May 29th – The big 5-0

Hey folks, 

Been a while again I know, sorry. 

Have been a little up and down lately, and not really had a lot to write about. However, today marks something pretty epic for me:

50 DAYS SELF HARM FREE!! 

I’m really proud of myself for this too; I made it to around 55 days last time, so I’m a little anxious that a fall is coming, but I’m determined to try and stay strong. I want to make it to the next 50th day (well, 100 days total!), and beyond! I do feel more confident about it this time, more so than I’ve ever done before. It’s an odd feeling for me, as it’s always been my biggest weakness. 

Now though, I look at my scars and it upsets me that I’ve done that to myself. I wouldn’t say I’m ashamed of them, as they’re a part of me and shows the battles that I’ve fought and inevitably won; but at the same time, I’m embarrassed when people see them. I always wonder what they’re thinking of me and if they’re judging me because of them. I suppose in time, as they fade I’ll get over that feeling. The ones on my legs won’t ever been seen by anyone but me and my husband (and potentially doctors/nurses). 

Self harm is a really hard thing for people to understand; if you’ve never been there yourself, it’s impossible to truly understand it. It’s hard for people like me, to describe to others how it feels or what it’s like to feel that harming yourself is your only option to deal with the internal war and pain going on inside of you. My next themed topic post will be on June 1st and will be about self harm. 

In other news, I’ve managed to get a grip on our debts now; payment plans have been set up, and as long as we stick to them we’ll be okay. No more threats of the electricity being cut off or being taken to court. It’s a relief to be honest, as it feels like we’re finally getting back on top of things. I always get nervous in these situations though, as it never seems to last long. Everything crossed that it does this time!! I’ve had enough stress and worry over the past few months, to last me a lifetime! 

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this as yet, but tomorrow I start a cleaning job; it’s fortnightly for 3 hours at £9.50 an hour. Tomorrow is a trial clean to see how things go, so hopefully it’ll go well and at least it’s a little bit of an income. I’m going to put the money in a jar and save to get my tattoo finished. I really feel that I’ve accomplished so much and have come so far, and it’s the right time to get the colour put into it. I’ve worked out that I’ll have to work 5 weeks to get enough for it, but I’m willing to do so. It may happen sooner with my money from my seasonal job and hopefully the agency job as well. I really want to get my guitar sold, then it’ll bulk up the money faster! I sold a lot of things on eBay, but ended up using most of that to pay bills or buy food! This time, the cleaning money is most definitely mine for my tattoo. May even make a special jar with “Tattoo Fund” on it! If I can quit smoking too then I’ll put £5 in every time I’d normally buy cigarettes. 

Speaking of which, we’re looking into eCigs; apparently they’re really effective for quitting smoking, so fingers crossed. I’d love to quit fully, but I know that I’m not in the right place for that just yet. 

I’ve still been doing Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 workout; So far I’ve done 5 days of Week 1, and 4 days of Week 2; it’s brutal! It makes the 30 Day Shred seem like a breeze in comparison! I couldn’t face doing it today as haven’t been very well, struggled with it yesterday, so decided to go for a 3 mile walk today instead. My legs really do ache, well my whole body does to be honest. I think I’m battling a cold/virus kinda thing. Fun! 

Anyway, I think that’s all for today, so until next time…. 

 

May 24th – Feel the burn…

Hey folks, 

Mood wise today has been a better day, right now I’m feeling quite hyped up, but that could be to do with all the coffee that I’ve drunk today. I’m not supposed to drink as much as I do, but I’m a little addicted to it. I get so tired and it’s the only thing that keeps me going some days, like today. 

Haven’t really done much, but as the title suggest, am feeling the burn after my workout this morning. Week 2 of the Ripped in 30 workout is brutal! Kinda dreading weeks 3 and 4! But, I’m up for the challenge. My abs are coming back which is awesome, got little indentations forming and I love it! Some of the moves I do modified, others I do advanced, or at least attempt to! Sometimes my coordination is a little off though, so have to do the modifier. 

I’m having 2 rest days, then back on it Tuesday. I’m doing 5 days of each level/week, as that’s what Jillian suggests. Hopefully by the end of it I will be ‘ripped’ haha. I’m working my ass off so it better be worth it!! 

This afternoon we went to see my mum as it’s her birthday today, she didn’t know we were going so it was a nice surprise for her. Was nice to spend time with her too, and some other family as well. 

My weight is bothering me at the moment; I’m way out of target, by almost a stone 😦 
It’s the medication I think, and perhaps a little muscle mass from my workouts, but I need to get things under control. I really don’t want to be a chunky girl again, I like my size 10’s too much! I’m okay with being a 12 though, as it’s a considerable difference compared to the size 20/22’s that I was in this time last year! As long as I don’t go any bigger than that then it’s not too bad. I’m trying not to get too hung up with the number on the scales, but it’s easier said than done. I also need to be careful it doesn’t become an obsession again, like when I was younger. (More on that when I’m less tired). 

Right, am going to leave it there for tonight as my concentration is rubbish now! 

Until next time…

 

May 23rd – Been a while…

Hey folks, 

Been a while since I last posted, so thought it was time for a catch up. 

This weeks been fairly average and normal; Monday was my husbands birthday, so chilled out together for the day which was cool, then the rest of the week I’ve been working. 

My mood has been reasonably stable, up until this afternoon where it’s dropped and stayed pretty low. I think it’s just exhaustion from working so much, bit of a shock to the system perhaps…. but I’m not sure 100% really why. 

I did find out that another of my friends is pregnant today, which I think may have influenced my mood a little. Of course I am happy for her, that goes without saying really; but at the same time I am insanely jealous. I wish that it was me so very much. 

I wasn’t going to blog about it, but it’s the only thing consuming my thoughts at the moment and it’s driving me nuts, so had to vent it. I know that it’s not something to rush into, and believe me I won’t. It’s just that am in my last year of my twenties, and feel now is the right time. I feel ready to be a mother, more than I ever have before. I know too that my recent Bipolar diagnosis does play a part in future decisions as well, but I refuse to let it define or stop me being a mum. So many people on the Bipolar support groups of facebook are mothers, so I know that it’s possible, it just makes it a little more complicated with medication and mood (with hormones etc going crazy!). But with the extra support from doctors and such, it’ll be okay. 

I know that it will happen, but I just don’t want to wait any more. There’s never going to be a perfect time, so why keep putting it off? Financially, yes things aren’t great, but they never really have been, nor will they ever be good enough; so if we keep saying we’ll wait until they’re sorted, it’ll never happen. No one can truly afford children, but they make the best of what they have to make it work. Children need love and care more than they need expensive clothes and toys; 

One thing that saddens me, is the fact that I’ll never have the opportunity to breast feed. I’d always been a little apprehensive about it, but had decided that I wanted to give it a try; but now that has been taken away from me. Because of my medication, I’m not allowed to. It sucks. 

Anyway, before I break down in tears am going to leave it there for tonight; so tired it’s unreal. 

Until next time peeps… 

May 17th & 18th – Reflection

Hey folks! 

Did you miss me yesterday? … unlikely lol! 

Well, I am back, and feeling very reflective. I wrote in my journal today, usually separate thoughts from what goes in my blog, but today it’s being merged into here. 

I was sat thinking about suicide. No, not like that! In the “Wow, I got that low, but never acted upon those thoughts”, kind of way. It got me thinking about how glad I am that I never did act on those thoughts, what I’m grateful for and why I’m happy to be alive. 

I’m really proud of how far I have come, and am feeling a lot better than I did at the beginning of this journey. It’s amazing what can happen in 5 months.
At the beginning of this year I was still really struggling with depression. This had been going on for around 6 months, and no matter how high the dose of the medication went, I still felt awful. I struggled every single day with negative thoughts, suicidal urges and self harm. I’d never felt so low in all my life.

On the 7th of January, I went to my first ever Psychiatrist appointment. I remember being totally terrified of going, and my husband having to practically push me through the door. I didn’t exactly hit it off with her that day either; I left feeling worse than ever, and all she’d done was increase my medication. I didn’t feel it was going to help, and turns out it didn’t really anyway.

On the 22nd of January, I started 12 weeks of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; Looking back, I remember how I used to say that I wasn’t going to bother going and didn’t see the point of it. But now that I’ve done the full 12 weeks, I’m both glad and proud of myself for sticking at it and attending every session. It’s definitely been worth it, and I’d recommend it to anyone!

Through February up to now, I’ve most definitely been on one hell of a roller coaster ride. Ups and downs, some close calls to ending things, and lots of appointments with Doctors, Psychiatrists, Therapists and Medications. Which to conclude the outcome of all of those to one thing, a diagnosis. Bipolar Disorder. After 13+ years of struggles with depression and varying degrees of mood swings, I finally got a name for it all. Yes, I freaked out to start with; but then once I’d gotten my head around it, I settled down and it all began to make so much sense. I was no longer scared of the diagnosis, I embraced it with both hands and thought “Right, this isn’t going to defeat me, I’m going to learn to manage my condition and live a fulfilling life!”. 

Apologies for repeating things in this post that have already been blogged about in the past, but it’s good to look back sometimes. If only just to see how far you’ve come, what you have achieved and things to be proud of. Truth is, I can finally say I am genuinely happy to be alive and so very proud of all the things I’ve battled through and won. So many times I really did see no future for myself; all I saw was bleak, miserable and depressed existence ahead of me. 

But now, my medication is right and working, I have a much more positive outlook on everything, and I’m finding more positives every day. In my journal I wrote:
“I’m glad I didn’t give up. I’m glad something kept me hanging on. I’m grateful for all of the love and support that I receive each and every day. I can’t say I love life just yet, but I’m happy to still be alive. I’m a fighter not a quitter, and I intend to keep on fighting. I’ve been through some of the worst days of my entire life, but I made it through. I don’t always know how exactly, but I did. Better days are here, and the best is yet to come.”

I don’t think I really need to leave you with a positive quote tonight, as the above is my own positive! 

I will leave you with this though…. today is 39 DAYS SH FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! 

Until next time…

 

May 16th – Fitness.

Hey folks, 

Today has been somewhat stressful but also productive. The stress is regarding the electricity debt, still in the unknown area of what’s going on with that! Just wish I had £1000 to just clear the debt and get it over with!! 

Productivity wise, I managed to get my bathroom cleaned this morning and it’s something I’ve been trying to motivate myself to do for quite a while; so as sad as this sounds, I’m proud of that achievement! 

This afternoon I started a new workout DVD: Ripped in 30 by Jillian Michaels. I watched it through first, with the intention of starting it on Monday. But after watching it, I was suddenly motivated to actually get up and do it! So, while the feeling was there, I got changed and had a crack at it. Oh. My. God. It hurts!! I resembled a red, sweaty, jelly mess by the end of it, but it felt amazing all the same! I WILL be ripped in 30, even if I do feel mighty broken right now. 

My mood has been a little all over the place today; a little bit of a rollercoaster of highs and lows, but nothing too major. I just kept myself busy when I needed to and ended up napping again. I think I’m fighting a cold at the moment, as it’s unlike me to nap during the day any more.  

My arms are really aching so will have to stop typing soon! I’m sure going to feel it in the morning! Then I’ll do it all over again! I love working out though, even if sometimes I really have to push myself to do it. Sometimes when it takes the most effort and motivation, it’s the best workout I do and it’s so worth the effort. I do miss running, but this has some running on the spot in it, as well as the strength and abs in there as well, so it’s all good. Takes around 20-25 minutes, and uses her 3-2-1 principle, like the 30 Day Shred. But, it’s quite a bit harder and more intense than the 30DS; I’m aiming to do 6 days a week on each level. There’s 4 levels, so will total 24 days of working out. Hopefully with the result of being “Ripped”!!! I was getting really defined abs after the 30DS, so I know it’s possible, and this focuses a lot more on abs. I was impressed with my endurance though, it seems to have stayed at quite a high level surprisingly! Had to keep stopping for water though, which I feel may be because of my medication as it can cause me to overheat. 

Any how, I’m going to stop for tonight, there’s not a lot more to say really. I may leave posting again for a few days, kind of like a break, but also to gather more to write about! Unless of course I really do need to vent or something, in which case I’ll be back a lot sooner! So, don’t be concerned if it’s a few days before I post again. I’m okay, honest! 

Until next time….

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May 15th – 100TH POST!

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Hey folks, 

Can’t quite believe it, but this is my 100th post to my blog!! 

It has coincided with my review coming through the post, from the CBT Therapists. So I thought I would cover that tonight. 

Will give you a run down of my day first though: 
I went to visit my mum this morning, had a really nice time and it felt good to spend the time with her. I know since my dad passed away she does feel lonely. I’m going to try and see her more often, and call her at least once a week to check in on her. I do feel guilty that I’ve not been doing that, can sometimes go weeks without seeing or speaking to her. That’s so awful of me! I need to and will make more of an effort from now on!! 

This afternoon I went for a 3 mile walk as the weather was really lush! I did it in 54 minutes, which is a personal best for me. It’s also good practise for a 10K sponsored walk that my husband and I are doing in September. It’s for The Alzheimer’s Society, and you can sponsor me here, if you wish to. (Every donation gratefully received, even if all my followers contributed £1, that would be £40 to a great cause). 

I also spoke to the council about our arrears, and sorted out an arrangement with them to pay it off; basically spread out over the 10 months, on top of the normal payment. So at least that’s 1 of 2 debts sorted. The electricity is a whole new ball game, and one which I won’t go into details of here, as it’s far too stressful. 

So, on to the main topic of this post: CBT review. 
As my regular reader will know, I had a 12 week course of group CBT; The review letter came through the post this morning, and shows just how useful the course was for me. 
At the beginning of the course, my PHQ9 (measuring depression) score was 27/27. My GAD7 (measuring anxiety) was 21/21. 
After the 12 weeks, these have reduced to PHQ9 of 6/27 and GAD7 of 6/21. So a considerable improvement, and I’m really proud of that. 
My discharge plan is as follows: 
“A referral has been made, for an assessment with secondary care, for 1:1 support”
Which I’m really glad about, as had mentioned it a few times at my 1:1’s after group. I’m really keen to get the chance to work through CBT techniques specifically to my situation and maybe reduce those scores even further.

Combined with my medication, I really feel that I’d benefit from further therapy. It’s already clearly been really effective for me, and helped a great deal with both my depression and my anxiety. It makes me feel hopeful that, going forward, I can further learn CBT techniques and use them to get through episodes of depression and/or anxiety in the future. 

I have come so far, I realise that now. It’s taken a while for it to really sink in, but when I look back at where I came from, to where I am now, it’s huge. Yes, I still have the occasional dip in mood, or excessive high, but that’s to be expected with Bipolar Disorder. The medication is definitely helping though, but there is no permanent fix, just management. 

I’m so much stronger that I was; I am getting some self confidence back and have achieved so much:

  • I have a job, albeit temporary.
  • I have tried volunteering.
  • I’m keeping on top of my housework and beginning to feel house-proud again.
  • I’m attempting to take charge of our debts, rather than ignoring them.
  • I’m slowly taking back control over my mental health.

– I REFUSE TO SINK; INSTEAD I’LL LEARN TO FLY-

That’s still is, and always will be, my personal mantra. I live by it every day. I can feel my wings now, lifting me up little by little; It’s only a matter of time, before I spread those wings and take flight. 

I will learn my triggers and ways to manage the crazy highs and epic lows; 
I’ll have the control that I’ve been fighting for;

I have so much going for me, and so much love and support. For which, I am truly thankful and it means the world to me. I know I’m going to be okay eventually, and I’m going to keep on fighting until I really am. I can see the future now, and in a much more positive way. Things I’d like may not be happening for me right now, but perseverance and patience will pay off in the end. All good things come to those who wait, and all that jazz! 

To the future I say – BRING IT ON! 

I’ll leave you with my usual quotes, ones that today I feel really reflect where I am at right now. So, until next time…

“Now is the time for us to shine. The time when our dreams are within reach and possibilities are vast. Now is the time for all of us to become the people we have always dreamed of being. This is your world. You’re here. You matter. The world is waiting.” 

“The greatest discovery of all time, is that a person can change their future by merely changing their attitude.”

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that colour your world. Constantly colour your picture grey, and your picture will always be bleak; Try adding some bright colours to the picture by including humour, and your picture begins to brighten up.”

May 13th & 14th

Hey folks, 

Sorry for not posting yesterday, didn’t have a lot to write about during the day, and then went to Rock Choir in the evening (which was amazing…will go on to that in a bit). 

Today has been a bit of an annoyingday… This morning I didn’t feel very well, so had to skip my workout. Couldn’t even face a walk; felt really light headed and just generally unwell. I thought I’d have a lay down for a bit and ended up falling asleep for a couple of hours. I did feel a bit better afterwards, but also annoyed that I’d wasted the morning. I have a never ending to do list of things I need to get done this week, and sleeping half the day away doesn’t help. However, I’ve got to give myself a break as I obviously needed the sleep. 

This afternoon I made up for it a little bit, by half cleaning the oven. Took me near on 2 hours just to clean the inside of the door! So after I’d done that I gave up. My arms were aching and I was honestly fed up with the grease and grime. At least I’ve started it though, so I’m taking that as a positive. I also got the washing up done. 

Oh I do talk about some really mundane things on this blog don’t I?! I bet you’re riveted by it all…. sorry. 

Anyway, on to something good… ROCK CHOIR! 

Last night was both nerve racking but had an incredible adrenaline rush because…..
I SUNG A SOLO!!!!!!!!! 
So incredibly proud of myself, as it’s been a long time since I’ve stepped up to the mic, and it went really well; a lot better than I thought it would anyway. I sang Rolling In The Deep, and it felt awesome. I even managed to smile whilst singing as well, and remembered (most of) the lyrics too. It’s a definite achievement, considering a few weeks ago even, there’s no way I would of got up and done that. I would of totally shied away from it. 

I can see that I’ve come a really long way on this rollercoaster journey, and I do have a sense of pride about it too. I’m considerably better than I was, even if I’m not fully there just yet. I still have my snake days, but the ladder days outweigh them now. The last couple of days have been slightly snakey in places, but have managed to overcome thoughts and feelings, so that’s another positive. 

I’ve made the decision to move away from volunteering as well; Please don’t judge me folks. It’s just really not for me and I would much rather bow out now gracefully, than let them continue to train me and then drop out later down the line. Besides, there are a few Friday’s that I can’t do in the next few weeks anyway, so I’m not exactly reliable. I’ll still do the on-line side of volunteering for The International Bipolar Foundation. As I can do that around other commitments.  

I’ve thought long and hard about it, and feel it’s in the best interests of both the shop and myself. I’m sorry if any of you feel that I’m making a mistake or am selfish or something along those lines, but I just really feel that this is the right decision. 

Right, I think that’s me done for today to be honest, starting to feel crappy again (seems to coincide with getting tired…and my medication….). I’ll leave you with a couple of positive quotes, in the hopes that when I read it back to myself, they’ll make me feel a little more positive…. until next time…

“Just because today is a terrible day doesn’t mean that tomorrow might not be the best day of your entire life. You just have to wake up and get there.” – Pete Wentz

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”

“I am too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful and too determined to be defeated.”