TV stand and happiness…

So please take a few seconds to admire my new TV stand. I love it.

Okay, anyway recently I lost perspective and started to see everything very negatively. My other half made a joke at my expense, something that I would have normally taken in a light hearted way, and I cried because all I could think about was what a shit person I am. I’d taken his joke seriously, lost my sense of humour, and insulted him by thinking he’d be that rude to me and actually mean it. Once I started crying I couldn’t stop. A lot had happened in the last week or so and I was fed up…

-There was an issue at work where I had to write a ‘reflection’ on my actions (turns out it wasn’t my fault and I received an apology from management)

-I had just been told that I needed 2 hearing aids

-Me and my other half had a difficult but constructive conversation where we talked about our approaches to communicating with each other (which I think I took far too seriously and blew way out of proportion)

-I’d spent an unhealthy amount of time focusing on my non-existent relationship with my mother and lack of social life

It all compounded into me thinking ‘Why would anyone want to bother with me?’ ‘Everyone must hate me’ and ‘I don’t like my existence’. It’s been a long while since I’ve been blinded by such a negative attitude. I felt completely alone. His silly joke was the final straw and I cried a lot. Because this type of misery had happened before, and I’d previously asked him for advice, he felt he had nothing left to say and got annoyed at me for not remembering what he’d said last time. Eventually we engaged in conversation about what was missing in my life and considered the following points:

-I’d been watching a lot of Netflix documentaries about child-murder and abductions and stuff… (which we didn’t think was a huge boost to a low mood)

-I’d stopped attending my pole dance classes due to my Ménière’s disease (and not replaced it with anything, so lacked the social aspect and the exercise/body confidence boost)

-I hadn’t been out for a night out in ages

-I hadn’t been able to see my clinical supervisor at work for over 2 months which meant I hadn’t had access to the counselling-style support I’d appreciated for such a long time.

Together we made a plan with some action points:

-Stop watching so many documentaries about human misery; limit them to 2 per week max. Watch more Disney etc

-Go to a new exercise class

-I went on a night out last night (and plan to go out on more with my new work colleagues)

-My other half will try to have more supportive conversations with me if I let myself get that upset again

-If I struggle more we’ll think about getting me to see a counsellor (always good to have a back-up plan)

It was empowering to sit with him and think critically about what had went wrong for me to end up in such a miserable state. I now have a better perspective and actually feel tonnes better, hence my silly amounts of joy over a new TV cabinet. I love it. It looks brilliant. His family also came around and he cooked Thai food for all of us. My night out was brilliant too! It further gives me confidence that I have the power to repair my own low mood and poor mindset… sometimes I just need a shove in the right direction it seems.


Hearing aids…

So 4 years ago I went for a hearing assessment because people would call me deaf during conversation; the amount of times I’d ask them to repeat themselves was far more than is socially acceptable. Unfortunately for me the audiologist said that my hearing was of a good standard so I didn’t need hearing aids. I explained that my hearing fluctuated and I’d have long periods of time where I found it very hard to hear. She seemed less than interested.

Since a young age I’d had a collection of other irritating symptoms; vertigo, tinnitus and intermittent hearing difficulties. I’d spoken about these to my doctor and they’d attributed my symptoms to my anxiety… in some respects I feel that once you admit to having a mental health complaint, doctors feel they can ease up on doing any real physical investigations (but that’s an issue for another time). Anyway, last year in March I finally got diagnosed with Meniere’s disease and prescribed Prochlorperazine; by this point I was having frequent vertigo attacks and having to take time off work as sick. The prochlorperazine worked quite well, but it’s effectiveness lessened and now I take Beta Histine (Serc).

Yesterday I braved going back to the audiologist’s at the hospital and followed up the hearing assessment by seeing a consultant. The experience was mixed; I felt very tearful throughout the hearing assessment; at some points unsure whether I was actually hearing the noises or just guessing. The audiologist explained that I was presenting with moderate hearing loss; I would likely be given hearing aids for both ears. I became tearful because I felt that finally I could consistently have a good quality of social interaction, but also I think I cried because… quite frankly…. who wants to wear 2 hearing aids?

I know that’s a negative attitude, and I should really get a grip. I’m sure I’ll appreciate them when I have them. My assessment is in the next 4 weeks at some point… I especially look forward to taking the subtitles off of Netflix, and not antagonising patients at work by asking them to repeat themselves all the time.

My other half was especially supportive; he said he’d be glad not to shout at me to be heard anymore, but that he’d be sad that he can’t talk about me without me hearing in future. Haha.

Top 10 appreciation list…

  1. My vague acceptance of who I am as a person
  2. My new job is amazing
  3. Playing Scrabble and watching Deadpool with my other half
  4. My other half
  5. My health isn’t bad at the moment
  6. I feel like I have a family
  7. I live somewhere nice
  8. I feel resilient like I could get through hard times if needed
  9. My hair is looking pretty decent lately
  10. My flexibility/fitness is coming along well

It’s good to watch Disney…

I’m 26 years old. When I was 5 years old I’d occasionally sleep over at my grandparents house. They’d let me watch films like Scream; in that particular film a woman is gutted and then hung from a tree by her intestines. I was 5 years old. I cried myself to sleep for a couple nights with fear, and on the first night after watching Scream my granddad had to come in to my room and explain how it was all ‘fake special effects’ so I apparently didn’t need to take it so seriously.

I guess this was the first time the concept of death was introduced to me. I continued to sleep at my grandparents house fortnightly on a weekend for about a year following that. Almost every time I slept over I would watch 15/18 rated horror movies and documentaries about Nazi Germany. One particularly detailed documentary outlined medical experimentations on Jews during world war 2. My granddad couldn’t tell me that it was all fake special effects. I just understood that ‘Hitler was evil’ with no further explanation.

This undoubtably set my expectations of humankind very low. I learned that people enjoyed watching other people suffer (I was too young to understand the concept of enjoying a horror movie). I admired my grandparents, so when they told me horror movies were good I’d try to live up to their expectations and I tried to enjoy them. By the age of 8 or so my mother would casually let me watch things like Jeepers Creepers. I’d force myself to watch it because I was driven by the idea that I should be able to, or something was intrinsically wrong with me. Aged 12 I used to see being able to watch a horror movie as an achievement, I was mostly desensitised. I had watched The Shining at around 8 years old and had terrible nightmares; I continued to watch it on repeat until I wasn’t scared by it at all. So for my 12th birthday I had a group of friends come round and we all watched the Shining. I was the only one who wasn’t terrified. I’ve no idea how my mother didn’t have other parents complaining to her because no doubt my birthday guests probably had nightmares for a long time.

Fast forward to today, I’ve been watching a lot of Disney. Unfortunately this results in lots of crying because the films are plain old ‘nice’. I imagine that when I was younger I would have enjoyed watching ‘nice’ films designed for the age group I was actually in. I grew up being told ‘life is shit and then you die’; my mother’s general approach to life. I look at Disney films now and wonder whether they would have given me any hope at the time, they might have made me smile and relax as a child. Smiling and relaxing was something I sorely missed. I find myself relaxing watching these films now and start crying too easily. I think maybe I’m experiencing what it should be have been like in my childhood to sit and relax and watch ‘happy ever after’ films. It’s actually incredibly painful.

My other half watches all kinds of children’s films, and it’s what I love about him; he’s retained child-like qualities that allow me to revisit what my childhood should have been like. One of my counsellors once said to me that when I have my own children I might be able to ‘learn what it is to enjoy childhood’ vicariously through my own children. The very idea brings tears to my eyes. I can now watch a film ‘just because it’s nice’, rather than as an adrenaline rush distraction from my general life misery. I love it.

I’m currently watching Maleficent, it’s not bad but it’s not my favourite. I watched Dumbo yesterday, that was quite good. Tangled was amazing, but then it was about a young woman who wasn’t allowed to see what the world really is because of a mother who made her think the world was a terrible place….

It’s okay to be annoyed AF…

So today we received a police speeding ticket in the post. I instantly felt like crying; my other half only just got his first car and now he’ll have three points, three more and he’ll have his licence taken. Plus there’s a £100 fine. Plus if he continues to speed I worry that he’ll hurt other people or himself. This immediately escalated to me panicking, feeling alone and like I couldn’t cope. I instantly felt like my chest was closing up like I couldn’t breathe and in that very moment I felt a whole other level of fear. I knew I’d lost perspective.

I called his mother for advice; my mother is no longer in my life and I find it very hard that I have no relatives left. I normally wouldn’t reach out for help from anyone. I usually take on full responsibility for whatever difficulty has hit me and my partner and try and handle it alone. I noticed a huge difference in the outcome for me in terms of my mental wellbeing by actually phoning his mother and asking for a chat about the situation.

Painfully, she spontaneously offered a level of advice and support that I’d never had from my own mother. I quickly settled into the idea that no-one has physically come to any harm and this will have to be a serious lesson for my other half to learn. The panic that I had initially felt started to dissipate and I found myself feeling three things:

-I am not alone with my troubles

-I have not lost control of a situation

-I was not to blame; and shouldn’t feel bad (I seem to naturally assume responsibility for everything)

What struck me even harder is that I have never had a mother who I can turn to advice from. I spent much of my childhood mothering my own mother. Infact, I never actually stopped. I provided a secure point of contact to which she could direct all of her anxieties and life problems, and I consistently helped her with everything. I had come to learn that my mother was someone I had to look after; now I’m learning that in moments of stress people can actually be there for me. Even if they’re not my biological family, they can still be there and I’m starting to understand that it’s okay to accept help.

My other half doesn’t accept any advice about driving, and nor does he accept advice about getting out of bed on time so he doesn’t get fired. It irritates me no end and sometimes I want to strangle him. The financial ramifications could be huge for us and that’s a conversation we need to have. I do however see that those types of qualities build a small 10% of his personality. Everything else about his is fabulous. I love him a lot. I’m starting to see life from a different perspective, and his occasional stupid behaviour actually challenges me to cope with life’s difficulties from a healthier perspective. The fact that we exist as a happy, warm and loving couple regardless of his occasional stupidity makes me feel secure and positive that we’re built to discuss things and be strong as a couple.

I know that he actually recognises my attempts to improve my coping and perspective on life and supports me to become a mentally healthier person. I’m a very lucky individual, and whenever I tell him that I feel lucky to be with him, he always tells me he feels lucky too.

When he gets home in half an hour or so we’re going to have to talk about speed limits and driving penalties… let’s hope I manage to stay just like Marge Simpson in the photo above haha…

What would I tell me as a child?

When I reflect on how I think about life I try to be constructive with myself and less critical. We all have reasons for why we approach life in the way that we do. It’s important to be non-judgemental with ourselves so that there is room for improvement and development.

I try to look back at my experiences as a child and young person and imagine being kind to myself in difficult times and giving my young self reassurances. What would I go back to my 10year old self and say? Doing this then encourages me to be kind to myself in the here and now. If you try it yourself, you’ll soon realise it’s very hard to be mean to your 10 year old self, and using this method of self-care can actually be the first step to developing self-respect. It worked for me and I’ve continued it in my day to day life.

For instance sometimes now I have negative thoughts about my body image. I’ll think about how pale I am or the fact I carry most of my weight on my thighs. I take the following steps:

– Think about where these negative ideas came from (in this case my mother used to mock my shape, even though I wasn’t overweight); at one point she realised she went too far and took a photo of my crying in just my knickers so I could look at myself and see that my ‘pear shape’ wasn’t ‘that bad’. Not an acceptable way to treat an 8 year old I think….

-I’ll then imagine what a sensible adult would say to that 8 year old experiencing that misery (I’m a nurse, so I’ll also imagine what advise I’d give to vulnerable mental health patients)

-I’ll imagine giving the 8 year old me a hug (which I didn’t know I deserved at the time)

-I’ll refocus on what I’m worrying about in there here and now.

-I’ll try to treat myself with the same care and compassion that the 8 year old me deserved

Now this can be replicated for any negative self-thought. I plan to try more consistently to use it to help me through feelings of loneliness and abandonment, and this will hopefully allow me to be kinder to myself. I’ve no doubt it’ll be really hard.

To begin with I found it hard when my other half would jokingly remind me that my mother was abusive and a ‘dick’ to me sometimes, but now I think about it differently. I can start to remind myself yes that I’ve been through difficulty but that I can still improve my own life-schema regardless. It reminds me to be compassionate to myself when things are difficult.

In other news I might go to a trampoline park later today 🙂