16 June 2019

Still here, still trying

To be honest, that's all I can really say right now.

Unfortunately, I've had a particularly tough time over the last week or so.

Why is this?

Well, work has certainly been one aspect. Circumstances have meant that it's not been my finest nor easiest week. Maybe that phase is over, maybe there's another avalanche waiting to engulf me. Who knows. I certainly don't. But I'll keep showing up, and I'll keep doing as much as I can. Stubborn? You betcha!

Secondly, I received a copy of my assessment, as was sent to my doctor, there it is in black and white. Oh sh*t. It wasn't all a bad dream after all, it really does say what I thought it did, and it's there. In writing... Set in stone... Shared... Visible... On the record... No taking it back.

The other more affecting part is that I've been working on that project my counsellor set, to try to put down in precise words a description of those long-buried feelings and my pain. This has meant opening the box and taking a long hard look at said feelings. Exhumed and unburied, they are not a nice sight and I'd can only say that, like a rotting corpse, they stink.

She did warn me this would not be a quick, nor an easy task. By damn, she was correct!

Doing so, rather unsurprisingly perhaps, has truly unleashed the beast which stalks me in the night-time (hmmm, in the day-time too). I have to say he's a pretty effective beast and has done a damn good job of mauling me, biting chunks from my psyche and gnawing away at my innermost insecurities. Result = bad dreams, early hours worries, and tears 'R us.

This in turn has led to a week where I've been pretty fragile. So I've ended up 'coping' with the added angst the old-fashioned way. Not exactly bingeing, but certainly having several days where my eating has been anything but stellar.

Keto? Nah, you must be 'aving a laraarrf! Days where I made decidedly poor choices though (how's that for a weasel-words way of putting it).

Want to hazard a guess as to the effect of this? Yep, you've got it in one. That's one kilo upwards to be exact - 63.5kg and unimpressed.

But whoa, stop, halt! OK, let's not get too disheartened here (come on, listen to yourself girl) and let's not pile misplaced guilt onto whatever negativity's already in place.

Yes, it's a gain. No, I'm not pleased. But, you need to take on board that there will be no true healing until this hurt is exposed, recognised, picked apart and dealt with. I guess it's like lancing a boil - it's going to hurt like a bitch but it really is necessary.

If it comes with some collateral damage, so be it. Just ride it out for now and deal with it when you can. Still, I'll try a little harder this week.

I'll work on sticking to health-giving food choices. I'll drink my water (try to cut down on the caffeine a bit). I'll do my very best to remember why this is necessary. And I will be kind to myself. I'd naturally be kind to someone else in this position, so I need to be there for me too.

OK, big girl knickers are pulled up and in place, so it's onwards ever...

09 June 2019

So, what's happening?

Firstly, I want to thank those of you who have left me comments - you've been so kind and I really do appreciate it.

So then, let's get to it. On the weight front things aren't exactly fantastic. Fact is, I seem to have gained an extra kilo (up to 63kg again) in a shade under a couple of weeks which, as you can probably imagine, doesn't please me much. This is despite following the keto-style diet which has worked for me in the past.

OK, let's look at why the direction of travel isn't the required one.

To be brutally honest I'd best mention that I did have a serious slip-up on Tuesday last, when a barrow-load of stress got the better of me. I ate more nuts than I should have and wolfed an individual bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate that day. Sadly, this was a decidedly pointless variety of stress-relief as I didn't really enjoy it that much at the time, and felt like crap afterwards. The stress didn't go away either!

Other than that I thought I'd been pretty virtuous for the whole week. Or have I? Hmmm, if I think a little more closely about what I've eaten, I realise that I've snacked on chopped brazil nuts or almonds on a couple of days, and nibbled on pork scratchings too. That's in addition to the salad boxes I've made for lunch and whatever our evening meal has been.

Overload? Probably, so I guess I need to rethink snacks. My options are either a) don't have any at all, or b) radically change what I consume. Things have to change, so thinking cap on.

On the 'looking after me' front, things have gone a little better. 

I've had a follow-up appointment with my counsellor which, although pretty harrowing, emotional and exhausting, brought to the foreground and gave voice to some of the bottled-up pain I've been carrying with me for a long time and suppressing like fury. Interesting. Not at the time perhaps, but certainly ruminating over it in the aftermath. 

I have been given a little project to do as a result, and that is to think this through quietly and in some detail over the next couple of weeks, seeking out the exact words to explain my feelings. Easy enough, one may think. Not so. None of the words I've tried out so far truly express feelings I've spent so long subjugating. A long way to go on this one...

I have also had an NHS assessment to determine the shape my current difficulties are taking, and to look at the type(s) of long-term support that might be suitable to assist me to help myself. Sounds good, huh?

Well, yes to some extent, but it was actually quite a shocker too. I'd duly completed my questionnaire and was ready and (...sort of) willing to discuss the answers to the questions in greater detail on the day. However, a couple of things brought me up short. 

Once I'd said I was fine in this respect, I wasn't expecting to return to the part of conversation about the possibility of harming myself. But we did, touching on this rather sensitive spot several times in fact. Now let's get this straight. I most definitely don't feel I'm in any danger of acting upon my most negative thoughts, but I guess the fact that they exist raised a flag of some kind.

The other thing to take the wind from my sails was being advised that the depression I'm experiencing was classed as 'severe'. Along the numerical scale used in the assessment I am apparently pretty close to the worst end. Oh bugger! That anxiety is not quite such a big deal, but it's also a bit more embedded than I thought. 

I guess it really is time to address this situation and move towards some form of resolution. My little book of daily positives is a step in the right direction.

However, I'm very aware that I have a long road ahead of me and rather a lot of work to do in this respect. That's both a scary proposition and hopeful, in roughly equal measures from where I'm standing at the moment.

So here goes.

As I always say, and mean every single time I say it. Onwards, ever...

29 May 2019

Damn, just damn

Well, I've been away for an age again and as you may imagine that means things haven't exactly been going well. I've pretty much ended up descending into a deep, dark black hole

Why? A combination of s**t ganged up on me and things went completely to pot after the New Year. Yep, I guess that includes a pot belly!

The nastiest news was that my weight did hit 67kg for a while. That meant at 10 stone 8 lbs I was over two stone heavier than my 'happy weight'. Crap!

While I'm glad to say that has come down a bit, to 62kg at the moment, it's still not good. It's also been a very hard slog even to get this far.

I mentioned back in December that some of the strategies that have worked for me in the past just don't seem to be cutting it any more. Sadly, that's still the case. I'm trying, but any progress is very slow.

OK, that's the weight, but my mental health has also taken a pretty big hit. I guess I've mentioned it a few times but haven't really laid it out in too much detail (keeping head planted firmly in the sand, I guess), but the last X weeks... well, months really... have been somewhat tough.

I've struggled in some nebulous 'can't cope' sort of way. I've been down, bluesy, sad, under the weather, prone to tears, you name it - often with no identifiable cause. My confidence, always somewhat tenuous, has taken a nosedive. There's absolutely no single concrete reason for this, that I can see - just a whole load of smallish setbacks which have piled up like a snowdrift. Unfortunately... that's just the way it just is.

It's quite a while back that my old nemesis, the Black Dog, saw his chance and leapt at it. He invited himself in by sneaking through a crack in the door, made himself comfortably at home with a cup of tea and settled in for the duration. He's there now, the little beggar, half hidden in the shadows and grinning at me with his teeth ever so slightly bared, displaying his defiance and contempt. Once he'd made himself at home, he invited along his old mate Anxiety for the ride. Fun, huh?

Suffice it to say I don't like this at all and hate the way I've been feeling. I'm so tired of just soldiering on. Some days are alright, but on others my 'worries' feel like I've managed to avoid being run down by a car only to be hit by a bus I didn't even see coming. Don't get me wrong. I don't need to tell you that there are so many people in this world for whom life is a whole lot more of a struggle than it is for poor old me. But still...

It's taken me some time to get to the point where I'd accept that I need some extra support, but I finally have and I have recently started counselling. The jury is out as to how well I'll do, but at least I've begun.

And I can do something else that I've mentioned more than once - something my lovely Mum used to do. Actually write down (yep, list in black and white) the reasons I am blessed. Express my gratitude for the good things I have in my life. And try to identify the positive things about 'me' (though I do find it difficult to see the good, not just the negatives).

If I write down just one little thing a day, that list should begin to build. If I watch it grow and read it back to myself, however corny it may seem, it might just give me another weapon in my personal armoury to help me beat off the Black Dog.

I am going to try to post here more often (er, at the moment I can't realistically make promises), as I know it has helped me in the past and your support has been a boost too.

Ah well, let's keep my fingers crossed. For now all I can really say is my customary onwards, ever...

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