“Mindfulness- a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world”

mindfulness

I’ve just started reading the above named book, by Mark Williams and Danny Penman (if you type ‘mindfulness’ into Amazon it’s the first one to pop up). And despite being only a couple of chapters in, I think its safe to say that I’m really loving it.

It’s such a well written and eye-opening book… going into so much detail about the nature of the troubled mind, different types of mindfulness meditation, how the busyness of life makes us live in autopilot etc etc… Some bits are quite a lot to take in but my god it makes a lot of sense.

Take this bit for example- it discusses how past thoughts and feelings can trigger low mood in the present day:

“…we rarely experience tension or sadness on their own- anger, irritability, bitterness, jealousy and hatred can all be bound up with them in an uncomfortable, spiky knot of pain. These feelings may be directed at others but, more often than not, they are aimed at ourselves, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. Over a lifetime, these emotional constellations can become ever-more closely coupled to thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and even behaviour. This is how the past can have an all-pervading effect in the present; if we trip one emotional switch the others can follow behind…”

I can sympathise with this so much. My OCD is so focused on the past, and dredging up whatever irrelevent little detail it can in order to cause me pain, distress and which leads to massive compulsions being acted out (which in this case, would be to my boyfriend J in the form of asking horrible questions or confessing equally horrible thoughts). Even though I know this is a waste of my time, and it leaves me sometimes screaming at myself to just STOP bringing up the past, my OCD laughs at this and will continue to carry on anyway.So for example- Oh, that thing you did 3 years ago with another boyfriend? Yep, you have to tell him. How about asking him how many girls he’s kissed? Go on, you won’t rest until you know. What about that girl in town you saw and you thought it looked like his ex? Tell him tell him tell him. That is literally how my head works, hundreds and thousands of questions and statements and confessions, repeating over and over and over in my head leaving me exhausted and sickened with myself.

Basically… its got to the point now where I will literally try anything to make this better. I’m sick of crying all the time, I’m sick of how it makes me feel, I’m sick of the strain it’s putting on mine and J’s relationship. I just can’t carry on like this. I don’t want to hurt him and me any more.

Will write another update on the book once I’ve started doing the meditation. I’ve never really tried anything like this before so I am nervous. But, like I said, willing to try ANYTHING.

Wish me luck! x

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Sick days are the worst

So I’m sat at home, tucked under a duvet and sipping hot tea. Cowboy Traders is on (mazin) and I’m trying to ignore the fact I have a nasty headache and achy bones.

Oh sick days! An unpleasant mix of guiltily ringing up your manager, and then festering in all your germs for the remainder of the day, popping painkiller pills left right and centre.

So it’s a rubbish situation anyway. But of course, my head likes to make life more difficult in any way it can.
When I’m sat at home doing practically nothing, my depression has a field day… There’s more opportunity to worry, to ruminate, to focus on negative things. I try to keep myself busy: I’m watching telly, playing with my dog… But all I want to do is simply relax, but it feels almost impossible to do that.

😦

Is it so much to ask to have a quiet mind that doesn’t make me hate myself? I’m so tired of feeling like this. There’s only so many times you can tell yourself that everything’s okay. When it feels like the complete opposite 😦

Me and my OCD…

I’ve had two separate occasions now where my OCD has been questioned. My first appointment with my new CBT therapist, and a meeting with a new doctor. They both stopped me mid-conversation when I mentioned the word and asked me in a somewhat unconvinced manner- ‘but why do you think it’s OCD?’.

My OCD is OCD because of the awful, exhausting and obsessive nature of the thoughts. They are thoughts that I hate, that make me feel sick or angry or upset. They silently torture me because they make me imagine the worst scenarios, remember things I don’t want to and make me feel like a terrible person.

Because I am closest to my boyfriend, and because I have such strong feelings for him, the OCD manifests itself through him. The thoughts will range from anything such as questions about his exes, his thoughts on different girls, to why he still bothers with me and if he wants to break up yet. It thrives on my low self-esteem, which is something I’ve always always had. I don’t see myself worthy at all, not just in this relationship but in many areas of my life. As a result, I continue to try and push people away, because I believe they shouldn’t bother with me.

If anything, I crave quite the opposite. I always want reassurance, to be told it’s okay and everything will be alright. This isn’t healthy but still, it’s what I need. My bf has learnt to not always give me this because if he does it makes it harder for me to tackle the OCD on my own. The thoughts revolve around reassurance- am I good enough? Do you like me the best? Am I pretty? Despite having a wonderful and loving boyfriend who tells me these things anyway, without any sort of prompt, it always remains a worry at the back of my mind.

I can see how ridiculous my thoughts and behaviour are. Don’t think for a second that I can’t see the reality of them- that’s partly why I become so frustrated and feel utterly exhausted all the time when trying to battle with them. I KNOW full well that the thoughts are purely 100% irrational and I shouldn’t give any attention to them whatsoever. But of course, OCD doesn’t accept that. It finds little sneaky ways to get around rationality and logic, in order to cause you pain, panic and a lot of distress. You know your behaviour is stupid and you hate yourself for it, but it will convince you that it is important and vital that you carry out these behaviours.

OCD tricks you and deceives you, lies to you and makes you question your sanity. It turns you into a Jekyll and Hyde figure, always fighting to remain normal but sometimes being too weak to overcome it. It’s such a hateful condition and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I’m fighting to get better but the reality is I’ll probably have it for the rest of my life because that is simply the unforgiving nature of OCD. That’s something I’m still coming to terms with even now.

Of course with OCD, like any mental illness, it’s extremely common to have a lovely dash of depression thrown in there too, because- well why not eh? If you thought battling with the thousands of inner demons in your mind wasn’t awful enough, then just wait til the feelings of self-hate, worthlessness and despair start to creep in. It’s utterly crippling. You start to hate yourself even MORE because why on earth do you feel the need to be so down and upset all the time? I have so many lovely things within my life that I am thankful for. A lot of supportive people, a roof over my head, a proper job… So, so thankful. But, undeniably, there are still days when all I can focus on is how I’m going to die, because it often feels like that’s the only way it’ll ever stop. I know that is dangerous, and sad. At times like that I need to try really hard to lift myself up out of it and remind myself that I’m not going to let this mental health condition win. It’s ruined so much for me, and hurts so many others in the process, but I can’t just back down and give up. I have to keep going, even when those dark days become increasingly common, like they are doing currently. Really, I’ve not got a choice in the matter.

I don’t like the dark (and yes I’m 22)

Ever since I was little, there’s something I just do not like about it. Back then it was probably something to do with my alcoholic dad taking us all out to pubs and getting into arguments with people (that’s a looooong story for another day) and so I connected the two in my head and started to get anxious when it was dark.

But I don’t know why it’s carried on until now. You would think it would have just faded out of my head gradually right. But, no. And even though winter has it’s many lovely sides (though why WHY does Xmas start earlier every year I mean COME ON), the fact that the clocks will soon turn back doesn’t bode well with me at all, haha.

I suppose it’s like a trapped sort of feeling? Like, when the sun disappears and everything turns grey and then black and suddenly you can’t go outside because, well, because you can’t see anything, it just makes me feel odd and not great. Plus, my compulsive thoughts come out a LOT more in the evenings. I don’t know why. There shouldn’t be a reason for it but then again, OCD isn’t exactly reasonable is it? Ha.

I try to distract myself as best I can; read a book, watch something on Netflix etc etc. But my mind wanders so bad. I can never just concentrate on one thing. It’s like my head is constantly on a ‘worry’ setting and I just can’t switch it off.

Merh. One day this will get easier. Just got to look forward to that day. In the meantime, tomorrow is a new start. And before that, there is DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’S NEW SHOWWWWWW WOOP WOOP!!!!

Kinda. Excited.

Night all xx

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I want to skip tomorrow :|

It’s my first CBT appointment, and it’s also supposed to be gale-force winds all day (something about a hurricane in Bermuda… wonderful). Those two things on their own would be manageable- put together and all of a sudden I feel like I want to cry. It doesn’t help that I cycle everywhere and there is a high chance I won’t even make it to my appointment as I may end up tangled in a random tree.

I’m so bloody anxious about this CBT session. It was supposed to be last week, but they cancelled, so I’m hoping the same doesn’t happen tomorrow. I won’t know who my new therapist is, or what he/she is like, I’ll just have myself and a book of notes about my f***ed up head. Ha!

Just got to keep thinking ahead. I’m doing this because I have to, because it is a way of moving forwards and feeling better and dealing with unwanted, negative thoughts that attempt to ruin my life daily. This is only POSITIVE.

Fingers crossed :/ x

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Totally new to blogging… waaah!

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…and so far I’m not too sure what to do with myself.

I like to write. I consider myself to be fairly creative. English was my favourite subject when I was a little chump, and I used to write stories for my mum constantly– the amount of times I would call her over to read my new novella about a gang of talking dogs or a girl with superhero powers, she must have begun to resent me just a little bit- yet now, what with a little thing called life getting in the way a bit, it’s been a loooooong long time since I wrote anything remotely interesting about anything really. Apart from updating my CV. Oh and my uni dissertation. That was totally compelling (pah).

There’s many a thing running through my head right now: things to say, things not to say, ideas about ideas about ideas… And so on. However it is getting late (20.11pm according to my watch, this is just a sneaky preview into how exciting my evenings usually are on a weekday), and my brain isn’t working very well tonight.

So for my sake, and for whomever is reading this right now (helloo!), I shall make a small yet efficient list for what I think this blog is going to be about. Oh I do love a good list me.

  • BAKING. CAKES. SWEET FOOD. TASTY TASTY THINGS. FOOD STUFFS THAT WILL GUARANTEE THAT I’LL NEVER OBTAIN A BIKINI BODY. You get the idea. I love to bake. I’d like to think that I’m getting fairly better with it with practice… inevitably photos and recipes of my creations will be a big part of my writing. Hell yes!
  • MY STRANGE AND SOMETIMES HORRIBLY MEAN HEAD. I suffer from long-term OCD and depression (not to mention anxiety, panic attacks, low self-esteem- all that lovely stuff), and it certainly ain’t nice. It’s something that has affected me for years and years, and I’m only just beginning to come to terms with it. Not quite there yet, but then I suppose that’s what different kinds of therapy and/or medication are there for. It’s one hell of a rollercoaster, and most days I believe I’m going crazy. But hopefully sharing my experiences will not only help myself, but maybe others reading this too.
  • LOTS OF OTHER LOVELY STUFF THAT I CAN’T THINK OF RIGHT NOW. Ha! 🙂

For now, I’m going to go get ready for The Apprentice (er, EXCITED) and make a mug of chamomile tea. That’s how I roll.

Goodnight honeypies… if anybody’s reading this anyway :’) x