if some days that isn’t very much, or even anything at all. I’ll draw strength from those around me that love and support me every step of the way. I’m still afraid of what I’ve still got to face, as now that I’ve got to this point, is where the even harder part begins – Dealing with what brought me to making this journey in the first place.
The inner demons that dragged me down.
The darkness that consumed me.
The internal battle against myself.
The war of me, myself and I. 

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But, I know I will win that war. However long it takes. As every day comes, I’ll take on whatever I’m faced with and then move on to the next day. I’ll do what I can, with what I have and take comfort in knowing I’ve done my best. I won’t defeat it all at once, and that’s something I have to accept. I’ve always been a bit of an all or nothing type of girl, but I’ve got to change that. If I give my all, all of the time, I’ll have nothing left to give. It’s far better to give a little and receive a lot, than give a lot and receive a little.

On that note I must draw this to a close; I’m exhausted beyond belief, but proud of what I’ve achieved. I’m going to relax now and enjoy the sense of achievement. This post may have jumped around or even repeated itself, but I hope in some way it makes sense and represents me as who I am right now.

Thanks for reading and good night to all.

x Sara Phoenix x

March 22nd

Good evening lovely people!
(yes, I said good again, 2 days in a row, how outrageous of me haha!)

I’ve not got much to report for today, as mostly been chilling out with my husband. After yesterday’s gardening exploits I feel mighty sore and achey today! But it was worth it for sure.

I think the biggest thing to report today is…. *dramatic pause*….

I woke up with just me, myself and I in my head! No Benji. Not a peep ALL day!!! Perhaps he’s sulking because I ignored him yesterday and achieved so much, who knows. I’m relishing every minute of peace! Maybe the medication has done it, or maybe I’m just getting stronger and more under control and blocking him out. Whatever is going on, I like it! To not have to battle with him constantly or feel rubbish because of him is such a welcome relief. It feels like I’m on holiday from my own head! I could have shouted it from the rooftops this morning, I was that delighted!

I’ve had quite a steady week mood wise; slowly picked up and have now had 2 days in a row where I’ve felt reasonably ‘normal’!! Today I’ve smiled, laughed and been really relaxed. No fake smiles to be found here; currently my husband is being daft and making me laugh! It’s been a while since he’s seen me like this, so it’s made his day too.

I did accomplish something today as well; I organised my bedroom. (Well, made a start on it!) Made quite a difference with the little I did get done. I’m going to (with husbands help!) attempt to put a rail in my built in wardrobe (it’s in the spare room but I’ve claimed it as mine! My husband has the one in the other spare room, but his had a rail already!) and finally have somewhere to put my clothes! At the moment they’re piled up in our bedroom and it’s annoying me. We’ve lived here nearly 4 years, so it’s about time!

I’m still leaning on the edge of caution with my moods at the moment, but am feeling hopeful that things are moving in the right direction. Also, with all the things I’m getting done at the moment, if a bad day does sneak up on me, I can take a day or so out and just ride it out, safe in the knowledge that I’ve gotten alot done already. Every day is a new day and I’m taking them one at a time. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, as they say – “Don’t run before you can walk.” – and I apply that to my journey.

I’m going to end it there for tonight, as really not alot else to say! Am going to lay back and watch a movie with my adoring husband. Here’s a few positive (I think!) images to draw this post to a close.
Good night and thanks for reading!

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(Okay there’s more than a few, I got carried away!! Really going now…)

x Sara Phoenix x

March 21st

Good evening folks… (yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, I said “good”!!)

This may shock you (it has me…), but today has been a good day! At first I wasn’t convinced it was going to be though; when I first woke this morning I felt lethargic and quite low. I found getting out of bed quite a challenge, and the temptation to pull the duvet over my head and just stay there, hiding away from the world, was strong. But, I got myself up and got on with the usual morning routine.

After my husband went off to work, I sat there eating my breakfast, thoughts racing through my head at a million miles an hour. None of them made any sense of course, I was just overwhelmed by them and for a while it just stopped me moving. Somewhere inside all of those thoughts though, was one very clear thought that I really focused on. That was to not sit and spiral down into nothingness again, like I’ve done all too often lately. It took a while to act upon it, but I kept on trying and trying until eventually I got up and made the decision to get on with something, instead of moping. It came as quite a shock to the system in a way, as it’s not something I’ve been very good at recently; preferring to take the easy option of giving in and just letting the black dog win.

I decided that I was going to tackle the flower beds, back and front of the house, and clear up the patio. At first I was dubious of how much I’d actually get done, The self doubt and negativity screaming in my head that I’d give up and fail. But, I got everything together that I would need and headed out to the front first. Once I started, it began to be quite therapeutic! Pulling out the weeds, clearing out the leaves and tidying up the unruly bushes, became like a cleansing of my soul. (I’m being very deep there I know!). The sun was shining, and a little Robin came and sat near me, watching and eating the bugs and worms that were surfacing in the soil. Soon followed by a second Robin, chirping at the other and looking at me as if to say thanks for breakfast!
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This made me smile, and I got into some sort of ‘zone’ and just kept going until the job was done. As I looked at it afterwards and compared it to how it looked before, I felt such a sense of achievement. Doing something with visible results makes it even better, as you can see that you’ve really made a difference to something.

I was still feeling motivated to keep doing things, so I made the most of it and after a quick glass of water, I headed to the back of the house and started attacking the weeds on the patio; the more I did, the more I wanted to keep going. I finished the patio, tidied up my rose and took the leaves out of the other potted plant I have out there (can’t remember what it is, but it’s still thriving despite my neglect, so it must be a hardy plant!). Then I cleared the raised flower bed and admired what I’d done. I felt so proud that I’d actually done it all, and that it looked so much better, that I couldn’t help but smile.

By the time I’d finished it was nearing 12 noon and I was exhausted! My back and knees were aching, my hands sore and blistered. But I’d accomplished so much more than I imagined I would first thing this morning! I even managed to hoover round downstairs (mostly because I’d taken mud in on my boots and the OCD in me was screaming to clean!!). After that I rewarded myself with a soak in a lush hot bath, washed my hair and had some lunch. I kept looking out, front and back, and part of me was convinced I was dreaming!

When my husband came home for lunch, the first thing he said when he walked through the door was “Wow you’ve been a busy bee!” and I smiled. It felt good. He admired all my hard work and was really proud of me for what I’d achieved. He went back to work with a smile on his face too. I relaxed all afternoon and caught up with some of the programmes I’d TiVo’d; I was too knackered to do much else, but it was definitely worth it.

Sitting here now I’m still aching! Had a splinter in my thumb too that I had to get my husband to dig out, so now it’s really sore. Have had to type this on the laptop to try avoid using it too much, as typing on my mobile to write this was too painful! Combined with a scrape on my knuckle, it’s proof of a hard mornings work and I’m glad I didn’t let the demons win.

I’m still fearful of crashing and burning again, but for now I’m making the most of how I feel right now, in this moment; living day to day, even hour to hour sometimes, is the most effective way to battle with mental illness, due to it’s unpredictability. I always try to make the most of the good and then survive the bad. At least with the things I’m achieving whilst having good days, will allow me the freedom to just ride out the bad days and hopefully not feel guilty for not doing anything much at all. (Probably won’t erase all the guilt, but if it even helps a little would be nice!).

So, I think that sums up my day! The first full, positive post I’ve written for a while I think!

Thanks for reading, please keep sharing both the blog link and my Facebook page, all of the care and support I’ve received really does mean a lot, so thank you one and all.

I’ll leave you with this….

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….and say Good Night (there’s that word again!)