Category Archives: Why fit in when you were born to stand out

Winter Blues

Yeah, so I’m ready for January to be be here already.

I’m really struggling at the moment and since November I’ve been all over the place emotionally. I’ve been doing really well at work and focused on my mental health around dieting and food, but other things have snuck up on me and caught me off guard. My doctor passed away and he was the one who listened and looked beyond my weight. Then a colleague passed away and that was a shock. Then there are some stupid things going on within my family that no one wants to have a proper discussion about as it ends in arguments.It’s all built up to a point where a feel really overwhelmed.

It’s felt really sucky (totally a professionally recognised term!) and having had to miss two weeks of therapy also has not helped. I’ve found it difficult to talk about as it just feels like I’m complaining and people try to fix it by telling me to ignore it of care less – not helpful! I am an overthinker and need to process my thoughts to move past them. Ignoring my feelings leads to binge eating as it’s the only way I know how to cope.

I’ve also been super tired. I am wondering if I am experiencing a stronger case of SAD then in previous years, especially as I stopped my medication towards the end of last year and maybe the darkness and weather is also taking it toll. I am in the office or inside working more than before as I really love my job and want to do more than expected. However that does mean I am sacrificing being active and this is something I need to rectify.

I have been doing breathing exercises as this is something my therapist is keen on this and I do find it really works, but I struggle to remember to think to do it in the moment and only after or when I’m in bed do I actually focus and relax. My thoughts totally wander all over the place, but it’s okay and I bring myself back to my body and how I’m really feeling. Sometimes it feels okay, other times my body is crying out for attention and the acknowledgment of aches and pains is needed. It really does work and also helps me to step away from my worries.

The big worry I just cannot seem to get away from is that I am not looking forward to Christmas at all. I would love to stay at home all day and have a duvet day rather than face being social with my family. It feels selfish to say that, but I am really anxious about the whole thing. I don’t think any of come away from forced gatherings feeling good about ourselves. I find myself slipping in the child/teenager persona and I hate it. I hate who I becomes and how I let them make me feel. One on one they are great, but together we do not fit. I am not who they want me to be and I feel resentful for them not wanting me to be myself (this may be perceived, but it’s how I feel).  I know I’m over thinking and my focus is on setting boundaries and making sure they do not expect me to be there the whole time. I am going to go for lunch and leave when I want to after. I know I’m making a bigger deal of this than I need to, but it is at front of mind and no one seems to understand.

I’m also feeling lonely for the first time in long time. Maybe it’s my friends all getting married. Maybe it’s hitting 32 in January and still not having met anyone I want to spend my life with. Maybe it’s just time for me to starting looking rather than waiting. It’s odd and I don’t like it. I’ve always been independent and joked I would do a christmas card like the one below as I find it so funny, but if I’m truly honest I don’t want that to be forever. But then part of me says ‘fuck that’ I’m independent and selfish and it means I can do whatever I want!

I am so ready for January. I am glad I am working over Christmas so I have something to focus on. Next year I am definitely going away. Maybe with friends, maybe on my own. All I know is that I need to do something different next year. I don’t have all the answers when it comes to depression and it definitely catches me off guard sometimes, but I know and believe it is only temporary. I just need to do everything I know works to get through this period of time. Expressing my feelings is something I find I can only do in writing. I’m not looking for suggestions or advice, I’m just looking for a place to share my thoughts and hopefully let someone else know they are not alone as I know what that feels like and it still gets to me now, even when I know it is not true.

Learning to love my body

 

  • Skincare – check
  • Make up – check
  • Therapy – check
  • Giving less of a shit – in progress
  • Hair – in progress
  • Clothes – up next
  • Body – up next

Have you ever realised it’s not your voice in your head telling you how you should feel about yourself?

That is exactly what I’ve been working through in therapy and it is truly enlightening.  Especially around the thoughts I have about my body. I find it quite sad I’ve let other people and social pressure dictate how I feel about myself and my body and I’m only just realising I don’t need to care what others think.  I’ve been working on creating identities for the voices in my head, specifically the negative ones, as this is helping me realise they are not my thoughts, but external influences being voiced.

I have a women as the thin, always made up to perfection, weight watchers leader character who provides the fake sincerity and makes everything about diet and appearance. This is the voice we think is helping us and being kind, but is really Professor Umbridge in disguise!

I also have a general type character; a uniformed shouty man who is all about the rules. Nothing is ever good enough for The General and no matter how hard you try you will never be what he wants you to be. It’s also the voice that sends you on the overeating followed by over-exercising cycle. It’s never ending. It’s all criticism and all about power and control. It makes you feel weak and useless.

Both of these voices are not mine. They are the things I’ve heard and learnt from others and think I believe, but really they are at odds with what I really value. Putting names to them allows me to see they are not internal and that I can choose not to listen to them. I’m slowly building another voice that is really from the inside, but I’m yet to fully see that voice as it’s still in the shadows and shyly taking steps out as my confidence grows.

All this history has really taken a toll on how I feel and see my body. I’m so detached from it that I probably wouldn’t recognise it if I saw it in a line up! How crazy is that?

However I’ve been working on this without really realising that is what I was doing. I was thinking about it as positive self-care. But really this goes deeper below my skin and into my being and impacts on how I really feel about myself. I’ve been concentrating on my skincare and make up in recent months to learn what my skin needs and what makes me feel good. I’ve even committed to bulk buying a few products to keep up my new run of consistency in these areas.

Skincare – Balance Me – I love this range as it’s mostly natural and leaves my skin feeling hydrated. I’ve moved away from fearing oils and although I’m not yet spot free yet, I am having fewer breakouts. I think the rest is to do with what foods I’m eating and being active.

Makeup – Hydrating primer and foundation – As I’m not yet clear of acne I’m still using foundation and concealer to cover up blemishes, but I’ve swapped to more hydrating products. Old favourites have had to go as I realised they were drying out my skin and making everything worst. So I’m now a fan of Smashbox Hydrating Primer (although I would like to find a cheaper version) and Kiko Hydrating Foundation.


Make up – Beauty Blender – I am a convert! I love these sponges for applying all forms of makeup. So much so I’ve bought the standard one, the mini ones, the pure one, and the blush one – I know, I know, I’ve bought into the brand! Honestly though the sponges are applying the makeup so well that I am using less product and getting the finish I think is natural and provides coverage. I also bought the cleaner and find that is working well and takes the product off after each use. The only thing I haven’t figured out is how to travel with them as I leave them out to dry, I’m sure I’ll figure it out though!

Therapy – This has been key for me this year to really get under the skin of my disordered eating and relationship with food and people. The only limiting factor for me is the finances and is something I need to consider going forward.

Hair – I’ve finally booked in for a haircut and colour at an actual salon! I’ve neglected my hair for the last 5 years. I’ve just let it grow, then had it cut, then let it grow, and then had it cut again, irregularly I might add. So I finally took the plunge and asked my friends who they see and booked in on their recommendation. I’ve been for a consultation and colour test and have an appointment next month!

Giving less of a shit – This is one that I’ve begun to notice I’m doing without focusing on it. As I’ve been doing my therapy and taking the time and putting the effort into looking after me this feels more and more natural. I feel like I can voice my opinions and not care if someone doesn’t agree or worry that I’ll cave in. I have the right to take up space in this world and is some doesn’t like it, they can fuck off!


There are two areas I would like to work in order to really truly love my body and those are the areas of clothes and actually seeing my body – also crazy right, but not really at the same time. These areas are the two I find the hardest. I haven’t really ever enjoyed clothes shopping as it made me face my discomfort around my body. But I am starting to find this goes hand in hand with giving less of a shit about what others think and my desire to quieten the voices who aren’t really mine. I want to go shopping for clothes that fit and look fantastic on my body exactly as it is. I want to then continue to do that as my body changes with age, whether that is gets smaller or bigger as it doesn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be healthy and will continue to monitor that with my doctor, but if the only problem I have is that I weigh too much and that isn’t impacting on anything else, you know what, I’m going to focus on what makes me content and I hope that will then mean I find equilibrium within my body naturally.

Acknowledging my emotions

Emotions:
a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others
instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge
I’ve always struggled to articulate my emotions and I’ve been working in therapy to address this and put words to all the emotions I feel. My therapist has encouraged me to say what I feel however I need to and often I find I use hand movements or metaphors or even sounds, rather than words. So this last week I’ve been referring to the emotions wheel below and putting words to the emotions I feel.
_ Emotions Wheel-page-001
The focus for me has been about changing my relationship with food and understanding the emotions I am feeling is a big part of this. Being able to put words to feelings is helping me make them less scary. I have found I have developed rules around what emotions I let be visible and when I feel something that breaks the rule I usually use food to distract from it. This is really unhealthy and I don’t want to behave like that any more. However it is not an overnight change and I have to give myself time to change my rules.
I am finding it hard, but worthwhile. I’ve started to sit with my emotions and listen to my thoughts, but rather than act I am watching as an observer. I have to focus as it goes against all my ingrained habit to do something to avoid feeling the emotion. I am also giving myself permission to not blame myself for things I feel, no matter the trigger. My therapist points out to me all the time I usually take a very balanced view of things, even if they make me angry or upset. So I am trying to free write at times of anger or sadness to get out what I feel. I find this hard as I live by the rule ‘if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all’. I’ve been giving myself permission to write what I think about people or experiences without guilt or shame. It is only about acknowledging how I feel and helping ride the emotion wave until it subsides.
It’s an interesting time in my life. I am feeling excited and optimistic about lots of things and working through the things that are causing me pain. It’s weird, but I finally feel like I am being the real me most of the time (I still need to work on the rest of it) and it’s feels great!

Having a Makeup Lesson

This year I’ve been getting to know myself a bit better through clothes and makeup. This last weekend I went with my friend to Bath for makeup lesson she found on a popular voucher website.

So we headed to Bath early on Sunday and it was a beautiful warm sunny day. I wish I’d taken my big camera, but I didn’t want to be carrying around. I found an open coffee shop and enjoyed a smooth flat white while I waited for Holly to arrive. We then wandered up to the place where the lesson was being held and chatted about what we were expecting.

As it was being held in a function room of a bar I had mixed expectations. I was hoping to get some insight into what would work for my skin, but not expecting to much one on one interaction. Holly was hoping it wasn’t going to be a sales pitch. All are expectations were slightly off. There were 12 of us and one make up artist who talked us through what to. Although she set it up by saying we would have lots of time to practice, it ended up being mainly her talking through what she was doing on a volunteer. We did get to have a go at three looks – a 5 minute quick look, a daytime look, and an evening look – all of which built upon the last, rather than taking off and re-starting. I definitely learnt how to do the less is more and that was great, but it felt like there was not much access to individuality as the make up artist only had her supplies. I think we were expecting it to be held by a make up brand as it was marketed that way, rather than a freelance. It was great it wasn’t  sales pitch and she was able to recommend specific products from many brands rather than just one.

Overall I’m glad we only spent £29, rather than the £90 it was advertised as normally being. I was pleased with what I learnt and some of the products we used. I felt I learnt how to use some of the products in much more efficient ways. It was definitely a beginners course, which again didn’t really come across in the marketing and two people did leave half way through as I don’t think it was what they wanted. Holly and I had a couple few hours and a lovely day in Bath we wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s also given us the bug and we are looking at other things we could do to learn more about our skin, colourings, and make up techniques.

As I said it was a beautiful sunny day and the colourful umbrellas in the main shopping street were amazing in the bright sunlight.

After the lesson we decided to go shopping and I did treat myself so a few new things. Kiko is my new go-to place for reasonable priced items that are in lots of shades and I got myself a new foundation and a green concealer. I splurged on the Naked 3 palette from Urban Decay. It’s somethings I’ve looked at several times, but never thought to buy, but I was impressed with the colours I used in the lesson and seeing how I would use all the colours was a big selling point. I also went for the MAC casual cheek and lip stain in Hi Jinks. Its supper bright, but being a cream it blends so well and gave me a glow I have never had form powder blushers. This was something I didn’t believe would work in the lesson, but I was proven wrong and sold on this!

We also bought some clothes and had a lovely lunch in the sunshine. Bath is one of my favourite shopping places. It’s so full of history that I find it beautiful and fascinating, and as close as I can get to Rome within a 45 minute drive. I would love to live there again. I spent six months living there back in 2008 and loved it, but it super expensive so now it’s just day trips. The only downside is the sheer amount of people that flock there on weekends. At 8am it was so quiet and peaceful, but by 2pm its crowded and difficult to move around. I still love it though and just pick my time to visit carefully.

Self Care Checklist

While researching I need to make sure I am taking care of myself in really nice ways. I want to switch my current ‘caring’ activities to ones that are really about caring and not about punishing myself.

These are things I know make me feel better and so I would like to do more often. I’m not setting myself targets, but will monitor how I get on and how it impacts on my mood and productivity. I think doing as many of these as I can each day will make a great difference and ensure I move away from destructive habits that no longer serve me in the way I need.

My self-care checklist:

  • Face cleanse and moisturise
  • Make a really good cup of coffee and sit and enjoy it
  • Get the sleep I need
  • Be active
  • Keep my home clean and tidy
  • Actively play with the cats
  • Prepare/cook my meals
  • Relax – meditate, journal, blog, read
  • Stay hydrated
  • Dress to make me feel good

This feels like a good start in changing how I feel about myself and my relationship with food. These are the things I let slide when I’m not feeling good about myself. It’s the simple things that make the difference I believe. I don’t want to complicate my life, but I want to change it.

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