Me Myself and I


images01I’ve been in CBT therapy for the last 4 months, to say I’ve found it difficult is an understatement, in my quest to find better mental health I’ve had to look deep inside to find answers to the questions I have been avoiding for ever.

My sessions aren’t structured in the normal way as I had a lot to get of my chest, especially when dealing with the past which shaped my behaviours from childhood into adulthood, my discoveries haven’t made pretty soul-searching, though it is essential that I stop avoiding and distracting myself instead of dealing with my problems.

My childhood was pretty ordinary, we were a single parent family, my mother always worked full time, therefore I was left with quite a lot of responsibility, I was given a key when I was 6 years old, and that was a huge thing even at that age the burden was placed on me to be responsible, the problem was I immersed my self in that role which effectively became part of my identity.

Add to the mix my mother was a very high achiever which was always instilled in me, at the same time she was my daily critic on every little thing I did wrong, well to her mind anyway, even though she’d bestowed this huge responsibility on me, she treated me like a child, which of course I was, however she did rely on me, I could never get that switch she made from being responsible and serving home cooked meals on a nightly basis to being treated like a truculent child.

I think this sowed the seeds of resentment, and in my own mind I had to do better, which became my mantra and served me well for many years, to be frank I feel that I lost myself many years ago, not that being a people pleaser is my thing, however I could not always satisfy myself as to my own values and expectations,which were/are ridiculously high.

In fact I became another person and this has manifested itself in therapy, I often talk about myself in the third person as I struggle to bring balance to all sides of my personality, to become whole.

The high functioning person that I was, that worked 90 hour weeks, made decisions all day long, who also partied hard and was everybody’s go to person, my identity again took another shift in that work became my identity, therefore more avoidance in taking care of myself, I was “living the dream” although deep down I always knew this wasn’t really the way to go, so I just worked harder, partied harder I’m exhausted just thinking about it I burned out and had no tools in which to recover.

What people didn’t know, I came home most nights and cried, I’m an expert at super gluing that mask to my face, and those who did see past the cracks I banished from my life not wanting to appear weak, but something more intrinsic than that was I didn’t want anybody to see the real me, I mean in terms of seeing the emptiness that lurked beneath the surface, I became so good at avoidance which meant that I isolated myself and feared that people would see just how lonely and helpless I was.

When I started back blogging here 3 years I thought I was in recovery, it wasn’t true again I avoided dealing with that I had a breakdown and also became homeless, something I never thought would happen to someone like me, it has had such a profound effect on my life, in turn these events dispelled the myths that I’d created around myself, just to function, however yet again I was just hiding from the truth of my mental status from myself.

So there you have it, who I was, what I became, now I’ve been slowly trying to strip away the layers to find out what’s underneath, I’ve come to the really hard part, in trying rid myself of old behaviours and develop new ones, it’s so bloody hard, mindfulness and meditations help, setting small goals, living life one day at a time, trying to be kind to me, the biggie is to stop beating myself up, as the saying goes old habits die-hard.

I am discovering new things, not always sure how I feel about them, I guess in time it will become the norm, S my therapist said today I need to stop obsessing about stuff, it only has an impact because I let it(easier said than done) but he’s right, however a lifetime of destructive behaviours that have harmed me only, hopefully I can set myself free and become whole.

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Still Fighting…


world-mental-health-day-10th-octoberAs the time rolls by, I often wonder what it would be like to feel mentally strong, the short answer is I’ve no idea.

My therapist says it took strength for me to seek help, I didn’t see it as being strong, for me it was desperation, emotionally and mentally I’d hit rock bottom, I had backed myself into such a tight corner, “getting help” was the last hope.

When I started blogging again 2 years ago I thought I was in remission, as I began to really open up about what I felt my homelessness situation, reading so many blogs seeing despair and hope, but mainly seeing this community pulls together, we come from every corner of the globe even though many have a great network of support from family and friends many don’t and blogging for me anyway became a surrogate family.

For the last 4 years I completely lost control of my life, one minute it was  there,  next I was reduced to the clothes I stood in and bag, not to mention I became invisible, to lose myself into the depths of depression and not even having the basic human need of a home, it has completely changed me in ways I could never have imagined, so does that mean I’m strong because I survived, or because I can accept that it has happened.

I continue with CBT, I have to admit some weeks I really struggle with the whole concept, other times I see glimmers of hope, it’s hard work, though I feel in the long run it will be beneficial, it has to be, I’ve long since admitted to myself that I cannot continue on this path without change as I’ve said many times teeny tiny baby steps.

Courage s the word I prefer to use to go forward and accept there are bumps in the road, most importantly it’s Ok to ask for help, you are not alone.

Thank you to those who read my ramblings, also huge thank to the Doctors/therapists out there who make a difference.

Posted in Anxiety, Blogs, Depression, Homelessness, Mental Health, Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Being Kind To Yourself


I am my own worst critic, to the point where I actually think I’m that worthless and massive emptiness inside will never be filled with anything remotely positive.

In my own mind I’ve seen the dark side, I know that sounds melodramatic, how else can I explain the way my mental health has taken its toll on me, literally 24/7 my disruptive negative thoughts crash through my head causing mayhem, I constantly think about the past creating scenarios in which I change events in an attempt to make me feel better, it doesn’t.

I keep falling back on bad habits to cope even with intensive CBT, on the other hand I try to predict the future again creating scenarios where I would be happy with my issues behind me, that doesn’t really work either.

So what I do is beat myself up, and frankly I’m without mercy when I do that, of course the only purpose it serves is to make me feel worse, and the emptiness remains, as does the pain.

During CBT I’ve been learning mindfulness about being in the moment, this is hard to just clear your mind and being present, I confess I haven’t been too successful in this but S says it can take up to six months practice before I will note any real changes in how I think and react to stressful situations.

I have to try to be more active, so I started power walking in the mornings, usually around an hour, with 10 minuets meditation at the end, I tend to stop and start a lot, as the thoughts keep finding their way in, so one or two mornings I can get through my routine, the other times it’s difficult.

My therapist S recommended this book by Mark maxresdefaultWilliams, I’ve found this to be very helpful, it gives practical easy to follow methods on how to calm anxiety and manage depression, there is a CD that comes with the book, on using meditation to get better results in practicing mindfulness.

Here is a link from YouTube to the meditation: https://youtu.be/HEyaQ_iTBcs?list=PLEJsm6_JcM2DsPuoWLnMpEFJLkXKykVc9

 

 

I only have 5 mores sessions of CBT, so I’m going to be working really hard to get the best from the remaining time.

I have to learn to be kind to myself, I no longer wish to dwell on the past, or try to predict the future, being in the now will be the next chapter in my journey to restoring my mental health.

Cay x

Posted in Anxiety, Blogs, Depression, Mental Health | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Looking For Me…


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I’ve written several posts recently, posted none my fingers made of stone hovering trying to get back to my journey, it’s been six months since I last posted.

I feel a guilty in a way, which is daft really, that I haven’t been recording my meanderings to keep track of my various struggles with mental health and homelessness.

Since my surgery back in January life continued with its twists and turns, lets just say even with an excellent case worker the homeless situation continued in ever decreasing circles, I was still staying in a local hotel, which was being paid for in part by a very good friend(another unexpected rescuer).

The months pass and we come to April, now fully recovered, the housing authorities decided they were going to get involved, so with a new set of people and my trusty case worker b my side, I again with resignation told them of my sorry tale, which as usual was met with the officer talking over my left shoulder (I’m invisible) we left that day without much hope.

Secondly they wanted to know more about my mental health issues, and why I wasn’t in therapy, I explained that the waiting list was very long also with having surgery and the long recovery time, that was not a priority, I was then told, that I could lose benefits if I couldn’t prove I had a mental health issue.

You can imagine what this did, feeling that life was starting spiral downwards again, I made the call to Health In Mind, who coincidently were about to write to me to commence therapy, so benefits saved and the spiral receded.

I was given six half hour sessions of CBT, with a lovely therapist who immediately put me at ease, though she realised quickly that I would need a more intensive type of treatment, because just being given free rein to talk I opened up the whole can of worms, also she was only the first tier and was unable to address some of the aspects of my depression, CBT is only really designed  to talk about one area.

I continued with her, because it was better than nothing, even though we couldn’t get much done in 30 mins not her fault or mine just the system.

I was a drift for a couple of weeks, when the new therapist called to make an appointment, to say I was in a bit down was an understatement, so by the time I reached his office(late) I was in no mood for any kind of treatment, which this time was 12 weeks of intensive CBT, it’s fair to say that first session was a disaster, I couldn’t stop crying and feeling increasingly desperate thoughts of suicide uppermost in my mind.

It took a few weeks and I began to bond with S, he was more structured, I discovered that I’ve suffered with depression for many years, though not recognising the signs, which seemed to stem from my core values, which means lessons from childhood and the coping methods I employed as a way to alleviate feelings inadequacy and anxiety.

It was quite strange to hear someone verbalise what I had thought about myself for a long time, I projected one image of myself whilst all the time keeping the real me suppressed if that makes sense, so I have to do a great deal of hard work to attain balance and learn new coping mechanisms and not suppress my emotional side, and allow my thoughts to overtake my day-to-day life.

We use meditive mindfulness which help me to be in the moment and to focus on that instead of a million negative thoughts coursing through my mind at my usual breakneck speed, I’m also learning for the first time ever to relax, it’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime, I have though committed myself to doing all I can to escape this hostage situation of depression and anxiety.

I have more to tell of the last 6 months, I’m a bit tired now so I’ll sign off

Hope everyone is okay and I shall be doing the rounds again and thanks for your support.

Cay xx

 

 

 

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