Tag Archives: Mental Health

Changing things up

I’ve been thinking a lot in recent weeks about what I want and how I can get there. I’ve grown over the last few years and it feels good and there are still things I want to change. I’ve come to see this isn’t a bad thing. Just because I want to make changes to how I live my life doesn’t mean I’m doing anything bad at the moment, rather it’s about growing and changing to fit that growth.

The first thing I want to work on is moving away from diets. I’ve tried WW so many times now and always struggled to make it work. I’ve read multiple books, listened to many podcasts, and visited multiple websites, but it’s all the same. I’m rebelling against being told what to do. In reality I want to change my relationship with food. I know I use food as a drug to cope with my emotions. I want to change that to make food nourishment to support my life.

This is a huge shift for me. It’s not going to be easy, but I am determined to find what is right for me and work hard to get to a different place. I want that place to evolve. It’s not about the destination, but about the journey. I want to create a love for food that lets me explore it and places while I travel. Guilt Free!

So I’ve got some new research to do on intuitive eating, self-care, mindfulness, and body positivity. I’ve got a few leads to follow from some of my favourite blogs. Maybe we all reach this place at some time on a weight loss journey. I want to lose weight still, but in a more natural way than restricting what I eat all the time. I have some work to do on binge eating behaviour so I’ll be looking back at all the CBT I did a couple of years ago. I’ve also been through my social media and removed things that no longer fit with where I am – another way of evolving.

It feels good getting this out. It’s hard to talk to people about as everyone is in different places. Most people automatically jump to suggesting diets and fitness, but that’s not what I need. I need to spend time on myself to understand myself and the changes I want to make. It’s funny how people react when you do say ‘oh no, I’m not going to follow a diet’, it ranges from incredulous to disbelief. I’m using it to make me laugh. No one know me better than myself!

I have a plan. I need to do research. I need to keep it simple. I need to trust and believe in myself.

I can do this.

A case of impostor syndrome

impostor syndrome

Source

These last couple of months I have been having a serious case of impostor syndrome. It refers to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalise their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud” (source).  This is exactly how I’ve been feeling, although I don’t necessarily put myself in the same boat as the people I consider to be ‘high-achieving’, but rather as someone who is driven to do the best I can in any situation.

Since moving jobs within my organisation it’s been a great step up in work and responsibility. At the same time I keep having this sense that I could be doing more or better and that some day someone is going to call me out on this. I have no evidence for this though. I’ve been getting great feedback on all the work I’m doing from those people I now work with and my old team who see me around.

It is a weird sensation to feel this way. I keep looking for evidence to prove it correct, rather than believe the evidence that says it is false. This is something I know stems from depression ways of thinking. I talked about this when I was doing CBT therapy. I even did an experiment to look at this way of thinking. It all comes back to the simple thought of ‘Im not good enough’ . It’s made me realise I need to take time to tackle this and not ignore it because I’m busy. These are very destructive thoughts and unhelpful to life I want to live.

I’ve been reading up on the subject and taking inspiration from famous women who have spoken out on the topic, such as Emma Watson. It’s important to speak out on the subject as others can take heart they are not alone. This has led me to look more at the topics of feminism and body positivity. It’s opening a whole new world to me and inspiring me to think differently about myself and how I let other people treat me and make me feel. It’s quite freeing. I’m going to continue to look at these topics and find inspiration in new areas, rather than focus on diet and fitness.

What makes me, me?

  1. I like being alone. I like people, but they drain me, so I always need time to recharge.
  2. I prefer spending a Saturday reading at home, rather than going out.
  3. I love coffee and tea. I also love good wine and gin.
  4. My favourite shows are still Buffy and Angel. I also love Bones.
  5. My favourite books are The Liveship Traders, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.
  6. I love BBC history and nature documentaries, But Time Team will always be my favourite.
  7. I love helping other people learn to swim.
  8. I love planning anything and am a spreadsheet geek.
  9. I love Instagram and Twitter, but am not a fan of Facebook.
  10. I hate spiders and clowns!
  11. I plan duvet days in advance, but there is nothing better than a spontaneous one.
  12. Japan is at the top of my travel list, closing followed by a walking trip around Mt Blanc.
  13. I’ve always wanted cats as pets. I would love to get a dog too in the future.
  14. I love sleep and will prioritise it – if I’ve planned an afternoon nap, it comes first!
  15. I said never to both sky diving and bungy jumping, then did both while in New Zealand.
  16. I love food, but am rubbish as cooking without a recipe.
  17. I love spending time in coffee shops people watching.
  18. I want to train my cats to walk on the lead, but am rubbish at consistency.
  19. My favourite chocolate bar has and will always be the Cadburys Boost.
  20. I always ask my friend Ingrid to bring me back Peanut Butter M&Ms from Canada (hint!).
  21. I only listen to music in the car nowadays. I used to hold my own concerts in the living room!
  22. I could eat sushi at every meal. I would probably say the sae about pizza too.
  23. If I could afford it, I would totally get a cleaner for my home.
  24. I love candles and the atmosphere they give a room makes me feel peaceful.
  25. QI is my favourite comedy quiz show.
  26. I love Stephen Fry as the narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks.
  27. I also love James Masters (Spike from Buffy) as the narrator of the Dresden Files.
  28. I’ve never been in a long term relationship.
  29. I hate talking about myself – one of the reasons I started this blog was to help me open up.
  30. I love fig roll biscuits.
  31. I could binge watch a TV show in a weekend.
  32. I’ve realised money is not the most important thing in life and work
  33. I Live in trainers. Even at work! 
  34. If I’m not doing anything of an evening I put my pjs on as so as I get home from work.
  35. I become overly attached I fictional characters.
  36. The Lion King is my favourite movie.
  37. My favourite colour is purple.
  38. I want to travel the world and see as many different places as I can.
  39. I think book tokens are the best presents (or coffee!).
  40. I’m quite precious about my space and m not one for having guest very often.
  41. I hate clothes shopping, but wish I liked it.
  42. Vancouver is my favourite city.
  43. I want to live in a city one day.
  44. I love a good list.
  45. 45 is my favourite number!

What’s Missing?

In my previous post I spoke about the reasons I had for not blogging. I didn’t feel I needed to justify anything, it was rather just for me to unblock myself and write something. I enjoy writing and although I do not think of myself as a writer I have found it to be a beneficial outlet for my thoughts; especially those thought I previously have had trouble articulating.

I’ve been taking a look at myself and my loves this last week. I want to understand what makes me tick and drives me forward. I think that understanding myself is the most important thing I can do in times where I feel out of kilter. It helps re-focus my priorities and really look at what makes me me. I have definitely felt like something has been missing from my life. This is surprising for at the same time as I am really good at the moment generally. I am enjoying work, loving my home, and doing most of the things I love. But that is just it – ‘most’ – not everything.

I have found that they haven’t changed in essence; I still love the same things, I just don’t prioritise them like I used to and that is what causing my unease with life I think. There are things I love and do daily, such as enjoy good coffee, read, and play with my cats. There are things I do often, but not daily such as, swimming, walking, blogging, socialising. Then there are the things I do less often, which is where things have slipped out of the top priorities and that really comes down to travel and creating new experiences.

I really miss travelling. I have realised it is the one thing I have had to fully sacrifice for to help myself by changing jobs a few years ago and the associated reduction in salary. Don’t get me wrong I have been away and have explored new places, but I haven’t travelled in a 5 years. Acknowledging I miss it is the first step in to bringing it back into my life. There are places I want to go and trips I want to be part of and in order to make sure this is important to me I have to prioritise it and create ways of working towards them.

So I’ve reviewed my list and have Japan and Mt Blanc at the top and plan to do both in the next two years. Saving for something important to me is easier as it is something to look forward to. I can research and plan and do all the things associated with going travelling and get excited. I’ve not had that for 5 years and that is throwing me off kilter so I am taking action.

While I am doing all my researching and planning I am going to focus on creating daily rituals for myself. I read a Marc and Angel post today about creating rituals, rather than focusing on overall goals and it hit me hard:

“Nothing will change unless you make a daily ritual that reinforces your goal.”

This is how I want to look after my self, both mentally and physically going forward. It is all the small things that add up to the whole, so rather than thinking I need to lose weight and putting a total figure on it, I’m going to focus on making each meal what I need. It’s also how I want to make sure I am prorating the things I love by making them a ritual to savour and appreciate.

Depression is Different for Everyone

I didn’t realise this for quite a while after I was diagnosed. It is not as simple as other disease where there is a pill to take and it will go away. It’s complicated and takes everyone a different amount of time and a different type of approach to fight it.

For me it was a complete sense of hopelessness and lost in a maze with no exit.

I felt useless and as though I could do nothing right. I constantly told myself I was a failure at life.

I felt alone, even when surrounded by people. I wanted to be on my own, yet needed to know there were people out there thinking about me. I was a complete contradiction at times.

I didn’t know why I was living my life. It felt like a waste of time.

I struggle with all-or-nothing thinking and depression makes this a lot worse. I am a perfectionist in my own way. I like to do the best job I can do at anything I set out to try. So anything less than that feels like failure. I don’t know what caused it. I think it was a combination of a lot of things that culminated in a tipping point that I couldn’t come back from on my own.

I’ve had to work hard to tackle this way of thinking head on. I’ve been on medication. I’ve take therapy, including a year of CBT. I’ve completed homework. I’ve read books. I’ve read lots of online stories. I used lots of free online resources. It takes work every day. I just signed up to an online course for the next 6 weeks. I’ve added a list of resources to the bottom of this post that I recommend for anyone struggling with any kind of mental health struggle.

The hardest thing for me though is other people – my family included. No one understands really unless they have also been through something similar. It’s hard to talk about with anyone who doesn’t really understand. I’ve been lucky and had two people I can talk to without hesitation, but it took me a long time to open up and be okay with that. Therapy really helped as I could talk about how other people made me feel without worrying I was going to offend anyone while working through my reactions and the causes of them. I was then better able to articulate what I meant outside of therapy and stopped worrying about other people so much.

I still find comparison thoughts tricky to deal with. In order to combat this I had to give up Facebook for an extended period. I decided I didn’t need to know what my friends or old friends were doing every day and I would prefer to hear from them personally. I now only view it when something from running club needs a reply. I also purged my Twitter and Instagram feeds to get rid of anything negative or unhelpful – otherwise these resources have been fantastic. Blogging has also been a way for me to sort out my thoughts. I don’t tell people about my blog in person; I let people find it on their own as I don’t want anyone to feel as though they have to read it because I’ve told them about it. I want anyone who reads it to find it interesting and useful because they like the same things.

What I want to get across from this post is that everyone has difference experiences of depression. Don’t let anyone tell you how you feel is not worth the help and support you need. Don’t let anyone put you down or depression down as something to get over. It’s real and it’s life threatening. You are worth fighting for.

Resources I’ve found useful:

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