Renewing my Self Care Commitment

It has been to put it lightly a pretty horrible month or so and I’ve put myself through a pretty unpleasant roller coaster. I do find it amazing how sick our minds can make our bodies feel. It is also fairly remarkable how easy it is to slip and drop off a good self care routine even when you are trying to keep it in mind. I want to thank my friends and people I know for continuing to put up with me while I have a bit of a meltdown, I know it can’t be easy.

Medication

So as you can probably tell by the featured image, I’ve been back to the doctor and had my medication change. Increasing my citalopram to 40mg was from my current viewpoint a big mistake, it didn’t help with the anxiety and made me feel physically worse.

So I’m going back down to 30mg were I was reasonably stable at one point and introducing a new friend called beta blockers. My doctor described these as a way to reduce the physical manifestation of anxiety, this should make me feel less ill and more able to work around the way I am feeling.

Relaxation

So as part of trying to improve my body I have booked in a deep tissue massage. I am hoping this will set my muscles on the road to recovery from the extreme tension my anxiety has been putting them under. I am also trying heat packs across the neck/shoulders and meditation whilst dropping off in bed to release the muscles. I have been trying a product called Rescue Remedy but I think all I’ve managed to achieve with this is getting dozy and sleepy, either way with the change in meds I am going to cease using these.

Counselling

I applied to Leeds IAPT a couple of weeks ago and I expect it to be twice as long again before I hear back. In the meantime my workplace have an agreement with a counselling company so I am going to give them a call and see what kind of help they can offer.

Exercise

I know this helps, but I’ve been so drained and inclined to give in to that feeling and sleep that I’ve let it slide away. We have a rowing machine, treadmill and set of free weights in the house and I have a gym membership at exercise for less and yet… yeah…

So right now I feel sleepy and my eyes feel tired and I want to have a nice nap… so what I am going to do once I have finished writing this is make a cup of tea, pour myself a pint of water and get set up watching an episode of supernatural while I have a walk of the treadmill. It may not be a hard session but I am going to get myself moving.

Sleep

I’ve ordered some lavender pillows from a friend that I am hoping will help with the sleeping. It seems to be working for my partner but we are only on day 3. Another thing I am doing is restricting caffeinated drinks after 6pm i.e. preferably non. I’m not a fan of decaf so I have some herbal infusions and naturally caffeine free Rooibos if I want a hot drink. Also experimenting with the use of Horlicks

I want to resume being in bed by 10pm giving myself a chance at 8 hours sleep maximum in the hopes that I get 7 or more rather than just over 6.

Eating Habits

My diet hasn’t gone so well along with the exercise, too many easy option takeaways and not enough vitamins etc. Been trying to keep up my increased water intake but that’s always going to be a struggle for me. We’ve bought in salad materials for lunches, I got half way there today by making sandwiches but due to a low mood last night didn’t make enough time for the salad side, but steps forward.

Social Life

I often have issues with gearing up my head for large social situations, loud pubs and drinking rather than a quiet sit and chat are more of a challenge. Part of my way of dealing with this is I try to get to events early so the noise etc can build up around me rather than walking into a wall of noise and people.

I often have an urge to draw back and not put people out having to talk to me, or just avoid situations where I can as I often do, put my foot in it or make a fool of myself. This doesn’t mean I value my friends any less or that I don’t want to spend time with them, just sometimes it is harder than other times.

I’ve been keeping up with the Kitty Cafe, it gives me something to look forward to every week even if I may want to yell abuse at First Bus some weeks for failing to get me there.

Hobbies

I’ve not been making it to my creative writing group for a little while now, hoping in the next week or two I can get back on track with that once my energy levels are back up. I’ve gotten in plenty of TV with binge watching Star Trek Next Gen and Supernatural but I’ve not had enough concentration for Anime which is annoying because we are part way through quite a few series I really want to pick back up but dubbing is just bad and subtitles sadly take more effort.

Self-Care

So, I never got past chapter 5 in the Self Care Diary that inspired this blog, something else I have to rectify. I also have all the things I’ve stated above, so there is a plan of action floating around I just need to piece it all together. Wish me Luck!

Anxious Minds

So its been a hell of a journey since my last post. I’ve started 5 or 6 posts and then they’ve trailed off without getting far enough to be worth posting. I guess it started feeling like I had nothing to say, and then when I did have something to say I either couldn’t word it right or didn’t feel like anyone would want to read it. Having similar struggles with this post but I guess I want to get the ball rolling again.

I increased my dosage of citalopram with doctors advice to 40mg  and tbh I think its only made me feel worse. After a visit to the doctors last week we discussed and he thinks this is because my anxiety is currently the overruling issue rather than the depression and I can’t exactly fault his logic. I’ve also been having troubles with considerable acid reflux so I’m having tests to see what is causing it, no fun at all. Annoyingly I’ve stopped taking the anti acids and stopped the anti histamines I was taking and it seems to have eased off a little bit, though its not gone so I guess the tests are still worth it.

Either way, the doctor has suggested (depending on the test results) that I go onto beta blockers to help with the anxiety side of things. But that appointment isn’t for a couple of weeks so on advice from a friend I have some Bach rescue remedy due tomorrow to see if it helps at all, Who knows maybe if it works well enough I can avoid the beta blockers, but I doubt it.

Since increasing the citalopram I seem to have had a constant tension in my scalp, neck and shoulders. I have also had a reasonably constant feeling of fuzziness in my head and issues with focus and clear thought. I am hoping that if I can dial back the anxiety I can dial back my citalopram dose again and get rid of this sensation… but I don’t actually know if the citalopram has caused it or if it is a side effect of the rampant anxiety.

I don’t have any massive insights or words of wisdom right now. I haven’t kept up with the self care or even finished reading the book I harped on about. I’ve not given up but at the same time I’m not exactly going anywhere but one step forward and one step back  means I’m not going backwards anymore… right?

Gender Stereotypes & Mental Health

Okay… so this could be a tricky one. I’d like whoever reads this to keep an open mind, I am not trying to say my way of thinking is correct or that anyone actually has to agree with it, I just want you to try and keep an open mind. Also it is going to be a little stream of consciousness like so bear with me.

I have a lot of friends who are LGBT+ and I’ve had issues with my own femininity in the past. I’m cis gendered, which means I am comfortable with the gender I was born with but I don’t fit a lot of the stereotypes that come with my gender. I recently cut my hair very short and since then have received criticism and compliments both about my hair including insinuations that I must be a butch lesbian amongst other comments. Yesterday a tyre blew out on my car and I posted on fbk about it and I got comments about ‘girl power’ and how unusual it is for a girl to change their tyre. I admit I struggled getting the nuts off cos damn they are tight and had to call my husband for advice as he’d shown me what to do but I hadn’t done it solo before… but why does gender even come into it?

I’ve always been into things that aren’t considered girly, and if as a cis-gendered person I can be made to feel uncomfortable and question myself how hard must it be for people who don’t fit into that pigeon hole of ‘normal’. What is normal anyway? I am a gamer, I am into computers, I don’t do makeup or shave my legs and I don’t feel the need to jump up and down and scream at every exciting thing in life. I don’t sleep around, lead guys on or play games… flirting can be fun but only if both sides know that is all it is and if not its dangerous waters. (Note I’m married and happy with my partner at this point anyways).

This lack of girly behaviour made me unusual at my school were 3 girls dropped out pregnant, it also made me a case for sexual harassment from other students on top of the normal bullying, thankfully it never went far enough to be traumatising, just irritating.  Also being forced to wear skirts was a hell for me, I always wore shorts underneath to save embarrassments but I so wish trousers had been in. Apparently during primary school the other kids thought I must be a lesbian because I wasn’t interested in guys, hell I just wasn’t interested in anything until one particular guy got my attention in the final year of senior school, it just wasn’t on my radar. I know plenty of people who are a-sexual still going into their 30’s, there is nothing wrong with it. There are people who enjoy casual relationships but don’t need a partner and prefer it that way.

Being outside the ‘normal’ can easily feel persecuted and the need to hide the extent of your ‘wierdness’ can be exhausting. There is also the social pressure to fit in, that leads you to think ‘maybe I should try and fit my gender a bit more’. When you already live a life of anxiety and depression then societal pressures about gender and who you like so don’t need to be added on top. I have enough issues and my friends have a lot more from stereotypes to outright sexism or homophobia.

Why does gender matter? Why does who you fall in love with matter? Aren’t we all just people? I feel like life is too short to live with all this hate, how does the way we live effect you? Why do you feel the need to judge? Some people can take comments and brush them off and for some people it can be soul crushing and lead to a steep mental health dive. I have an anorexic friend who suffers the same issue of random strangers judging them and making comments that are either outright hurtful or that they think would help. It doesn’t even have to be gender issues, just anything visually unusual.

I am proud of who I am, I don’t feel like I should need to hide who I am or who I like but I also know that sharing information with the wrong people is still dangerous in this world. I love people, I don’t care what shape, size, gender, sexuality or religion they are as long as no one tries to pressure their views onto me we are all good. All I care about is that people are healthy and happy and so very few of us are. Modern society prosecutes and pushes us until we break, and there is no shame in breaking its only human. Hell 6 year old children are being treated for depression these days, mine didn’t hit until I was 16 with GCSE’s and my first death in the family.

You never know what someone is going through, how close they are to breaking. You never know where their insecurities lay. Some people will show it openly but a lot of people hide and have coping mechanisms so people don’t see. This is something I always try and consider (and don’t always get right) when interacting with people. Don’t hold bad days against people, don’t give up just because they are struggling because that is when they need you the most.

A friend once posted a quote “being well adjusted to a broken world is no good thing” so for those non-adjusted people amongst us, keep strong.

Self-Kindness Pt2

As a quick refresher the rough theme of this is going to continue (in a rather belated fashion) from where I left off in my last post https://selfcarediary.blog/2018/05/05/self-care-self-kindness-pt1/

It’s late and I am tired but I’ve been putting off or just plain not thinking enough to do a post and I need to get back on track in more ways that one. I’ve had a blip in my self care plan, you could call it a temporary break. In the spirit of being kind to myself I am not going to feel guilty or beat myself up about that, I am only human and I am trying.

Things to Celebrate

So this week I have managed to exercise 2 days out of my 5 day goal, despite not meeting my goal this is still progress. After all at one point I didn’t exercise at all!

I have also managed to get more than 6.5 hours sleep a night for the last week, it’s not quite my goal of between 7 & 8 hours a night but still its steady away.

I’ve kept in good communication with my partner and we are discussing issues together rather than either of us dealing with things alone. I also managed to see that his mind had gone down a guilty path and pulled him back round from beating himself up before he sank too far. Particularly proud of that one as even though we’ve been together 8 years I still have trouble between certain expressions. For example I often struggle between him being quiet and worried about something or just tired.

I decided to live with my body rather than fight it, I bought jeans that fit rather than the size I wanted to be.

Things to Learn From

So… I’ve not met all my goals… my brain naturally wants to view this as a failure and use this failure as a reason not to bother trying at all because what is the point, I’m just a useless failure anyway. Wrong.

What would I tell someone else who talked to me about this? What do my friends say to me when I voice these kinds of opinions? What about the questions I displayed in pt1?

  • What went right when I met my goals?
  • Why didn’t it happen the other days?

I think in this case it all comes down to motivation… I lost and then re-found my motivation to look after myself. How I did it? A little step at a time, doing one little thing for myself and another little thing until I felt like I had enough spoons or motivation to do a bigger thing. Or just out of a need to not keep going backwards.

Mindset Changes

I’ve touched on issues with my weight before, this week as stated I made a move in how I feel about my body. I need to stop thinking of myself as this failure of a gelatinous blob that is about as sexy as said description.

I’ll never have a flat stomach, I’ll probably never be a comfortable size 10 again. It’s not the end of the world. What is important isn’t what number the scales say or how many inches are around my waist… much as I still have strong feelings about said things. Punishing myself for what nature has given me is the opposite of self care and very much unkind. I wouldn’t be as critical or judgemental of anyone else’s shape so why should I do it to myself?

So my resolution is this > I am going to eat well and exercise, get my sleep and look after myself. My weight or waist may well change with this but the real importance is that I am healthy and nourished so I am going to try and remind myself of that whenever I catch a look at myself and dislike what I see.

Goodnight 🙂

Self Care & Self Kindness Pt1

Konnichiwa!

The focus for today’s writing is to try and focus on the good things in our lives, the things we manage to do, not the things we neglect. I will get in the counter argument early, yes it is important to acknowledge were we fail and fall down BUT it is more important to work out ways to avoid doing it again or just accept that it happens and learn how to pick back up again.

It is the difference between sitting looking back and feeling rubbish about yourself and looking forward about how things can be better. Sometimes you have to weather the storm of a bad day, or a bad week and keep going on the basis of you know it will pass. The last week I’ve taken a pretty bad dip, but I kept going as best I could and yesterday I started to pick up again. I got the gym, I didn’t eat crap… I’ve started a turn around. I know, I’ll have to do it again. 

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is a different way to label these ‘failures’ so it doesn’t sound so dire in your head. Much like changing the way we use the words should, want and need to better represent real priorities and to change the way we pressure ourselves. Though finding a way to word it that doesn’t put ourselves down still is tricky. After some input from friends I’ve had a suggestion that sounds good to me, it depends on how your mind works as does a lot of what I say but the idea is to approach it like a maths problem from an external viewpoint as if you were advising a friend.

  • Jenny wants to exercise for 30 minutes a day. This week she achieved her goal twice.
    • What can Jenny do to improve?
      • What went right?/why did she do it those days
      • What went wrong?/ Why didn’t it happen
      • What can she do to make the stuff that went wrong look more like the stuff that went right
    • It takes out the personal nature of the problem meaning that you don’t emotionally respond and you have a positive action moving forward.

What do you think? Do you have your own ideas?

Part 2 will follow later today or tomorrow, I figured I’d get this out there then continue later.

Spoons

I started off with all this determination and energy… I wasn’t exactly full of energy but something drove me to better myself. I’ve rambled on about anger issues, how important communication is, that I want to eat better and lose weight… get back into writing my novel, up my exercise to com bat the stress…

You know how long it lasted? A week… a lonely sodding week. I’m exhausted and drained having undone any of the goodness my initial renewment of self-care made. I also seem to have become temporarily decision anxious and have much analysis paralysis.

Started a post up the last few days and just nothing has come out. The most frustrating thing is with this recent slump is nothing new is going wrong. My job is very stressful but my general life outside of it is pretty good really, and my stressful job pays for it. Yet here I am trapped in my own head making up enough demons and ailments for a dozen people let alone myself.

Self-care can create a stable basis but it takes spoons to do it… and then there is the next step of challenging our negative thoughts, or accepting things as they are… doing something about the way I feel.

Maybe I have been a bit naive in thinking I could take it in turns or just focus on one side of the coin.

Dunno… out of words for now so I’ll just leave it there…

Balance & Self Image

I was a little uninspired yesterday so I thought rather than try and force a topic I’d wait until one came to me. I suppose this was a good thing in a way because nothing happened yesterday that made me think ‘I must write about this!’. I do feel like I have become a broken record recently where everything is mental health and self care and I don’t talk about anything else :/ I hope it isn’t getting tiresome for my friends.

But today there is a little something to celebrate and something that has given me a lot to think about.

Self-Care Update

So I’m still working on the same basics, until I get these down I’m not trying to go for anything more complicated. Good sleep pattern, regular exercise and healthier eating habits. There are other things I need/want to do but I have to pick my battles and how many things I am fighting at once or I will just burn out on it and stop. I’m stumbling enough as it is.

Celebrate

So in the featured image today is an outfit I bought in Japan in February of last year… which I haven’t worn until today due to a level of paranoia about standing out etc etc. I was finally brave enough to wear it out today! It is a gothic/punk style Lolita outfit, could lump it under kuro lolita I guess. However my outer jacket doesn’t fit anymore and this leads me onto my main topic of the day.

Self Image Issues

Even the most well adjusted of us has something about our physical form that bothers us, even if it’s just being an inch too short to reach the top cupboard. Some of us are much worse and its a task to find Anything at all we like about our physical forms. We usually end up with two choices; fix it or learn to be happy with it.

I, despite what anyone else tells me, feel at best a plain Jane and at worst a gelatinous blob that no one would want to look at. All in all I’m not that bad, my thighs feel pretty massive sometimes but what really upsets me when I think about myself if my torso. I have fairly small breasts which makes pulling of a lot of tops off really hard (I know big would be worse but still) and right below them the fat starts… it used to be flat over the ribs and just a bit of a pot belly. I know I will Never be able to get rid of the pot belly but right now its massive. I am 2 stone heavier than I used to be when I was far happier with myself.

I get the feeling I wouldn’t be happy with myself even if I lost the weight but at least I would fit in my nicer clothes that currently won’t fit at all or feel really stretched and show off all the unwelcome bumps.

Self Care vs Self Image

All this effects how I feel about myself and part of my self care has to be to deal with this… so… which path do I take and when?

I said before that I have to pick my fights… right now eating healthily is hard enough without calorie counting on top of that… but today made me want to lose weight Now. Healthy eating and exercise should by rights reduce my waistline anyway and then I have a better footing for dropping calories and an established healthier lifestyle.

But it can be difficult to apply the patience we need to make a sustainable change.

It is too easy to rush in guns blazing and burn out… been there done that. At one point on slimming world I got to target… but I put the weight back on for various reasons and haven’t been able to find the same commitment to the program again. I can’t for the life of me tell you why it worked the first time and not after.

I am not sure what to do for the best atm… a quick change would give me a boost sooner… but is jumping a few steps really a good idea?