Well hello and welcome to my project for the next year! As part of my recovery from depression and anxiety, I am supposed to doing cognitive behavioural work each day. This was the instruction of the psychiatrist last week but I have failed to do any yet. My lovely friend Lizzie suggested making it into something fun and starting a blog! And to make it even more fun, this will let me add photos too!
Today's photo is one I took as I lay in bed at 4am, unable to get back to sleep. (It has been enhanced - it was pretty black!) I was staying at Christine's house; I have stayed there quite a lot recently. She is amazing and is a great person to be around however I'm feeling. The room has always been very cold as the window would never shut. Armed with my good old giraffe onesie however, I have coped! Amusingly, last night was the last time I will stay there as she moved out today and guess what! The window shut!! Typical! Oh well, at least I got one warmer night there!
Ultimately I guess this blog is for me and, to an outsider, it may be pretty boring but it will be interesting to look back on later in life and maybe it can help someone else sometime too. I suspect that my love of talking about myself will probably make this first post quite long but no doubt other days it will be harder to motivate myself to post anything. Lizzie is going to have to check I actually do keep going!
If you do read on, beware there may be unhelpful triggers, as I am trying to be fully honest.
So, down to business. How has my day been? Since Christine was moving out, I had to be up early and had to leave the house in a fit state. This caused me some degree of anxiety but I had to rush to get to an assessment I was having with a counselling organisation. I only managed to get up by telling myself I could go back to bed this afternoon.
As I cycled to my appointment, I felt delicate and vulnerable. As soon as I found the building, I felt uncomfortable and even more so when I met the counsellor. I felt patronised and weird. We were in a room with children's toys and play-doh in. I think this made me feel even more like I was being treated like a child. She asked me lots of questions and got me to fill in a questionnaire about how the last week had been for me. It was a bit stressful deciding what answers to put but I have got so used to filling out these forms by now, I coped! The counsellor actually asked me how I had found it filling this sheet in but when I responded as above with a slight laugh to my voice, she didn't so much as smile. It wasn't like I was trying to be funny but it felt a bit awkward that she wasn't engaging how I think most people would have done.
By the time we finished the questionnaires I was definitely feeling quite reserved and uncomfortable about talking to her so I wasn't best pleased when she announced that now we could have a bit more of a chat. I think it got a bit easier with time and she did help me realise that an event from my childhood may actually have been a trigger for the OCD I have suffered from through my teens and into my twenties.
She focused quite a lot on the OCD in the session but I think my problem now is much more depression. It made me feel a bit like depression wasn't a reason for sympathy but OCD was. I guess I have had several periods of being utterly debilitated by OCD and I am so grateful that now it is only a small problem to me. But I have also been pretty debilitated and lifeless through depression at times...
I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do regarding continuing sessions as they only give a maximum of seven. I don't think that's enough; I think I need more ongoing support and I have a definite problem with finishing sessions. I miss my last therapist a lot and I don't want to put myself through that whole process of 'losing' someone again.
Overall, I felt a bit let down by the session other than the realisation about the potential beginning of my OCD. But I hurried off to church where I was helping out with an evangelical event for mums and toddlers. I was looking after my one year old friend, L. She wanted lots of cuddles which was nice but pretty tiring. I felt a little isolated as there were lots of people I didn't know and the people I did know were busy. I did feel a bit rejected a few times but rationally I know that they were trying to talk to guests and/or preparing food etc. I also see them at other times and we have good times so I must remember that it doesn't mean they don't like me.
As I left, I was stressed about how I was feeling because I sort of wasn't feeling anything. I felt like it might be nice to see someone but sort of felt I didn't 'need' to. I think this is important but I don't feel like writing, or even thinking about it now.
I got a text from a school friend, saying she was going to apply to do part iii maths here in Cambridge. This upset me and I am slightly upset that it did. I definitely used to have a 'must be the best' attitude. We talked about this a bit in my last course of CBT but I was adamant that now I am a Christian, I have lost that attitude - proved, I thought, by the fact that I sit OK with the fact that I got 40% for my (maths) degree (and even that was with allowance for extenuating circumstances). But I think this showed otherwise; Meera coming to Cambridge to do an even more intense maths course than mine makes me feel scared and intimidated somehow. I need to keep thinking about the fact Jesus loves me regardless of my maths ability. What do appearance, intelligence, reputation matter? They don't, not in the long term. And why would someone be a better person if they were better at maths? They wouldn't! My whole foundations of beliefs are being shaken here!
My mood blackened and I decided I really would like to have company. So I saw Lizzie, who was really helpful in talking through stuff and it was really good to be around her and her daughter, who was all happy and flappy about seeing me!
I got back home to my pigsty of a room and was quite proud of myself for actually putting some clothes to wash. I really need to do some hoovering of the house and tidying of my room. Eurgh. Then I lay and wrote this, aided by (slightly too much) chocolate. This is a bit stressful because I have put on nearly two stone since the summer. I think it was probably good for me to put on most of that weight but it is a bit of a battle in my head, having had an eating disorder in the past. In fact, I should hold myself accountable here: any day I weigh myself I have to write how much I am on here. I am currently 9 stone 3 pounds. Every time that I've reached this weight in the past, I have then lost at least two stone. That must not happen again.
I declined an invitation to a party I could be at right now which I feel a little guilty about. I think it's ok though because I am tired and its not like I haven't done lots of other stuff today. And I'm meant to be going to church again later for a meal and bible study. Sort of dreading that. Let's do a bit of a thought analysis here.
Reasons for it being scary
-there are lots of people and I don't know many very well
-I sometimes really struggle to sit through the study
Reasons for it being ok
-when I have been scared before, it's ended up being ok
-I have been far less stressed during the studies recently
-my group will be quite small tonight which makes it less scary
-I can always leave if it gets way too much
-it will get me out again so stop me from feeling imprisoned at home
-I will read about the good news of Jesus
-there are some nice people there, even if I don't know them that well
Balanced view: it will be good for me to go and I might even enjoy it when I am there. I am definitely beginning to feel lower again, especially now it is getting dark so going out will be good.
My fingers hurt a bit from typing so maybe now is a good time to stop. I think I am getting a bit perfectionist in trying to write down every thought I have had. Enough are down though, I'm sure.
To finish, a verse that Lizzie reminded me of:
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4
Hallelujah! Praise The Lord!