End of an era….

Hey folks,

After careful consideration, I’ve decided to shut down this blog. It is with a heavy heart, and a feeling of guilt also. As my views have dwindled to practically zero now, due to my own negligence of not posting regularly. Life just simply got in the way. I may start up a new blog in the future, but for now, I’m bringing this one to a close.

Thank you all for all of your support, comments etc, it has truly meant a lot to me over the past couple of years. It is with deep sadness that I’ve made this decision, but I feel it’s for the best in the long run. I just don’t have the time to spend writing much these days, as life with a baby is rather hectic! Rest assured, your loyalty to my blog never went unnoticed, and I feel so grateful for all of you who have followed my journey on here.

Apologies to anyone who does still pop by and read my ramblings, I’ll come back one day perhaps! May just start a fresh blog at some point about being a mother with bipolar. But this blog has well and truly run it’s course now I think, and it’s time to move on.

I’m going to find a way of downloading all of the posts, so that I can keep them, before I delete the blog. As it’ll be good to look back on maybe. Who knows. I could even get it printed into a book…. that would be a bit ott though perhaps!

So, with all that said, I write my final words, but this time, there won’t be a next time.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Take care, stay strong, and good bye.

x Sara Phoenix x

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27th October

Hey folks,

Just a quick check in tonight as I’m shattered, after a loooong day at work. Doing okay though mostly. Had a bit of a down day today, but I think it’s just because I’m so tired. Only got about 4 hours sleep last night, so I really struggled to get through the day. But, I did, and I’m feeling better now I’m home with hubby 🙂

Diet wise I’ve really screwed it up today; gone way over calories! Oh well, tomorrow is a new day to try again.

Tomorrow I have PT session 1 of 2; looking forward to it, even though it’s my nemesis: conditioning! I find that really hard going, but it’ll be worth it. It’s all about improving my fitness levels, in particular my recovery times. They increased when I had those 3 weeks off, but slowly but surely, I’m getting them down again and my fitness levels are coming back up.

Right, that’s all from me, sorry folks, going for a soak in the bath and an early night.
Thanks for reading as always, take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

17th October

Hey folks,

Hope you’re having a good weekend; mines been okay so far. Unfortunately my PT session didn’t happen though, as my trainer was taken ill at work, bless him. Hoping he’s feeling much better soon!! So, I just chilled out at home this morning, then this afternoon hunted on YouTube for a workout to do. I found Shaun T’s Insanity Max:30. At first I watched through some of it and thought there was no way I’d keep up with it! Then I just thought sod it, I’m gonna do it! So I took my laptop upstairs and got on with it. It was proper tough! I maxed out around the 11 minute mark so took a quick water break then cracked on. Then maxed out again around 23 minutes in, again took a quick break then jumped back in. Completed the whole workout and felt amazing! And so damn proud of myself for doing it. Burned a cracking 400 calories as well, which was ace!

For the rest of the day I’ve just been relaxing, reading and listening to music. Trying my hardest not to stress about next week! Easier said than done, especially when I had an email reminder from Lifetime training about it haha. It’s all beginning to feel really real now, and it’s scary. I am looking forward to it as well, but just scared of the unknown I guess. It’s somewhere I’ve not been to before, with people I’ve never met too. Not an ideal situation for me! But I’ll put my big girl pants on and get it done, haha!

As far as the smoking is concerned, it’s not gone well. Still haven’t managed to quit and it’s really getting to me. I think Monday will be the day to be honest, as I’ll be so focused on my course and won’t be able to nip out for a smoke any way. Plus I don’t want to walk in stinking of cigarettes either, so won’t smoke before it. I’ve got myself booked in to the stop smoking clinic on the 26th of this month. So even if I smoke in the evenings next week, the time is coming for me to quit once and for all. I just need some help with it to be honest. Nicotine addiction is tough, and no matter how hard I’ve tried I just can’t do it on my own.

Diet wise I’ve done really well today, sitting at just under 2000 calories, which is fine. I know my intake should only be 1800 but I’ve earned the extra with the insanity workout today. Feels good to be in control of my diet again, only been a couple of weeks, but I’m loving it. Being back on it feels great mentally and physically too.

So all in all it’s been a pretty good day today; but there’s a niggling feeling I’m getting at the moment…. just a real low and meh kinda feeling. It’s crept up on me and hit me this evening. Not quite sure why. Well, to be fair, I do have a lot going on in my life right now, and am super stressed about money. As per usual! Oh well, things always seem to work out in the end somehow, by a miracle usually! Need to win the lottery…. then again, I need to actually do the lottery in order to win it haha!

Anyway, that’s it from me for tonight. Thanks for reading as always, take care, enjoy the rest of your weekend, and stay strong. Until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

13th October

Hey folks,

Feeling a bit disheartened and disappointed in myself today; the day started out okay, not smoking, was using my ecig and getting on okay. It was tough, but I kept going. Even went to town and bought some more zero nicotine liquids. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be today. I took a drive to find the gym where my course is being held next week, and when I found it I was suddenly struck by fear!! The place is huge! This then led to me driving home craving cigarettes like mad! I made it until 3pm, then gave in. At first I was completely not bothered, but as time has gone on, I’ve really begun to feel disappointed in myself. This then developed into the feeling of failure and of letting everyone else down too. I put it on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that I was quitting; and really regret doing so. It added so much pressure, and that didn’t help. I feel guilty for not seeing it through and staying strong. Just generally feeling pretty rubbish today.

But, with that said, the plan is to try again tomorrow. And hopefully make it past 3pm and beyond. Getting to 3pm today was still an achievement and I should be proud of that. I did really well considering. I’ve gone from 20 a day, down to 15 yesterday, and today less than that even. So really, I’m on the right track still, it’s just a case of keep on cutting down until I can cut it out altogether. It is easier said than done of course. Nicotine is highly addictive, they say more so than cocaine. Quitting isn’t easy by any means, but I’ll get there. I’m trying so hard, both to quit and see the positives in what I’ve already accomplished.

As I say, tomorrow is another day to try again, and there’s still a fair bit of determination in me to do it. So I will try again, and I’ll keep on trying until I crack it. I’ve decided to stop broadcasting it on social media though, until I’ve cracked it. I’ll still probably post about it on here, as I’ll need somewhere to vent haha.

On a more positive note, it’s my PT session tomorrow! Looking forward to it, but also nervous about it after last weeks fail. I really hope my stamina/energy levels are better, and that I don’t feel ill or dizzy or anything. It was really unusual for me to feel that way last week, so hoping it’s just a one off! Really thought I was going to pass out to be honest, and my PT got really worried I think, the look on his face said it all! Fingers crossed for me folks!

I’m debating whether to run first thing or leave it until the afternoon. I really can’t decide. As I don’t want to knacker myself for my PT session, as I really want to give it my all. But at the same time, I don’t know if I’ll have the energy after my PT session for a run! Aaarrrggghhh!!! Will see how I feel in the morning. Considering I could potentially get out around 7am, it would give me a good few hours to recover from it before my PT session….hmmmm.

Anyway, that’s enough rambling on from me tonight; thanks for reading as always. Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

6th October

Hey folks,

So, I didn’t blog yesterday, as it was mine and hubby’s anniversary; 12 years together! 😀 Wowzers. It’s a long time haha. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for sure, we’ve had our ups and downs, but all the while we’ve remained a strong couple. If anything we’ve come out stronger every time we’ve faced challenges. We still face challenges now, but because we have each other, there’s nothing we can’t handle 🙂 I love him more than anything, and can’t wait to see what the next 12 years and beyond brings!

I’ve also decided that I’m going to get back to my running; after nearly 3 weeks off, it’s going to be tough, but I miss it so much! It became such an integral part of my routine, and I do feel a little lost without it now! So, Friday I shall lace up those Nikes and get myself out there! Am really looking forward to it 🙂

Tomorrow I have my PT session. Looking forward to that too, although as per usual I always have a few nerves about what I’ll be doing haha. But, I can handle whatever he throws at me (I hope!).

One thing that’s bothering me at the moment, is my love of Rock Choir seems to have dissolved. I’m not sure where it’s gone, but I’m definitely not feeling it any more. Which is bothering me somewhat. Plus I can’t really afford the monthly payment for it any more either; been working out the finances today, and we’re -£53 every month. Our outs are more than our ins, and there’s nothing else really I can cut back on. Well, in fairness, there is one big thing I could do, and that’s to quit smoking! Really need to in the next 2 weeks, as I’ve got my FI course coming up, and being a smoker won’t look good! But back to what I was talking about, other than that, there’s nothing else really that I can either cut down or cut out completely. Unless I give up my gym and PT sessions, but we all know that isn’t even going to be thought about!!

Part of me feels like I’ve kind of outgrown RC in a way, haven’t been feeling it for a while now to be honest. But I’ve persevered in the hopes that it’d come back to me, but it hasn’t. It’s sad because we’re starting some really juicy songs this term, that I’ve been wanting to do for ages. But even that doesn’t excite me either. Hmmm, I really don’t know what to do. I know if I quit I would miss it, but would I miss it enough to make me want to go back? Who knows….

Mood wise, I’m a little low today; could be in part because I was without my meds for a couple of days (entirely my own fault for simply just forgetting to take the bloody things!). But got back on them today, so hopefully I’ll pick up. I can’t actually talk about the other reason that’s got me down on here, it’s a bit of a secret for now! Let’s just say it’s a new adventure, and it’s scary haha! Some of you reading this will know exactly what I’m on about!!

Anyway, I think that’s all from me for tonight; thanks as ever for reading, means a lot. Hope you’re all having a good week! Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

25th September – 2 years on….

Hey folks,

Apologies again for the lack of posts lately, just been trying to get myself better! I think I’ve finally turned the corner and am on the mend now, woohoo! Anyway, today’s post is going to be pretty epic, so bear with me, and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this!

Facebook kindly reminded me, that today is my 2 year breakdown anniversary. I wrote the following as my status (and thought it was a good way to start this post too….)

2 years ago today, I was going through hell. A severe breakdown had me floored and I thought that was it for me. I had no hope left and just wanted to die. But luckily I found a doctor who understood me, like no other had done before. He saw my pain was real and did everything he could to help me. I was referred to a psychiatrist very quickly, and also for CBT.
It took a long time, and a lot of hard work, to get through it, but I did. And I’m still here to tell my story.

And this is my story….

It began long before I knew I was unwell; I can’t pinpoint an exact date/time, but it had been going on a long time, I know that much. I was hearing voices and seeing people that weren’t there. I was essentially living a double life, one real, one imaginary. But to me, that imaginary life felt so real, I’d gotten in so deep that I had no idea what it wasn’t real. The main voice/person, was a guy called Benji. He was a goth, like me at the time, and was 1 year older than me. The things that went on are far too complicated to go into here, but it progressed on from just him, to my mind creating his entire family and friends as well. I deeply believed that they were real, and even involved actual real people in the stories. I created on-line accounts of these people, and conversed with others as them. I had a second mobile phone, that I used to text people as Benji. At the time I had no idea what I was doing, but looking back, it’s all so screwed up. I can’t believe how deep I really was with it.

I don’t know why, or where it all came from, other than it was all in my head. In a way, I admire my own imagination, but that’s probably so wrong of me to do that. The whole time I kept it all from my husband; he had no idea what was going on. I feel bad for keeping it from him for so long, and you can’t even imagine how scared I was when I eventually told him what I’d been doing for near on a year. But he was amazing about it, and just said that he wasn’t angry, and that it was all just part of my illness and that I’d get better and all would be fine.

I got so lucky finding a GP that understood me; he saw how real my pain was and went above and beyond to help me. I can’t thank him enough, he literally saved my life. It’s not every day you can say that about someone is it! He got me referred so quickly to a Psychiatrist, and for CBT. (As I said above). And from there, it was a daily battle to get better. Once I was on some medication I realised that these voices/people weren’t real, and I was rather mortified at what I’d done. Slowly but surely the truth came out, and I lost someone very close to me because of it. (Although he’s back in my life now, in a way, so I didn’t lose him permanently). The one I felt, and still do, most bad about, was my sister. My lies had caused her a lot of heartache, and for that I’ll eternally be sorry; nothing will ever make up for what I did. But she was amazing, understanding that it was all because I was unwell, and that I didn’t do it to be malicious or on purpose. I know deep down that I didn’t, but it still hurts me that I hurt her.

Looking back, it all feels so surreal. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was doing. I was completely lost for a while. As I said above, I’d lost all hope and just wanted it all to end. I was literally at rock bottom, I couldn’t get any lower I don’t think. To look at me you could see I was suffering; I didn’t smile, or really engage with anyone. I had a blank expression and just spent a lot of time in my own head, going over everything constantly, trying to make sense of it all. I found a few selfies that I took back then, when the depression was really kicking my ass, and I don’t even recognise myself to be honest. I was just an empty shell, existing day to day. I wasn’t living.

As time went on, and a lot of experiments with medication later, I finally started to turn the corner and parts of my old self started to show again. Then, on April 1st 2014, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Affective Disorder, type 2. I was put on an anti-depressant and an anti-psychotic. Basically a medication to raise my mood, and one to lower my mood, with a view to keeping me on a level plane. The first combination of medications really didn’t work for me, I felt so ill on them, physically, that they were quickly changed. Then something just clicked; we’d found the medication that worked for me. A combination of Sertraline and Aripiprazole. Since then, I’ve not looked back. Over the past couple of years we’ve played with the dosage, I’ve had set backs, lows, highs (manic episodes), and times where I’ve just been on cruise control in the middle, which is a great place to be!

Right now, in this moment, apart from being unwell physically, mentally I’m doing okay. Back in cruise control haha. I can’t believe how far I’ve come to be honest. I found my inner strength and really fought back against my mental illness. It is a daily battle though to be honest. I can never predict how my moods will be, I could go to bed feeling fantastic, and wake up the next day feeling like hell on earth. So far I’ve been fairly stable for a good 6 months now, if not a little longer than that. I lose track to be honest. I just make the most of every good day, and always in the back of my mind, I’m prepared for the bad days too. I know that when they come that they are only temporary, and that I’ve got the strength to get through them.

I hope by sharing my story, someone reading this, feels less alone. If anyone wants to get in touch please feel free to. You can either comment on here or e-mail me directly on – saraphoenix2014@outlook.com

I’m happy to answer any questions, or just generally be there for anyone in the same situation as I was. You’re not alone, never feel that way.

Anyway, time to get on with my day I guess!! Been sat here typing for near on an hour now, so I really should get on with something productive!! Thanks as ever if you’ve read all of this, it truly means a lot. I hope it’s made sense and given some hope. There is life after mental illness; recovery isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it.

Take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x

7th September

Hey folks,

Been a rather busy day today! This morning I really didn’t want to get up though, so my usual early morning run didn’t happen (until later on, more on that shortly!), I literally got up, had a quick coffee and headed off to work to walk the dogs. Luckily I only had 2 of the 3 to walk, so it wasn’t too scary haha. Then I came home, had a quick drink, changed and went off out for my run!

I wasn’t happy with it though to be honest; was so much slower today that usual, even slower than my runs without music! Not sure what’s going on with that really, I’m thinking it’s because I’m bored of the route now. So, with that said, I’m challenging myself to do 5k instead. Obviously it’ll be walk/run intervals still, but I’m up for the challenge. Actually looking forward to running again now, whereas these last couple of runs have filled me with dread for some reason! I’ve still gone and got it done, but can’t say I’ve enjoyed them as much as I was at the start. When my times were getting quicker it spurred me on to keep getting out there, but as my times slowed right down, it de-motivated me somewhat. So, as of Wednesday, I’ll be running/walking 5k’s! Well, maybe a shorter distance on Friday’s when it’s a work day and I’m short on time!! But still, two days a week for sure.

After my run, I got changed again, had my protein shake, then headed back out to my doctors appointment. Basically was just a check in with my GP, which is useful for both of us, to see how I’m getting on. He also prescribed me some anti-histamines to help me with my sleep, but said not to take more than half to start with, to see how it affects me. Also, not to take them for the first time the night before starting my new job, so it’s not going to be tonight! I’m hoping I get a good nights sleep tonight though, as I’ve got a long day ahead of me tomorrow – 9:30-6 – and I’m quite nervous about it. It’s only technically ‘training’ though, so I guess I needn’t worry too much. Although, I’m sure it’ll still be hard work. Will be doing cleaning, dog walking and general housekeeping. I am sort of looking forward to it, mostly the earning money part and getting back into a routine, haha!

Back to my doctors appointment – he was generally happy with how I’m doing, and said my recent ‘wobble’ with depression is most likely down to having so much going on at the moment, which to be fair, I really do have a fair bit going on. What with work, my PT course, gym, Avon, rehearsing for Russell Watson performance, Relay For Life, and family drama to deal with, it’s all happening for me right now! As well as something else going on that I’m not going to speak about on here, but it’s causing me a great deal of stress and anxiety at the moment!! So yeah, am pretty frazzled to be honest! But hopefully it’ll all settle down and things will be calmer and more organised.

Mood wise I’m not doing so bad today; feeling fairly good and upbeat, but I think it’s helped that I’ve had 3 days with my husband at home. During the last couple of weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time on my own, and that never helps me to be honest. I do get lonely; but at the same time I really wasn’t feeling like a people person either, so needed the time out and space I guess. Kind of stuck between a rock and hard place on that really. Not wanting to be alone, but not wanting to socialise or be with people either!

As for my diet, have been back on plan for 2 days straight now, and I’m definitely feeling better for it. However, I don’t think it’s going to be enough to shift my gain that I discovered the other day. But we’ll see. Am hoping we don’t have weigh in at my PT session this week to be honest, as it’s not going to be good I don’t think. But then again, it may spur me on if I see a gain on the official scales, who knows!

Anyway, I think that’s enough from me for today, probably my longest post for a while! Hope you all had a great weekend!! Thanks for reading as always, take care, stay strong and until next time….

x Sara Phoenix x