Wow, long time no blog! I think my last post was in October, and as much as I'd love to have my first post since to be about beauty, it's going to have to be a rambling, stream-of-consciousness post.
Firstly, a very belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful time!
(I'll hopefully post some photos in the near future of some of my festive frolicking! A bit of positivity will be needed after this post.)
As you can tell by the title, it's the early hours of the morning which naturally means my insomnia is back in full force and my mind is working over time. I don't know if I'm writing this because I want to offer an explanation for my absence, or if it's simply because I need to empty my head a little bit. Either way, here we go- I apologise in advance if this is incredibly boring!
At the beginning of September, I took myself off to the Drs because I had found myself increasingly struggling with simple day to day tasks, everything seemed intimidating and I was left feeling like I was raising forward into darkness without being able to slow down. I was signed off work for 2 weeks with anxiety. Not a particularly new thing to me, but it was at a height I'd never experienced before. I was referred for CBT (for which simply getting an assessment appointment is a waiting process in itself!) and a couple of weeks later I was prescribed medication. This alone was a huge deal to me, any one who knows me will know how incredibly stubborn I am and how much I like to believe I'm super woman- super strength, amazing ability to cope etc. At the time, I was so desperate for anything to help me that I agreed to take the medication, and it was in fact the first real step I made in to accepting that I was seriously struggling- to the point of needing help. (As an ex-psychology student, I could ramble about my beliefs in terms of mental health treatment- but that's possibly another post for another day!)
Rather than feeling weaker after seeking help, It actually helped me feel like I was a bit more in control of the situation. I've since found a Dr who I really get on with, is very understanding and supportive and fully takes on board what I have to say. Having monthly check ups has actually been something that, again, has made me feel more in control. Having a Dr I can trust has also enabled me to open up about other issues I've been struggling with, and although this is terrifying and a constant battle, I'm learning how important it is to look after my health- both physically and mentally.
I had to wait about 6 weeks for a CBT assessment, at the end of which I was 'officially' diagnosed with severe OCD, anxiety and depression. OCD is something that I've probably had for as long as I remember, showing itself in variance ways as I've grown up. Only recently has it actually become something that causes me distress. I won't go into the details of all of my symptoms or behaviours, but perhaps another time?
I guess all of this is coming about because I have my first CBT appointment, and I'm more worried about it than I realise. The nature of CBT is that it's not supposed to be easy, it's supposed to challenge thoughts and behaviours that I believe are 'right,' and when some of these have been around for as long as they have, it's incredibly daunting. However, I don't want to rely on medication alone because although it's making my problems more manageable, it's not magic and it can't make them disappear. This has become particularly clear to me over the past 2 weeks as my anxiety has been constant (and draining.)
Dealing with mental health issues can often feel like a 24/7 job, and it kind of is, it's very tiring. It makes focusing on anything else a real struggle, it often feels like lasting a day at work has consumed all of my energy and by the time I'm home I have little energy or head space for anything else. Hence, the lack of blogging. There have been things I've wanted to post about, but maintaining my attention and putting on a positive front isn't always easy. I started working on my next book a while back, but that's since come to a halt which frustrates me, but it is what it is. I was also reviewing books on another blog, which again is something that I've put a hold on. Socialising is often difficult, and this is probably the area in which I invest any extra energy because as much I may feel like I need to be alone, what I really need is to be reminded of the positive things and people I have in my life. My stubbornness still remains and I'm determined not to let any of my health issues ruin my early 20s.
I have, however, found a couple of things that have helped me. Do you remember hama beads? You make patterns out of beads and then iron them...well, I have become obsessed! It's efficient at both giving me something to organise (I have pots full of beads that I've organised into separate colours, OCD heaven,) it acts as a distraction from negative thoughts and it allows me to still be at least a little bit creative. You can find my Hama creations over on Pinterest! Http://www.pinterest.com/wallflowerx/beaded-beauty/
I've also taken up running, which is great for releasing adrenaline caused by anxiety (that, and it's good for you. If you ignore the knee sprain it caused.)
This is a lot longer than I intended, so I'll finish it up here.
This was probably pointless, but it's helped me organise my thoughts so hopefully I can get some sleep now.
I know I'm not alone in my struggles, so I feel like this is a space where I can be honest. If there's anything else you'd like me to expand on, perhaps dedicate a post to, let me know.
If you're reading this, thanks for sticking with me <3
P.s Apologies for the poor formatting, posting from the iPad!